And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”
Luke 9:23 NASB
It seems not a day goes by without someone - or many someones - asking me questions like, “How do I respond to a gay person who asks me if I think they are going to Hell?” or “You say you love me but you don’t support my relationship with my partner. How is that loving me?” or “How do I walk relationally and in love with someone whose life practices I strongly disagree with?” As believers, we want to portray the love of Christ yet we do not want to water down our own beliefs. We want to be salt and light to a decaying, dark world yet lay down our lives for those who are in that world. I am no different than you, trying to work my way through - even though I used to identify myself as homosexual. Let’s try something radically simple in this situation. Let’s see what the Word of God has to say about the subject.
Does God call homosexual behavior sin?
You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.
Leviticus 18:22 NASB
It is very clear what our God’s Word calls homosexual behavior. It is sin.
That’s the Old Testament. I thought that Law was replaced with the New Testament. Does the New Testament call homosexuality sin? Does Jesus call it sin?
Or 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 effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NASB
“I and the Father are one.” Jesus
John 10:30 NASB
Jesus said that He and His Father were one. That means if God calls homosexual behavior sin, Jesus calls it sin. God has been setting people free from homosexual sin for a long time. In the Apostle Paul’s writings to the church in Corinth, he lists a variety of sins. Homosexual behavior is just one among many. Clearly it is something the power of God can deal with - and has been dealing with since the beginning of time. My life is one of those that has been changed.
Do homosexuals go to Hell?
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.”
…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…
Romans 3:23 NASB
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23 NASB
All have sinned. The consequence of willfully continuing in sin is eternal separation from God. It is our choice whether or not we go to Hell - whether we practice homosexual behavior or not. Jesus is the remedy for sin - pure and simple. And when sin has been dealt with, all becomes new. Even after we are saved from our sin, we still face battles of the mind. You see, our battles are not with our bodies, per se, but with our thoughts. Once we come to that place of faith in Jesus, we must actively seek Jesus to renew our minds. It can be done…other wise I would not be writing this to you! Sin of any kind is the issue. Willful homosexual behavior is no different than willfully cheating on one’s taxes or committing adultery or murder. One sin separates us from God, leaving us in need of a Savior.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
John 3:16 NASB
You say you love me but you don’t support my relationship with my partner. How is that loving me?
The world calls love ‘sexual expression with whomever and whatever feels right in the moment.’ God’s definition is something different! The greatest expression of love is not the sexual expression of love. The greatest expression of love is the laying down of life. As a follower of Christ, I lay down my life - desires and all - daily, to follow Him. If sin leads to destruction but following Christ leads to life, what seems the best option to you? To ask me to not lay down my life for Christ would be tantamount to asking me to violate my own conscience - to violate who I am. God calls your homosexual relationship sinful behavior. I call it what He calls it…but that does not mean I do not love you. And by the way: I would have this same conversation with someone who was committing adultery or willfully breaking the law or with a young person having sex with someone outside of marriage.
Let’s turn your question around a bit. If you love me, you will not ask me to violate my conscience. In other words, I am not casting any stones your way. I am simply disagreeing with you. Love does not require agreement. Love requires that I lay down my life to serve you and love you like Jesus - yet without asking me to sin in the process. For me to bless your union would, in essence, cause me to sin. Is that what you want for me? Blessing sin would be sinful for me. Blessing a gay partnership or marriage would be sinful for me, but…
Are you hurt? I’ll help bind your wound with the healing love of Jesus.
Are you mourning loss? I will comfort you with the hope of Jesus.
Are you in need of food or clothing? I’ll share what I have in the name of Jesus.
Are you in need of someone to talk to? I’ll listen and respond with the love of Jesus.
Are you feeling alone or abandoned? I will be there with the love of Jesus. Just call me.
Are you in need of hope? I’ll tell you what Jesus has done for me.
How do I walk relationally and in love with someone whose life practices I strongly disagree with?
As I said previously, we are not commanded to agree. We are commanded to love. There is no sin in befriending a practicing homosexual. Sin only occurs when you take part in that behavior. Jesus did not hang out with the religious leaders of his day. He befriended those society despised - like tax collectors, crippled, blind, prostitutes - the outcasts. We would be wise to do the same. How is someone going to know the love of Christ unless a life is laid down for them? What does that look like? As varied as the body of Christ and as varied as the needs around us. We simply need to be willing to walk through the messiness of the lives of others…walking with them toward Jesus. Listening. Supporting. Helping up when they fall down. Heading toward Jesus with a struggler is a form of laying down one’s life. Don’t separate yourself from the world. Engage it. Be in it but not of it!
I cannot change I’ve tried. I still feel homosexual. How can this not be who I am?
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
Hebrews 4:15 NASB
Temptation does not equal identity. Feelings do not equal identity. Jesus was tempted in every manner - EVERY MANNER - just as we are, yet without sinning! That tells me temptation does not define me. Temptation compels me toward Jesus! It has been through seeking Jesus and finding out Who He says He is that I have discovered who He says I am. In other words, I simply put off the lies of who I thought I was and put on the truth of who Father God says I am. Healing is a process. Homosexuality wounded me. I sought Jesus. He bound the wound with the reality of who He called me to be all along as a man. In the process, I changed the way I thought. As my thoughts changed, so did my attitude. As my attitude changed, so did the way I feel. As my feelings and attitudes and thoughts changed, so did my behavior! Why? Because I act according to who I think I am! God changed my identity, making me a new creation!
I am not defined by my past failures. I am not defined by my present temptations or circumstances. I am not defined by the culture or society. I am not defined by the LGBT community. I am defined by one and one alone - my God.
How can I be salt and light yet be seen as loving?
“You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.” Jesus
Salt is essential for life. You are needed whether the world thinks so or not! Salt is a seasoning, a flavoring that brings satisfaction. A taste of the life you have and the world says, “Hmm, that’s good. I want some.” Salt can cleanse a wound. Salt can preserve. All these qualities are needed and are meant to be expressed by the body of Christ to a dying, tasteless, rotting world around us. We are commanded to be salt. More than that, it is who we are in Christ.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Jesus
Matthew 5:14-16 NASB
Light is essential for life. Think the sun. Life dispels darkness and brings healing. We are meant to be life and light the way to Christ to a world blinded by death and darkness. We are commanded to be light. More than that, it is who we are in Christ.
People will react to salt and light, one way or the other. No one wants their sin exposed. No one wants their wound dealt with if it means pain. No one wants to be told they are wrong about something. No one wants to have their party crashed...
The way we are salt and light and love at the same time is simple. Do what Jesus would do. Love the person right where they are but love them enough to not leave them there. If you saw someone headed for traffic and did not warn them, would that be right? People are headed for the traffic of sin’s destructive nature. We are commanded to warn them. What greater expression of laying down one’s life than to lead them to the redeeming love of Jesus Christ.
The enemy will hate what you stand for, but remember the words of Jesus: “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12 NASB
If you repent of your sin and become a new creation in Christ, your sins - past, present, and future - are dealt with. Here begins the renewing of the mind. If you say you love God but are not willing to give up your sinful behavior, that is a choice you are making. A follower of Christ denies him/herself daily.
How do I love without judgement or condemnation?
I judge no one. That is God’s place. I live by His Word but force no one else to do so. I declare that Word with the way I live my life. People are going to feel judged by the truth of the Gospel at times. Truth hurts but Truth heals. Remember when the religious crowd of Jesus’s day brought the woman to Him who had been discovered in adultery, demanding Jesus to answer the question, “The law of Moses commands that she be stoned. What would you have us do?” The words of Jesus were simple: “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7 NASB
Let us love without worrying about the final outcome. We are not responsible for the final outcome of another person’s life. Jesus is. Let’s let Him be Savior. Let’s let Him be Redeemer. Let’s just be vessels of His love.