I was in New Jersey last Friday when the ruling on gay marriage was announced. I’m not sure how all the New Jerseyans got their hands on rainbow flags so quickly, but suddenly they were flying at hotels, houses and businesses all around. But it wasn’t just happening in New Jersey of course…
Companies changed their logos to rainbows, over 26 million people on Facebook added a rainbow filter to their profile picture, the White House, Niagara Falls, the Empire State Building and many more landmarks were lit up with rainbows, Hillary Clinton used it as a marketing opportunity, and “Pride Parades” across the nation were covered in rainbows.
According to a CNN article, Gilbert Baker, the creator of the iconic rainbow flag, burst into tears when he saw the White House lit up in rainbow colors. He said, “I don’t have to worry about making the rainbow flag a success anymore.”
CNN interviewed Baker about his lifestyle, the SCOTUS ruling, and the newfound national success of his rainbow flag. He said he drew his inspiration for the flag from the American flag and from the Bible. He said, “People want to argue about it, but I say: ‘The rainbow’s in the Bible. It’s a covenant between God and all living creatures.'”
He’s right. The rainbow was God’s idea. Not man’s. Not Gilbert Baker’s.
That should serve as a vibrant, multi-colored reminder to all of us, especially those who call themselves Christians.
To be clear: the Bible says in black and white that homosexuality is a sin (Rom 1:24-27, 1 Cor 6:9). I do no support the decision made by the Supreme Court, and neither I nor any pastors at Awaken Church will be performing gay marriages. Ever. This does not mean that I hate gay people or that they are not welcome at our church. I still want to talk. I still want to be friends. Anybody is welcome at Awaken. Why push someone out just because they sin differently than I do?
But this blog post is less about my opinion and more about how I believe God would want His people to respond…
A Reminder of Grace
To quote the creator of the rainbow flag, “The rainbow’s in the Bible. It’s a covenant between God and all living creatures.” Genesis 9 gives the story of the first rainbow. God created it. He put it on display in the sky for Noah to see as he exited the ark after the Flood. It was a God-given covenant of grace toward sinful mankind. It serves the exact same purpose today.
A Response of Grace
Christians: instead of getting so upset with the flood of rainbows that we’re seeing, let’s allow the rainbow flags and social media profiles to remind us of why God created the rainbow in the first place: GRACE. If God, Who is perfectly just and has every right to destroy all mankind, has chosen not to in this age of grace, we should reflect that same grace toward those we disagree with. Stop the hate. Stop the slander. Stop the name-calling. That doesn’t help; it doesn’t win any arguments; and it certainly does not reflect the grace of the God you claim to represent.
1 Peter 4:10 says that we should be using our gifts to serve one another “as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” “Manifold” means “multifaceted,” “having great diversity or variety.” Interestingly, the Biblical description of God’s grace that should be pouring out of our lives sounds a lot like the visual reminder of His grace that He placed in the sky: the rainbow.
So, Christians, let’s redeem the rainbow. It didn’t originate with a pride parade or a flag – it was God’s idea. Next time you see a rainbow, let it be a reminder to pray, love, show grace, and stand for truth.
And when I say, “stand for truth,” I don’t mean with a megaphone or a hateful tweet. Instead, try a meal and conversation. You may just build a bridge instead of burning one.