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Monday, June 29, 2015

Loving Homosexuals

Love compels me to oppose homosexuality.

Homosexual and transgender people often accuse Christians of hating them. Unfortunately that is sometimes true. Christians often accuse LGTB people of hating them. Unfortunately that is also sometimes true. Setting aside the loudest voices in both camps, probably most Christians and most LGTB people are not hateful.

Having said that, I must insist that followers of Jesus, who love all of their neighbors, have an obligation to oppose homosexuality. Love requires them to do this.
If my car were the first to arrive at a bridge that had just collapsed, love would compel me to do everything possible to keep others from tumbling into disaster. If those leading a homosexual lifestyle are driving ninety miles an hour toward the edge of a cliff, love has a responsibility to warn them.
The issue is not whether homosexual couples are better or worse parents or citizens than others. The issue is not whether the institution of marriage is being devalued. Sociological issues are important and need to be debated, but for my purposes now, they are beside the point.

God has said that homosexuality is a sin, and like other sins, it keeps people out of heaven unless they are forgiven and cleansed by the blood of Christ. “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you, but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

Love requires me to warn all sinners that they are rushing toward the gaping pit of hell.

Love compels me to treat homosexuality differently from other sins.

I’m pretty sure that a homosexual couple in a loving, life-long, committed relationship will be judged less severely than a serial killer. I don’t have an inside track on divine judgment, but that is my guess. Nevertheless, the current moral climate of western civilization compels me to denounce homosexuality vigorously.

The reason is this. Everyone, including the killer, knows that murder is wrong. Everyone acknowledges that lying and stealing are wrong. (Well, almost everyone, except for a few rabid relativists.) A man who refuses to admit he is sick can still die of the disease he denies. He may only be cured if he goes to a doctor and submits to his treatment. Love compels me to urge all sinners (including myself) to submit to the Great Physician. Because our culture is loudly insisting that homosexuality is good, healthy, and normal, I must insist loudly and lovingly that it is not.

Love compels me to reject what feels normal.

We need to stop telling children, “God made you, and He likes you just the way you are.” The truth about all of us is this: “God made you, but you are broken because of sin. You need God to fix you.” Sin entering into the world has twisted our minds, our affections, and even our bodies. God’s good creation is no longer good.

It makes no difference whether nature or nurture is a stronger influence in producing homosexual desires. I suspect that both may play a part. To some people those desires feel normal, and if they feel normal (so the argument goes) they must be right for those individuals. However, God’s word says, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12). Love compels me to say to homosexuals, “What feels right and normal to you can kill you.”

Love compels me to sympathize with homosexuals.

In this broken world, all of us have many legitimate desires which cannot be satisfied. We want good health, an adequate income, respect, happy children, and so on. If we can get what we want in a lawful, honorable way, we may do so. If we cannot get what we want by doing the will of God, the Lord commands us to bear our disappointments patiently and to trust that our loving heavenly Father will give us some other good thing (Matthew 7:7-11).

Marriage and sex are good things, but we cannot demand them as though we had a right to them, any more than we all have a right to be millionaires. God commands heterosexual people to abstain from sex until they are married. Even married couples may be called to do without sex if an injury or disease makes physical intimacy impossible. Men and women with homosexual desires may never be able to develop a healthy, normal desire for the opposite sex, but they can live satisfying lives, pleasing to God as they submit to His will.

Love compels me to sympathize with all whose natural desires are frustrated, but that same love compels me to say to myself and to others, “Now get over it, and get on with the business of living for Jesus.”