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Homosexuality, pt 2

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I have some gay friends, and all through the Bible it seems homosexuals get a bad rap—like they’re going to hell for being gay. Why? I’m not gay, but I care about my friends. What can I tell them?


Steve Answers:

Last week we began answering this question.

We acknowledged that homosexuality* is a controversial topic because people have opinions on opposite sides, and they discuss it more openly now than in the past.

We also pointed out that considering the topic of homosexuality is easier when you discuss it theoretically. Once you know people who are homosexual, it tends to change one’s ideas from being theoretical (ideas only) to practical (what do I do now?).

Then we talked about four possible reactions to learning that a friend is gay:

1. Relate to the person the same way.

2. Be repulsed and draw away or persecute the gay person.

3. Be repulsed and try to correct the gay person.

4. Adjust your conviction about homosexuality.

To discover what the Bible says about homosexuality, we considered the following Bible texts. You’ll probably want to look them up:

Leviticus 18:22

Leviticus 20:13

Romans 1:26, 27

1 Corinthians 6:9, 10

1 Timothy 1:8-10

Genesis 19:1-5

Ezekiel 16:48-50

After you read the texts, you’ll see that the Bible condemns homosexuality. But let’s continue our discussion on this topic by thinking about how we ought to relate to homosexuals in a culture that’s quick to support their freedom of sexual expression.

Is homosexuality any worse than the other sins it sometimes gets listed with in the Bible? Or should we just look the other way, as we tend to do with lying or petty thievery?

"Sin" is no longer a politically correct topic. But as Christians, sin is a reality we must deal with. Drop the "tendency" and "orientation" smooth talk–as in "I have a tendency to lose my temper" or "My orientation is to be loyal to family no matter what." We need to come to the realization that we naturally sin, and we choose to. Another way to state it is that we’re naturally selfish.

Some argue that since that’s the way we are naturally, that’s not "good" or "bad"; it just "is." I disagree (see Romans 3:23). It’s very bad! When I do even good things, it can be for bad motives. I can manipulate, humiliate, alter the truth, and do whatever else I need to do in order to come out on top, or at least look out for myself.

I can do this even in religious circles. Why? It comes to me "naturally." But all of this is "bad," even if others might congratulate me on my skill or my drive or my achievements.

How does this relate to homosexuality? If a person is born with a homosexual orientation, that doesn’t make it right. If I’m born with a promiscuous orientation (I want to have sex with as many people of the opposite gender as I possibly can), that doesn’t make it right either. If I’m born with a very strong desire and even a talent for stealing, that doesn’t make stealing right for me.

It seems to me that the sexual orientation argument is a nice way of saying, "This is what I want; therefore, this is what I get." That approach sounds like basic selfishness to me, whether it’s about sex, money, power, or some other topic.

Paul talks about crucifying and dying to one’s sinful nature. That’s because each one of us is naturally selfish. Here’s how Galatians 2:20 reads: "I have been crucified with Christ: and I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the real life I now have within this body is a result of my trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me"(TLB).†

Once we come to the realization that we’re naturally selfish and sinful, the response God looks for in us is admitting it (acknowledging it); asking for the gift of repentance (being sorry); and then asking Him for a new life (help to go in the opposite direction you’ve been heading). Those who take pride in what comes naturally to them seem clueless that God desires so much more–see Ephesians 3:20.

And that’s not the end of it. Paul also alerted us to the need to actively choose the new life instead of the old, naturally selfish life. According to Romans 8:12-14: "So, dear brothers, you have no obligation whatever to your old sinful nature to do what it begs you to do. For if you keep on following it you are lost and will perish, but if through the power of the Holy Spirit you crush it and its evil deeds, you shall live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God" (TLB).

These passages are about all types of sin, preferences, orientations, etc., not merely homosexuality. When a person states that homosexuality is wrong, a defensive reaction would be "Well, the Bible also mentions greed and lying in the same list as homosexuality."

My response would be "Indeed! Greed and lying need to be crushed, too! Since all have sinned, we’re all in this together. Let’s not pass over or ignore homosexuality just because we don’t want to get rid of greed or lying as our favorite sins."

When God created the first humans, he created male and female to complete His image (see Genesis 1:27). I can’t find any place in Scripture where God created, condoned, or simply didn’t care about homosexuality. Those who suggest David and Jonathan had a homosexual relationship have nothing to base it on besides their own creative thinking.

And just as God created us as sexual beings, Satan has sought to undermine and distort this gift. The results have been disastrous! Our human race suffers major deterioration, partly because of the misuse and abuse of our sexuality. In Romans 1 you can find Paul’s illustration of just how far we’ve gone away from God’s intention. Three verses deal with a variety of sins (29-31); and four verses deal specifically with the misuse of one’s sexuality (24-27).

I think God’s gift of sexual expression has become a key point of Satan’s attack through perversion, reimaging, and misrepresentation. God’s intention that sexual expression be the crowning point of selflessness has been replaced with sex as the starting point for selfishness.

Does this mean that a person who’s a homosexual is lost? Yes, just like a thief, liar, greedy person, drunkard, and others are lost. All are in need of cleansing and reorientation that only Jesus can provide.

Does this mean that after a simple prayer, your impulses and desires will change? Some people can answer yes. Others have to honestly answer no. But if you pray this prayer and you don’t feel a change in your orientation or desires, what changes is that God’s Spirit comes to live within you to give you power to live differently.

I don’t expect it to be easy, just as it isn’t easy for a single male or female who’s 35 and unmarried to be sexually pure. But that’s what I believe God chooses for them and will give them the power to do. Just as a murderer or glutton or liar might still murder or overeat or lie, that’s not something to celebrate. It’s something to confess, repent of, and start overcoming again.

Does homosexuality get a bum rap in Scripture? I certainly think so. In fact, all sin does. Does this mean you shouldn’t be friends with homosexuals? Of course you should. I would suggest that you be friends with homosexuals, greedy people, envious people, and even depraved people, and offer to pray for God’s activity in their lives.

And one more thing–ask them to pray for God’s activity in your life in areas that are "natural" to you but aren’t godly. You need the same grace from God as they do.

Let’s keep going to God for His grace instead of standing up for our own natural sinfulness and calling it "good." 

*The terms "gay" and "homosexual" used here refer to a same-sex relationship, either male-to-male (homosexual) or female-to-female (lesbian).

†Verses marked TLB are taken from The Living Bible, copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Ill. Used by permission.



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