Homosexuality is one of the hardest things to deal with in our culture. I can remember very vividly having a professor in college who was gay. While I didn’t receive any unwanted attention from him, it did make things awkward. What was I supposed to say? How was I supposed to act? Was I supposed to be OK with his sexual preferences? Then things got notched up when we read a rather provocative book about sexual identity. The whole class period (3 hours) was absolute torture. I felt that if I did something wrong I would be exiled, reviled, or ostracized (ironically the same feeling most homosexuals feel). This begs the question: How should Christians react to homosexuals (that is, those who identify as either gay or lesbian)?
Before we begin I want to lay out the groundwork for our discussion with two points. 1) The practice of homosexuality is an act of direct disobedience against God. 2) It is insanity (yes insanity) to demand that a non-Christian behave in a manner that lines up with biblical morals, even if it is for their own welfare.
Regardless of whether you believe that the desire of homosexuality is wrong (and there is quite a bit of debate about that topic), the act of it definitely is. Numerous passages in scripture point this out, Romans 1:26-27 for example. But if they aren’t a follower of Jesus, it is rather pointless to demand they follow his rules. Why should they? They don’t believe that he is the savior of the world, if they even believe he exists at all. So, what do we do with that?
Like with any non-Christian our response should be to love them. (Sorry, I don’t have something new or easier to tell you) By love them, I don’t mean that we condone or encourage sinful behavior. If they don’t know you love them they probably won’t listen to you anyway. What I do mean is that we are loving them as a human being made in the image of God. This is not some silver bullet to making your gay friend ungay. This is living out the call to indiscriminately love all humans made in the image of God. By definition, love cannot expect anything in return, including a change in sexual preferences.
Think of Christ on the cross. He spent his life in an act of love, that we can either accept, or reject. He doesn’t force us. He doesn’t demand a response in a neat bait-switch maneuver. He offered and we can either chose to respond or not. The same is true while interacting with someone who is homosexual. You can love them forever and they never change, but if you are loving them to change them, well, you aren’t really loving them. But this loving without demanding a response is what makes the death of Christ so beautiful and worthy of our admiration.
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