When I heard the Supreme Court ruling making it legal in all 50 states for same sex marriage, I had a reaction, as I’m sure you did as well. Over the past couple of days, I’ve observed all kinds of responses on social media and in conversations. The reactions that have intrigued me the most are by Christians who have come out in support of the legislation. Like a foggy night, there is a ton of confusion on this subject.
The more opinion that is aired, based not on God’s moral standards, but on tolerance, the thicker the fog gets. Following the opinion of the masses is like throwing on the high beams, causing even less visibility in the fog. The following is an attempt to shed some light on the subject and push back the fog, by throwing on the fog lights of God’s revealed truth.
Backed into a Corner
In conversations with friends or in the media, we are told we must choose sides. The choice we are given is either show compassion by empathizing with the homosexual lifestyle OR stick with the traditional definition of marriage. By lumping us into one of two categories, we have eliminated the possibility to be BOTH empathetic AND true to conviction. I reject that notion. I believe it is possible to do both.
Here’s what I mean. We can be empathetic to the fact that some people struggle with homosexual tendencies or temptations (however you see it). While the vast majority of people do not have an attraction to the same sex, some do. We should be aware and empathetic to this reality, not in denial of it.
We are to show love. We must show compassion. Compassion means to be ‘with pain’, meaning to share in the sorrow of someone else who is hurting. We must seek to understand the pain of those who struggle with homosexuality. Just as we would want someone to show understanding when we are caught in a sinful lifestyle, so we must show understanding to our homosexual friends today.
Do Not Judge
Jesus’ encounter with a women caught in an adulterous affair serves as a great example. He turned back her accusers, who wanted to stone her to death by challenging, “he who has no sin, cast the first stone.” That is a reminder to us all, that we all have a sin problem. Keep that in mind as you point out anyone’s sin. That’s what it means to show empathy.
Then, in the next breathe, Jesus tells the women, “Go and sin no more.” So, while Jesus defends her, he also demands that she leave her sin behind. He didn’t excuse it or ask anyone to accept it as right. He called sin sin. He doesn’t accept her lifestyle, but he does accept her right where she’s at. Jesus shows both compassion and is true to God’s standards.
When we are told to “not judge” keep this in mind. We do not have a license to be mean-spirited, brutal or uncaring. Our approach must be kind and our motivation must be love. We do not have a right to excuse sin either. Jesus teaches that when we go to remove the speck from someone’s eye (point out their sin), we must first remove the log from our own eye (recognize our sin and search our own motives). So, Jesus doesn’t tell us to refrain from pointing out sin, but to do it in the right way – after carefully looking at ourselves in the mirror.
Empathy vs. Acceptance
What I do reject is the agenda to correlate empathy with acceptance. What the homosexual agenda wants us to do is to equate empathy with acceptance. Acceptance in this instance means that we must embrace the homosexual lifestyle as right, as moral, as normal and even as Christian. We are to give it equal standing with the heterosexual lifestyle. This I cannot accept. Neither can anyone who holds the Bible as God’s source of truth. Yes, we show compassion, but as a follower of Christ I am bound to not only show compassion, but also to live according to truth.
The Clear Truth
Let’s be clear, the Bible doesn’t beat around the bush on this subject. Take for example the following passage:
“Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a women; that is detestable.” – Leviticus 18:22
This is just one of several Old Testament passages that make it clear that God does not condone homosexual behavior. Other parallel passages include Leviticus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 23:18.
That’s an Old Testament idea
Based on those passages, I’ve heard others respond with this idea. In effect we are lowering God to our level and explaining these passages away as God “changing his mind”, as if God has somehow gotten a bit more “enlightened” over time. I think that’s why God included a couple clear passages in the New Testament to affirm what he already made clear in the old.
“… Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” – Romans 1:26-27
Another point of reference is found in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. The Bible speaks with unwavering unity in its position on homosexuality. It is morally wrong.
But Jesus never talked about it
I’ve heard this statement as well. The idea is that if Jesus’ didn’t directly address it, then we can take liberties. This is a subtle attack at the validity of scripture. The Bible claims that all of its contents originate in the mind of God. 1 Timothy 3:16 claims that “all scripture is God-breathed”, not just the words in red letters.
Secondly, Jesus does affirm the traditional views of sexuality and marriage. In Mark 10:6-9 he clearly teaches that marriage is to be between a man and woman and that genders were created by God for this very purpose.
In addition, one must remember that Jesus himself is the logos of God, the Word made flesh of John 1. Jesus himself is the author of all the Bible.
I was Born this Way
This is a common argument. It says that we can’t call homosexuality a sin at all because its not a choice, but something someone was born with it. I reject that thinking, but I’ll humor it for a moment. Even if that were true, it doesn’t excuse it. Because we are all born with sinful tendencies. We are all born steeped in sin with a bent towards sin. We are all born with greed in our hearts. We want more. Having a natural bent towards greed doesn’t mean I should have whatever I want. If we are to excuse greed because it comes naturally to us, then we cannot condemn someone for stealing or cheating or lying. If they are feeding their natural desire for more, then its good, right? No, God gave us a body with desires, a heart full of emotions, a mind to reason, and a will to choose. We all have choice. We don’t have to give into desires that come naturally to us. We are more than animals with instincts. We are made in the image of God himself. We are like him. We can choose what is right and good, not what feels right or what our desires crave.
So where does that leave us. Same sex marriage is wrong. Yet, we are to love. In fact, we are to love like Jesus loves. Because he loves, he was willing to die on the cross for all our sin. He died for the sin of the homosexual, and for the pride of the self-righteous. Let us all turn from our sins and turn to Jesus and let his love lead us his inexhaustible forgiveness, to strive for his holy standards and to share his overwhelming love.