I was watching The Shawshank Redemption and right towards the end of the movie there is this quote. The character, he says it like this, “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
And whenever I hear about hope I always think of this Bible verse in Romans, it says “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character hope. And hope does not put us to shame.”
I had this friend come to me with a question. Now my friend is homosexual so I assume I’m about to hear a loaded statement, about to hear a hard question. And so he calls me up and says he wants to pursue God, he feels this calling to be a follower of Christ. And I just know going through his head is the question “But how can you do that and be gay?” It’s the question that seems rooted in a lack of hope. An obvious curiosity. I mean is that the message the church has gotten out there? That if you are gay you can’t be a Christian?
Now I can imagine when someone who’s gay thinks of God, they probably think of those signs. (<-There is a link to the sign, and I do apologize if the following word offends you.)
God. Hates. Fags.
Or they hear someone say the verse 1 Corinithans 6:9 which states “Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters, nor adulterers nor male prostitutes, nor practicing homosexuals nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards nor slanderers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
There’s not a lot of hope there.
Or they hear someone read Leviticus 18:22 and think I don’t even have a chance. They look at God and see him as this hateful being who shuts his door to anyone who’s gay.
I mean is that the image we have painted of a God who claims to be love, who’s law is love.
So, to sidetrack a bit, some perspective.
This big issue of the Church vs. the Homosexuals really has been made public lately due to the issue of marriage. Bear with me on this. Marriage is of God. It is traced back to creation. It is a sacrament just like baptism, confession, and the Eucharist to help us live a more divine life. It is a gift from God. Outside of the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Islam, Christianity) marriage (the way we have it) doesn’t exist. Christians are the ones who spread this form of marriage that we are arguing for to other countries. Marriage is what man and woman were created for. It is the symbol of becoming one with the other. The two have become one flesh. In the times of Jesus in many ways sex was Marriage. That’s why Christians are supposed to remain abstinent till marriage. Because sex is the becoming of one and the means of furthering God’s creation.
As Jesus puts it in Matthew: “Haven’t you read, that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said, For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife. (Now the texts of the New Testament were originally written in Greek. In Greek the word for wife is also the word for woman. Same word.) and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one. Therefore what God has joined together let no one separate.” The act of sex at that time was completing the marriage. In fact as soon as they did the “I do, I do’s” they would run into a room and consummate the marriage as the ENTIRE FAMILY waited outside the DOOR. And once they were done they would party for days.
Now hopefully that explains why you are supposed to wait. Haha.
So by definition Marriage is between a man and a woman. It doesn’t exist any other way Jesus said so. Which is why the church has put up that fight. And they rightly should.
Marriage, does not exist any other way than man and woman.
So there is that discussion, now back to my friend, he asks me, So what should I make of Leviticus 18:22? Cause that might be the deciding factor on whether or not I can do this.
And in Leviticus there is some harsh language from God. 18:22 states “Do not have sexual relations with another man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.” Some translations say, it’s an abomination.
And this is the Law of Moses. It’s in the Bible which means this is where God stands on it.
Now Leviticus 18 is all about sexual sins. It’s not just calling out homosexuals. It’s calling out incest, bestiality, adulterers. It lists all the sexual sins and then says that if you commit any of these sins, You must be cut off from your people.
Now in those times this meant more than likely being stoned to death. Killed.
Now to even make this worse. In Matthew 5 it states “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
So lustful eyes, are adulterous eyes.
So you as a straight guy looking at that girl with those thoughts. Whether it be on campus, at work, or on that website…
Gay, or straight, your sexual sin, is the same.
We all should be cut off.
Not just the homosexual. We all should be cut off.
Now this law was written before Jesus came into the picture. But surely Jesus would be all about this Law I mean it came from God. He as we would expect condone that kind of stoning.
So what would Jesus do in this situation?
Well in John we find Jesus confronted with that very question.
The top religious leaders of that time, this group of people called the Pharisees, weren’t the biggest fans of Jesus. The top religious people of Jesus’ time…not big fans. The people who followed this law so strictly….not. big. fans.
And so they bring before Jesus this woman caught in the act of adultery. Caught in her sexual sin. Now keep in mind this story would be EXACTLY the same had this been someone caught in the act of homosexuality.
Now these religious rule followers they bring this woman before Jesus as a way to trick him. Because of the Law, if Jesus said that they weren’t allowed to stone her to death, then they could arrest Jesus.
Arrest Jesus, if he said no.
And so Jesus steps in front of this woman…
And then he kneels to the ground.
He steps in front of this woman and begins drawing in the sand.
And the eyes of The Pharisees go off the woman and focus on what Jesus is doing.
He takes their attention off this woman who is probably terrified. Probably knowing she is about to die. I mean not only does everyone know her secret sin, but she is about to be stoned to death. I imagine she’s screaming and begging for forgiveness and everyone’s watching her.
And Jesus takes the crowds attention off of this woman, draws in the sand.
Now these Pharisees, I’m sure some of them are waiting for Jesus to give the go ahead. They probably got their arms locked and loaded just waiting for the word to fire. Stone in hand anxious.
And Jesus he steps back up and the whole crowd just anxious for what is about to be said.
And Jesus, He looks these religious people in the face and says, “He who is without sin, may throw the first stone.”
And I imagine there was a great silence.
And then thud, thud, thud.
The stones began to fall to the ground.
The religious people dropped their weapons and walked away.
Now this woman probably cradled up ready for the first stone to hit. Probably crying in a corner eyes closed awaiting the worst. Jesus walks up to her.
He walks up to her and says “Woman, where are those who condemn you?”
And this woman probably for the first time looking around to see where they are she says “There are none, they have all left.”
And Jesus, probably with this comforting smile, he says “Then neither do I condemn you.”
Man that just seems REALLY hateful. (Sarcasm).
Now the most important line of this story is what follows. These few words were essential to his message to her.
Jesus told the woman “Now go and leave your life of sin.”
Now Jesus knew what he was asking. He knew this was her biggest struggle. He knew this wasn’t easy for her. He knew this would cause suffering.
“Then neither do I condemn you. Now go, leave your life of sin.”
That’s a powerful message. One that applies to us all.
Now things to realize.
Homosexuality is a sin. It is going against what man and woman were created for which was to become one and further God’s creation, keep it going. Just as this woman caught in adultery was going away from what she was created to do which was to be “one” with her husband.
Now understand that asking a homosexual to not desire to look at that guy or girl that way is not any different than asking a straight person not to look at a guy or girl that way.
Lustful eyes are adulterous eyes.
Jesus wanted all to look at each other with respect. Attraction is not a sin. Where you take that attraction can be.
Love is not a sin. Lust is. Truly focus on what you are actually feeling.
Upon the topic of being “born gay.”
In the Bible in the book of Romans in chapter 1, Paul talks about these men and women who have same sex attraction. He describes it as this, “They gave up natural desires, for unnatural ones.” “In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.” He calls them shameful lusts and shameful actions. Paul who is speaking on behalf of God states that by very nature a woman should be attracted to a man and a man a woman.
I understand that that statement probably makes a lot of people angry.
And the age old argument that no one would choose to be gay. I’m not saying they did.
I am no expert on this matter but there are those out there. The surprisingly high number of statistics that talk about homosexuality indicate that it is from something that happened before the individual hit puberty. Whether it be abuse or simply not enough of a connection with the same sex parent the numbers are close to 90% that claim it was something other than birth that drives it.
Maybe it wasn’t your choice to have that desire. God knows that.
But sexual sin, is sexual sin. Almost every time the Bible mentions homosexuality the word “active” or “practicing” appears before it. Putting the emphasis on the act itself. Which includes any act with the same sex. Bisexual or just plain curiosity. If you are straight and do it…still a sin. The emphasis is on the act itself. Not the attraction.
God knows your situation. But sexual sin is sexual sin. No matter if you are straight or gay. If I were to fool around with a girl before marriage it would be the same as you fooling around with your same sex partner.
That doesn’t mean it’s okay. God is strongly against that.
And to go back to those hateful signs…
God. Hates. Sin.
God. Loves. Homosexuals.
Or to put it another way…
God. Hates. Sin.
God. Loves. The individual.
This conversation isn’t about being gay. The conversation should never have been about whether you are gay or straight. The conversation is about whether or not you are a sexual sinner.
God is against sin. God doesn’t change. People change. God does not.
Or another way of putting it:
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Do not conform to the pattern of this world. Don’t conform to what the world is telling us.
Conform to Christ. Transform.
God loves everyone. The whole world. God is love.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” -Romans 5:8
God loves homosexuals, God even loves those hateful people who hold up those signs.
God offers this love to all people. That means all people.
There. Is. Hope.
The door is not shut.
You don’t have to be perfect to walk through the door. You can be a sinful mess. As Jesus stated “It is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous but the sinners.”
God calls you as you are. As a complete mess he invites you in. The only thing you have to do at first is acknowledge your sin as sin and ask for God’s help, for God’s guidance. God knows you aren’t perfect because NOBODY is perfect. And he still loves you and wants you to come home. Respond to what Jesus came here to do. Respond to God’s love for you. Live for that love.
As Paul continued in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
“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 male prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
There is hope.
For all sinners, there is hope.
As Charles L. Allen says “When you say a situation or a person is hopeless, you are slamming the door in the face of God.”
The door is open.
Invite Jesus in.
That doesn’t mean you are going to be perfect. But when God looks at you he will see that “you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
And may you allow Jesus to live in you and conform you to the image of who you were created to be.
Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.
This is a message that I do wish would be heard. I didn’t write it just to stay on some blog. I truly believe that the message that is out there that is representing the church on this topic is the message of no hope. It is a lie and it is against God. Please help in spreading this message of truth and hope.