“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27)
“…God is love….” (1 John 4:8, 16)
The moral values of a person are shaped from childhood on by the culture in which they live. The moral values of a Christian, however, are to be shaped by the Bible: the Spirit-inspired written Word of the one true God who created us, loves us, and sent His Son, Jesus, to save us from our sins. (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Psalms 1 and 119; John 3:16) Christian parents are supposed to raise our children accordingly. (Proverbs 22:6; Matthew 19:13-15)
The morality of homosexuality has, for millennia, been addressed by different cultures in different ways, with some cultures openly embracing its practice and others harshly condemning it. We have, in present times, diversified our descriptions: lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT). Embracing these practices has, in the United States, become the cultural and political norm. So, what does God say?
God’s first and most important revelation is that He loves both the people who struggle with but are drawn to homosexuality and those who enthusiastically practice it. They are made in God’s image and likeness, but have brokenness, just like the rest of us. They have many diverse abilities, talents and gifts. God values them very much, and Christ died for all their sins just as He died for mine. (1 John 2:2)
God’s second most important revelation is that Christians are to love all the people He loves, including people who practice homosexuality. (Matthew 5:48) Without love, we are nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:2) And He requires this love be in truth and deed, not just talk. (1 John 3:18)
Historically, the Church’s treatment of people who struggle with or practice homosexuality has been unloving. Rejection, oppression, and degradation will drive people away from Jesus, not to Him. Eventually, like African-Americans and other persecuted minorities, they discover there is power in unity and become the “us” that stands against “them”. It is very possible the Church’s historic failure to love is now reaping what we sowed. (Galatians 6:7)
God’s third revelation is that most of the sexual sin in our nation has nothing to do with homosexuality. Adultery, pornography and promiscuity are rampant in America and in the Church, and have produced a hyper-sexualized culture where chastity is the sexual orientation deemed most abnormal. (Exodus 20:14; Matthew 5:28; Hebrews 13:4) Woe to us as hypocrites when we point the finger of judgment at people committing a sexual sin that does not tempt us while making no true effort to remove these “logs in our own eyes”. (Matthew 7:5, 23:13-30)
God’s fourth revelation is that the desire or temptation to practice homosexuality is not, in and of itself, sin. (James 1:13-15) There are many reasons why such desires might develop: sexual, physical or emotional abuse, particularly as a child; dysfunctional parenting; peer abuse because you didn’t fit the cultural expectation of “masculine” or “feminine”; or the simple urges of amoral lust. And while we are all fearfully and wonderfully made, we are also all imperfect when we come into this broken world. (Psalms 51:5, 139:14) Scripture recognizes that some people are “born as eunuchs”: without the typical heterosexual drive and, thereby, for a life of chastity. (Matthew 19:12)
God’s fifth revelation is that the practice of homosexuality is sin, and therefore, not God’s plan for anyone’s life. (Genesis 1:27-28, 2:24, 19:4-13; Matthew 19:4-5; Leviticus 18:22, 20:13; Romans 1:21-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
Several church denominations have now declared the practice of homosexuality to be morally acceptable. But Christians don’t get to make the rules. We just do our best to learn and follow them. (Romans 14:21) God’s Word reveals the practice of homosexuality to be wrong-doing, and true love does not rejoice at or give approval to wrong-doing. (1 Corinthians 13:6; Romans 1:32)
The individual tragedy in all this is how homosexuality can hold a person in bondage, particularly in our hyper-sexualized culture. But Jesus came to set the captives free. (Luke 4:18)
The cultural tragedy is how the promotion of homosexuality and the removal of God’s plan for marriage are scriptural signs a culture is moving deeply into darkness and toward destruction. (Genesis 19:1-25; Romans 1:18-32)
My brothers and sisters, what does that mean for a Christian community that joins in what the culture is doing?
The upcoming Tri-Pride Festival in Kingsport and the present turmoil in the United Methodist denomination are just the latest evidence that our Christian community has come to the Valley of Decision. (Joel 3:14) I have never in my life tried so hard to speak the truth in love. (Ephesians 4:15) Will you prayerfully and lovingly follow God’s Word, or follow the world? (1 John 2:15-17)
God bless you, and God bless our community.