Homosexuality: do I have a problem?
What do you think? Do I have a problem? I am a member of a field naturalists group which usually musters about 20 or so souls to regular “walks”, as we call them. Our group contains a male homosexual couple and a lesbian couple. I just can't help it, but I enjoy their company. All four are friendly, intelligent and passionate about taking care of the environment, an attitude I laud highly. And they are interested in the works of God's hands. I don't know if any of them believe in God and creation, but they might. I cannot help but have an affinity with people who are fascinated by what God has done. Am I sinning by maintaining an association with them?
Of course, many readers will loudly exclaim that I should have no problem whatsoever, as homosexuality should be viewed as a perfectly legitimate alternative lifestyle. They will claim that all biblical mores have been relegated to the scrap heap by Jesus' blood. However, other readers will identify with my problem; I take the Word of God seriously, believing that the Creator of mankind has the right to make judgments about human behavior and to tell us what is and is not acceptable practice. He minces no words, declaring that homosexual acts are an abomination worthy of death:
If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them (Lev. 20:13).
And one cannot ignore Paul's testimony in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10:
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
Getting back to my friends; as far as I can tell, neither couple is “gay” in the way the word is properly used; they have not simply chosen to embark on a same-sex relationship motivated by a liberal worldview or a desire to demonstrate rejection of conservative values. In other words, their motive is not to simply make a statement.
Rather, they seem to be “genuinely” affectionate towards each other. Should I continue to walk with them, or should I leave the club? After considerable thought, I see no reason to shun them.
First, one key point for me lies in recognizing that homosexual acts, though sinful and serving to cut these people off from access to God, are no worse than many other sinful deeds. Agreed, such people will not be in the kingdom of God as long as they continue in this way. But read Paul's words again; neither will fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, thieves or drunkards. In ancient Israel, those who practiced homosexual acts were put to death, but so were adulterers (Lev. 20:10), cursers of parents (Lev. 20:9), practitioners of channeling (Lev. 20:27), and even blasphemers (Lev. 24:16), pretenders to the priesthood (Num. 3:10) and Sabbath-breakers (Num. 15). Yes, homosexuality is “abomination”, but so are eating flesh of sacrifices after the second day (Lev. 7:18) and eating unclean animals (Lev. 11:10). Some Christians who condemn homosexuals as the lowest of the low are guilty of a crime that, if I'm reading Matthew 23:23 correctly, is worse — they make no attempt to practice justice in their personal relationships with others. They have no interest in judging righteous judgment. Is feeling affection and sexual attraction towards a person of the same sex worse than hating a fellow human being? Ridiculous!
The second key point has to do with the general principle of how believers are to relate to “sinners”. The New Testament tells us that we do not have to totally withdraw from sinners otherwise “then you would need to go out of the world” (1 Cor. 5:9-10). Jesus was condemned as a “friend of tax collectors and sinners” (Matt. 11:19). In no way did He engage in their practices, but He didn't turn His back on them and run away screaming, either.
I yearn for the day — and I believe it is coming — when my homosexual friends turn from the error of their way. And when my drunken, adulterous, God-rejecting friends and relatives do, too, and embrace the ethics of the kingdom of God. There but for the grace of God go I. Jesus came to save such sinners, which we all have been, and He will succeed.