Taking up our Cross

Israel Folau has again made news for expressing views on sexuality that go against the prevailing views of four culture. He dared to express that homosexuality was sinful, it would bring judgement, and salvation could be found in Christ. In other words, he dared to state what the Bible says, and what has been the view of Christians for 2000 years.

How should we as a church respond to this? We can recognise the hypocrisy of a culture that speaks so much about tolerance yet refuses to tolerate those with views that differ on sexuality to the cultural norm. We remember Jesus’ promise/warning that ‘if they persecuted me they will also persecute you’ (John 15:20).

And we also remember what Jesus calls us to do as his disciples. Just after Peter had identified him as the Christ, and then declared his mission (that he would suffer, die and then rise), he gave some of the most challenging words in the Bible.

‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?’ (Mark 8:34-37).

Christ paid the ultimate price for our salvation. Folau is now paying the price for his refusal to go along with the world, and instead cling to God’s Word. What price are we willing to pay?

Are we willing to let people think we are strange because we keep speaking of Jesus? To be thought of as bigots? To be considered strange because we are willing to speak the truth and don’t hide behind lies?

Are we willing to suffer?