I am a follower of Jesus, a Christian. I try to follow the teaching of Jesus and the apostles as recorded in the New Testament. I hang out mostly with other Christians. And all of that has an effect on how I react to social issues in the community at large. And one of the biggest social issues today seems to be concerning homosexuality. It is causing much anguish, gnashing of teeth, and condemnation in the Christian community today. But why?
Well, the Bible does seem to clearly speak against the practice. I know there are those who argue that those passages that speak against homosexuality are actually mistranslations, but I find that a reach. There are several New Testament passages, Romans 1:26-27 & 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, that seem to be pretty explicit in their stand against homosexuality.
But this doesn’t really explain why so many in the Christian community are so outspoken in their condemnation of the practice. Why are those same people not speaking out just as loudly against other practices that the New Testament opposes. Take a closer look at the 1 Corinthians passage mentioned above.
Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
I seldom hear the same outcry against greed in general, although there are individual exceptions. And it seems that the outcry against everything else on this list does not approach that against homosexuality. Why do we pick that one thing to focus our attention on?
I suspect it is because I have a certain amount of guilt concerning most of the rest of these things, or at least recognize that I could easily fall to them. But, for me at least, homosexuality is icky. It is not easy to have much physical contact with another man beyond a handshake or occasional hug. I cannot even imagine anything more intimate.
For so long our culture has been uncomfortable with male intimacy, while at the same time accepting adultery, greed, drunkenness and slander, even while saying they are wrong. And so, being largely a product of my culture, homosexuality becomes one of the worst thing that I can imagine. And that’s too bad, because I do not find anything in the Bible that would elevate it to such a lofty status.
So how should I respond to the New Testament admonitions against homosexuality? The same way I do regarding greed. My primary focus should be towards personal holiness, living up to the instructions of Jesus, Paul, Peter and John. Second, encouraging other believers to live holy lives. And finally, responding to the people of this world in the same way that Jesus did, who ate and hung out with sinners and outcasts, those that the religious folks of his day condemned. Jesus was more concerned about getting them into a right relationship with the Father than with having them ‘clean up’ their lives.
I am responsible for my own life and actions. It is not my place to judge those who make no claim to follow the teachings of Jesus. It is really not my place to tell them how they should live their lives. It is my place to share the good news of Jesus love with them. If they accept that, then God will deal with them concerning holiness. If not, then ultimately it makes no difference how they live.
So, I will not be a voice crying out against the evils of homosexuality in the world around me, in spite of my feelings about it. Instead, I will try and follow Jesus example, and demonstrate love to my homosexual neighbors.