I spent the last week drafting the second letter for the second part of my introduction but failed to capture what I really wanted to say. Then God reminded me that I had already said it (quite well if I say so myself) a year or so ago. So, why reinvent the wheel?
Oh, by the way, I planned to address the other side of this issue and ended up directing the majority of it once again at my fellow Christians. Sorry, I guess God knows my audience better than I do.
I have been very careful about voicing how I really feel about homosexuality and gay marriage. Why? Well, because I know my views will make both sides unhappy. The few I have discussed this with say that I am not taking a stand at all, but I feel I am….so here goes nothing (I am feeling a little naked right now):
I am a Christian. I am a Christ follower. I believe the Bible to be 100% correct. I believe homosexuality is a sin based on the following (but please keep reading):
Leviticus 18:22 – “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.” (NIV)
Leviticus 20:13 – “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” (NIV)
The story of Sodom and Gomorrah found in Genesis 19
But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness…. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.
So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.
That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.
Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too. (NLT)
Wow! Sounds just like America today.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 – “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (NIV).
For those of you who are waiting for the reason I told you to keep reading, here is part of it:
1 Corinthians 6:11 – “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”(NIV)
Jesus Christ came and took away all of our sin. My sin of greed, slander, adultery (cause even if you just think about it-you have committed it)etc. are just as bad as homosexuality and I have been forgiven because I believe in Jesus Christ. No one’s sin is too great for Jesus Christ.
I know some of you are just thinking this is just a bunch of Christian Ease, but please keep reading.
I don’t think many non-Christians and maybe even part-time church attenders know just how much and how hard it has been beaten into our heads that we are not to be ashamed of the gospel of Christ.
Romans 1:16-17: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.
Luke 9:26: Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
If you knew this maybe you could better see the dilemma some Christians find themselves. I don’t want to hurt people. I don’t want people to hate me. Yet, I don’t want to be afraid or ashamed to share Jesus. I don’t want to disappoint or anger God. I think some people don’t want to have anything to do with God, but not because of his true message, but from what they have witnessed other Christians do or say or how they’ve been taught the message. Christians, we must be careful to not brow beat people over the heads or tear them down with scripture. Yes, there is a fine line between being ashamed to speak the truth and brow beating, but if we concentrate more on the love, the rest will seem less harsh. If I am asked if homosexuality is a sin, I will say “yes,” because it is the truth as I understand it, but I will make sure that I speak the rest. I will make sure that they know the blood of Jesus covers the magnitude of sin. I will make sure they know that Jesus loves them just as they are. If they are offended by the term sinner, I will let them know that I too am a sinner. We are all in the same boat and covered by the same blood.
For those of you who know how big I am on obedience, this may be kind of confusing for you, but hang on, I’m almost there.
You see, for me, it is all about a relationship with Jesus Christ. Now, I’m not talking about sporadic church attendance or an occasional Bible read, but an in-depth, living for Him kind of relationship. It is my job to get others to this place; the place where they can honestly trust and live out the scripture because they know Jesus to the depths of their hearts and souls. For me, being a Christian is not a religion, it is my life. My “soul” (pun intended) purpose on this earth is bring others to him and let’s face it, it will never happen by waving a sign or bashing people over the head with the Bible (nor will Facebook-lesson learned from yesterday).
It is my belief that the best way to reach people is to meet them where they are and help them to build a relationship with Jesus. If homosexuality is a sin, like we suspect, than Jesus will convict and change hearts. After all, it was when I began a true relationship with Christ, that he began to change my heart and life and that is where obedience began to take shape. Why wouldn’t he do that for someone else? No one has a perfect understanding of the Bible, so I think we should put it in Jesus hands. Now some Christians see this as people pleasing or “tickling the ears.” I don’t agree. There is a time to talk obedience, but that is after God has convicted and changed the heart. Now that is not to say that we aren’t to speak the gospel at all prior to a conversion, but we must follow Jesus’ example. Jesus didn’t carry a sign and picket. He didn’t rent billboards attacking others. Jesus at times spoke lovingly, but other times he was just honest. I think it is a complete misnomer to say that Jesus was always loving and kind. Remember the temple? Remember the Pharisees? Remember the time he sent a huge crowd away because they simply wanted miracles from him. We must know our audience and adjust our teaching styles accordingly. Yesterday’s Facebook postings regarding the whole Phil thing reminded me of the following verse:
Matthew 7:6″Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
Some people just don’t want to hear it and they will tear you down and make you look stupid. Don’t waste your time or energy on a lost cause. I’m not saying to give up on the person, just find a different method.
Fellow Christians, I believe we are fighting on the wrong end of the spectrum. If we are worried about this country’s morals and traditional families, then maybe we need to start taking a closer look at ourselves. Divorce is just as prominent in the church as it is in the world. Maybe we need to start promoting family values and building more biblical marriages in our own churches before we look at the world. I truly believe if we can get our own families back on track, these other issues will become moot.
For my Christians friends who think I’m nuts, it gets worse. I don’t believe it is the government’s job to define marriage. Speaking from a legal view, I think it goes against or constitution to limit marriage to a man and a woman. I also understand the need for homosexuals to get married. They want the right to healthcare benefits. They want a right to inherit property without a big legal battle. They want to have equal rights. I don’t blame them a bit.
Now that being said, if we want homosexuals to have the right to love who they want and say what they want, Christians must be able to speak their beliefs as well. After all, liberals stick up for the rights of Muslims in this country over the rights of Christians despite the intolerance Muslims have for women and the injustices and torment they put on their women. This doesn’t make a bit of sense to me.
While I love everyone, I promise you this: “I will not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of salvation to everyone that believes,” Romans 1:16-17.
I will never feel bad or ashamed of Jesus Christ. I will not be silenced from speaking His truth. Yes, I will do it in love and I will share his grace, but I WILL NOT be silenced!
Yes, it may appear that I am standing in the gray. I am not. My stance summed up is this:
I believe homosexuality is a sin because the Bible says it is; however, I believe the blood of Jesus Christ covers all sin. I support the rights of homosexuals to marry. I do not support or condone any sort of bullying of homosexuals and I will love everyone the same. If asked, I will share my thoughts on homosexuality, as I will not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ, but I will focus on sharing the love of Christ to hopefully lead others to a complete relationship with Jesus Christ and allow him to do convicting if convicting needs done.
See, I promised you I would make both sides unhappy.
Some of you may be wondering where all this is coming from. Yes, there is someone in my life I love very deeply who was homosexual (I say was because he has now gone to be with the Lord), but God, ironically enough, did not use him to convict me. He used two ladies, who I see occasionally and don’t even know their names, to change my heart. These two ladies have been together for 30 plus years, they have raised a good family, and are just good, kind-hearted people. These ladies don’t need me to tell them I think their choices are sinful. They don’t need my scriptures thrown in their faces. They know what the Bible says. What they need to know is that God loves them and Jesus died for them and would do it for them again today, no matter what. They need to know they are welcomed by God and in my church and in my life…just as they are…no strings attached.
Whenever my inner Pharisee wants to come out, I am reminded of these two ladies and my heart changes because I would never want to do or say anything to hurt them or be a stumbling block in any way.
There are a few things I would like to add to this piece as I have grown since I originally wrote it:
-I love you. God loves you. Jesus loves you. But your definition of love and God’s definition of love may be different. You don’t have to be all accepting of a person’s lifestyle choices to love them. As we will see throughout my series, God the Father has a righteous love for all His children, but that does not mean He is accepting of all we do. As parents we don’t have to like and support everything our children do in order to love them. Sometimes, tough love is in order. Would you let someone you love get behind the wheel of a car after a night of drinking? No, of course you wouldn’t. Why? Because you love them too much to see their life destroyed. Now, I know some of you are screaming this is not the same thing. However, for me, it is. I don’t say this to hurt you or judge you or anything like that. I tell you what the Bible says because I love you. Jesus hung out with and ate with sinners, but he did not become one; he did not leave them in their sins; he gave them a choice to follow Him. He still does that today.
-I am a Christian, but I am not perfect. I don’t think I am perfect. I don’t try to act like I am perfect. Yes, I still sin. Some have asked me what the difference is between my sin and the sin of homosexuality. The answer is simple, there is no difference. The same blood that covers my sin, can and will cover homosexuality as long as you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. The question now becomes ……have you really accepted Jesus Christ as your savior? Does your life show it? Have you repented? In other words, was your heart changed to follow the Word of God? I am not asking if you are now perfect or haven’t sinned….I am asking you if you are at all convicted about your sin? You can’t just say you believe in Jesus Christ to get into Heaven. You actually have to believe in Him. There is a difference.
-Please note the same freedoms that gives homosexuals a right to marry are the very same freedoms that give Christians and any others a right to oppose and disagree. Just as you want the right to live out your life to your choosing, so do we. The loss of religious liberties in this countries is the motivation behind this series.
-Lastly, I titled this series How Homosexual Marriage Affects Me. I didn’t do that to draw large numbers of readers, to be hateful or shocking. No, I chose it because, contrary to public opinion, homosexual marriage does affect me. As we go through the series, you will see it is not all for the bad, but you will see the effects nonetheless.