Can a Christian love homosexuals and not homosexuality? And is homosexuality wrong?

7-12-15 

Debate can be good. It means people are thinking and haven’t yet become robots. I consider myself to be a logical Christian. In fact, the Bible teaches that we are to study for ourselves and to verify what we are taught. In light of God’s desire for people to be life-long learners, I want to provide, to the best of my ability, a reasoned answer to the questions I posed in the title.

I know that, as a Christian, many people will view me as close-minded and pragmatic for believing that the Bible does teach against homosexuality. Let me explain something from the beginning. God says in 2 Peter 1:20, “knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation.” I simply want to be a mouthpiece for Christ without going short of or beyond what has been revealed in the Bible. If I do this correctly, and you don’t like what I say, then it isn’t with me you will truly be upset; it’s with God.
First, it has been said that the Bible doesn’t condemn homosexuality because there are relatively few verses that mention it. Let’s have an illustration. When my mother told me to clean up my toys out of the living room, she expected me to do it, and she expected to only have to tell me one time. What is the magic number of times God must say something before He really means it?
Some of the passages which teach against homosexuality are found in the Old Testament law. It is true that we do not live under it. However, the nature of God does not change, and the principles still apply. Romans 15:4 says, “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Giving is a commandment in the New Testament, and the benchmark of a tenth is often used as  guideline. However, giving a tenth, or tithing, is not found in the New Testament. It is still a good precedent to follow, but because this specifically is not contained in the New Testament, we are not obligated today to give a tenth. It does give us an idea of what God expected, and the passages about homosexuality in the Old Testament also show how God felt about that.
Second, I read an argument stating that homosexuality did not exist during Biblical times as an organized group, therefore it couldn’t have been taught against because they didn’t know about it. This is simply not accurate. Consider the story of Lot when he protected the angels. There were enough men in Sodom and Gomorrah to form a group that wanted to rape these strangers. Obviously homosexuality existed in this city to the point that there was a group together. This was long before the New Testament Church. In Jude 7 the Bible says, “as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to them, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” This writer clearly had heard about the homosexual lifestyle and understood it to be wrong.

 

Another argument is that we are supposed to love everyone, so how can we condemn people? It is possible. There are people in my family whom I love but disagree with. Does that mean I am unkind to them? Absolutely not. Do I hug them when I see them? Most definitely. Parents don’t hate their children when they recognize error in them and correct them.
Jesus showed both love and correction simultaneously, and He did that frequently. Read the account of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery in John 8:1-11.  The scribes brought this woman to him who apparently had been found in the act of committing adultery. They didn’t bring the other party, but that is a whole different discussion. They asked Jesus if she should be stoned. Jesus did not command her to be stoned, although that was within the boundaries of the law. This clearly demonstrates His compassion for her. However, He told her to go and sin no more. He did not, at any time, tell her that what she had done was ok. He loved her enough to tell her when she was wrong and give her a chance to change.
Next, people argue that it is hypocritical to say homosexuality is a sin when we let ourselves by with sin. With that logic, we can never say anything is wrong. I don’t say homosexuality is wrong based on my own merit. An infinitely perfect Creator decreed that sexual relations should happen under one circumstance, and I argue that He is qualified to say what is right.
I will freely admit that I sin. Further, I would venture that either by commission or omission, I sin daily. I John 1:7-8 says, “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” Even as we are walking in the light we still require cleansing. See also verse 10 of the same chapter: “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” The distinction is living and sinning versus living in sin. Romans 6:1-2 says, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” See also verse 12 of the same chapter: “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.”
Now let’s follow this thought. What about people who have desires toward the same sex? The Bible never commands us to not be tempted. If we were condemned for being tempted then Christ is in a whole lot of trouble too. Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” We are all tempted by something. The point is what we do when we are tempted. I Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” Paul doesn’t promise that God will make a way for us to never be tempted again. He promises to get us through it, even though we may still be tempted. Sin wouldn’t be tempting if it didn’t look good to us.

I have heard that homosexuals can’t help it because they are born like that. Each of us is tempted by something. The same things that tempt me don’t necessarily tempt my husband, but that doesn’t mean I can say that I was born with such a love for chocolate I can’t avoid eating it for every meal. Chocolate has never ceased to look good to me, but I can exert self control and eat in moderation to avoid sinning. Do I overindulge sometimes? Yes. But that doesn’t mean I stop trying to be moderate.

People also may say that Christians are intolerant because we say that homosexuality to any degree is wrong. Committing the act one time is still committing the act. Stealing doesn’t become a sin once you have done it seven times; it is a sin the first time. Telling a lie or any other sin is the same. The mindset shouldn’t be how much of it can I do and get away with it. Our goal should be to lead pure lives. See Titus 2:12, “teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.”
It has also been said that legalizing gay marriage won’t affect people who disagree. I beg to differ. There is actually a man who has sued a publisher for printing the Bible because it has caused him suffering and trouble with his family. Bakers are being punished for not baking wedding cakes for gay marriages. Officials are resigning rather than issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. For Christians who believe that homosexuality is against God’s will, they are losing the right to not participate in this act. The Constitution, one of our founding documents, does actually provide for freedom of religion. Citizens should not be forced to act against their legitimate beliefs.
Ephesians 5:31 says, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” God said it, not me or any other Christian. We merely repeat it. Nowhere in the Bible is there found an example of God sanctioning the union of couples of the same sex. Marriage is an institution for one man and one woman.
The Bible teaches that lying, alcoholism, sex before marriage, homosexual relations, and many other things are sin. That doesn’t mean God hates the people who have or do participate in any of these. That would make no sense, because the Bible teaches that all people have and do sin. How much more could He do to show His love than allow His special Son to become the payment for the sins humans commit? God teaches us to love all people. Christians should love people who lie, do drugs, and commit all manner of sexual sin. However, we can never begin to change God’s standards. Christians need to have enough love and courage to help people struggling with all manner of sin to find God’s direction for their lives while never altering God’s teaching in the process, no matter how hard it may be.
 May the Lord bless and keep you,
 Heather
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