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In the news recently was an article about the Ridgedale Church of Christ “dis-fellowshipping” a family due to their refusal to repent. From the news report (www.timesfreepress.com, 8.20.2013) it is learned that the parents of Kat Cooper, a gay detective (“married” to her friend Krista), were excommunicated from the fellowship of the congregation because of their condoning and support of a sinful lifestyle as lived in (and by) their daughter (though there is some uncertainty now whether or not this actually happened as reported). Kat Cooper expressed her disappointment this way: “Literally, they’re exiling members for unconditionally loving their children—and even extended family members.”

Unconditionally loving the children? Unconditional love can be taught and expressed, but unconditional love does not accept or condone sinful behavior. Jesus expressed His unconditional love to us when He taught us to deny ungodliness and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this world (Titus 2:11-12). Some people, however, reject God’s unconditional love. Hunt Cooper, the father, rejects the notion of gay “being a lifestyle choice.” He said, “There is no sin to repent for. She is not going to turn her back on her daughter.”

Hunt Cooper and members of his family have chosen sinful behavior over the Lord’s holiness. The Scriptures are clear in this regard: “For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due” (Romans 1:26-27, NKJV).

People who have chosen sinful behavior have done so for at least two reasons. First, there is a desire on the part of the one who made the choice to be engaged in that behavior; second, there is a failure to recognize there is a judgment day coming (1 Thessalonians 5:1-10).

Let us consider an application. When your children are engaged in sin what should you do? If you love the Lord, then you need to insist that when one spits in God’s face (for that is what is occurring), that one has separated self from God and stands already condemned by Him. When a parent, family member, or friend, sets himself alongside that sinful behavior in full-support, then that one has attached himself to Satan’s spitting ploy (and they are “covered” by the spray; cf. Jeremiah 23:14). Those who are guilty are not less so by continual and passionate denials.

If one loves the Lord, being caught in Satan’s trap will not occur. Instead, the separation that has already occurred between the sinner and God will result in a separation between loved ones. It is no light thing about that of which we speak. It is deadly serious. Those in this world that have rejected God’s moral compass will denigrate any and all who seek the Lord’s holiness; unfortunately, many Christians have fallen into the same trap because there has been a refusal to hear His word on such topics upon which He addressed Himself.

This is a reminder that each local church must determine what is of greater value. Will it be acceptance by those of this world, or loyalty to God’s word. It’s easy to say what is right, it’s another thing to live what is right. RT