I had a conversation with a bright and reasonable non christian the other day. During this conversation, she expressed concerns about the church’s stand on homosexuality. “I don’t think I could believe in a God who did not welcome homosexual marriage.” After thinking about this, I realized that some of the biggest questions that those otherwise open to Christianity have in our day concern homosexuality. How could a God that says that He is love incarnate oppose a marriage between two people who claim to love one another? The question is such a difficult one and it is so widespread that I have decided that I must offer my best understanding of this issue to those who are genuinely seeking answers.
What makes the question so difficult? It is not difficult because it is intellectually difficult, it is difficult because the question hits every human being where we live. Sex is the greatest gift given to us by God and the idea of doing as we think best is tremendously attractive to sinful human beings. For this reason, God’s rules are going to be at their most unpopular when they tell us to restrict our sexual behaviour in ways that are not easy to understand. Jesus Christ would have been enormously popular had he said, “It is a tough world out there, just do the best you can to live a happy life.” Unfortunately, he said “If you love me, keep my commands” and this can be very difficult. One of the clearest commands in the Old and New Testament prohibits homosexuality.
Because the number one attack that is going to be levelled against anyone who dares to speak out on this issue is that they are callous and hard-hearted and don’t love homosexuals or understand what they have gone through, I am going to start by explaining my background. I am not a successful heterosexual who was brought up in a Christian home and who has no experience with the pain of loneliness. Rather, I am a 47 year-old who has never been married, who has rarely dated and only had sex a dozen times in my entire life. I was a hardcore pornography addict before the Lord finally delivered me from that completely about a year and a half ago. I know what it is to be lonely, miserable and suicidal and I have enormous sympathy for those who reject God’s perfect standard because it seems too painful. I have even written a post where I have tried to minimize the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality and I have wrestled with divine severity in this regard for years. Having said all of that, I have come to believe that obedience to God’s commands regarding sexuality is essential for God’s purpose and I am going to attempt to explain why.
Sexual Brokenness in Our Society
The first thing we need to understand when we consider this issue is the fact that sexual intimacy is absolutely, completely and horrifically broken in America today. To see this ubiquitous brokenness, consider how widespread abortion, paedophilia, pornography, divorce, rape, homosexuality and gender confusion are in our society. Now I would never suggest that sexuality has ever been handled perfectly amongst any group of fallen human beings, but anyone with a shred of honesty would have to agree that American society has become almost entirely sexually dysfunctional. Where did this sickness come from? While an in-depth discussion of this issue is beyond the scope of this post, let us just say that the “Sexual Revolution” of the 1960’s introduced a “dog eat dog” competition into the most intimate and vulnerable relationships that human beings have and this poison has been slowly destroying our ability to be intimate and vulnerable with one another ever since. (See “Beautiful Propaganda, Ugly Reality” and “God’s Purpose for Sex” for more discussion on sexuality.)
The reason that it is important to understand that our society is horrifically sick is that those who support homosexual marriage act as though the only alternative to it is a life of loneliness and despair. In this way, they reject God because they believe He created homosexuals to be absolutely miserable. Nothing could be further from the truth than this hideous lie. The essence of understanding God’s attitude toward homosexuality is understanding precisely that God wants something vastly superior to anything we can imagine or think for each and every human being. God calls homosexuality an abomination because this lifestyle prevents large numbers of people from attaining the true joy and love that God wants for all of us. To understand this, let us think this through one step at a time.
The Nature of Love
Now in the opening paragraph I used some language that many homosexuals and their supporters found offensive. I said that homosexuals “claim to love one another” instead of that homosexuals genuinely do love one another. The reason I used this wording, however, is because it is important for us to understand that the most amazing human love still falls very short of the perfect divine standard. We human beings think that we love another, but when you look at our best relationships from the divine perspective you see that even the best human loves fall woefully short of the genuine article. Consider the following verses:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8)
As I have shared in a number of other posts, God’s plan for mankind is the heaven that is only possible if every human being has the perfect love described above for every other human being on the planet. If one considers the real behaviour of the human beings around us, one quickly comes to the realization that heaven is absolutely impossible. Selfish and self-centred human beings are, quite simply, incapable of the kind of love that would make heaven possible. What is God to do if he wants to create heaven and populate it with human beings?
Loving Others with Divine Help
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. (Galatians 2:20)
The Bible teaches us that with God’s help we can die to ourselves and learn how to love other people. The keys to this process are a faith that trusts God even when we don’t understand his command and an obedience that attempts to do things which are absolutely impossible within the confines of our limited humanity. Faith is important because it allows us to transcend the limitations of our own understanding, our imperfect attempts at obedience demonstrate our faith and are essential so that God can guide us toward the correct path.
A Glimmer of Hope
Over the course of my 21 years of Christian life, I wrestled with pornography until God finally gave me complete victory over this sin about a year and a half ago. When I think about the many years of struggle against my sexual sins and lusts, an obvious question arises. “Was it worth it?”
As I consider this question, I think about a number of my beautiful sisters in Jesus Christ whom I love and with whom I have genuine friendship. Before I became a Christian and for many years thereafter, these relationships would not have been possible. At that time, I had no control over my sexuality and my lusts. These lusts and ugly thoughts would have prevented me from forming genuine bonds with these women by distracting me from the things that really matter. Was it worth it to kill these lusts and ugly thoughts within myself through 20 years of struggle and sacrifice? Experiencing the joy of freedom from sin and lust and the friendship that it makes possible, I can unequivocally say that love and freedom are absolutely worth the sacrifice.
Doubts and Reservations
Now some people may look at the Christians they see around them and express some doubts and reservations. “No offence”, they might say, “but the Christians around me and those I read about in history don’t seem to be that much more loving than other people. This path to eternal life and love doesn’t seem very credible.” This is only one of the many valid questions that one may ask on one’s Christian journey. Though the questions may seem fatal at first glance, I believe that satisfactory answers can be found if one searches the Scriptures and prayerfully seeks an answer and this website is dedicated to sharing the answers to those questions that I have found in my own journey. (See, for example, my answer to the above question in “The After Action Report“.)
Any rational human being who is aware of their own faults and sees the world as it is knows that human beings do not have anything close to perfect love. Any rational human being who has known the fleeting joy that is possible when human beings enjoy genuine friendship and love knows that an eternal life of perfect love would be heaven and is worth any extreme of sacrifice. After all, if I offered you a mansion and a small mountain of gold if you worked out 10 hours a week would you take it? How much more should we as human beings be willing to give up temporary and imperfect love down here to attain eternal and perfect love with the help of God? A genuine believer in Jesus Christ must practice and teach that obedience to difficult commands and faith when things are not clear are the keys to the eternal life of joy that Jesus offers to every human being. This obedience is impossibly difficult for a human being without the promised divine help, but we trust that that help is available to everyone who seeks it and that heaven is worth any sacrifice.
Those who support homosexual marriage and fluid gender identification cannot conceive of the idea that Christians genuinely believe that the Bible is the Word of God. Because they think we are “making things up as we go along” instead of genuinely seeking to understand God’s will and God’s word, they think it is no big deal for us to interpret the Bible such that homosexuality is acceptable. In reality, however, Christians are following the path to true and eternal love laid out for us by our Lord and Saviour. We must stand for the sexual purity commanded by our Lord and resist the world’s siren call to accept homosexuality. To do anything else is to compromise the truth and betray our most deeply held beliefs.