Understanding of the Times

Understanding of the Times
By Mark A. Hattabaugh

Sometimes I’m slow to come to grip with the reality of a situation. For some reason, I find it hard at times to fully grasp a situation. Even if it seems to be painfully obvious, I don’t always immediately recognize it. I don’t believe this to be a problem only I struggle with. Part of the human condition is a reluctance to recognize and embrace change, especially if it’s not something we have chosen to do and if it makes us a little uncomfortable.

I’m thankful for the lifestyle of holiness that I lead. It provides a hedge of protection for me and my family. This separation at times makes it difficult for me to fully understand the attacks some individuals outside the church, and even some in the church who are a little too close to the edge, are facing from the world.

In 1 Chronicles chapter 12 we read of the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times. We desperately need this same understanding of the times as we strive to reach our modern day world.

In the past year, I have been confronted with the reality that homosexuality is an issue we need to address in our congregations. While this is a lifestyle that is very different than anything I have ever known or been exposed to, I have done my best to learn how to respond appropriately and wisely in love. I have had to work hard to educate myself. I have had to seek to understand the times.

Our world is one consumed with sexuality. The world preaches that sexual expression in any form is not only acceptable but normal. There is no element of shamefacedness or modesty in every area, the lines are being blurred. The question of whether you are heterosexual or homosexual is almost irrelevant. It’s just a matter of seeking pleasure and being you.

Our young people are confronted with these mindsets daily at school and in the media. We must start talking to them. We do not need to preach at them, but encourage them to open up to us with their views and struggles. We have to seek for the opportunity to speak the truth into their lives in a loving way. Only things that are brought into the light are able to be healed.

We can and must extend the loving arms of embrace to the homosexual community. We may have never fallen into alcoholism, drug addiction, or adultery, yet we understand those who have are hurting at their core. They’ve tried to fill a void with something that left them even more hopelessly lost. We should be just as willing to reach out to both the homosexual community and those who are contemplating the lifestyle.

Sin treats everyone the same, regardless of what the specific sin is. Our mandate is to reach the hurting and hopeless. Scripture tells us that “the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” We are commanded to “go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” There is no condition in either of those verses. We must use wisdom, but we must continue to reach even if we don’t understand or are a little uncomfortable. If you believe that there is no one in your congregation that has faced the attack of homosexuality, you are failing to recognize the reality of the situation. We must provide a safe haven from the attack, a place where love is extended, counsel is provided, loving confrontation is given when needed, and most importantly, a place where all can be open with their struggles in the hope of finding healing and restoration.

From, “The Beacon”/May 2008/Page 2, by Mark A. Hattabaugh.

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