I didn’t want to write this post. I had planned to keep quiet. I watched as social media began its uproar this weekend and thought to myself, “Here come all of the blog posts and Facebook statuses. I’m not going to add to the flood.” But sure enough one thing after another prompted me until finally I realized that, as a young woman in a place of ministry leadership, I owe it to those who would look up to me to urge my fellow Christians towards a Biblical mindset on these things.
A SHORT NOTE TO LGBT READERS & SUPPORTERS WHO DON’T PROFESS TO BE CHRISTIANS
This isn’t really a post directed at you, but rather towards my fellow Christians. I welcome you to continue reading, but understand if you don’t. My words to you are simply what they have always been to my friends in your position. I am a Christian and I live my life for the God who has saved me. It would thrill my heart for you to know Him, too. I fully believe that according to God’s Word homosexuality is a sin and I’ll be honest about that. I will not pretend I believe otherwise or encourage activities that contradict my beliefs. But whether or not we agree does not affect my desire to be your friend or my basic respect for you as a fellow human being. I’m always happy to discuss this, I’m open to chatting when you need a listening ear, if you like Chipotle lets go get Chipotle together, if you like music lets chat about music, if you like cheesy humor lets tell silly jokes, and if you find yourself in a pinch in life I’m happy to help as I’m able.
TO MY FELLOW CHRISTIANS
I’ve watched your responses flow in. Responses from both ends of the “camp”. And your responses alone are the reason I’m writing this. Because I wholeheartedly believe that as testimonies of Christ we hold a responsibility to Him to ensure we are responding rightly. If we claim to live in Christ then His word ought to be our guide and we ought to be seeking it to form our responses. Not bits and pieces of His word, not out-of-context verses from His Word, but His whole Word.
I say all of this in love with a deep desire to see each of us, including myself, honoring God and preserving our testimonies of Him. While I may be firm it is only because I feel so strongly on these things and believe them to be crucial truths in guiding our response. So with that said, I would like to address both sides:
CHRISTIANS AGAINST HOMOSEXUALITY
1. Know your Bible
If you are going to stand against something you had better know that it is in fact what God said. It should never be based simply on an inability to understand the LGBT point of view. Every bit of your response needs to be grounded in the truths of the Bible, not only the places where it speaks against homosexuality (Genesis 19:1-38, Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, Judges 19:22, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 1 Corinthians 7:2, 1 Timothy 1:9-10, and Jude 1:7), but also the places where we see God’s grace for sinners such as ourselves (John 3:16, Romans 5:8, 1 John 4:9-10, etc…), where He instructs in the way we ought to love others (Matthew 5:43-47, Romans 13:8-10, 1 Corinthians 13, etc…), and where we see God’s ultimate plan for His world (Job 19:25-27, Matthew 24:30-31, Matthew 24:35, Philippians 2:9-10, etc…).
2. Remember your own condition without God
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience — among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” -Ephesians 2:1-9
If we are honest with ourselves and with one another, there is no room in our responses for any bit of holier-than-thou. Though some may not personally know the struggle of homosexuality, without God we would ourselves be governed by sin of all sorts. Without knowing God we would have no inclination towards doing His will. Without His love we would not find the fuel nor the strength to put sin to death in our own lives, let alone to be free from the consequences of our sin. If we, who are living in the strength, grace, and understanding of God, struggle still to live according to His word, how could we ever expect unbelievers to when they not only live apart from these things but are also without the desire to seek Him in the first place?
3. Stop treating America as God’s chosen nation
Firstly, God’s chosen nation is not a geographical point on a map. It is not a specific building, country, or ethnicity. Rather it is His chosen people which reside all over the world, in every nation and tribe (Revelation 5:9). America can rise or fall, it can draw near to God or walk away from God. Our every breath is still governed by a mighty and sovereign God whose plan for His people extends far beyond the American dream. His love has already won the victory.
Secondly, America’s foundation was greatly influenced by Deists like Thomas Jefferson (who penned the Declaration of Independence) and Benjamin Franklin. Deists generally believe that the universe has a creator but that he does not concern himself with the lives of humans. They do not believe the Bible to be the inspired word of God and often refer to their concept of God as “Nature’s God”. While they don’t deny that Jesus was a real person and do praise him for his good deeds, they fully deny his divinity and miracles. All of that to say, America was not founded exclusively by Christians or intentionally for Christians, it was created in search of religious freedom. The idea that America is a Christian nation was fabricated by the evangelical revivalism movement in the 19th century. As a nation, we are simply continuing on the path we began and should expect nothing different. Are there political problems with the Supreme Court’s ruling in regards to the Constitution? There are when they remove the rights of anyone to practice their faith, when they promote one belief over another or fail to remain impartial as a whole in their pursuit of freedom, and when they allow double standards. But double standards are a common difficulty in all equality cases. However, whether or not our religious rights are respected God is still good, faithful, and in complete control. Nothing about this situation bothers me more than the Christians who are acting as though the Supreme Court overruled God with their decision (Proverbs 21:1).
4. Stop treating homosexuality as a greater sin than all of sexual immorality
Why do we treat this any differently than other forms of sexual immorality? God’s creation for sexuality was designed to be between one man and one woman within the context of the marriage covenant (Genesis 2:24). Anything that abuses or pollutes that purpose is sin, not only homosexuality. What about those engaging in sexual activities before marriage? What about the millions of pornography viewers? These are all misuses of God’s design for sexuality and all equally sinful. It is important we understand this and act accordingly.
5. Stand firm in your faith, but pick your battles
Don’t back down when your position is unpopular. The goal of our lives as Christians isn’t to be liked by everyone, but to glorify God. However, you don’t need to jump into the ring every single time there could possibly be a fight for biblical marriage. We should not take pleasure in opposition. When your honesty is fueled by love, continue forward. When your honesty is fueled by spite, stop. There’s a difference between helpful conversation and endless pestering.
6. Remember that heart-changing is God’s job
It isn’t your job to wear down the resistance of others with obnoxious harassment until they give in out of shear exhaustion. It is your job to stand firm in the truth, communicate it with love, seek God in prayer, and trust Him to work within hearts.
CHRISTIANS SUPPORTING HOMOSEXUALITY
1. Know your Bible
The new testament does address homosexuality (see Romans 1:26-27, 1 Timothy 1:9-10, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, and 1 Corinthians 7:2).
Homosexuality is not left up to personal conviction. While the Bible leaves many little fine lines up to personal conviction, homosexuality is not one of those things. If the Bible clearly states something to be wrong (such as was done in the verses above), it is not up to personal conviction. No ifs, ands, or buts. Claiming that you are not convicted about homosexuality is simply a pseudo spiritual way of denying the truth of God’s Word.
2. Understand that tolerance isn’t love
We do not love by encouraging others to engage in actions invoking God’s wrath (Psalm 5:4-5, Romans 1:18). The moment we stand back and refrain from saying anything at all is the moment we too become suppressors of the truth. We cannot love others and want to see them excluded from the kingdom of God (Ephesians 5:5). Instead, we need to have courage to speak the truth and let go of the passive mentality that is encouraging those we love toward their own destruction.
If we love people we will tell them the truth, even if it makes us or them uncomfortable and even if it causes them not to like us. We will tell them with love, finding no joy in confronting them and leaving any bit of pride and spite behind. But nonetheless, we will tell them.
“Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” -Romans 13:10
3. Know that “judge not” doesn’t mean what you think it does
Let’s look at the entire passage:
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. –Matthew 7:1–5
This is not a commandment to lay down all discernment, this is a warning against hypocrisy. Jesus is saying, “Don’t judge someone by a standard you don’t even hold yourself to.” He even continues on to speak about removing the plank from your own eye so that you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
As Christians we are to use God’s Word to discern right from wrong, watching carefully for false teachers/teachings (1 John 4:1-6). We do not judge others based on our own authority or righteousness, we are simply messengers of the truths found in God’s Word. For example:
“When a Christian lovingly and graciously presents the gospel to unbelievers, a judgment is made regarding their standing with God. The Bible clearly declares that all men are sinners, have fallen short of the glory of God, and are in need of redemption from their sins (Romans 3:23). This judgment is not made from the opinion of the Christian who is presenting the gospel but rather by what the Bible clearly declares.” –Answers In Genesis
4. Realize that God is who He is whether you choose to believe it or not
“You want a God who only loves and never condemns? Or maybe you’d just like to have that spiritual experience? In our culture, God has become this spiritual drive-thru where you pick what suits you and leave out the rest… Why do we pick apart political chameleons who change their point of view based on what the people want, yet want a God who does the same thing? We must realize that our own personal desires never have and never will affect who God is. There is no, ‘Well, who is God to you?’ God is who He is and that’s all there is to it.” –God: Create Your Own?
You cannot pick and choose which attributes of God are true and which parts of His Word are true. Both remain true whether you accept them or not (Malachi 3:6). He is who He is and if you alter or remove parts of His Word to make Him fit your own desires then you are no longer serving the God of the Bible but your own created god. It’s time to decide whether you’re going to take God at His Word or reject Him for your own comfort.