I have not wanted to write on this topic because I am fairly sure when I do I will manage to offend everyone on all sides of the issue BUT an e-mail I recently received began to boil my blood and well when that happens my most helpful solution is to write, so here goes…(And in case you were wondering, that’s as close to an apology as any of you are likely to get).
I could probably have called this post Character Issue #3 but as a commenter on my last post pointed out that title does not do much to invite readership or reveal the underlying topic. Yet, in defense of such a title, for me, these are questions of God’s revealed character. What would Jesus do? How would He reveal His heart in the ongoing homosexuality debate? Would He pick up the lesbian woman thrown at His feet, dust her off, and say, “Has no one condemned you? Well then neither do I. Go and sin no more.” Or would He turn to the religious leaders of the day and say, “Woe to you teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those who are trying to.”
I used to think a person’s life experiences contributed to his or her being homosexual. I thought, if we could reach and heal the hurting places that turned a person’s mind/heart toward same-sex preferences that person would no longer have those preferences. I still think such might be true for some people. Now, however, I am not as sure as I once was that homosexuality is a choice, no matter how deeply buried in one’s psyche the choice might be. Now, I believe homosexuality could just as easily be a matter of original wiring. I am what I am. I have not chosen to be heterosexual any more than I chose to be a woman so who am I to say to a person with a homosexual orientation–“It’s a choice.”
Okay so I am entitled to my own opinion but what does the Bible say? Well, obviously we can point to the few classic verses that call homosexual sex detestable or imply it is against God’s will. Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:24, and I Corinthians 6:9 are a few examples. A closer look at the surrounding verses however, might shed a little more light on scripture’s truer meaning. Personally, I think lustfulness, a disregard for anything or anyone that might be impacted by such behavior, and multiple partners or a sexual relationship not protected by marriage are the real problems. Still, it could be the act of homosexual sex itself is the target. Yet even as I say that, I am struck by how many other specific behaviors are mentioned in these passages, behaviors we in the Church talk little about, behavior such as greed, slander, envy, gossip, and boasting. I realize by pointing this out it can come across like I am trying to excuse one sin by focusing attention on another. But, my intention is not to excuse ANY sin.
My intention is to state unequivocally that I am NOT the Holy Spirit. And, neither are you. God did not give me (or you) the job of picking the speck out of someone else’s eye. He did give me the task of pulling the plank out of my own eye, and of spreading the Good News, and of loving my neighbor, and of ministering to “the least of these”, and of restoring gently those within the Church who are out of sync with His will. As any who have read my posts or spoken to me directly know, the last one in the previous list is personally the most difficult for me to walk out.
I am angry. Most of my anger is directed at the Church. As part of the Church I try to own my part of the problems I see within the Church. I am not always successful but I will keep trying. Although I try to expose the lies we have come to believe and continue to pass on as truth, without attaching individual people or fellowships, I use examples from my own experience to help illustrate my points. By doing so, I end up casting a shadow on some of the people and some of the fellowships which are or have been part of my life. And while I have sometimes heard from the ugliest voices in the Church the excuse, “I am willing to risk offending a few people in order to avoid offending God” I now use that same reasoning in my defense. Offending people is not my intent, nor is it particularly helpful. It can, however, be a byproduct of the first step toward change–turning from sin.
With regard to the “homosexual issue” I believe God’s heart is clear–we are to love the sinner and hate the sin. Sadly, for some whom I call fellow Christians walking out “hating the sin” will still involve spewing forth ugly, bigoted, rude, and demeaning lies and rhetoric in the name of Christ. For this I am sorry. For me, it will include trying to understand what causes my brothers and sisters to behave in ways so counter to the example of Christ in the gospel. For me too, it will involve ministering peace and charity to all I come in contact with who are impacted by this issue.
How about you?