Grace and Homosexuality

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

It seems as if everyone in the blogosphere has written about their opinions on homosexuality since the recent supreme court ruling. As I add my thoughts to the conversation, perhaps right off the bat I need to admit that I do not keep up with politics as much as I should and honestly, I don’t know enough about the recent ruling to have an opinion on whether or not the Supreme Court made the right decision.

That said, who doesn’t have an opinion when it comes to homosexuality?

First off, let us all admit that the discussion of homosexuality and gay marriage is complex — far from simple or easy. Both sides of the debate are guilty of over simplifying things and straw-manning their opponents arguments. No, just because someone believes that homosexuality is okay does not mean that said person is a heathen and going to Hell. And no, just because someone believes that homosexuality is sinful does not mean that said person is a narrow-minded, hateful bigot. Someone is not foolish simply because she or he has a different opinion. If this was not a difficult discussion, we would not be debating things as heavily as we are.

Secondly, for those who are not familiar with my blog, I am coming from a Christian perspective that will influence where I am coming from in all of this — though, perhaps, not in the way you might think.

Homosexuality is a relatively new concept (notice the emphasis on “relatively”). This does not mean that before recent centuries there were no men or women with homosexual attractions. What this means is that the current understanding of sexual orientation (Straight, gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, etc.) was not thought of until the past few hundred years. While sexual activity was typically between a man and a woman, some individuals would at times engage in sexual activity with people of the same gender. Yet, the understanding that this gave certain individuals a sexual identity was completely foreign and unheard of. Thus, the word “homosexual” is not found in most translations of scripture because there really is no Greek or Hebrew word, that I am aware of, that can correctly be translated as such.

What scripture does say is that sex between people of the same gender is sinful — in the same way that sex outside of marriage is sinful. There is no escaping the fact that scripture calls same-gender sex sinful in several passages throughout the Bible — both Old and New Testament alike. While some do argue that these passages are taken out of context, the biblical ideal of sex (and marriage for that matter) is clearly between one man and one woman.

Homosexual sex, in my opinion, is sinful in the same way that extramarital sex is sinful. I will not shy away from my stance on this. I believe this because of scripture, Christian tradition, and from the self-destructive lifestyle that homosexuality appears to bring.

With all of that out of the way, the greatest sin (and yes, some sins are worse than others as they bring more severe consequences) that I have seen when it comes to homosexuality is not homosexual sex. The greatest sin that I have seen in this debate is the way that society has treated homosexuals. The abusive and hateful ways that LGBT individuals have been treated in this world is shameful, despicable, and blatantly anti-Christian.

Christianity is a message of grace, forgiveness, and redemption. Certainly, this does not mean that every individual can do as he or she pleases; however, it does mean that the Christian should never be the one throwing stones at those in sin and should always be offering and extending grace to those who are sinful.

I’ve been asked if homosexuals should be allowed in church. Here’s what I will say, I do not want to be a part of any church that homosexuals are not welcome in. If homosexuals are not allowed in church, then neither should gluttons, addicts (of any kind), or those engaging in extramarital sex.

My friends, if we exclude the sinful from church then we have abandoned the core message of Christianity — grace. If we, as Christians, expect people to clean themselves up to be ready to come to church, then we will watch the world further distance itself from the God whom the hurting so desperately need. I will not mince words when it comes to this discussion. Hateful attitudes towards homosexuals pushes these individuals away from grace and away from God and is more condemnable than homosexual activity itself. Who among us desires to be responsible for turning away individuals who are seeking God?

With all that declared, I have yet to give my opinion on homosexual marriage. If you want to know if I believe that homosexual couples deserve the same rights that heterosexual couples do — then absolutely. It is wrong to deny people rights simply because they work from a different worldview/moral framework. Homosexual couples should be allowed every right that heterosexual couples do. That said, I think that the definition of marriage should be left with the Church rather than the State (this is where I argue for the separation of Church and State). How logistically this will work, I honestly don’t know but that’s for another blog post.

At the end of the day, I realize that the debate about homosexual marriage does not bother me that much. Honestly, I think that once all the legislation is done, homosexual’s will have the right to marry whether we like it or not. In my opinion, that does not change who is married in the sight of God and who is not. A legal definition cannot impact what God has already defined as marriage (which I do believe is left for one man and one woman).

The thing I hope and pray for has little to do with legislation. I hope and pray that Christianity can some day be known for the grace that its message preaches rather than for what pieces of legislation it opposes.

Advertisements

6 responses to “Grace and Homosexuality

  • Janelle Weibelzahl

    “The greatest sin…that I have seen when it comes to homosexuality is not homosexual sex. The greatest sin that I have seen in this debate is the way that society has treated homosexuals. The abusive and hateful ways that LGBT individuals have been treated in this world is shameful, despicable, and blatantly anti-Christian.”

    Amen to that. As a Christian the journey towards figuring out my stance on this whole issue has been a tricky one, as well, and scripture is not necessarily as definitively clear on this as many will lead us to believe. I wish you all the best as you wade through the grey. Ultimately my conclusion has been that determining who is sinful and to what degree is NOT at all the point, the point is rather to love, without preconditions, because we are all sinful, all broken. I published a post along similar lines to yours just yesterday and, if you’re interested, I’d be curious to hear what you have to say about it: http://breakingmoulds.com/2013/07/01/the-gospel-of-hate/

    Cheers!

    • Andrew Sinift

      Thanks for dropping by my blog!
      I also read your post and loved it. The reality is, we as Christians are called to love people regardless of where they are at and regardless of whether or not we agree with their lifestyle. When we show people love, everything else really falls into place. It’s time that we stop elevating certain sins over others and begin to show grace to a broken world.

  • kcmcginnis

    Note that many would call you unloving for saying that homosexual behavior is sinful (even if you don’t elevate it over other sins). You may not think it’s unloving, but many might. Is there a way to be loving according to both of your definitions of love?

    • Andrew Sinift

      Thanks for reading, pushing, and questioning!
      It is fair to point out that there are many people who will call me unloving for saying that homosexual behavior is sinful. Yet, I struggle to see how this is necessarily unloving.
      First off, I essentially understand love to involve genuinely caring for another individual with the intention of promoting overall well-being.
      I do not say that homosexual activity is sinful because I desire to hurt anyone or limit any individual’s rights. I say it because I believe (whether I am flawed in this belief or not) that such a lifestyle is damaging to that individual as it does not fit with God’s plan for humanity. So, in fact, I am saying this out of love. Love oftentimes involves being honest with our convictions.
      Granted, many will disagree with me on this stance and thus not care what my motives are. They will see this as an unloving stance. Yet, this is where society needs to realize that disagreement is not the equivalent of a lack of love. If agreement was a prerequisite for love, love would not exist.
      I know this is a long reply, but I hope this answers your question.

  • hando2012

    Hi Andrew

    I have a deep appreciation for the spirit in which you shared this post. I would like to pose an alternative if I may.

    If I look at the life of Jesus, as revealed in the gospels, then it is clear that naming sin was never a priority accept when it came to the pharisees. Jesus spent his time healing the broken through acceptance. Instead of “identifying and labeling” sin, should we not, like him, spend our time embracing people and allow the Holy Spirit to bring conviction where needed?

    I also feel very strongly that the word “homosexual” should be banned as it has become an identity rather than a description of a sexual preference. It is a deception aimed at creating the illusion of difference, of other, of separateness.

    • Andrew Sinift

      Thanks for the feedback and for pushing!
      While I certainly would not call it a priority for Jesus, I do not think that He was afraid to name sin — even if he did not use the word. For example, just on the sermon on the mount, Jesus essentially calls lust, hate/anger towards another, and even violence sin. At the very least, he encourages us to abstain from such activities. Now, He did not tend to point to those doing such things and name them for their sins; rather, He showed them love. Yet, looking at Jesus’ words and the whole of scripture, naming sins does not seem to be problematic. Obviously, this can be done in a very hateful and unhelpful way (which, as I pointed out in this post, is quite damaging.) But, when done in an attitude of love, I think it can actually be beneficial to say, “I think these types of decisions can be harmful”.
      That said, I’m not going to tell someone who I am not well acquainted with, “These are the sins in your life…” That would be unloving and unhelpful. However, if there is relationship there, I might freely say, “I think this lifestyle is damaging” because they know I’m looking out for their best interest. My goal with this post was not to condemn any person for her or his “sin” but to honestly share my thoughts on the matter.
      I also understand where you’re coming from with wanting to ban the word “homosexual”. This can create a line between people and an “us and them” mentality — which is quite dangerous. I do, however, question if it is practical to just stop using a word. Though, we probably all need to be more careful with how we use it and not use it to create a sense of separation: “Well, they’re homosexual and they’re bi and….” when in reality we’re all people.
      Well, I hope this answers your question. Thanks for reading and questioning! I always enjoy a good conversation.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: