"Can homosexuals be Christians?" A conversation with a friend.
Hello pastor David i have questions to ask you. Now as Christians we do not agree nor believe in homosexuality. (1) However can homosexuals be Christians? (2) if god made us in his image why does homosexuality exist? (3) can you be born gay?
(4) if we should love our people as we love yourself should we love homosexual people as well? (5) why are fellow Christians so hard on homosexuals but we are suppose to love every?
I am curious about these questions because as a Christian i want to know how to act tore homosexuals. I know i shouldn't condemn them but what should i do? Or how should i act around them?
These are great questions and evoke intense anger, frustration, and fear for a lot of people. I can't stand to think of all the homosexuals who have been hurt and killed out of stupid hate acts. So, I don’t talk about this lightly. I’ll just respond to each one in order if that’s cool.
(1) However can homosexuals be Christians? Yes. You said that “we do not agree nor believe in homosexuality,” which is true if nuanced: the Christian view according to the New Testament is that homosexual behavior is sinful. So, attraction is irrelevant ethically-speaking; the ethical issue only concerns behavior. (My desire to lie is not the same as actually lying.) Christians can most certainly be attracted to the same gender. This is no different from any personal preference. Our attractions to chocolate, pizza, or a particular gender are not ethical. Can you be a Christian if you actively participate in and embrace homosexual behavior? No. (I give verses below). The fundamental tenet of being a disciple of Jesus is denying our wills and picking up our crosses to live according to the Kingdom of God (Mk 8:34). What you have to "deny" and I have to "deny" depends on the person. No matter: we all have attractions to deny.
Now, some Christians have argued that it’s only because of the sinful state of humans that a person would even want to do what is sinful. Perhaps they’re right. In any case, what’s much more clear is that the behavior is the issue, not the attraction.
This is a very huge point to articulate well: The average non-Christian makes no distinction between attraction and behavior. Really based on the ground-breaking Kinsey Reports (1950s) which stated that if humans do it, and it doesn’t hurt anyone, then it’s “only natural” to act out sexually however you want. And I would completely concur with them if I shared their worldview: If there is no God, then there is no higher design to human behavior, so it doesn’t matter what you do. Moreover, it is commonplace among many secular psychologists to suggest that if you don’t act out sexually how you feel so inclined, it is unhealthy for you; it damages you. Both of these views (that there is no distinction between attraction and behavior, and it’s unhealthy if you don’t act on your impulses) is clearly unchristian.
**We must constantly remember that in nearly every single conversation you ever have with a gay person, that person will almost certainly assume that their inclination means they must act on it. They join disposition with behavior. This is huge distinction with the Christian worldview. (The truth is, this emphasis upon "only doing what comes naturally" only holds for certain acts of sexuality. You’ll find few non-Christians who suggest that if a person has an attraction toward his baby sister that he should certainly proceed in having sex with her (no matter how much they say they love each other). Pedophiles are kept in separate regions of prisons because they are routinely beaten and killed. It seems even the worst criminals believe that “attraction” doesn’t mean you “give in.”)
(2) if god made us in his image why does homosexuality exist? Idols/images in the ancient world were used to represent the god’s authority in that region. Being made in the “image of God” (Gen 1:26) only means one particular thing in context: humans represent God’s authority to rule over animals, plants, and the Earth. This is profound in the ancient world. Other creation stories said that humans were created to serve their gods as slaves. Not so among ancient Hebrews. So, this text has nothing to do with sexual orientation.
(3) can you be born gay? I think you mean by “born gay” that a person has a genetic disposition. If so, it’s certainly possible. There doesn’t seem to be a “gay gene” (no evidence of that exists at this point). However, certainly our brain produces various chemicals and hormones that affect our attractions. That, mixed with all kinds of social influences, no doubt affect our orientation (straight and gay). So, I don’t think it’s unlikely that our genetic make-up greatly affects our attractions. Again, they don’t determine our behavior, just our attractions.
(4) if we should love our people as we love yourself should we love homosexual people as well? Great question: YES! YES! Jesus didn’t say to love our heterosexual neighbor as ourselves. He said to love our neighbor (Mk 12:29-31). What did Jesus mean? To care for their good as much as we care for our own good. Care about shelter? Help them find it. Care about food? Help them find it. Care about healthy relationships? Help them find it. And so on. This goes for our enemies (Matt 5:44), gays, murderers, gossips, etc. If we only attempt to “love” people who don’t sin, or even don’t have inclinations!, then we won’t be loving anyone! Nor will anyone love you and me.
(5) why are fellow Christians so hard on homosexuals but we are suppose to love every? Another great question. I think it’s for two reasons:
(a) Certain Christians are simply keenly aware that homosexual behavior isn’t what God designed the human machine to do, and they get “worked up” about it. This can happen when we think about those who murder, lie, cheat, steal, whatever.
(b) Mainly, I think, it’s just easy to do so. Humans tend to pick on people who are easily definable. It’s one reason why it was easy for the Nazis to pick on the Jews. As soon as we can label a “group” as the “bad guy,” it gets the focus off of our sins. It helps us to change the spotlight.
One really sad thing about this fact is that the Bible doesn’t pick on homosexuals. While there is certainly a constant theme against that behavior (Lev 18:22; 20:13; Matt 19:3-12; Rom 1:26-27; 1 Cor 6:9-10; 1 Tim 1:8-10), that behavior is most certainly NOT considered one of the “biggies.” All sins are not on the same level of severity or influence as is made clear from multiple passages, like Jesus speaking vehemently against blaspheming (Mk 3:29) or causing a “little one” to sin (Matt 18:6). While all sins matter—yes!—Christians should remember which sins are actually emphasized in the New Testament. Again, notice what kinds of things are considered sinful in the repeated lists: Mark 7:21-22; Rom. 1:29-31; 13:13; 1 Cor 5:10-11; 6:9-10; 2 Cor 6:9-10; 12:20-21; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 4:31; 5:3-5; Col. 3:5; 3:8; 1 Tim. 1:9-10; 2 Tim 3:2-5; Titus 3:3; James 3:15; 1 Pet. 2:1; 4:3; 4:15; Rev. 9:21; 21:8; 22:15.
I am curious about these questions because as a Christian i want to know how to act tore homosexuals. I know i shouldn't condemn them but what should i do? Or how should i act around them? Treat them as you want to be treated (Matt 7:12). Really, it’s that simple. Love them (= care for their good) as you love yourself (Mk 12:31). Lead by example. Pray for them. There is absolutely no room whatsoever for making fun of them, insulting them, hurting them, making jokes on their behalf, or any other insulting, demeaning, or devaluing behavior. If they ask you what you believe, then tell them the truth with gentleness (Gal 6:1). If a gay person lives out that lifestyle and embraces homosexual behavior, then you will disagree with them, yes. But, it sure is difficult to get that wood chip in their eye when you and I have our own planks to deal with (Matt 7:3)! Leave their behavior and what God does with them up to God. God designed us and only God will judge us in the end. So, get busy loving them, speaking the truth in love when needed, and leave the fate of their souls up to the One who owns us all: God.