Before you read any further - I want to make this truth very clear:
I AM ANGRY.
This isn't an anger that will pass on in a couple days and I will realize that it's stupid - this is an anger against those who take away the grace and mercy of the Gospel, and reshape it into something gruesome and terrible.
And again, before you read, I'd like you to watch this video. It is of Matt Chandler, speaking against a heresy that I unfortunately had to encounter his morning.
Matt Chandler accurately describes the emotions that I am experiencing right now. This morning, right here at the Moody Bible Institute during Missions Conference Week, I encountered this same rose illustration, even though it was used a bit differently.
The speaker (who shall remain nameless) had a bouquet of very expensive red roses. He took three out of the bunch and passed them around the room, telling everyone to take a petal until all the petals were gone. When there were still some left, he told the men to take one more.
He then walked up to the front of the room with the petal-less roses, and grabbed three other roses from the bunch and put them together. He then proceeded to walk up to a girl, and asked her which rose she wanted. She chose a big rose full of petals, and then he continued on to the next girl. She chose another one, and then another chose another rose, until he was left with only the roses that didn't have any petals. He turned to the room and said, "This is my point. We all gravitate toward things that are pure are whole and holy. We don't want something that isn't pure. We don't want a rose that has been picked on."
After already knowing the anger that Matt Chandler had felt about a rose illustration, I was hoping and praying to God that this wasn't what he was doing, but rather he would say that we need to help those roses that are broken and falling apart.
I was sorely disappointed.
He then continued to explain and asked the question, "Don't you want to be a whole rose for your spouse? Don't you want to be proud of your relationship if it ends and say to that person's future spouse that you didn't 'pick on' that person?"
And then, when I thought it couldn't get any worse, he said those words that still make me shudder.
"Nobody wants a rose that's been picked on."
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I will fully echo Matt Chandler's sentiments and say, "JESUS WANTS THE ROSE! THAT'S THE BEAUTY OF THE GOSPEL!!"
Just because we may have made mistakes with our sexuality in the past, or may have been sexually abused, that does NOT make us any less valuable or "damaged goods." God does not discriminate against those who have sinned in these areas - why should we?! What right do we have to love these people any less because of what they've done than Jesus does? If Jesus, a perfect, sinless being can love these people even though they've sinned, what right do we, equal sinners with these people at the foot of the cross, have to judge and condemn them?
I have a past.
I have made mistakes.
Are you telling me that I'm not good enough and I am unlovable because of that? Maybe I should be, but are you telling me that you're better than me and you're more worthy of others' and Christ's love than I am because you haven't done those things?
WHAT RIGHT DO YOU HAVE TO TAKE AWAY THE GRACE AND MERCY OF THE GOSPEL?
I will end with the main verse that Matt Chandler uses in his video:
...but God shows His love for us in that while we were STILL SINNERS, CHRIST DIED FOR US.