September 21, 2015
Christian theologian and analytical philosopher William Lane Craig described the struggle of most gay people this way: “Many homosexuals testify how agonizing it is to find themselves with these desires and to fight against them. They’ll tell you they would never choose to be that way. The Bible doesn’t condemn a person because he has a homosexual orientation. What it condemns is homosexual acts… so a homosexual who is living straight and keeping himself pure ought to be able to stand up in a prayer meeting and say, ‘I am a homosexual. But by God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, I’m living chastely for Christ.’”/p>
In short, attraction is not action. Temptation is not sin. Jesus was tempted, but He never sinned. (Matthew 4) Acting upon temptation is sin! (James 1:14-15) But even then, when confessed, God always forgives; and so should we. That does not mean that we should compromise the truth of Scripture. We must confront sin, but do it in a caring and compassionate manner. We must “speak the truth,” but “in love.” (Ephesians 4:15)
This is more important today then ever. It is widely predicted that the Church is going to be under increasing pressure to accept the Courts redefinition of marriage and morality. If we don’t comply, we will be branded as hate-filled bigots. Some will take the bait and respond in an unloving way that confirms the accusation. Many more will wilt under threats and intimidation and revise their theology. Both are spiritual dead ends.
So what should we do?
1) Repent: Confess any anger and hatred you have towards those who are caught in this lifestyle. Stop stereotyping, mocking, denigrating and/or ridiculing gays. It’s not the way of Jesus! Even though someone’s struggles are unthinkable to us, we should not treat them as untouchables! God doesn’t hate gays; He hates hatred. “Jesus came into the world to save sinners,” (1 Timothy 1:15); “to seek and save that which was lost,” (Luke 19:19); not to condemn and reject them. (John 3:16-18) He doesn’t “want anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) He loves and values all people, including gays; and so should we!
2) Redeem: Jesus sought to reach and redeem those who were considered the refuse of the Jewish world: tax collectors, prostitutes, lepers. He confronted their sin, but always with compassion and care. He was a “friend of sinners.” (Matthew 11:19) Dare I say it? It is Christ-like to be friendly, respectful, gracious and loving towards gays. Pray for them! Don’t write them off. They won’t care about what you or I have to say until they are sure that we care about them as people.
3) Restore: Fear keeps many “closeted” in guilt and shame. The only real path to healing is to “confess … and pray for one another… that you may be healed.” (James 5:16) The church needs to be a loving and safe place to heal and be restored.
Pastor Ken Ortize