Over the past four weeks I have blogged on sexuality as presented in Genesis. But in a time of history where the sexual lines between male and female are blurred, transsexuality has become common; even in the church we are hearing of people claiming to be gay Christians and it has been my desire to understand what the Bible does say about such issues. I am borrowing the term, holy sexuality from Dr. Christopher Yuan, professor at Moody Bible Institute, who has written an insightful book, Holy Sexuality and the Gospel.
As a pastor, I am hearing more frequently than ever before, I am gay. It has become accepted and even cool to be associated with gayness. In a local high school kids have shared with me that the new craze is to be either gay, trans, or bi-sexual. Social media has gone out of its way to stoke up the fires of sexuality and it seems that the stranger the sexual behavior, the more press it garners.
But how do we as Christians respond to the sexual world we now live in? What should be our response to those who have same sex attractions? Where do we begin?
We are All Born that Way
The frequent starting point for those who have legitimate same sex attractions is that they were born that way. It has been my experience that this is more often than not, the starting point for legitimatizing homosexuality. My response has always been the same, “I do believe you were born that way. We are all born that way!” That gets the discussion going.
The Bible states, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). I am a born adulterer. I am a born liar. I am a born gossip. And yes, I have no doubt that people are born gay. This is a great starting point for discussion and without controversy in my mind.
For God so Loved the World
The real question is where do we go from there? Jesus said, “For God so loved the world…” (John 3:16a) and that should be our response! God loves the adulterer; God loves the gossip; God loves that envier; God loves the embezzler; God loves the homosexual. The love of God knows no sinful bounds and the love of God covers all sins. Our response as Jesus followers is to live and act like Jesus to a hurting damaged world. Everyone needs love.
Too often the Church has categorized sin as more or less based upon our own experience and our own struggles. Such that, we minimize our sins of gossip and character assassination of others, but we elevate the sin of same sex behavior. It has always been easier to elevate a sin we’ve never struggled with than to deal with the one we battle.
But with any sexual sin, a sin category that has the greatest potential for shame, we must learn to respond with love. With any sin, the biggest issue is not adultery or same sex behavior, the biggest sin is unbelief.
What such men and women need is not to change their behavior but to receive God’s love and grace, believe in Christ, and become a Jesus follower! Heart transformation leads to behavioral change.
Dr. Yuan writes, “The world tells those of us with same-sex attractions that our sexuality is the core of who we are. But God’s Word paints quite a different picture. Genesis 1:27 informs us that we are created in the image of God. The apostle Paul says that in Christ, “we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Thus, my identity is not gay, ex-gay, or even straight. My true identity is in Jesus Christ alone” (Holy Sexuality and the Gospel, page 3).
Thus, our starting point is to love all people and point them to Jesus. We are all, in the sense of being created in the image of God, brothers and sisters in our humanity. God loved the whole world (regardless of one’s sin) and so should we.
It is time for all of us to recognize that we all have sinned, and we have all fallen short of God’s standards. Just as we needed God’s love and grace in our sinful state, we need to offer grace and love for those who struggle with their sins. It is only through responding with love and grace that we can lead people to God’s love and grace.