Friday, October 1, 2010
A Post For The Dear Boy From Rutgers: Homosexuality Should NOT Be A Death Sentence
This post has been a long time coming! As a result, It is likely to be very long and slightly disorganized as I attempt to record every stray thought that has occurred in relation to the topic since its conception. Its very unlikely that upon completion of this post that I will have adequately supported all my points and clearly expressed every thought, so please, feel free to question and debate because this will help me perfect my thought. As is always true, I will happily respond to any questions in relation to my writing. This Post was first conceived months ago during a sermon in which the pastor of our church emphasized Jesus' Great Commission in the New Testament, Matthew 28:19-20 Therefore go and make disciples of ALL nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. The translation of scripture our pastor was using read ALL PEOPLES, and those words in combination with the spiritual discussions (relating to the spiritual implications of homosexuality) that had recently been taking place between myself and an old college friend caused me to question, "What does ALL mean here, and as a church both locally and internationally, are we really committed to obeying this command that resounded from the vocal chords of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? My challenge here is that ALL most certainly does indicate that no exclusion is to be made from those we reach out to in the name of Jesus in hopes that each individual will come to know Jesus personally and experience drastic , positive life-change as a result. My fear is that while the church as a whole has been faithful to reach out in such a way to many nations around the world, that it has much to the shame of the name and legacy of Christ failed to embrace certain people groups because of fear, ignorance, and misinterpretation of the scriptures. The one particular neglected people group over which my heart is bleeding today is the one comprised of individuals whose sexual orientation is outside God's original intention. In other words, I believe an accurate description of the church's reaction to homosexuals as a group has sadly, been more of a pushing away or casting aside as hopeless rather than the accepting embrace of Christ's love:( This saddens me because Christ teaches me in his scriptures that, no, the practice of homosexual behavior is not God honoring much like it teaches me that I should not steal, murder, lie, lust, or be greedy 1Timothy 1:8-10 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers and mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers-and for whatever else contrary to sound doctrine that conforms to the sound gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me. The GOOD NEWS (gospel message) that I and every other card-carrying Christian has been commanded to share with ALL PEOPLE is that we are ALL sinners who have from time to time fallen into one or more of the previously mentioned sins, and that Jesus has already served the punishment for each and every one of those sins past, present, and future, and that ANYONE, straight, gay, black, white, or tan who chooses to receive that free and undeserved gift living from that point forward with Jesus as his/her Lord (Boss) and Savior is a child of God Most High and will live with him for eternity in Heaven! Right now, my Christian friends, who I believe to be good-intention are freaking out because they know the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin...blah, blah, blah, but what I need my dear, Christian friends to stop and consider is that each of us struggle with sin. In fact, some of us are more inclined toward certain sins than others, but none of us lives life free from temptation or sin. The Bible is incredibly clear on this issue Romans 3:23 For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace. Jesus was the only human being able to live a perfect life, thankfully, on our behalf, so that when he served the punishment for our sins, we could then benefit from his perfect life by having the privelage of wearing it as a perfect, holy, spotless cloak in God's presence since Jesus traded it in for our dirty rags on the cross Phillipians 3:9 ...not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. My point in reiterating these basic Christian principles is that we (Christian, heterosexuals) are no different than homosexuals. Just as we are often tempted to do things that dishonor God, so are the individuals belonging to this specific group. Its just a different temptation than we experience as heterosexuals. Not worse or better just different. Remembering that even Jesus experienced temptation Luke 4: 1-2 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert where for forty days he was tempted by the devil, I must point out that temptation in and of itself is not sinful or dishonoring to God in any way, so on that foundation I proclaim that desiring to have sexual relations with another individual of the same gender is NOT a sin! Desiring such a thing does not qualify one to be disowned or cast off by the church in any way, shape, or form. Now, having said that, I must also qualify that acting upon temptations to behave differently than God has directed in his word is sinful even though all sins have been covered by the blood of Jesus. the Bible instructs us not to take advantage of God's gift of forgiveness by freely sinning because we know the punishment has already been paid Galations 5:13 ...But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature...so I say, live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the sinful nature are obvious; sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolotry, and witchcraft;hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish-ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkeness, orgies, and the like. I warn you as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. Christians both homo- and hetero- sexual, will be able to enter God's presence on the coattails of Christ's perfection. So, if you're gay and are still reading open-minded, I want to tell you from the bottom of my heart a truth that has been placed there by the hand of God himself...You are not a weirdo or unworthy of life or anything else you might feel about yourself because of the particular temptation with which you struggle! All human beings struggle with temptation to behave outside God's will in one way or another from time to time. In fact, the Bible puts us all in our place by saying in 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God he is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you are able to bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. This scripture tells me that it is sadly inaccurate to believe yourself better or worse according to the type of temptation with which one struggles, but rather if a person is tempted by something, it is common to humanity, so the only way you could turn up as a weirdo or as abnormal is if you're comparing yourself to a pack of dogs, gaggle of geese, or a pod of whales! I'm sure you notice throughout this scripture the tone that more than suggests that one who wants to honor God by following Jesus and receive eternity in heaven with his/her life must flee temptation and do the very best he/she is able to refrain from whatever behavior that dishonors God in his life be it lying, gossiping, or engaging in sexual relations with an individual of the same sex, so my point really is that there is absolutely nothing wrong, in God's eyes, with desiring to have sex with a member of the same sex. A person should not have to be ashamed to admit to such anymore than I am ashamed to admit I have a propensity to be prideful, selfish, and greedy! A person should not be excluded from anything because of his/her temptation, and God wants you to become a follower of Jesus and spend eternity with him no matter what anyone else has told you or made you feel about him in reference to your sexual preference, but following Jesus would mean resisting the temptations with which you struggle, but I must clarify, it does not mean that you must stop being attracted to members of the same sex because that would be the same as someone telling me not to be tempted to share that juicy story I overheard the other day with my friend...its impossible for me to prevent the temptation from occurring because the only thing I truely have control over is how I respond to said temptation! The temptation is not the sin! Just know that thousands of years ago, Jesus made a special provision to include ALL people in his family, so if someone in the church tries to belittle or exclude you, shame on them because he/she is totally misrepresenting Christ's original intention! It makes me SOoo sad to hear in the news today that another young man took his life because he was so ashamed for his sexual-orientation to be revealed to the world. We are guilty for allowing the world that this particular young man once lived in to communicate to him that struggling with the homosexual temptation should be a death sentence! As Christians, we need to be sure we aren't helping to perpetuate the falsehood that the desire to have sexual relations with an individual of the same sex is somehow a sin in itself by which the value of the individual experiencing the temptation is diminished creating an environment that often imposes a death sentence on these individuals whom God created in his image and loves dearly just like the rest of his creation!