United Methodists are united in Christ…so we say…yet divided in how we interpret the Law of Christ. It sounds simple…Love God with all your Self–heart, soul, mind, strength–and Love your Neighbor as Yourself. So, what is the quarrel about? Is it not about how to judge one another? Yet, we are told not to judge one another, that we all will be judged by God. As Jesus’ brother James said, “We all make many mistakes.” (James 3:2)
Peter, who at a crucial time denied knowing Jesus, says that our baptism is an appeal to God for a clear conscience through the resurrection of Jesus who has gone into heaven and is at the righthand of God, with angels, authorities and powers subject to him (I Peter 3:21-22). Then Peter describes unacceptable behavior in chapter four. The list does not sound like the behavior of the baptized persons now seeking recognition for their love of one another. Peter proceeds, saying, “The end of things is at hand; therefore keep sane and sober for your prayers. Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. Practice hospitality grudgingly to one another. As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace; whoever speaks, as one who utters oracles of God; whoever renders service as one who renders it by the strength which God supplies; in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. I Peter 4:7-11.”
What did Jesus say about the Kingdom? It is near at hand, there is no sexuality in heaven but people are like the angels. Mark 12:24-27.
What did Paul say? “Now before faith came, we were confined under the law, kept under restraint until faith should be revealed. Sso that the law was our custodian until Christ came, that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come we are no longer under a custodian; for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither salve nor free, there is neither male nor female; for are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:23-28,,,For Freedom Christ has set us free, stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery Gal. 5:1…For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another take heed that you are not consumed by one another Gal. 5:13-15.”
So what are we to conclude? We are not to judge one another, but to love one another and have a clear conscience and use our gifts to serve others.
What does one’s conscience say to oneself? Christ died to save us from our sins and make us free to serve as children of God.
Can rules overrule individual conscience? Could the dilemma faced by individual’s regarding one’s own sexuality be somewhat like Paul’s experience in I Corinthians 9? That he became all things to all men, that he might by all means save some?
Doesn’t God love all people?
Do United Methodists live by Law or by Grace and Faith in Christ?