The word “useless” is pretty dicey, right?
To say that someone is useless sounds like saying that aren’t valuable or worth loving. For some, it may conjure terrible memories of a twisted parent or drunken spouse. It’s a loaded word that must be used carefully, like a pistol with the safety off. It’s easy to hurt people with the word.
But there is another use for “useless”. A hammer without a head is useless. A dead iPhone is useless. A guitar without strings, a razor without a blade, a car without tires. A tool that can’t be used for its purpose is useless.
This is what Jesus meant when he talked about salt without flavor and a light under a basket. They’re pointless. When you stick a light under a basket, it accomplishes nothing.
When a Christian loses their saltiness, they become useless. Not less valuable. Not less worthy of love. But also not able to fulfill their divine purpose. Not able to spread the flavor and light of Christ. Not able to accomplish their God-given purpose. Like a rusty tool hanging abandoned in a shed.
Recently, a number of high-profile Christians have come out in favor of monogamous same-sex marriage. This decision to abandon the teaching of Scripture is the fast track to uselessness as a Christian. Yes, it sounds harsh, but it’s true.
Why? Because Christians are called to be salt and light. To offer something gloriously different than the world. To call people to die so that they might truly live. To call people out of the darkness and into light. To spread the aroma of Christ wherever they go. We are an aroma of death to those who are perishing but the fragrance of life those who are being saved.
When we abandon the word of God, we can no longer do those things. We become flavorless salt and hidden lights. We become useless. Rusty, blunt tools.
If you need proof, history is littered with useless Christians and empty churches. The staggering decline of many mainline denominations can be traced to when they abandoned the supernatural aspects of scripture in the early 1900’s. Rob Bell is now just another spiritual guru offering yawnable spiritual platitudes.
It’s really not difficult to trace the trajectory of those who jettison the traditional biblical teach on sexuality. They are dooming themselves to kingdom irrelevance. Sure, they may make some sort of name for themselves in the world, but not in the kingdom of God.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand why they want to embrace same-sex monogamous relationships. I have gay Christian friends and there are times when I desperately wish they could be in a same-sex marriage. Their loneliness and pain are terrible and I want to help them. I hate that they feel ashamed and excluded and alone.
Frankly, calling someone to die to themselves and follow Christ feels unloving.
But it’s not.
It’s the most loving thing I can do.
Only when a person dies to themselves will they find life in Christ.
When we no longer can call a person to die to themselves, we doom them to spiritual death and doom ourselves to uselessness.
Has there been a lot of weaponized shame launched at the gay community from Christians? Absolutely. But the solution is not to widen the gate of the gospel.
Rather, we must link arms with them and limp along the gospel path together.