(You all know much I don’t like the term “Ex-Gay”, but for the sake of not having a super long title, and since it’s the most recognized term for people like me, I’ve chosen to use it here. Please don’t assume that by using that term I mean that I have ceased to experience same sex attraction or have experienced any kind of sexual “re-orienation.”)
With the ever quickening shift of our culture away from a moral/biblical view toward sexuality, I think there is a very real temptation for some Christians, especially in the American Church, to shift alongside the culture and adopt a different (unbiblical) view of sexuality…or just to sit back and remain silent about it. And I don’t think my concern is unwarranted, because it’s already happening. I’m not going to call out any names, ministries, or church denominations in this blog—-I don’t wish to give them any more publicity than they have already attained.
What I do want to do with this blog is urge every Christian that stumbles upon it not to compromise the gospel for the sake of social acceptance—or for the sake of anything else for that matter. Do not listen to the voices out there demanding your silence in the name of what they call “tolerance.” Do not reject, or even subtly neglect, the truths in the Bible–such as truths about the sin of homosexual behavior–just because they are hard for the world to hear and accept. Don’t listen to the professing “Christians” telling you the Church has misinterpreted the Scriptures for 2,000 years and that the Bible really does not condemn homosexual behavior. And please, do not throw out the truth of God because you hear of gay kids being bullied or committing suicide—these stories are horrifyingly sad—but the the condemn-able sins of the bullies do not make homosexual behavior any less of a sin. We should all (regardless of religious affiliation) be deeply troubled about kids being bullied for being gay (or weird, quirky, ugly, etc. for that matter) and do all we can to combat it, but denying the revealed truth about God regarding homosexuality can not be an option for the Christian.
Now hear me… and please hear me clearly… I am not saying you need to get on facebook every morning and post verses from Leviticus. I’m not saying you need to get all Westboro and picket gay marriage ceremonies. What I’m saying is that when you are put in a situation where you must take a stand on this issue—whether that be in sharing the gospel with a gay person, a discussion with family members, or whatever the case—stand firm in the truth. Do not be ashamed in saying, “I don’t fully understand homosexuality, and I know those who struggle with it don’t get to choose who they’re attracted to; I can not possibly begin to understand what’s that like. But I know that God condemns the behavior and forbids acting out on those temptations for the good of the person, because He loves them. God created our bodies and He created sex, so He has the authority to say how, and with who, it should take place. He doesn’t want us to disobey Him because all disobedience does is separate us further from God and harden our hearts even more toward Him. I know that if they will turn from sin, trust in Jesus for forgiveness from ALL sin, and enter into a relationship with God through Him, they will experience far greater joy than anything in this world—including a gay relationship—could ever offer them. And I believe, even though it saddens me deeply, that if the person will not turn from sin and follow Jesus, God will be just in condemning them…. not because they’re attracted to the same sex, but because they’ve rejected His Lordship, authority, and offer of salvation in Jesus.”
I am also not saying that holding firmly to the truth means you should separate yourself from the gay people in your life. By all means, bring them into your homes, go into their homes, share meals, share discussions… do life with these people and love them unconditionally. But please do not, even for a second— for the sake of their souls—condone their embracing of sin. Do not, even for a second—for the sake of their souls—assure them that they are safe in Christ. Now, I understand the ramifications of not compromising on this issue. I understand that in many situations, no matter how loving, tender, meek and lowly you are, the person embracing sin will angrily reject you and your friendship and separate themselves from you if you will not actively and vocally support their lifestyle. Even when this occurs… do not compromise the truth of God, and your witness, by condoning their embracing of sin. It is the gospel that is causing the division, not you… and Jesus promised this would happen.
”Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”- Matthew 10:34-39
If you’ve followed my writing for any amount of time, you know how hard I push for extending sympathy, love and a humble attitude toward the gay community. But I think it is just as vital, especially in these politically and socially charged times, to be just as adamant about standing in the truth of the Jesus as we are about extending the love and compassion of Jesus. The embracing of homosexual behavior (or the silence in regard to it) in the church is nothing more than a denial of the reality of sin and ultimately a denial of our Lord who came to save us from sin.
From personal experience I can tell you that it is when the body of Christ holds tightly to the truth of Christ, while extending the love of Christ, that hearts are softened and changed. Earlier this year when I was doubting everything that I had come to believe (the Bible) and was considering leaving the Church to enter into a gay relationship, my brothers and sisters in Christ came alongside me and truly exemplified the love and patience of God toward me. They talked with me, listened to me, cried with me. And they were also unwaveringly honest with me about the danger of embracing sin again… that it would ultimately mean that I was rejecting Christ. They assured me with all of their hearts that they were there for me no matter what I chose…. but if I decided to choose to embrace what God defines as sin, I could not be able to remain a member of the Church (I know that sounds harsh to most people…. but it’s exactly what Paul commanded the Corinthian Church to do regarding the unrepentant sexually immoral man in 1 Corinthians 5. It’s also what how Jesus commanded the situation to be handled in Matthew 18:15-17). Through their biblically balanced approach with me and my temporarily unrepentant heart, I experienced both the patience and compassion of God—- while also being constantly reminded of the serious consequences of not repenting. Obviously, here I am and I chose to believe God, turn from sin and keep trusting in Christ–and it was both the kindness of God and the fear of God (continually brought to my attention through other Christians) that the Holy Spirit used to produce repentance in my heart.
Don’t believe the voices out there saying that it’s impossible to both be truthful and graceful. It is possible. I urge you all, for the sake of the souls of the lost, extend the love of God with all your heart—and stand firm in His truth—so that when people do trust in the Jesus you’ve been telling them about, they trust in the real Jesus and not some imaginary, sin-condoning Jesus who doesn’t exist and can’t save them.