Saturday, December 21, 2013

What Christians Need To Keep In Mind When It Comes To This Homosexual Controversy.....

I've been wanting to write something on homosexuality for a while now, but have struggled with the way to approach it.  With the current controversies in the news, I think this is a good time for this post.  Bear in mind, I'm struggling through this topic as well as every other Christian, doing my best to honor Christ first, then show love to everyone I come across, gay or straight.  Give me grace, as the Holy Spirit is speaking new things into me every day, but I do feel like I have enough to share that may help others too.

One thing first...this post is directed to Christians, people who put Jesus Christ before all else in their life.  It is also directed to people who believe homosexual sex is a sin.  If you are a gay person reading this, you may possibly be offended at some of the tone of the discussion here.  If I were speaking to gays as a group, I would write something more appropriate to you as an audience.  In fact, I may do a follow up to this post directed to gays in general.  I ask that you grant me and my fellow Christians the same grace that I am asking them to show toward you.

So, let's get started...

1.  It doesn't matter if a person feels like they were born gay or became gay later.  It's not a sin to have sexual feelings for members of the same sex.  In other words, it is not a sin to be gay.  A gay person can live a life of sexual purity.  The sin is when someone has sex with someone of the same sex (or has lustful thoughts about having a sexual relationship, whether gay or straight).  Romans 1:26-271 Corinthians 6:9-11.  Both of these scriptures were written in letters from the Apostle Paul to various churches after the death of Jesus.  Jesus did not address homosexuality specifically, to which we can assume one of two different conclusions.  Either Jesus didn't talk about it because He wasn't concerned about it or He didn't talk about it because it was so obvious that it was a sin that He didn't feel the need to discuss it specifically.  Based on the fact that He was a Jew and Jewish culture viewed homosexuality as a major sin, the latter is the most logical.  With that assumption and the two verses from Paul's letters clearly condemning the practice, it is reasonable to conclude that homosexual sex is a sin.

2.  Our personal righteousness does not save us.  We are all sinners and we all need Jesus to save us. Romans 3:23-24, Romans 6:23 We can never be "good enough" to earn a ticket into Heaven.  Ephesians 2:8-9, John 5:24  Thus, it is not our goodness or sinfulness that determines whether we get into Heaven, it is our justification in Christ.  When it comes to this gay issue, we have to remember that homosexual sex is no better or worse than any other sin.  If the gospel of grace applies to you, it would have to apply to anyone who has homosexual sex, but has given their life to Christ.  Many Christians say this can't be true because scriptures say that those who have homosexual sex cannot live eternally with God and that Christ cannot ignore sin.  If this is true, then none of us can go to Heaven.  Paul addresses this directly in Galatians 2:16-17, "know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.  'But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we Jews find ourselves also among the sinners, doesn't that mean that Christ promotes sin?' Absolutely not!"

3.  If someone isn't a Christian, then it doesn't matter what they do as far as sin.  Who are we (Christians) trying to help when we tell people that are having homosexual sex that what they are doing is a sin?  What are we trying to achieve?  What is going to get the person closer to Jesus, encouraging them to seek Jesus or getting them to quit having same sex relations?  There are a lot of people who have never had sex with someone of the same sex who are going to spend eternity in hell.  The people Christians should be talking to about homosexual sex being a sin are Christians who are having homosexual sex.  The percentage of the population that are Christian and having homosexual sex is so small that you may never know a Christian homosexual.  Maybe we should be more concerned with their salvation than with their sex life.  Once they are saved, then the Holy Spirit will work on them.  Our job then the church to one another.  We can point out our sin as step one to restoring one another in love, but we are not judge, jury and executor.

4.  So if we aren't condemning homosexual sex for the good of the person doing it, then are we condemning it for the sake of the culture?  If that is the case, then we are fighting a futile fight.  Jesus promises that we will be persecuted for our beliefs.  Matthew 5:10-12  He also promises that the world will hate us on account of our belief in Him.  They will reject Him, His teachings and His Truth.  John 15:18-25  Maybe instead of fighting a culture that Jesus promises will reject His ways, maybe we should do a better job strengthening our culture.  Instead of attacking those that believe different than us, maybe we should show them the love of Christ and introduce them to the One who has made such a difference in our life.  Mainstream culture will become more and more depraved (which scares me after seeing the Miley Cyrus' act from the VMA' many years ago were we freaking out over just a split second peek at a nipple???  I see a downward trend).  We need to keep our eyes on Christ, strengthen our Christian community and reach out to those outside the community and gently welcome them in.

5.  Jesus tells us the two greatest commandments are "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."  What are the two greatest commandments?  Love God and love people.  Before we say anything to or about someone that has homosexual sex, we need to ask ourselves, how much does this show our love of God and/or our love of people?  Yes, there may be times when we need to say hard things in love.  Love does not mean agreeing with someone.  But we are told to defend our faith with gentleness and restore people in love.  If we do need to say something, please say it in a way that honors Christ.

6.  So what about the Christian who wants to have a homosexual sexual relationship?  I have to say, according to what I see in the Bible, I'd have to say that is a sin.  Quite frankly, it sucks that they will never be able to have sex with someone they are attracted to, but neither will someone who never marries.  And if the person is really a Christian, they have the Holy Spirit living inside of them, who guides them and will convict them of their sin if need be and will comfort them and direct them in other ways.  Based on the severity with which the Holy Spirit convicts me, I have to imagine they will go through the same thing.  What the Holy Spirit does to someone is way worse than any conviction I could do.  Yes, show someone their sin.  And then be the church to them.

Lastly, as Christians, we need to remember that God's way of responding to homosexuals is better than our way.  A loving attitude may not come naturally, especially for men when it comes to this topic for whatever reason, but that is what we are called to do.  If we stand strong in our beliefs, but act as scripture tells us to, with love and as a servant, it will go much further than trying to force the world to live by our standards through attacks and hatred.  I'm not at all saying we should stand down and not be a witness to our Lord.  But we do need to seek God's view of the situation, what His priorities are, and how He wants us to respond.  We can see homosexual sex as a sin, but still love those who do it, just like we can see alcoholism as a sin, but still love the person addicted to alcohol.  And not just love them in the way that says, "I don't wish them harm and I wouldn't intentionally hurt them, so that is love."  We can love them by being their friend and treating them as more than their sexuality.  We may be the only people that see them that way.  Treat them as a creation of the Lord that we are to love and honor.  When Jesus looks at us, He doesn't just see a dejected slop of sin.  He sees us.  We should see homosexuals the same.

Here is a list of scriptures to remind us about how God expects us to treat one another, so that we may be better equipped to handle this subject:

John 13:34...A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

Romans 3:23...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

1 John 4:19-21...We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Philippians 2:3...Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

Matthew 5:43-48...“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?

1 Corinthians 13:1...If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

John 3:16-21...For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.  This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

1 John 4:18...There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

Matthew 7:1-5...“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.

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