In the last few decades, it seems a lot of people have
come ‘out of the closet’. Maybe it would be better to say the closet was
replaced by a community. Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) individuals now come together to support one
another and seek acceptance. Celebrities,
siblings and children are being open about who they are choosing to love as
their significant other and what gender they identify themselves with.
In the past, people struggled more with determining
whether “coming out” was the right action for them. Some lived a hidden life to avoid the
judgments from others. Will the reaction be one of rejection or
acceptance? They have already felt
isolation and have been affected by harsh opinions from society. Homosexuals have been called abnormal,
disgusting, sexually deviant, and immoral.
They may be considered sinful by religious organizations, criminals by
intolerant governments, disliked by those who do not even know them, and sadly even
becoming the target of deadly hate crimes.
They wonder how their parents, brothers, sisters, friends, classmates
and co-workers will act when their true, self-identity is revealed. Some loving family members may even consider
it a “phase”; the person is just confused and will come around eventually. A mother may believe that once her son finds
the right girl, he’ll become “straight”, as if it were a decision he made and
that he could make another choice any time he felt like it. Overall, with all the trouble and risk
associated being non-heterosexual, why would someone voluntarily elect to be so
ostracized? Is this simply attention
seeking behavior? Perhaps for some. If the person cannot bear the thought of
letting their parents or community know their real selves, life can become a
game of ‘cover-ups’, with fear that the truth will be disclosed. One thing is certain, everyone has an opinion
on homosexuality and more often than not, the emotional response is strong,
even extreme. How many families have
been broken apart by it? How many
children have been disowned?
Many years ago
I met a man that was gay, a friend of a friend.
I had heard him talking before seeing his appearance. His voice was that of an older woman. With that quick introduction, I believed that
homosexuality must be based on biology and hormones. The balance of biochemistry had shifted him
from having the masculine characteristics that would be expected, and, instead,
clearly feminine elements were being expressed.
He didn’t make a choice about this; he was made that way. Just as every one of us is a unique
combination of chemistry and biology beautifully brought to life, this was just
one more element of the diversity of natural human development. God made each of us special, without mistakes.
Muslim believers may contend that “homosexual behavior is sinful”. These people may not intend to disrespect
anyone, but they firmly hold on to what they feel the Bible or the Qu ‘ran teaches
on the subject. Their level of acceptance
may go so far as saying that judgment for how we each of us acts is to be left
in the hands of God or Allah, but they may continue to think of gays and
lesbians as sinners. Christians may cite
sections in the Bible as the basis for the conclusions they draw. On that, my thought is, “No, I don’t think
that is what the Bible says.”
One section of
the Bible often quoted relative to homosexuality is I Corinthians, Chapter 6
verse 9&10, New Living Translation).
9 Don’t you realize
that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in
sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes,
or practice homosexuality.
10 Or are thieves, or
greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will
inherit the kingdom of God.
The judgement on homosexuality is equal to the judgement
on greedy people and drunks or those that cheat people. There were people acting terribly in the
Church of Corinth; there was fighting, arguments and jealousies. Some of the people were saying that they can
do anything they want and still be considered followers of Christ (I
Corinthians 6:12, New Living Translation).
But this section talks about how not everything is good for you and gives
a warning about not becoming a slave to your behaviors. Taking parts of the Bible and magnifying them
without giving consideration to the context in which they were written can lead
to misinterpretation. If I look only at the first verse of I Corinthians
Chapter 7, it says “It is good for a man not to touch a woman” or “It is good
to abstain from sexual relations” depending on the translation (King James
Version & New Living Translation). In verse 7 of the same chapter of the letter
Paul is sending to the new Christians in Corinth, he wishes that all men were
like himself, able to resist sexual desires.
But he knows most cannot have that much control over their passions, so
he basically tells people to get married so you are not tempted into immoral
actions. In the verse right after the
one condemning certain types of people to be excluded from God’s Kingdom, it
talks about how Jesus died for sinners (I Corinthians 6:11) and then in the
last verse of the chapter, a summary is provided.
11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified,
but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our
20 For ye are bought
with a price: therefore glorify God in
your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
I had always heard that God destroyed Sodom
and Gomorrah because homosexuality was rampant in those cities. But reading Genesis 18:20 (King James
Version), the Lord said “their sin is
very grievous.” He didn’t specify,
but God and the angels looked long and hard to find at least ten righteous
people so that the City of Sodom could be spared. In Genesis 19:5, men come looking for the
angels that had arrived to save Lot’s family and the men at the door want to
rape the visitors. Lot was even willing
to turn over his two virgin daughters to the evil men outside his door in
exchange for the protection of the angelic men within his home. How horrible?
The real answer
about the sin of Sodom popped out at me when reading Ezekiel Chapter 16, 49-52
(NLT), spoken to Jerusalem.
49 Sodom’s sins were
pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffered outside her
50 She was proud and
committed detestable sins, so I wiped her out, as you have seen.
51 Even Samaria did not
commit half your sins. You have done far
more detestable things than your sisters ever did. They seem righteous compared to you.
52 Shame on you! Your sins are so terrible
that you make your sisters seem righteous, even virtuous.
So, some of the biggest things that the Sodomites did
wrong was not caring for the poor and being lazy. In the KJV it said the people of Sodom were “haughty”. I had to look that one up. Haughty means arrogant and disdainful and
treating people with scorn. This doesn’t
say anything about sexual orientation. Societies
who judge others as unworthy of God’s love instead of extending it, are falling
into the trap that the people of Sodom were in.
In Ezekiel Chapter 18, there are many encouraging words from the Lord
regarding sins of the soul, contrasted with doing what is right and lawful, and
the life and death consequences of each of our actions. It talks about how we are each responsible
for our own thoughts and whether we choose to be righteous or wicked. This section lifts up God’s way of dealing
with us as just. We will each be judged
according to our ways.
There is sure a
whole lot said on the internet on the subject of homosexuality. I am sure you could find opinions and
convictions that line up with a full spectrum of feelings on the topic. What I’m sharing here are my own individual
thoughts. I can find many speaking out
in a similar fashion and many others who would contradict me. I found thoughtful words from Janet Edmonds
in “The Bible Doesn’t Say That Homosexuality is a Sin”. I found heartfelt words from Matthew Vines. There are people that say you cannot change
the interpretation of the word of God just to fit the current changes in
culture. But you have to admit that the hateful
and abusive culture of the world needs changing, thousands of years ago and
today. Things are pretty messed up. Knowing that God gets personal with us as individuals,
He wants to work on the hearts of each of us, in whatever unique situation we
find ourselves in. He wants us to be humble and have a teachable spirit. He wants us not to judge others “lest we be
judged.” He wants each of us to know
that we are loved by Him. God knows what
is best for us and wants us to figure that out through a relationship with Him.
I feel for
young people still in school and trying to figure out who they will be when
they grow up. If feeling attracted to
the same sex is part of their emotional tapestry, or if they feel a conflict in
the body they were born with, how much more difficult those years must be for
them? Kids can be so mean to each other. Adults can be just as mean. Churches and other religious organizations are
making policies regarding human sexuality and it is disappointing when it seems
the decisions are based on creating laws that exclude people and don’t make
allowance for acceptance and love for one another. Sometimes the rules become impersonal and
take away the rights of individual communities to listen for God’s guidance for
themselves. Should people attracted to same-sex partners really be lumped
together with ‘abusers’ and ‘thieves’, and other evil people who won’t have a
share in the blessings of God’s kingdom?
Is being a member of the LGBT community really a sin?
sin? God has tried over and over again
to help us easily recognize it. He gave
Moses the Ten Commandments to share with his people. Ten rules to live by. That doesn’t seem so hard but for hundreds of
years, people struggled with that covenant.
So Jesus comes. He distills the
commandments down to the essentials:
love God with all your heart and treat others the way you want to be
treated. Wow, it sounds so easy! Are we able to do it? When a man loves God and loves another man in
a committed relationship, is he disobeying what Jesus said? If he lies and tells people he is not a
homosexual when in his heart he knows the truth, wouldn’t he then be breaking
one of God’s Commandments? Let’s say he never held an evil thought toward
others and trusted and listened to God throughout his life. Is this man going to Hell? When God looks into a woman’s heart and sees
that she holds great love for Him and also observes the love she has for
another woman, does God condemn her? I
say, “No, if the love in her heart is what is guiding her actions, then God is
pleased with her.”
What if we
looked at this from the perspective that individuals are placed specifically
into our lives as part of a test of our ability to follow God’s desires? Are we all able to love God and each other
unconditionally? Or is our ability to
follow the example of Jesus’ love only in full force when our circumstances
make it easy? Are we only able to fully
love those who we feel live the right way?
Life on Earth is filled with challenges, individual situations that
drive our actions and beliefs. The
difficulties each of us face are as diverse as the people in the world itself. If you or part of your family is impacted by
homosexuality, don’t let the feelings it causes turn you away from God or let
it interfere with relationships grounded in love. Ask God how to respond and follow through on
the messages He writes in your heart.
Through all things, let your thoughts and actions please God. In God and by God, every single one of us is
wonderfully made, equally lovable, equally special. We all have a job to do in God’s Kingdom; we
need to love and respect one another. It
is also important that we hold love and respect for ourselves, to develop the
uniqueness that makes us into the person God intended us to be.
We’ll have many people cross our paths in our life’s journey. There are people that sin by committing harmful, evil acts which cause emotional hurts, pain and suffering or physical death. The Bible teaches that God will deal with the wicked. If good people start doing evil, they must be put to death, while wicked people who start to do right can save themselves from punishment. God says we are to give up our evil ways and think pure thoughts (Ezekiel 18:26-28). We are able to find peace when we surrender ourselves into God’s hands and when we produce the fruits of the spirit, against which there is no law (Galatians 5:23). For each person that is in our lives, we get to decide how we will treat them. We may be asked to support them, pray for them, help them, care for them, no matter our differences. We are not the ones to judge, we cannot see the state of someone’s heart. God expects nothing less from us than for us to love one another just as Jesus has taught, the way He loves us.