Australian Rugby Union player, Israel Folau, has lost his job this week after posting a picture on social media that said “Warning: Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves, Atheists, Idolaters: Hell awaits you. Repent!”
In the comments he said “Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him”, as well as quoting from the Bible.
Folau clearly believes in Hell, and he wants to take every opportunity to warn people to find safety in Jesus.
The response from Rugby Australia and the media is that his comments are “homophobic” and that he has “vilified” people by how he’s expressed his religious beliefs.
To be honest, I wouldn’t post that image on Instagram, even though I agree that we need to warn people about Hell.
Yet I, too, want people to know that no matter who you are or what you’ve done, Jesus loves you so much that he died to forgive you.
Everybody is guilty of disobeying God in all sorts of ways, but no matter what you’ve done, Jesus offers unconditional forgiveness if you truly follow him.
I love Izzy’s courage and conviction, and I share his passion for people to come to Jesus and be rescued from Hell.
And I think he’s right when he says that God considers homosexual activity to be one of many things that are immoral.
But whether you agree or not, surely it’s un-Australian to sack someone for publicly saying something that’s in the Bible.
We used to think, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”, but now our society silences views that are unpopular.
Nobody likes to be told that their behaviour is wrong, yet all of us are guilty in Jesus’ sight for all we’ve done to offend him.
At the same time, all of us can enjoy forgiveness in Jesus because of his self-sacrificing death on the first Good Friday.