What, oh what, will the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) decide about allowing gay leaders? Will they “cave” so as not to be considered hateful and homophobic? Will they finally “be on the right side of history” and change their policy? Even some Christian blogs and commenters are urging the BSA to lift the ban in the name of love. Jesus wouldn’t want us to discriminate, after all. He accepts everyone.
I don’t have any history with the BSA so I will not make a prescription on what they should do as an organization. But I would like to address this notion that because Jesus loves everyone, one’s behavior is irrelevant.
Does Jesus love everyone? Yes. Does He bid all come to Him? Yes. Did He seek out drunkards, prostitutes, legalists and swindlers? Yes. Does He condone their behavior? No.
This is what real love looks like. Real love involves valuing the person and implementing boundaries. It would not be loving if I affirmed my children all day long, even when they ran into the street, clocked their sister with a frying pan, and were disrespectful of their teacher. Real love doesn’t confront and then flee. Real love doesn’t enable destructive decisions. Real love affirms a person’s worth and then spends the time identifying behaviors and attitude that harm themselves or others. Real love sticks with the individual and shepherds them as they grow in maturity.
This is the love that Christ demonstrates for us. He proves His love by giving us abundant life through His death. He loves us through the Counselor (Holy Spirit) who comforts and guides us. For His followers, His love compels us to take drastic measures to avoid sin. (Matt 5:27-30) Christ invites everyone into His world. He accepts us as we are, but does not leave us as He found us. This is exemplified perfectly in the narrative where Jesus is challenged to stone the woman caught in adultery. His response: “neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” For the Christian, there are expectations that we will not be mastered by any behavior or appetite, but rather that He alone will be our Master.
So anyone can come to Christ as they are. But biblically, not everyone can lead. There is a level of maturity and self-control required of leaders within the home and within the church. Here are the basic qualifications for leadership as laid out in 1 Timothy 3:8-12
8 In the same way, deacons are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons. 11 In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything. 12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well.
I am not going to place myself, or my children, under the authority of anyone who cannot control themselves sexually, doesn’t parent well, gets drunk, is a cheater, cannot resolve conflict biblically, and who does not conduct themselves respectfully.
There are cries from some that the BSA’s policy prohibiting gay people within leadership is unloving. However, there is no contradiction between loving those with whom you disagree and being discerning regarding under whose authority you place your children. In our home, everyone is welcome and we serve gay and straight, believer and non-believer alike. But when I allow someone to lead or teach my children, I scrutinize their character and behavior. Why? Because a life of righteousness is more caught than taught.