“We are ALL created in the image of God”
Botswana Council of Churches (BCC) notes the recent judgement passed at the Gaborone High Court.
Our response to the judgement anchors on the following; the image of God; the love of God; peaceful co-existence; and the embracing of social change.
The Image of God is central to our theological discourse in our understanding of the creation. All people have a completely unique image from each other.
However, the mystery is that though with such uncountable human image differences, we all are created in one image, the image of God.
This understanding is inclusive of all people regardless of social orientations including that of sex, class and otherwise.
As such, people of the same sex orientation cannot be dislocated from the creation and image of God. If their orientation is defined as sinful to the extent that it waives away the beauty of the image of God in whom they are created, how is this sin more sin than other sinful acts of humanity?
It is in this image that we all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. That as it may, it is again in this image that we encounter the forgiving mercies of God.
The form and nature of sin is not of any material worth than the invaluable and priceless grace that reconciles us with the forgiving God in whose image humanity is created.
Secondly, the Biblical teaching that God so loved the world to the extent of dying for it through Jesus Christ is indiscriminate.
Therefore, biblically speaking, the sinfulness nature of humanity whether in matrimony, in politics, in culture or in society contributed to the trial, the sentencing and the execution of Jesus Christ, savior of the world.
The sin of sex include adultery and fornication regardless of the sexual orientation of those carrying it out. It is sin against God. It is not the worst sin when committed by gays and less of sin when committed by the heterosexuals.
As such, all of humanity in their sinful nature are in the radar of the love of God. It is through these spectacles that we see all people; gays, lesbians and the heterosexuals. People so dearly loved by God.
The love of God is enough for all who out of convictions, believe that humanity is sinful and are only saved each day by the love and immeasurable grace of God.
Effectively, this judgement means that those who have been invisible and illegal are now legally free to walk hand in hand and show off their affection in the public domain.
This is supposedly not to be strange in a secular state of which Botswana is. But alas! In a state such ours, secular, yet predominantly Christian, such a judgement is unwelcome and unthinkable.
It is one of those High Court judgements that cannot escape being subjected to the ‘judgement’ of the public court of opinions on grounds of morality and ethics.
It will be sentenced, by some Christians, to condemnation and to go and eternally burn in hell fire. What is important from BCC is the Biblical teaching that everything in the world and the earth thereof is for God. Key in this teaching is that we are the children of God.
God who loved the whole world, who makes it rain for all, the righteous and the unrighteous. As such, we appeal to the citizens of our country to co-exist in mutual respect.
We call upon all our people not to lose the teachings of botho and mutual respect as passed on to us by our societal values and the wisdom of our forbearers. There must not be found among us seeds of hatred and discrimination fueled by the sexual orientation of others.
It is in this regard that we call upon our citizenry to desist from being judgmental but rather to be pastoral; in everything being loving, respecting, caring, supporting and praying for all people particularly those whom this judgement favoured.
Certainly, the judgement along with those whom it was ruled in their favour, has been met with utmost resistance. It will not be easy for our people resulting in the nature and historic orientation of our society.
Our society was not ready for this historic judgement. It is in this regard that we call upon the peace loving and law upholding Christians and non-Christians,
We all must work hard to reconcile the freedom born out of this judgement with the difficulty of acceptance by those who still find it morally unjustifiable.
These people are our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters and indeed our relatives. Our opinions and moral convictions may not reverse the judgement but our hearts have the space to love and to embrace others as Christ would.
Fellow citizens, let’s anew hear the Apostle Paul in 1Corinthians 13:4,
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not boast, it is not proud. It does not discredit others…”
God bless Botswana and grant that in difficult times our nation shall stand united and that our faith shall forever be steadfast in You. May Your Peace and Justice flow for a country whose existence is a testimony of the great works You alone have done.
God bless Botswana,
Rev. Gabriel Tsuaneng
BCC General Secretary, 19th June 2019