To be completely honest, I've sort of been putting off this post. The next section the book UnChristian talks about is the church's views on homosexuality. Yeah - that's kind of like a hand grenade thrown into the middle of a birthday party isn't it?
Like many Christians, sometimes I just want to hide my head in the sand and completely ignore this particular topic - like maybe if I ignore it, the whole thing will go away because it is messy. Like many believers, messy makes me tired. As a body of believers, though, we need to figure this out because, quite frankly, we are NOT getting this right. At all. Instead, we are driving away not just homosexuals but their friends and family, as well.
The problem with this issue is that people tend to come firmly down on the side of either just love or just truth. Reaching out to people who identify themselves as homosexual is a fine balancing act - the one that balances love and truth.
Truth without love can be harsh and alienating, but love without truth is like a river that has no banks - overflowing but destructive. So, what is the answer? I don't pretend to know the definitive answer to this. I don't have three steps to the church ministering to homosexuals. However, I have been prayerfully considering this topic and how GOD wants ME to respond for a while now. I am torn between my love for the person and the truth that God's Word says this lifestyle is sin.
While I have read this chapter, this post is made up of my own thoughts I've been formulating on this topic for a while. As I said, this is something I've been prayerfully looking at because what we as believers and the church as a whole are doing now is not working. In fact, it is alienating people instead of pointing them to Christ. Worse, it is alienating the younger generation in the church who either have close friends or family who are homosexual. We aren't giving them any direction on how to deal with this in a loving, yet truth-filled way.
One of the things I think believers are mixing up in this debate is that how an unbeliever lives their life is much different than a believer. Unbelievers cannot be held to the same standard of behavior as believers - they have totally different world views.
Jesus died for everyone. He did not expect people to clean themselves up or meet Him halfway. He went to where they were at. For example, the woman caught in adultery (don't you always wonder where the guy was in that story -I digress). He had compassion on her. He knew what was in the men's hearts that set that up. His mercy and compassion had nothing to do with condoning HER sin - but He did use that instance to expose those men's sin (who thought they were all that spiritually but whose hearts were dark). However, He DID tell her to go and sin no more.
Once a person becomes a believer and claims Christ in as their Savior, they are held to a higher standard. After all, you can't expect dead people to change their behavior right? And the Bible tells us that before Christ, we are ALL dead in our sins. Not one believer among us somehow managed to bring ourselves into new life.
There is quite a bit in the Bible about how believers who are living a lifestyle of sexual immorality without repentance are to be dealt with - this includes a wide gamut of sexual sins besides homosexuality. I would hazard a guess that there are more men caught in the web in pornography than those caught up in the homosexual lifestyle in the church. One sexual sin isn't better/worse than another. In fact, sexual sin in general is the only category of sins about which God says that you aren't just sinning against God but against your own body. In other words, while all sin separates us from God, sexual sin are especially self-destructive.
The whole goal of confronting people about those sins is always reconciliation with Christ and with the body. It isn't about being punitive. All discipline - whether through the church or directly from God - is about our good and to bring us back into fellowship with God. It's not about being holier than thou or giving someone "what they deserve" since we ALL deserve hell without Christ.
So, all that to say, I would welcome a homosexual into my church that is seeking God. If God led a homosexual into my life, I would befriend them and care about them as a person. Jesus always saw people as individuals and not just as their sin or affliction, kwim. I would talk to them about Christ but because they didn't know Him, not just because they were a homosexual. I would want to share Christ with them because I care about them, not because I believe their sins were somehow worse than my own.
Because there is a very definite gay agenda and that agenda tends to color anyone who doesn't agree as hateful and a bigot (and let's face it - nobody I know enjoys being called hateful or bigoted), as Christians sometimes I believe it is really easy for us to fall into an "us against them" mentality.
People who are homosexual are NOT the enemy. I believe that the gay lifestyle is morally wrong according to Scripture; however, that does NOT mean I believe that gay people are my enemy or are horrible people just because they are gay.
I believe they are lost and in need of a Savior. I can truly care and love someone and not put my stamp of approval on their behavior. Truly loving them means pointing them to God and letting Him take it from there. I believe if you are truly saved, then the HOly Spirit begins to work in your life, changing you from the inside out. Last time I checked, I wasn't the Holy Spirit.
As far as marriage goes, marriage is a covenant before God between one man and one woman. It is a picture of Christ and the church, so it is sacred stuff. Are civil unions somehow okay because they are not done in church and before God? Is that just using semantics to cop out of the question of "gay marriage"? To be perfectly honest, I don't know the answer to that question. While I don't see any kind of same-sex union given a green light in Scripture, because it is a "legal" union does that somehow make it okay? I lean toward no, but it's something I'm praying over.
The bottom line is I want God's response to this whole issue be my response. It's not an easy topic. As a believer, I will stumble and mess this up, I'm sure, but I hope at the end of the day that any unbeliever will see Jesus clearly shining through me and that light won't be tainted by my own agendas or biases.
~ Blessings, Bronte