The Post That May Just Offend Everybody

or, My Thoughts on the Gay Marriage Issue

If you think you know me, and know where this is going, let me challenge you–you’re probably wrong.  Whether you think you’re going to agree with me, or think you can just stop reading, because you know you’re going to disagree with me, I ask that you read on, as I’m betting you’re going to be surprised.  I’m a little surprised myself.

To all that I offend:  my intent is not to hurt, or alienate, or disparage.  I’m not asking you to agree with me, or debate me, or dismiss me.  I just ask that you consider this; I wouldn’t have taken the time to write it, or 10 times that amount of time to consider it, if I didn’t think it were important–not because it’s my thoughts, but because it’s the results of what I believe God has been cultivating in my head over the past several years, and because he’s been pretty relentless in getting me to writing this down tonight, when I have a hundred excuses why I can’t.  Yes, this post is going to have a decidedly Christian slant (although some might strongly disagree).  Please don’t let that turn you off–just hear me out.

Now for the disclaimers:  I’m probably one of the most conservative, fundamental people I know.  Paul rattles off his qualification to be the ultimate Jew in Philippians 3:5-6.  Well, here’s my parallel list of qualification to be a poster-child for Fox-News watching, Tea-Party-supporting, NRA-member, super-conservative status:  Born in the Midwest, raised by two Christian parents who are still married to each other, for the first time; retired Army officer; big-oil employee; firearm owner (all of which are banned in CA); John Wayne posters and pictures THROUGHOUT my garage; and most recently, a certified Pentecostal pastor!  I can out-conservative the best our country has to offer, and have been able to clearly articulate the superiority of my conservative values my entire life.  But like Paul in the subsequent verses, I now consider all of that not just a loss, but sewage (that’s a nice way of translating what the NIV calls “garbage”).  Not because I’m better than that; because I’m most definitely not.  No, it’s because God’s been dragging me through a knothole in the process of trying to remake me in the image of his Son, and along the way, I’ve been confronted with the cognitive dissonance of my traditional beliefs vs. what the Bible says.

Based on my qualifications, one would expect me to be firmly on the far right, crying out against gay marriage.  I’m not.  In fact, I think the church in America really needs to re-examine itself here.  I’ve seen a lot of traffic on the internet for a long time now, and particularly in the past few days, with professing Christians crying out to God, their neighbors, and anyone who will listen on the internet to oppose this “attack on marriage.”  I’ve even read one church who posted a call for fervent prayer that God would not allow the Supreme Court to “destroy marriage.”  I’ve even seen some pretty hateful stuff said toward those who disagree with their position that marriage should be legally restricted to one man and one woman.  I think all of that is a mistake, and a failing of God’s people.

More on that in a minute.  Now that I’ve alienated all of my conservative Christian readers, let me make clear my position that I firmly believe that homosexual activity is a sin and an abomination to God.  I’m not going to make a vigorous defense of my position here; It is abundantly clear in the Bible.  In fact, those who try to refute the Biblical assertion that homosexual activity is a sin only do so through  interpretive gymnastics that would break Gumby’s back.  To be clear:  this post is in no way condoning a homosexual lifestyle.

Homosexual activity is a sin (now I’ve most assuredly alienated those who support gay marriage), but there are many other sins out there; unfortunately conservatives have chosen to make this one their litmus test and their Waterloo.  Adultery is a sin; so is prostitution, alcohol abuse, lying, cheating on your taxes, and judging others.  All of these are affronts to God, but somehow we’ve made homosexuality the Asherah pole of our society, and committed all of our Christian resources to defeating gay marriage, or dying on the hill in the fight.  So, what would Jesus do?  Well, the Gospels are silent as to Jesus’ position on homosexual activity, but that is because 1st Century Judaism had no questions–it was a sin and an affront to God.  It is almost a sure thing that the issue never came up.  But, we can look at how Jesus dealt with other examples of sin to extrapolate a good idea how he would have approached the issue of homosexuality:

  • Adultery:  Jesus interceded on behalf of the adulterous woman, telling the judgmental crowd to have the sinless among them cast the first stone.  He then tells her that he doesn’t condemn her either, but “Go now and leave your life of sin.”  (John 8:1-11)
  • Prostitution:  Luke 7:36-50 tells of Jesus not only associating with a prostitute (not to be confused with having sexual relations with her), but he forgives her sins.
  • Alcohol abuse:  In John 2, Jesus’ first recorded miracle of turning water into wine.  This was a Jewish wedding feast–a multi-day party, where the host was praised for not bringing out the Mogen David once the guests were too drunk to know the difference.  The norm was that the host banked on the guests getting tanked up early, and took advantage of it by serving the cheap stuff once they were drunk, to save money.  Jesus didn’t condemn them, he gave them world-class wine!
  • Lying:  My personal favorite is how Jesus treated one of his closest friends, who not only lied three times, but in doing so, denied any connection with Jesus.  Jesus didn’t exclude him, he sought him out, forgave him, and restored the relationship. (John 18:25-27; 21:15-19)
  • Cheating on your taxes:  Tax collectors of his day were the ultimate tax cheats, but Jesus befriended one and brought him into his inner circle (Matthew), and famously ate dinner with another (Zaccheus).
  • Judging others:  Ok, this one goes a little differently.  Jesus was famously intolerant of those who judged others, particularly those who saw themselves as somehow superior, or favored by God, because of their observance of religious laws.  Instead, he spoke highly of those who sacrificially loved their fellow man, even when they had all rights to judge them negatively based on how their fellow man had treated them. (Luke 10:30-37)  An in-depth study of the Gospels will reveal that the only group that Jesus judges, speaks harshly to, or condemns, is the religious leaders who judge (and condemn) others.

These examples demonstrate Jesus’ approach to those who commit sins:  He loves them.  That doesn’t mean that he condones their sinful acts!  But he definitely does not chastise them, condemn them (with the noted exception of judgmental religious leaders), and tell them to get away from him, clean up their act, and then he will talk to them.  And we don’t do that in church with almost any other sin:  Can you imagine how much more abysmal church attendance would be if we said “don’t come through those doors until  you’ve given up your (personal sin issues)”?  Sinners were drawn to Jesus, despite their sin, because of his unconditional love–and in the process of encountering him, they rejected their sin and worshipped God!

The Church hasn’t taken this approach.  We’re trying to outlaw sin!  That’s not going to work, as it’s outside of temporal government’s jurisdiction.  Although we are desperately trying to give government jurisdiction in spiritual matters.  “Greg, you’re nuts!  We’re doing the exact opposite! We’re trying to get government OUT of spiritual matters” you say?  Well, to keep this post smaller than a book, let me give one example that’s directly on point:  Marriage.  Many conservative voices are stating that a Supreme Court ruling in support of gay marriage will “destroy traditional marriage.”  Really?  How can that be?  See, somewhere along the line we lost sight of the fact that GOD defines Christian marriage, not the government.  Marriage licenses in America are nothing more than an acknowledgement of a civil union of two people.  If GOD defines Christian marriage, then guess what?  SCOTUS, POTUS, and all the other USes can’t redefine it.  The problem is, the Church has lost sight of the fact that IT is the agency on earth that acknowledges the unity of one man and one woman in HOLY matrimony.  Those who claim a favorable ruling for gay marriage will destroy “traditional marriage” have just given that power to the State–the State doesn’t have it unless the Church abdicates it.

Here’s the real issue:  whether our litmus test is gay marriage, prayer in schools, or even abortion (a topic for another time–let’s just summarize with “I abhor it; I can’t even imagine how God feels about it”), we’ve failed miserably by trying to legislate Christian values–and it’s kicked our butt.  Instead of trying to make followers of God by creating laws that legislate morality and virtuous behavior (sound a little bit like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day?), let’s take the radical, revolutionary approach modeled by Jesus:  Unconditionally love ALL mankind!  Matthew 5:14-16 tells Christians that we are the “light of the world.”  Jesus uses the analogies of a city on a hill, or a lamp in a dark room.  These are warm, inviting lights.  Too many Christians have interpreted this to be searing lasers that we focus on the cockroaches hiding in the corners.  Jesus says “let your light shine before (not on) men, that they may see your good deeds (not religious works) and praise your father in heaven.”  When Americans look at the church today, they don’t see good deeds and praise God, they see judgmentalism and hatred, and reject what we have to offer.  The Barna Group conducted a landmark study of American perceptions toward Christianity.  A believable, but distressing finding:  “Today, the most common perception is that present-day Christianity is ‘anti-homosexual.’ Overall, 91% of young non-Christians and 80% of young churchgoers say this phrase describes Christianity.”

Now you know where I stand–so what?  First, let me say that this is a difficult place for me to be; I don’t stand here self-righteously judging all you who don’t measure up to my lofty piousness.  To be frank, it’s difficult for me to not have a visceral negative reaction when I see displays of same-sex attraction…  That means it gives me the willies.  That’s my 40+ years of conservative conditioning kicking in, and it’s hard for my spirit to overcome that.  But Jesus doesn’t want me to make everyone into conservatives, he wants me to show the world His love, so they seek His Father.  So I’ve got to deal with it.  Part of the way I deal with the heavy stuff, particularly the things I struggle with myself, is to write them here.  Writing helps me think it through, and more importantly, I now have to live it, or allow others to call me on my hypocrisy.  Further, I’m hoping that my Christian brothers and sisters can see that we’ve done more harm than good by making gay marriage our Waterloo.  It’s not.  We’re majoring in minors.  Satan doesn’t have to try to defeat the Church, he’s just sitting back and laughing while we alternate between killing off ourselves, and alienating the world from us to the point that we no longer have influence.  I know Satan loses in the end; but we’re certainly not contributing to Jesus’ cause right now; furthermore, we’re failing miserably in obeying his command to “go and make disciples”–we’re making enemies.

For my friends who don’t follow Jesus:  I’m sorry for the hateful, judgmental way I have treated you, and treated homosexuals in particular.  God doesn’t hate homosexuals any more than he hates bigoted judgmental asses like me.  He hates the sins we commit–all of them, not just those selected by the Moral Majority for special emphasis.  So when I judge someone else for their sin, he’s hating that action of mine.  It’s not my business to judge, or even point out your sin.  God judged the sins of the WORLD (including mine) 2000 years ago on a cross in Jerusalem.  They’re all forgiven–EVERY one of them–but you have to go to Him to receive that forgiveness.  Even when we don’t recognize something as sinful, God can help us see how he sees things, in his timing–the world today argues that homosexual acts are acceptable; it’s not my place to judge the actions of others; He’ll deal with that person one-on-one.  If I’ve judged you, or made you feel unaccepted by me, or by God, then I’ve sinned, and I ask your forgiveness.  And I’ll apologize for my Christian brothers and sisters too.  We’ve gotten a bad reputation (and for the most part we’ve earned it), as portraying ourselves as somehow better than those who don’t follow Jesus–it’s seen as self-righteousness.  Speaking for my brothers and sisters, we’re all screwed up, and left to our own devices, we’re no better than the rest of the world.  We’re trying to be better,  and God is helping us to grow every day, but some of us have a LOT of growing to do (me being a prime example).  But sometimes we still try to control things, and we end up making a mess and hurting others by trying to be God, or at least help him out.

In the next few days, the Supreme Court is going to rule on two landmark cases which may redefine what secular government defines as marriage.  No matter which way they rule, the Kingdom of God is still at hand, God is still on the throne, and NOTHING that he defines can be harmed in the least bit by any earthly government.  So what the heck are us Christians all tweaked about?  Let’s get about the business of shining our light, and pouring out God’s GRACE through us onto mankind, rather than dispensing our judgment.

A man, overwhelmed by the inexhaustible grace of God manifested in his own life, cannot help but to reject his sin, and sprint into the unconditional love God offers him (while we he was still a sinner).  I know.  It happened to me.

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41 thoughts on “The Post That May Just Offend Everybody

  1. Wow, Greg. You said it well. My favorite sentence here is “But Jesus doesn’t want me to make everyone into conservatives…” Whether or not we want to admit it, the evangelical church interchanges conservative with Christian all too often. The church has become largely irrelevant because of our “well-meaning” outrage over sin. We’ve done it to ourselves.

  2. Agreed. Totally. BUT – am interested in how the I Corinthians issue fits in here. What IS a congregation to do when one of them chooses to not abandon their sin, but embrace it?

  3. Agreed. Totally. God is on His Throne and what we governmentally decide will not alter His views at all. And the lives His children lead under His Kingdom principles will reflect His rule in their lives regardless of current laws to the contrary in their land. BUT! I’m curious about how you would address this: What is a congregation to do when faced with the I Corinthians issue – when one of their own refuses to abandon their sin, but chooses to embrace it instead?

      1. Really? That is your answer? Well let’s start by removing the fat people from church, those gluttons should repent and turn from their ways before being allowed to hold covenant with the rest of us. While we’re at it, let’s permanently remove the folks that have been divorced, the bible is very clear about the fact that people should not divorce, and if they do they certainly shot NOT remarry, per biblical definitions that makes them adulterers. Let’s also take the people that are wearing garments woven of more than one material and remove them from the church as well, clearly an old testament law but it appears in the same vein as the homosexuality clause. Now we’re getting good and fired up here, let’s also take the people out that have ever masturbated as well as the people that have ‘known a woman’ while she was menstruating and cast them out too. Eat any pork lately? You see where I’m going with this, right? There is a HUGE problem in trying to apply the ‘old law’ to people and justify if it as ‘abhorring the sin’ and ‘helping / reprimanding a brother/sister in Christ.’ I don’t know what the answer is, but there is one thing that I know for CERTAIN. EVERY single person that counts themselves a follower of Christ sins, DAILY. They sin and sin and sin some more, most of it never repentant about, and never changing ways from. Be it ‘small lies’ to ‘over eating’ to ‘looking at a woman in an inappropriate way for just a second’ and on an on… and yet still feel covered in God’s love… why? Because we live DAILY LIVES OF CONSTANT SIN AND GOD LOVES US. We are a heaping pile of sinning mess, God knows this; Christ knew this. Christ new this when he said “a new law I give to you” and he completely scrapped the old law which was about how others observed you sinning, and established the new law which was about how YOU internalized yourself sinning. So we went from ‘don’t physically lust’ to ‘don’t THINK about physically lusting’. You know why the bar got set so high again? It’s the same reason why the commandments were established in the first place – to CLEARLY demonstrate that there was NOTHING that you could do that would ever make you whole, or of your own accord worthy of saving. You cannot follow the rules well enough, even if it was your entire life’s mission, you will fail. In failing, we need Christ love and forgiveness. It’s beautiful really, to see a God SO BIG that He can say “You worry about serving me, and I’ll worry about everyone else”… that’s where we need to move to… Worry about your own life, and how it glorifies Christ. Worry about bending the sum of who you are into the will of Christ… and let Christ worry about what it means if two members of the same sex love each other.

        “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”

      2. So true, we as humans are not perfect and we will ALWAYS SIN no matter what the sin is….it’s all sin….no levels of sin ALL sin. Not to sin would put on God’s level and WE are not God!!!! If we were not sinners there would have been no need for the cross! God does not love the Sin but he does love the Sinner.

    1. Good question. Usually if someone is offended by being corrected they simply leave and join another fellowship. Sometimes they stir up strife and make a bigger problem on the way out.

      Society is reflected in our churches. American culture champions freedom and not so much accountability or commitment (eg. Christian divorce rate, church attendance). How can you speak into someone’s life if you do not know them? It is the failing of churches in America.

      I think of Moses and how he was given great revelation while in close fellowship with God and yet he blew it somehow. Something little? Greater the revelation, greater the accountability. He was not able to enter the promised land. We too have been blessed with a whole mess of revelation: Pastors, TV/radio broadcasts, Bibles in our hotels… and yet I feel we have not humbled ourselves (repented), prayed, sought His face (honestly chose to obey), and turned from evil. We sign up for the fire insurance but fail to pay the premium. It does cost to be a Christian.

      Being all things to all people to win a few does not mean compromising with the world. Where’s the contrast? When Jesus said, “Go sin no more.” Did He mean go sin and do what you want, I got you covered? I don’t think so. God says He won’t be mocked. He is looking for obedience. Matthew 21:29-31 gives the parable of two sons that are told to do something. One obeys and the other doesn’t. The Pharisees were the ones that occupied the churches of the time. They thought they were doing great and yet the prostitutes and tax collectors recognized their sin and repented. They were the children that obeyed. We are doing no favors by telling people they are doing wonderfully when they are not. Encouraging and exhorting have there place but Jesus also asked for sin to be dealt with in the church. Perhaps your Bible does not have Matthew 18:15? What was the purpose? Restoring (Gal 6:1) the individual but if not successful, preserving the holiness of the church. The public is right to call us hypocrites. A church saved by grace not of works but not offering a victorious life over sin? Hey, can’t stop sinning so why bother trying… We focus on Romans 1:9 and forget Romans 6. Do we not love our children and yet we punish them for wrong behavior. Why? because we want the best for them. Obedience means longer life. I think there is a spiritual component here too, if we obey our Father.

      Romans 1:32 “Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

      I think this passage is saying folks naught ought to keep doing them. If you approve of a law that condones sinful behavior then you should be willing to marry those people that practice that behavior in your church. What is this I disapprove of the behavior but support a law that says it’s ok? I approve of Roe vs. Wade… that women should have the right to kill their babies but I am against abortion. Huh? We are not politicians.

      Trust in the sovereignty of the Lord and yet recognize that the world is choosing the wide path. Choose to follow the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

      Being a pastor nowadays has got to be the hardest job in the world. To allow the Holy Spirit to convict of sin, to know when to show mercy/grace/compassion and when time to hold the line, to promote unity, deal with sin/conflicts/strife, be motivated by genuine love, and reach out to a dying world by shining His light (Phil 2:14), and do the will of the Father (Matt 7:1). Oh wait that is all of our jobs. Be salty my friends.

  4. Paul’s letter to Corinth was explicitly directing how the people of the church should deal with internal church issues, as you have stated above. It’s definitely an interesting, and sticky topic, that has caused a lot of confusion, dissention, and hurt in the Church, and has caused some Christians to misapply it to how we deal with people who aren’t in our church, but I don’t think it’s a direct application to the topic at hand.

    1. Again, I agree. But I believe that the church today is lacking in one element of how they deal with one who refuses to turn from their sin choice. We should be in mourning for him or her, and in fervent prayer for them. Never should we hate the nonrepentant, though we will hate the sin. As long as there is breath, there is opportunity for God to bring a straying heart home to Himself. I’ve seen it take years sometimes, but God won before the end. There is always hope. Never give one up for dead while they live. Continue praying and lifting them up before God. Even though contact between the person and ourselves may be broken, God is still able to get through to them.

      1. I don’t disagree with your thoughts, but I wasn’t really directing this towards issues within the church, which is where Paul was going. I believe we make a mistake when we attempt to apply this direction for discipline within the church to the world outside the fellowship.

  5. Thank you for this. So much. I should say that I am an extremely liberal atheist, and so this post does not reflect my own personal views. But it is exactly the way I feel this conversation needs to go, and I’m so glad to see you say these things. Marriage in the church is one thing, sacred to the members of the church, and I have no interest in messing with the religious beliefs and rites of any church. But marriage in the state is a different thing, and should be of no consequence to those in the church. It should be secular, because the state is secular. This distinction is so important, and I’m so glad to see someone from the conservative religious side of this issue recognize that in the same way I do. Thank you, Greg!

    1. Greg, I enjoyed your insight. So many times we as Christians fall short of the mark ourselves. Only by His grace are we justified. Our lives should be a light of hope to those who do not yet know that there is God who loves them to the extent that He offered His only son in our stead so that we could be found blameless. It is a lot to take in that a God who loves us that much exists in a world that is so filled with troubles. We do no justice to God by being the accuser…rather our lives should be an example. More is caught than taught and I believe that is especially true. God bless you brother, Ken

  6. This has made me stop and take a look at myself in more ways than I really cared to. It is really hard for me to understand that I have been judging others and thinking myself superior because of my beliefs. It is becoming clearer to me that “my” thought process needs alot of tweaking and I know as I do and have prayed everyday that God is the one that directed me to this post. Thank you Greg for sending this message to me through God and helping me to align my thoughts a little closer to His. I only hope that I can continue to improve my own disposition and to be more forgiving and understanding in the weeks, months and years to follow. I am finding it VERY hard not to judge when I have been doing it and not really understanding that that is EXACTLY what I have been doing. Thank you again!!

    1. Glenn,

      Thank you for taking the time to read, and for encouraging me! Keep seeking Him… That’s the only way we’re going to grow in Him. I wish that it were only a daily struggle with me; I do a lot more catching myself after the fact than I seem to do by loving proactively, but every once in a while I get it right, and He smiles!

  7. Greg–thanks so much for taking the time to express your thoughts on paper. We concur on a great many things as they relate to the issue at hand. There are some things that I would like to express though.

    Homosexuality IS a sin, no doubt. It is one of so many sins that God finds abhorrent in His sight. No better or worse than the others like pride, anger, gossiping etc. They are all equally bad in His sight and according to His word. The biggest issue to me in this is that the “whole” gospel has not been spread along the way. God IS love, but he isn’t ONLY love. God also has expectations, commands and standards that we are expected to live by. Some may choose to ignore these things, but we all will come to judgment for how we have lived. God’s word and rule are supreme here.

    I do believe that there is a special social order that God created and that He set up for us in order that society might function properly. God created man and woman for specific purposes and put them together for a reason—not just for procreation either. The concept of “one flesh” verifies this. There is a special emotional and spiritual bond between husbands and wives that is mysterious in many ways. And you cannot get this in homosexual relationships. God does NOT honor homosexual relationships for this reason according to any scripture that I’ve read. In fact, Jesus channels this when he states scripture in Matthew 19:4-6. Man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the two shall become one flesh. This is the formula for a godly marriage, and it is what Jesus intended when he restated this old testament passage originally from Genesis. Christians abdicating and abandoning this intentional social compact should be ashamed. People have said “we cannot legislate morality”–it never works. Well, the basis for our law is God’s law. We have laws against theft because “thou shalt not steal”. That law doesn’t keep people from stealing, but it does provide a basis for an orderly society.

    In scripture Jesus does confront adultery and the key part of that story is that he tells her (at the same time) that she is forgiven AND that he expects her to turn from her wicked ways. He does that with me and you as well. But my experience has been that homosexuals don’t think they’re doing anything wrong. They continually say “God made me this way and there’s nothing wrong with it” or they say “how can it be wrong to love someone else?”. It’s not wrong to love someone, but it is wrong to use this as an excuse for continuing in sin or from not even admitting sin to begin with.

    You mention that Jesus doesn’t condone sin or chastise them, and you make an exception for the pharisees and sadducees. The bottom line is that there is no way that I know of to speak the truth about homosexuality or any other sin without hurting someone’s feelings. if you’re in church and the pastor mentions drunkenness, the person struggling is going to get upset or feel guilty. if he mentions gluttony, i might get upset. Sin convicts us all. That’s what being “under conviction” means. Guilt, if it helps us to see our errors, is good. What Jesus doesn’t say is “hey, your sin is no big deal. if you feel good doing it, then go ahead and continue in it. It wouldn’t be “fair” for you to have to feel any guilt whatsoever about what you’ve done. I’ll just go ahead and be nailed to a cross so you can feel assuaged”.

    You stated that Americans see the church today and see judgmentalism and hatred. When we account for our lives, I don’t believe God is going to give someone a pass because of what I have or haven’t done. He judges each person on whether that person believed and committed to Christ or didn’t. Non christians cannot use me or you or anyone else as a scapegoat, a cop-out. If you want to know what Christ is like, don’t look at me. I’m a sometimes bad example of that. Look at Jesus himself. He alone can save you, not me. And I think you may be too harsh with the church in this area. On one hand you call the church to love unconditionally and without reservation, and on the other hand you criticize the manner in which it happens. Churches are for sinners, imperfect people. That means we’re going to do it wrong sometimes. Those entering the door of the church need to understand this up front. If they’re coming to seek Christ, then they need to be aware first and foremost that we’re not going to get it right all the time. The expectation that a group of imperfect people can somehow be the perfectly loving group of Christian representatives is not congruent. I’m not trying to make excuses. I’m just being up front about it. And what about all of the good the church has done? It seems to me that our lack of perfection has all but eliminated all of the godly things we have done in His name. That doesn’t seem right to me.

    If we’re to “go and make disciples” of all nations, then we have to start with preaching the whole gospel, not just the pleasantries of love and friendship and all. We also have to say what God expects of us in all situations. Once you come to Christ, living His way is the next thing to learn how to do. You cannot do that unless and until you realize that your own life doesn’t measure up. I realize this for myself all the time. This is what repentance is all about.

    You mention that God will judge all of us, and that is obviously right. But the church and individual Christians as well, have an obligation to know what’s in scripture and to adhere to it as best as they can. As it relates to judging others, this may be the most difficult thing to keep from doing as a believer. I don’t want to look down on someone else’s sin necessarily, but God’s word is the tool for straightening ourselves out if we’ll just read it. And pastors and other leaders have an obligation to speak about the pitfalls of sin, all sin, and how it affects all of us. This means you can’t shy away from one sin because it’s not popular to discuss openly. If we can’t be open about sin in the house of God during public worship together, then where and when would it be appropriate?

    Let me close by saying God loves all people even though not all will believe in Him. Ultimately, I cannot believe for them and repent for them. It’s a big enough job for me to repent of my own failures. To those who perpetuate the idea that if you don’t agree with gay marriage (either in civil life or based on God’s plan for mankind as espoused in scripture), I say that you’re just being duped. Just because we disagree doesn’t mean we hate you. I don’t hate anybody. Don’t go around calling me a “hater” because we think about things differently. That is just a way to squash any real discussion or dialog. By God’s grace alone we can all be saved IF we believe in Christ and repent of our wicked ways.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to provide a very detailed and well presented reply. It’s good to be able to share a love for Jesus and still disagree on theological points. I think the nuance of difference that I would ask you to consider is that while we are called to speak truth to our brothers and sisters in love in order to help them grow as disciples, I’m not so sure that we’re called to pronounce the sins of those who have not yet chosen to follow Jesus as a way to draw them to him.

      As I cited above, and another commenter noted, Jesus often told a sinner to “sin no more,” but only after he had connected with them in a loving way, and built some sort of relational connection with them. He did not chastise them as sinners, then ask them to follow him. He met their needs, asked them to follow, then in his timing challenged their sinful behaviors–not to convict them, but to help them grow. John the Baptist prepared the way for the Lord; we don’t need to do that. He’s already here. We just need to introduce others to him. I’ve found that I’m more effective in introducing others to him with love and grace than I am with judgment and conviction. Just something he’s shown me over the years.

      1. i would agree with you that christ drew people in and then challenged their sin. But this somehow didn’t apply to the Pharisees. He dealt with them in a different way totally. I wonder why it was different. I would say that the “church” in many ways has ignored the way of John the Baptizer and has chosen the path of least resistance instead. I believe that we’re called both to proclaim God’s love AND his expectations of daily living. Not one or the other, but both at the same time.

  8. well let me just say that none of those sins listed..adultery, prostitution etc are an ABOMINATION unto God or a STENCH in His nostrils!! there is an absolute difference and I whole-heartedly disagree with this person! We are NOT supposed to just let go and let it be period!!!!!
    If this particular sin is not such an abomination unto God then why utterly destroy Sodom and Gomorrah???

  9. I am a Christian Mother and was forced to face this 3 years ago. My daughter came to me and told me she was Gay! Dreams fell around my feet. Being a Christian and knowing how unacceptable this is in so many eyes I worried about my daughter being alone all of her life OR if she chose a partner how people would view her. Not something you want your child to go through either way. She’s a Christian too and I knew how the Christian community would shun her and my heart broke!! Not only that my heart broke because I knew I would never be able to plan a wedding with my daughter, I would never had a grandchild from my daughter and that her life could even be in danger because there is so much hate against Gays there is even the potential for suicide because Gays have the highest rate of suicide today….all cause by being confused by society and unaccepted by so many! Yes, we unforgiving, judging and self righteous human beings can hate so much that we can make others feel they are unloved, unwanted in our world today and they carry the burden to the point of breaking. For one moment I ask you to put yourself in my shoes and try to understand my feelings! I watched my daughter crumble at my feet and say she did not want to be this way!! This is NOT by choice people!!! Some may be but most are not! The pain in my heart watching my child that loves God, knows it’s a sin and not wanting to live a life of such controversy weep….I cannot describe the heartbreak! This I carried in my heart because if I shared with a friend I feared they would forsake me, I do not live near anyone that can help me. Even my Pastor would not understand and I would be sharing something about my daughter so private and if it got out it could ruin her career she worked so hard for and so many other things! God was my only answer. I prayed for 2 straight years for Him to change my child, to make her “normal” and realize she is was not Gay! For someone that believes that God never leaves us or forsakes us….no answers came from above but to “LOVE HER JUST AS SHE IS.” Well, I never thought of that!!!! I wanted to change her!!! Then, I realized that God created her just the way she is and guess what….. he LOVES her more than me!!! Fearfully and wonderfully made!!! God does not love the “sin” but he loves the sinner!!! Aren’t we ALL sinners? Otherwise, why would it have been unecessary for Him to die on that cross for our Sins??? I prayed for her not to be alone…to find a “man” that would change her. He gave her a partner…”female.” How can I accept that? I love this young lady so much it is unreal, she is like another “Christian” daughter, one that has struggled with her existance just like my daughter. How can I love Her? God does, why shouldn’t I? Now they want children….how can they do that? With Love…simply love! Again, God is putting in my life a new view. Of course, they can’t create a child but hopefully, one day they can adopt and “unwanted” child that has already been born into this world. Wow, an unwanted child gets a loving home….think of those wonderful headlines! Also, can I love a child that is not of my blood? That is a test for sure….I love others that are not of my blood…a child can only be sweeter!!! I don’t understand everything, I don’t know if I am right or wrong, I don’t know so many things but I do know God’s love. I know that he gave me a beautiful daughter that has made it her goal in life to save others by being in the medical field. I know she is smart, she is full of life, she loves God and she has a lot to offer this old evil world! She is not a detriment to society,she does not participate in the not so pretty side of the Gay community, she believes in loving one and only one and does not lead a promiscuous life as our heterosexual community does….she’s just beautiful…what more can I say? I know many will scarf at this and say I wouldn’t put up with that, I would tell them to get out of the comfort of focusing on one scripture and look at the whole Biblical picture. Walk in my shoes…..she was a gift to me from God to treasure and love on this earth. I know some of you will raise many scriptures to me from the Bible on how wrong I am. I hope I am raising some to you about how “right” I am. I’ve read them too and again we are ALL sinners. Some would say well, that will never happen to me…don’t do that, you do not know your future. I hope in this you can see the Love of God, the love of a mother and see that none are perfect. I hope it opens your eyes to the Gay community and that you can be more loving, accepting and understanding. I am not asking anyone to change their views on their Biblical views of being Gay but go beyond that and see ALL scripture. See where God says love your neighbor, see God’s compassion for ALL man, See God’s Love for ALL mankind, see that we are ALL sinners and fall short of the Glory of God, see God’s compassion, see how he always turned to the sinner and how he said lest you cast the first stone, accept those as He accepts us. Previously, I said walk in my shoes….on second thought DO NOT walk in my shoes…walk with God, strife to be a imagine of Him, a soft heart and loving heart. Please pray for my family, we have so many new challenges yet to come and how to deal with them I will not know prior but I know I will trust in God and He will take me where I need to go in this walk. I thank Him for my daughter and I will let Him lead and guide us…..what would you do?

    1. Thank you so much for sharing this. My heart breaks for you… I can’t imagine how difficult it must be, but I think you are on the right track. God’s love for your daughter, poured out through you, and your prayer for her is what I believe Jesus would ask of you. Bless you, and your daughter, who sounds like a wonderful young lady.

  10. I will pray for you Frshherbs.

    What would I do?

    I would love my daughter. I would pray for her.

    I agree that God loves your daughter, so much so that He died for her. God did not make your daughter a sinner or give her sinful behavior.

    No matter how many scriptures you find on not judging (Matt 7) or judging (1 Corinthians 6, Matt 18) there is no way to condone sin. Sin separates us from God. I really appreciate richtfan’s comments on repentance. My thinking the high suicide rate among people engaged in homosexual behavior is linked more to troubled consciences. It sounds like you are trying to convince yourself that homosexuality is normal or not harmful?

    Yes, I do believe Christians are not reaching out enough to people that practice homosexuality.

    1. Oh no, I don’t think it is not harmful or normal. My husband and I have been married 35 years and I have a hard time calling anything but one man and one woman bound by God a marriage. If you feel I was searching to find something you are right…I guess I will always search for answers in this situation. One other comment is it may be their conscience bothering them but I am sure I would fill like a misfit and having people look at me differently or not accept me could be a huge pressure that some can’t handle. Many parents kick their kids out and don’t even try to understand….me, I cannot ever stop loving my child!!!! Thank you for your prayers and nice comments!

  11. A good and thought-provoking post.
    One thought in response, though: Didn’t Jesus say to each person you pointed out to “go and sin no more”?
    Is it judgmental and self-righteous to object to what God has already told us he hates? Are we not then catering to what the flaky, ever-changing public opinion tells us to do?

    1. I understand what you are saying. This is something that I really believe we are doing….becoming okay with whatever. Jesus, did say go and sin no more but do any of us live the perfect life of not sin….if not why are we just picking certain issues like being Gay as the ultimate sin….sin is sin and we all fall short of the Glory of God. Thank you 🙂

    2. I can understand your point; I’ve held strongly to the idea that I was to declare God’s truth by showing my disapproval of sinful acts for quite some time. It’s only been recently that I’ve been challenged to understand that he’s not asking me to identify the sins of those who don’t acknowledge him as Lord. He’s asking me to love them unconditionally; if they choose to submit to his lordship in their lives, then he can deal with their sinful behaviors himself, in his time, much as he has done with my behaviors over time.

  12. FROM ADMIN: I’m removing this comment, but wanted the poster to know why, and to take this opportunity to encourage others to keep the dialogue civil.

    This post had nothing of value to add to the conversation about the topic at hand, and was nothing more than a rant that disparaged a particular belief system.

    I expect and encourage disagreement, but insist that it be civil, and respectful of others who may hold different beliefs.

    If you can’t understand that requirement, or don’t agree with it, I encourage you to post elsewhere.

  13. I read this last night & was deeply troubled by it. How is it that we humans keep thinking we’re above our Creator? Why is it that otherwise intelligent, godly people think that human society, human governments (that God created) can out-vote God & His perfect plan? Do we really believe that we know better? That our plan of “equality” will have a blessed outcome?

    “And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” ~ Romans 12:2

  14. Amen, Brother! The evangelical Church has become preoccupied with doing God’s job instead of our job. John 13:34-35 is what we should live by especially verse 35, “For when you love one another then everyone will know that you are one of my disciples.” Let’s be known by the abundance of our love not our judgement.

  15. So, I read this & mulled it over & prayed about it. You make many good points. But the Lord brought to mind the letters to the churches in Revelation. To the church in Ephesus He said, ‘I know your works as well as your labor and steadfast endurance, and that you cannot tolerate evil. You have even put to the test those who refer to themselves as apostles (but are not), and have discovered that they are false. -Revelation 2:2 And also ‘But you do have this going for you: You hate what the Nicolaitans practice – practices I also hate.’ -Revelation 2:6 Jesus doesn’t want us to tolerate evil & he Hates! certain practices! Also, to the church in Thyatria He says,’ But I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and by her teaching deceives my servants to commit sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. -Revelation 2:20 I think the modern church gets too squishy sometimes about confronting evil. I know the Lord loves sinners, but I will not call evil good or help others go down a destructive path. Jesus doesn’t say to these churches, “You should’ve loved the Nicolatians & Jezebel more.”

  16. The Church has Forgotten we do not war against Flesh and blood but Angles and principalities of the unseen world. We also know Jesus died because he pointed out sin. NOT because he kissed babies, shook hans with tax collectors, and told ppl dont worry about all this….sin is cool . He also never expected a Christian to be dependent on welfare….etc etc all the money we put into “fighting sin” we could take care of “Holy Matrimony” couples widows,orphins. etc. we are FOOLS! and what happened to the foolish brides? yeah they got left out! NOT me and my household. We will sereve God. I have worked at AIDS hospices, I have love drunks and had them in my home but no one cares Christian Equals Hate. we will continue to do good even unto death!

  17. Some very good points on both sides of this issue! I think we as Christians have started to express our belies a little better, i.e. we hate the sin, but love the sinner. If a sinner, practicing sinner, comes to church, 1st that is great b/c I believe that is what the church is supposed to be, a place where sinners can come & hear the Word of God & be saved! 2nd I do not think anyone who is living in/practicing sin, can have an active role, i.e. be on staff or teach at the church. If they are on staff or teaching & it comes to the Senior Pastor’s attention they are living in sin/practicing a lifestyle of sin, then I think the Pastor needs to talk with them & pray for them. If it continues, I think the Pastor needs to remove them from that position, but not from the church itself, & call for the Elders to pray for that person. As long as that person wants to keep coming to that church, I think they should be able to. As long as they do not speak out against or challenge the Biblical principles to other members, where it would cause problems.
    Now let me say that the reason I am against homosexual marriage being allowed, declared lawful, is then Pastor’s who are against this will be forced into either marrying those individuals or allowing their churches to be used to marry those individuals! IF they refuse, they could find themselves being prosecuted. Don’t think that could or would happen? Then I just have to believe you are going around with blinders on! I’m in the Military & until a few years ago there was a policy in the way of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell. Those who practiced homosexuality & who were in the Military ONLY wanted this done away with so they could openly express their feelings for whomever they wanted. At least that was what they were saying publicly. It was “agreed” to that they wouldn’t get benefits of sharing a house together on Base or monetary benefits if they went to a State that allowed Civil Unions or homosexual marriages. Now all of sudden the big push is for them to get those benefits. My point in saying the last is little bit is where does it stop? Will there truly be any protection for churches or Pastor’s who are against homosexual marriage having to perform them? I am against sin & I think the Bible is very clear in that NO unconfessed, unforgiven sin will enter into Heaven! I do not hate homosexuals, I do not hate any sinner! I do not support their choices, regardless of the sin, but I support them as one of God’s creations who as long as they still have breath, have a chance to repent/turn of/from their sin & receive Jesus! I believe they hear that in a church, through other Christians & by the lifestyles other Christians live.
    I am not the judge of their eternal state. I will not follow them around for the rest of their lives to see if they ever have a true Christian experience with Jesus. I can point out what the Bible says & tell them the consequences if they do not repent. I can show them that I care for them but that I do not support their lifestyle.

  18. I am confused by alot of the replys to this post. Mostly the choice of words. Like “thier lifestyle” “chose to live” etc. I have a few gay friends. Not one of them woke up one day and said “I want to piss alot of people off, disapoint my parents, and alienate myself. I think I will become gay.” As one mother pointed out…It is not a “choice” for them. They did not “become gay” they were made that way. They can not change that. You and I can not change that. I do know that they are human and Need love and accptance. Love the sinner……Just a saying?

    1. Crystal we were all born into sin, we were all born sinners. Not to try & start a Bible lesson on here, but after the fall in the Garden of Eden, everyone born after that was born into sin. Homosexuality is a sin according to the Bible. So is lying, steeling, adultery, so on & so on. A person may not be able to change on their own, but everyone can change when they turn to God, ask for forgiveness of whatever their sins are. He never promised us it would be easy! I’m not God, not even a very good Christian sometimes, but I cannot imagine it was easy for Him to allow Jesus to be beaten, mocked, cursed, spit upon, nailed to the cross & betrayed by His closest earthly companions either. Jesus’ resurrection from the grave paid the way for all of us to be forgiven of our sins. He did say He would never put more on us than we can bear. We cannot bear it all by ourselves, but if & or when we fully turn it over to Him, He will guide us & lead us to the right path. We Christians do not always do the best at showing God’s love, that is our fault, we are not perfect but God is. We cannot look to man to change us or even love us like the Bible says. Again that is our fault, not God’s. We all make choices each & every day. The Bible points out what is right & wrong & we decide what we do with that. I am not gay & I cannot even begin to try & say I know what it is like for them. But I am a sinner & I have struggles of my own & I know how hard it is for me. But I acknowledge that, turn to God & ask for forgiveness of my sins. He is faithful & just but He will not make us follow His Word. If that were the case, He would have not sent His Son to the earth to go through what He went through to give each & everyone of us the choice to listen, obey & follow Him.

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