This topic has become a very sensitive one in our current culture. Unfortunately the church as a whole has not done a very good job of navigating through this issue so let’s start by clarifying a few things.
First, what a Christian stands for and believes should never be determined by the flow of a culture. In fact, Romans 12:2 says,
“Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Our standard and way of thinking does not come from the world around us.
As a Christian, the laws of the land never trump the laws of God. Just because Mankind decides something is right or wrong does not mean it is. Isaiah 5:20 warns of this and says,
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”
Right or wrong is in God’s hands not what I think it should and shouldn’t be. The foundation for what we believe is built on Christ and His Word, not the ever shifting sands of society and culture. Will people get upset with us? Yes. Will people hate us for what we believe? Yes, but none of that should change what our stance is. Jesus says to us in John 15:18-20,
“If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.”
James 4:4 also says,
“Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
Remember that when the Word speaks about the world, it’s not talking about people groups. It’s talking about the worldly system and the mindsets/beliefs that come with it. That’s why 1 John 5:19 says “the whole world is under the sway of the wicked one.” It’s not the whole Earth for ”The Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness of it” (Psalm 24:1.) It’s the whole worldly system that is under the sway of the wicked one and this is why friendship with this system makes us an enemy of God, for the world system is completely anti-Christ.
Second, just because a Christian believes a certain way of living is wrong, doesn’t mean they actually have anything against the person. Rick Warren sums up this point well, he says,
“Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.” – Rick Warren
I can completely love you and totally disagree with you simultaneously. God loves us perfectly all the time yet that doesn’t mean He agrees with all we do. God’s love demonstrated the power of valuing relationship over behavior. And yet, when we walk in fellowship with Him, His love is also the power that changes us and brings us back to His image instead of fallen Adam’s image.
3rdly, how we treat people who don’t believe what we believe is one of the biggest ways Christians miss the mark and greatly misrepresent God. We will delve into this in detail and provide scripture to give us the understanding we need when it comes to this issue as a whole.
Now to answer the question from a Christian perspective, “Is homosexuality wrong?” Very clearly, “Yes it is.” And so is adultery and sex before marriage and pornography. These sexual acts are sins because they completely miss Gods original intent and the power of covenant between a man and a women. In a homosexual relationship, it is impossible to “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen 1:28) and if everyone went down this road it would lead to extinction. Homosexuality is a little different than the other sexual sins in this regard because it is actually a sign of a culture group turning away from God. It is by no means the only sign but it is for sure one of them. Romans 1:20-28 describes this clearly,
”For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.”
Paul is speaking to Roman culture here. The Romans had a much worse sexual culture than we have and Paul is describing what happens as a result of people turning away from God. He is describing what happens to culture as a whole, rather than particular people. The presence of same-sex desire in some of us is not an indication that we’ve turned from God more than others, but a sign that humanity as a whole has done so.
In this context, isn’t it interesting that the LGBTQ community has what has become known as “Pride” marches? Pride is the original sin and is one of the greatest sins because it is a sin of the spirit, (Daniel 5:20.) Pride refuses to acknowledge any wrongdoing and celebrates what it has itself determined to be right or wrong apart from God and truth. However, what’s even more interesting, is that they have chosen the rainbow for their symbol. Religion has gotten very angry about this and thinks that the LGBTQ have stolen a christian symbol. However, as I spent some time seeking the Lord about this, He revealed something very different to me. I felt Him show me a picture of a homosexual couple wrapped in a rainbow flag. He then revealed to me that He was the One who inspired them to use the rainbow as their symbol. Why? Because the rainbow represents God’s mercy in promising not to destroy the earth through a flood again because of sin. So even in their pride, God’s heart is still revealed for them which is to show mercy that triumphs over judgement. The rainbow is a powerful statement over the whole LGBTQ community that God’s goodness and mercy is following them everywhere they go and no matter what they do. His mercy is greater than their sin and He longs to free them from the lie. As they wrap the rainbow flag around themselves, they are literally wrapping God’s sign of mercy over them which reveals His heart towards them. This should also be the message that God’s children carry in their hearts toward this people group.
Not all, but many people have unfortunately been deceived by the enemy to believe that they are homosexual simply based on their thoughts. For example, they see the same sex and have a thought go through their mind like, “Hey she’s cute,” or “He’s really good looking,” or “Hey maybe I’m gay.” or “I think I’m bisexual.” A lifestyle almost always starts out with a thought life being established first. Like the saying goes,
“Sow a thought and reap a action,
Sow an action and reap a habit,
Sow a habit and reap a lifestyle.”
The enemy knows this very well and so he will plant thoughts in our minds (even in first person) to try and control your thinking. If he can get control of how you think, then he can drive your life into greater deception and darkness.
This is why 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says we must take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
Jesus also elaborates on this in John 10. He says that His people know His voice and follow Him but they will not follow the voice of the stranger. Notice He doesn’t say, “they will not hear the voice of the stranger.” Everyone will hear the voice but we must chose not to follow it. When you hear the voice of the stranger in your head, it doesn’t make you crazy. Everyone has thoughts that come into their minds that don’t originate from themselves. However, not understanding this will cause someone who has a bad thought to believe they are bad because of their ability to have the bad thought! NO, believing the thought came from you is how the stranger (aka enemy) gets you to follow him. You follow him by believing the thoughts are true and you don’t follow the stranger simply by believing they are not true. You don’t get beat up and condemned just because something crazy went through your mind. You thank God for truth and take your thoughts captive so you control your mind in Christ and not have your mind control you. The battle for truth and right living are won or lost in the mind and then eventually expressed through a life lived. Many casualties have fallen prey to the enemy simply by not understanding this principal.
(Sidenote) Our culture has also taught the lie that “you are what you feel.” This belief reduces us to making our emotions lord instead of Christ. If we are determined by what we feel, then truth is displaced by the roller coaster of emotions which can change on a daily basis. For example, If I as a white man, one day decide I feel like a woman, does that make me a woman? What if I feel like being an Asian woman? What if I feel like being a 6 foot 4 Asian woman? Does feeling this way make my desire truth? If you say yes to the first one (being a woman) then you have no ground on denying me the next 2 (being Asian and 6 foot 4.)
If we are what we sometimes feel, then there is no end to how ridiculous it can get.
The gender we are born as, is what we will be for eternity. A man who changes into a woman medically will still be a man in eternity. We must learn to navigate our emotions by truth and not by the feelings themselves. (End sidenote.)
Other people get same-sex desire simply by being so hurt by opposite sex interactions. The pain of rejection, abuse, manipulation or betrayal hurts them to the point of no longer wanting anything to do with heterosexual relationships. Therefore, they often feel safer to stay with the same sex and strike up a romantic relationship that way because it’s more comfortable and safe.
Or someone might feel they don’t measure up to the standard of their gender. A woman who doesn’t feel beautiful enough or a male who doesn’t feel macho enough may resort to abandoning their gender all together or just becoming same-sex oriented because it’s again, easier and/or safer.
Some people say that they were born gay (even though I am unaware of this being scientifically proven) and therefore it must be Gods Will. You were also born with selfishness and the ability to scream as a little child when you don’t get your way. God never made you that way, the fall of Man did and that’s why we all must be “born again.” Become a new creation where old things have passed away and all things become new. No human with air in their lungs and a beating heart is beyond the love and power of the transformative Gospel of Jesus Christ.
So, how do we as Christians respond to those in the LGBTQ community? First let me tell you how we DON’T respond. You will see 3 examples of the 2 extreme stances Christians shouldn’t take.
- By getting bull horns and attending their Pride marches with signs that say “repent or else!” “Turn or burn!” or “God will judge you!”
- By pushing our beliefs onto them and being angry that they don’t believe what we do
- By judging them and thinking we are somehow better then they are or thinking they are worse sinners then we have been.
- Change what we believe to accommodate their lifestyle
- Bow to a seeker friendly approach that seeks to please people instead of taking a stand for truth.
- Ignore or change God’s Word regarding this topic as well as being ignorant in understanding His heart behind it and being able to explain both from a pure heart of love and mercy.
Now that we’ve looked at how NOT to respond, how do we actually respond?
We look to our Teacher, Jesus. After all, He said, “Follow Me,” which means we can, so how did He deal with people and how does the Bible teach us to respond to unbelievers/non-believers sin?
John 7:53-8:11 is the well known story of the woman caught in adultery. Much like leaders bound in religion today, the religious leaders wanted to stone her to death. They brought her to Jesus to test Him after literally catching her in the act of committing adultery. How did Jesus respond? Profoundly… He said,”Let the one who is without sin cast the first stone.” Eventually everyone got convicted and left. The woman found herself alone with Jesus but she still had a problem because Jesus is without sin so He has every right to stone her according to His own words. And yet He doesn’t. He says,
“Is there no one left to condemn you? Then neither do I condemn you, now go and sin no more.”
This is such a beautiful response because He doesn’t condemn and at the same time, doesn’t say that her sin is ok. He loves her in the midst of her unrepentant sin and empowers her to change all in one breath. Notice as well that the religious leaders only brought the woman caught in adultery. Adultery takes two so where was the man? See religion elevates other people’s sin above their own and this has happened with the LGBTQ community. Last I checked all sin has the same price tag… the blood of Christ.
Jesus says in John 3:17 and 12:47 that, “He did not come to judge or condemn the world but to save the world.”
Christians greatly misrepresent God when they think that convicting people of their sin falls into their job description. John 16:8 Jesus says that the Holy Spirit will come and one of His roles is to convict the world of their sin, so that job is already taken. How does the Holy Spirit do that? By being ridiculously kind and good to people!
How do I know that? Because of Romans 2:4 which says, “It’s the goodness (or kindness) of God that leads people to repentance.”
It’s not the judgment or condemning that leads people to change, it’s the kindness of God.
Wonder if Christians caught the heart of Jesus and started to become the goodness of God to those in the deepest of sin (Romans 2:4). Wonder if we became the mercy that triumphs over judgment and saw people for more than how they are behaving (James 2:13). Wonder if we stopped partnering with the accuser of the brethren and started partnering with the One who lives to make intercession (Revelation 12:10 & Hebrews 7:25).
Wonder if we partner with God like Ezekiel did in the valley of dry bones when Ezekiel only saw death and decay, he partnered with God by faith and prophesied life and in doing so, saw an exceedingly great army arise (Ezekiel 37:1-14).
Sounds like Romans 4:17 that says, “God gives life to the dead and calls those things out that do not exist as though they did.” What if we chose to partner with God and see the gold in people despite their sin and shortcomings and spoke God’s life over their death and then watch God do what only He can do.
Sounds like we then might be flowing in the ministry which Jesus has entrusted to every believer. What is that ministry? It’s the ministry of reconciliation found in 2 Cor 5:17-20,
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,
19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their sins against them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”
See how a believers ministry to the world is one of reconciliation which “does not count the sins of the people against them.” How different would believers be seen in the world if they just followed this one verse! See, love keeps no record of wrong (1 Cor 13:5) and Jesus said that the world will know we are His disciples by our love (John 13:35).
All of this is summed up beautifully in a dream a man had.
In the dream, this pastor was crying out for the lost and saying to God, “Lord! Send us the lost and broken! Send us the harvest Lord!”
As he prayed this, the doors to his church opened and in came prostitutes, drug dealers, homosexuals, murders, thieves etc. They started having sex in the pews and shooting heroin into their arms while others drank and swore and mocked. The pastor freaked out and said, “This is the house of God! What are you doing! Get out!!!”
The presence of the Lord then came into the room and the Lord spoke, “I thought you wanted Me to bring you the lost? Here they are. Now love them and let Me change them.” End of dream.
The Church’s primary concern in this area should be that of Gospel love for people. The kind of love that is patient and does not seek its own, is not proud and high minded. This love keeps no record of wrong done to it and believes the best of others, has hope that doesn’t waver and endures through the worst of things. This love never fails!
We are called to live in the tension of speaking the truth in love, (Ephesians 4:15). Our character is to be just like Christ, so gentle and yet so strong, completely pliable and yet absolutely unbreakable, dignified and yet so humble, full of grace and truth.
It would be a sad day if we received mercy for ourselves and yet failed to become mercy towards others. Or be forgiven of our sins without becoming forgiveness to others. Or be ridiculously loved by God and not become His love to the world. True Christianity is not about saying a prayer to go to heaven, it’s about heart transformation and being restored to the image of selfless love that was lost in the garden.
If this heart and mind which were in Christ, were in us, than the world’s view of what a Christian truly is would be drastically different. We must become the change we want to see and spend time with this incredible God of ours so we can carry His heart to a lost and broken world.
With how much our culture discusses the LGBTQ community and with how often we see it in movies, social media, schools and politics etc. How big do you think this community actually is? If you were to guess a percentage of the population, how much would you say? The actual numbers may surprise you. In 2012 only 3.5% of Americans were identified as being in the LGBTQ community and 4.5% by 2017. From 2012 – 2017 this community grew by only 1%. If we look solely at homosexuality and not bisexaulity, the numbers are obviously lower still. Only 1 in every 100 women is a lesbian and only 2 in every 100 men is homosexual. In Canada the LGBTQ community is even smaller at 1.7% homosexual and only 1.3% bisexual.
People in the LGBTQ community are at the highest risk for getting HIV. Approximately 67% of people diagnosed with HIV are either gay or bisexual. This percentage is likely much higher as many of these people do not come forward because they are afraid or embarrassed to get tested. With this percentage so high, the CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends that anyone within the LGBTQ community get tested every 3 – 6 months.