On Facebook, a friend of mine addressed reactions to the recent terrorist attack at the Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
Reactions from Christians. Hateful reactions.
In part she said
I need to stand up now and denounce the Christians I’ve seen saying that they are glad there are 49 fewer gays in the world and they are only sorry that the shooter didn’t finish the job.
This is vile, vile talk, and people who express such thoughts are no friends of mine.
I saw one short video clip on a news program that showed a pastor in northern California saying hateful things. And now there’s reportedly another pastor in Arizona who has said even worse.
As the news of these reactions flooded media channels, other Christians immediately responded with great love and support for the LGBT community. Society is rallying around gays and decrying Christians for hate speech. Of course there’s the usual “it’s the guns” response, and a few people are saying, Wait a minute; this was an attack in the name of loyalty to ISIS.
With all this clamor, one person commented to my friend’s post by asking some tough questions. I’m not sure they weren’t the same kinds of questions Jesus faced when the Pharisees were trying to trap Him by something He might say, but perhaps they are legitimate, tough questions. Here’s what the commenter asked:
Pls, as a true Christian, what is your take about the gay thing. Are we to love them as they are? Or to tell them it is wrong to be gay? Or to turn a blind eye to whoever they are and whatever they do? Your honest answer pls.
Really, that seems so much like an Are we to please God or Man? question. If we say God, we’re going against our culture and will incur further hate from those who decry hate speech (notice the irony), and if we say Man, we’re conceding the marriage ground and ultimately the authority of the Bible. In either case, Christians lose.
Oh, we lose, too, if we turn a “blind eye,” the option that many German Christians chose when confronted with Hitler’s treatment of Jews.
In reality, the answer is None of the above. Because the liberal left under our current administration has successfully challenged the status quo and redefined marriage, or prohibited states from putting a halt to the redefinition of marriage, and because gender identity has become a new, favorite liberal cause, we Christians have reacted. We want to defend the status quo, to push the LGBT community back into the shadows, to force compliance to God’s standad.
And make no mistake, God’s standard is marriage between one man and one woman.
But God’s standard is also for truth instead of lies, fidelity instead of adultery, love instead of hate, kindness instead of gossip, humility instead of pride, and much more. I don’t see us Christians taking to the street to rally against prostitution. Or to stand in pulpits and wish for the death of men (or women) addicted to pornography.
For some reason, some people, professing to be Christians, have drawn a line in the sand, saying if we could just stop this “gay thing,” we’d have our country back. That position has more problems than I can address in one post.
First, the goal of the Christian out not to be to “get our country back.” As much as I love America and am sad at the changes I’ve seen in my life time, I have no desire to work to return things to the “good old days.” God has given believers a clear mandate: we are to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.
The incredible thing about belief in Jesus as Messiah and Lord, is that we now have a spiritual kingdom that is far more important than the temporal one in which we live. So Christians in China and Guatemala and Cypress and Indonesia and Japan and South Africa and Morocco and Venezuela and India and wherever else in the world, are part of the same kingdom.
But of course we still have to deal in the here and now, the kingdom in which we find ourselves. We still have to “render to Caesar.” So here’s my answer to the questions the commenter raised:
The Biblical “take on the gay thing” is that gossip, slander, adultery, homosexual activity, lying, taking God’s name in vain—all of it—is sin.
Essentially sin is rebellion against God, and John 3:18 tells us that “he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
So if all the homosexuals stopped their homosexual activity, they would be no closer to God unless they believed in Jesus. It’s not their homosexual activity that separates them from God: it’s their rebellious hearts that say they will go their own way, no matter what God has to say. In that regard, homosexuals are no different from any other sinner.
So how are we to treat homosexuals? We are to treat them as we do any other unrepentant sinner. We should pray for those we know and ask God how we can present His truth to them. We are certainly not to slander them as a group.
At the same time, I don’t think we are to embrace them and identify with them as some have done in an effort to distance themselves from the hate speech.
Most certainly we shouldn’t pretend that homosexuality isn’t sin, but we also shouldn’t act as if it’s the unpardonable sin.
Above all, we should teach the next generation, because they’re getting pounded in schools and media that the LGBT community is nothing but a minority group that should be respected. (Emphasis added for this post; other formatting edits have also been made.)
In short, gays aren’t the problem! Sin is the problem. The stubborn hearts of humankind that refuse to surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ—those are the problems.
And that’s what Christians should be speaking against. No, my neighbor, my friend, my co-worker, my critique partner, my uncle, my sister, my Twitter follower, none of us is good. We have a sin issue that we all must deal with, and there’s only been one successful solution: accepting the payment Jesus Christ made at the cross.
Pretending that we’re actually good simply does not square with the facts. Working harder, trying better, hoping we’ve done enough, leave us wanting. Pretending that sin doesn’t matter, doesn’t make it go away.
The happy, happy news is that Jesus did what we can’t do. He has dealt with our sin for us. And that’s what every unrepentant sinner needs to hear—those in the LGBT community included.