Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Gays and Christians

This week, I found out about a Christian singer who has come out of the closet. He's divorsed his wife and is now attending a gay friendly church and a living that lifestyle. This is a classic Christian artist who has probably faded from the minds of most Christians. And no, I am not going to name names because it is irrelevant for this discussion.

The article I read it on allowed comments. And the comments were fairly typical. There were those who promised to pray for the man. There were those who quote the scriptures that condeem the gay lifestyle. Then there were those who attacked the Bible thumpers for being hypocrites and compassionless. There were even those who praised the man in question for being true to himself.

And you know what. Both sides are right and both sides are wrong.

Let's make it abundantly clear I believe God condems the gay lifestyle. I am not going to go over them again because everyone on both sides is familiar with the verses that talk about this.

But what is the first Christian response when we learn someone is gay. To shun them. Take a step back, sometimes almost literally. To condeem them to hell. To throw up our hands and walk away because they have turned their back on God. And by all means, don't get too close because we might catch it. Whatever it is.

Now the pro-gay side is quick to point out that Jesus never said one word on the subject. And they are right. (Frankly, that's a red herring.) They are also quick to point out that Jesus showed compassion and love to those his society considered sinners. And they are absolutely correct. Remember, the Pharisees condeemed him for eating with tax collectors and prostitutes.

And remember his response. "It isn't the well that need a doctor but the sick."

On the flip side, we need to remember Jesus's words to the woman caught in adultry. Yes, he said "Neither do I condem you." But look at his next words. "Go and sin no more."

Yes, Jesus was kind and compassionate to sinners. (Praise God He was.) But He also called them on their sin and called them to repent. Remember Zacheaus. Jesus spent time with him, and as a result he repented. Would Jesus have continued to hang out with him if he rejected the call to repent? Maybe, maybe not.

Of course, Jesus did have an advantage because he knew the heart. The best we can do is love and call to repent. We will never know if someone's heart is beyond repentence or not.

But I want to look at the charge of hypocracy leveled at the people condeeming the sin of homosexuality. There is a certain point where it is true.

Let's look at the Christian music scandels of last decade. Sandi Patty admitted to an affair, got divorced, then married her lover. Amy Grant also divorced and remarried. And Michael English got someone other than his wife pregnant. In two of those cases, there was clear violation of the commands of scripture. In Amy's case, it really is hard to know all the facts to judge if there was sin on either side.

And how were they treated? Amy was hardly hurt. Sandi Patty disappeared for a year then came back. Only Michael English truely was hurt by his affair.

And I'll admit I was right there. While I haven't bought any more of Michael's music, I certainly continued to buy Amy and Sandi's music.

And there is a point where I can't judge. I am only getting part of the facts.

But when someone is living in sin, it is my job to call them on it, especially if that person is a believer.

Now, is the sin of homosexuality the unforgivable sin? Let's remember what Paul said in I Corinthians. "And such were some of you." And, while God dispises it, remember that list from the preceeding verse. "Neither Homosexals nor adulterers nor forecaters nor liars nor thieves will enter the kingdom of Heaven."  Fornecaters.  You know, anyone who has sex outside of marriage.  If that doesn't get you, there's always thieves.  And if that doesn't get you, there's liars.  Basically, this verse points out that no unforgiven sinner can enter the kingdom of Heaven.  So we can't sit here and judge someone else as worse than us.  In God's eyes we are just as deserving of hell as the homosexual.

So I can't sit here with impure thoughts and judge this person as worse than I am.

I can't sit here with anger against someone in my heart and judge this person as worse than I am.

And that's just from the last few days.

The truth is we are all sinners saved by grace. And we all will struggle with sin until the day we go home.

But there is another angle to all this. I just acknowledged my sin (rather publically). When I repent, I am forgiven. But this man isn't struggling with sin. He isn't trying to repent. He is living in it. In fact, he has embraced it. That is not something to celebrate. That is something to grieve over. And that is certainly something to pray over.

So yes, I will be praying for this man. But I will also continue to examine my heart. Because I am no better than he is without God's grace forgiving me daily of my sins.

This has been a rather series topic for Watercooler Wednesday.

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