Mixed messages

Reading about the recent decision of Exodus International to apologize for its past offenses against homosexual persons and to cease operations — along with the expected critique by those who accuse the organization of abandoning the Bible and capitulating to culture — I was reminded of a sign I pass most mornings when walking Samuel’s dog. 

There are actually two bright yellow signs, on either side of a neighborhood home’s yard, that proclaim “This is not your dog’s bathroom. Please keep your dog off my lawn.”

I can understand that. I don’t like unsolicited nuclear waste in my yard, either, but our neighborhood has a clear policy that dogs should remain on a leash and owners are responsible for carrying away any deposits their furry friends might make. Most dog-walkers around here (and there are many) are careful to observe the rules. 

That’s not strict enough, however, for the person who doesn’t want canine tresspassing of any type. 

One would expect to find such signs on a nicely landscaped and neatly manicured lawn that might be damaged or at least rendered unsightly by the application of doggy doo, but the grass in this yard consists mainly of weeds and is rarely cut — in that jungle, I wonder, how would they know if someone’s dog has left a present nestled beneath the foot-tall grass?

It’s easy for us to be improperly judgmental, as Jesus noted with his comment about the guy with a log poking out of his face who wanted to remove a speck from his neighbor’s eye (Mat. 6:41-42). I’m glad to see that the president of Exodus International has recognized the harm that so-called “reparative therapy” and other critiques of homosexual persons has caused. I wish that others who continue quoting misinterpreted scripture to label gays and lesbians as inherent sinners would could reach a more accepting view.

At the same time, I recognize my own need to exercise more grace and less judgment toward those who see things differently on that and other subjects, knowing that I have my own eye-timbers to deal with, too. 

Holding to a list of what one believes to be “biblical standards” can be an admirable thing, but we always have to consider the possibility that we can be wrong, and that the wild growth of our other failures can sometimes obscure the message we intend to proclaim. 

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