Last week, I went to the dentist for my regular cleaning and checkup. I don’t dread the dentist like many people do, but it’s not exactly my favorite way to spend an hour of my time. I really like my dentist, but the main reason I don’t mind it so much is because I’ve never had a cavity. Good news always makes things better, so hearing him tell me “No cavities!” always puts a smile on my face as I wrap up my appointment. This time was slightly different, however. My hygienist warned me that my gums weren’t doing so well. She taught me a new way to angle my brush so as to do a better job brushing my gums. Interestingly, she told me that there’s a pretty strong correlation between the health of my teeth and the problems I was having with my gums. Apparently, people like me who rarely get cavities are much more prone to gingivitis or gum disease. It’s as if one or the other is a weakness for most people; some have strong teeth but weak gums, while others are prone to cavities but their gums are strong.
I think this idea applies to other areas of life as well, and by that I mean that while different people are weak in different areas, we all have struggles and weaknesses. Most people think of cavities as a telltale sign of dental issues when in reality gingivitis is just as troubling. Similarly, I’ve noticed that people – and Christians in particular – like to focus on certain issues more than others. It’s been awhile since I blogged last, but it seems as though the “hot topic” in the news hasn’t changed. Homosexuality has been an easy target for Christians for years, and while much of the recent attention brought to it is due to the Supreme Court’s ruling, I believe the root issues are much deeper than a legal decision.
Getting back to my dental history, I could brag to my friends that I’ve never had a cavity, but it’s much more difficult to argue that I have a better dental history or even “better teeth” than anyone else. As I mentioned, I don’t have the healthiest gums. Even more than that, though, I have a knack for growing extra teeth. I had six wisdom teeth (instead of four like most people) and I also had three “tooth buds” (miniature teeth that grow inside gums). In total, I’ve had nine teeth removed. The tooth buds would have caused my teeth to shift and would have eventually tried to come in behind my normal teeth, and would have been a terrible mess had I not done something about them. After having braces twice as a kid to correct my misaligned teeth, that’s the last thing I would want.
While I’m not gay myself and I don’t condone homosexual activity (and it’s important to distinguish between homosexual temptations and homosexual activity), I believe many Christian leaders and groups target homosexuality because they know it’s not something they struggle with. Just like “I’ve never had a cavity” is accurate but doesn’t really tell the true story of my dental history, many Christians can self-righteously boast in their straightness while ignoring a myriad of other issues in their own lives. There’s no reason to believe that homosexual activity is any worse (or even any different) than an unmarried man and woman living together, but Christians don’t talk about that too much. It’s certainly not worse than sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, or wild parties, especially since these are specifically listed in Galatians 5 as “desires of your sinful nature” (I quoted directly from the NLT translation of Galatians 5:19-21, for reference).
So why don’t we hear more about these “desires of your sinful nature” instead of things like homosexuality? Probably because they hit closer to home. They’re things that trip up the so-called “good people” – the people staging protests and holding up picket signs. But isn’t that the point?