“Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.”
In 1 Corinthians 10:23-33, Paul discusses the responsibility a Christian bears when buying and eating food at a time when much of the meat available for purchase was previously sacrificed to idols. The way Paul discusses believers’ relationships with others while maintaining a witness for Christ brings to mind how many ADF clients have engaged in their businesses. This portion of Scripture leads me to believe that ADF clients’ livelihoods are on the line not only for the sake of their own consciences, but as Paul indicates, for the integrity of their Gospel witness to their customers and even the broader public.
In this passage from 1 Corinthians, Paul explains that if an unbeliever observes a Christian eating food sacrificed to idols and knows that the Christian was told of the sacrifice, the unbeliever may wrongly conclude that idolatry and Christianity are reconcilable when in fact they are not.
In the same way, our clients cannot create something that they know will promote same-sex marriage because doing so may cause others to believe that those events are compatible with Christianity. Followers of Christ must be careful to avoid sending false messages about biblical truth.
In these verses from 1 Corinthians, Paul recognized that we must always be mindful of what our actions communicate to those around us as we live not for ourselves, but for God.
While there are a number of parallels between this passage of Scripture and the situation facing many of ADF’s clients, there is one significant way in which they are different. Paul explicitly says that Christians may “[e]at whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience.” In contrast, no verse remotely suggests, let alone expressly states, that Christians may participate in a same-sex wedding “without raising any question on the ground of conscience.”
So when you wonder why our clients can’t go along just to get along, it’s because they cannot misrepresent what the Bible says about marriage, even if it costs them their livelihoods, their worldly reputations, their businesses, their homes, or their friends.
Their love for others – and for God – calls them to so much more than that.