Render unto Caesar
Recently there was a story on the news about a bakery owner who would not provide a wedding cake to a homosexual couple that came into his shop requesting one. The man declared that he would rather close down his shop than make the couple a cake. This incident got me to thinking about whether I believed the baker was right or wrong in his stance on this matter.
On the one hand I thought, Well, it is his own shop. He should be able to serve whomever he wants. But on the other hand I thought, But that is discrimination, and there are laws against this type of thing.
Now, I am aware that the bible does say that the only marriage ordained by God and given God's blessing is marriage between a man and a woman, and in no way do I condone homosexuality. But does that mean that we get to treat people who are involved in this particular sin differently than we would treat anyone else? Does this bakery owner only make cakes for married couples and people who do not fornicate? Does he only make birthday cakes for children who are not bastards? Does he only make cakes for Christians, but turns away atheists or Buddhists? Where does he draw the line? When is it okay to discriminate against people? And, most importantly, what does the bible say?
Well, according to the Holy Scripture, we are not supposed to make up our own rules and laws of the land. We are supposed to submit ourselves to the laws that govern our states. Read for yourself:
1 Peter 2:13-17, "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king."
Again, the bible is clear that we are to submit ourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake. Here is an example of this in my own life: I am a Christian. My husband and I own rental property. Personally I do not approve of unmarried heterosexual couples living together. I do not approve of people having children out of wedlock. Also, I do not approve of homosexuality. But I still have to obey the laws that govern the state that I live in, and I cannot discriminate against anyone based on their chosen lifestyle. I cannot say, No, I will not rent to you. I have to treat people fairly and not let my own personal views get in the way of my conducting business with them.
Here is another example: I do not approve of abortions, and I would not participate in aiding someone to have an abortion (because that would make me an accessory to murder) but I cannot go around bombing clinics or harming the people who provide abortions.
And one final example: The Christian-owned restaurant Chick-Fil-A cannot and does not discriminate against homosexuals by not hiring them or not serving them food. What kind of message would they be sending if they chose to do that? Would that line up with how the bible says we are to live?
To withhold your service from someone because you deem them immoral or unchristian would be breaking man's law and going against how God's Word tells us we are to live. We are to render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, i.e., obey the law. Here are a couple more verses that speak on this:
Titus 3:1-7, "Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."
Matthew 22:17-22, "Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left him, and went their way."
We may not like certain laws, but unless some law is trying to directly force us to sin and go against God's commandments, we are to obey this world's laws. God knows your heart. He knows that you are not in allegiance with someone else's sin just because you provide your everyday service to that person.
Reader, if you have been brought out of your sin and now know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you should be living your life as an ambassador for God. You should not be throwing stones or discriminating against people who are still entangled in sin. The Lord leaves saved people here on earth for a reason, and that is to be a light unto this untoward dark generation. The Lord can and will judge people who do not repent of their sins in due time. It is not our place to use our freedom and liberty in Christ for a cloke of maliciousness.
So, in conclusion, never become so "holy" that you begin to carry yourself like a Pharisee. We are all just sinners saved by grace. Pray for those who have not yet been convicted of their sin. Don't discriminate against them. And render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.