Us vs. Us
Our Response to Homosexuality
by Dale Reeves
Pastor of Creative Content
Can I begin by saying I am so sorry that the church has sometimes responded to the issue of homosexuality in our culture with an “Us Vs. Them” mentality? With a judgmental “You’re going to burn in Hell” attitude! If that message has ever been communicated to you or someone you know and care about, please accept my apology on behalf of Christ and his church.
Instead, I’d like to approach this topic with an “Us Vs. Us” mindset. I am a sinner like everyone else, and I don’t look down on anyone because I know I have been rescued from my mess only by God’s grace. As a follower of God I am challenged to “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:5, 6, NIV).
These are the kinds of questions I ask myself these days:
• How do I love and communicate acceptance to someone (either a homosexual or someone struggling with any other kind of sin) without condoning the sin?
• Would Jesus have attended a recent Gay Pride parade anywhere in America, and given out “free hugs”?
• Would Jesus say to anyone he met (as he did to the woman caught in adultery), “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more”?
• How can I uphold the standard that God calls us to without seeming hypocritical, non-inclusive, judgmental, and intolerant? (Which are all words many people use to describe “Christians” these days.)
• How should the church respond to our increasingly pro-LGBTQ culture?
I believe with all my heart that God’s Word is still true. His desires for his people have not changed. Human sexuality was designed by God and through his Word, the Bible, he has provided a clear understanding of his desire and boundaries for our relationships. The Bible is very clear about the definition of marriage (a monogamous, lifelong, loving relationship between a man and a woman, as instituted in the Garden of Eden). According to the Bible lust, homosexuality, adultery, and sexual relationships outside of marriage are all sins against God (Romans 1:21-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; 1 Timothy 1:8-10). But it is important to note that sexual sins are not unforgivable sins and homosexual sin is not the unpardonable sin (or that divorce or gluttony, or any other sin is not forgivable). The apostle Paul’s list of sins above includes other forms of sexual sin and non-sexual sin. So, I do not believe that homosexual sin is “the sin” of our age. And just because someone is struggling with a particular sin, that sin does not have to define them.
In Jesus’ encounters with other people, he always tried to meet them where they were, communicated love and acceptance, then challenged them to leave their sins and distractions that were weighing them down (check out John 8:1-11; Luke 19:1-10; Mark 10:17-22; John 5:1-14). Our lead pastor says at our church all the time, “We love you enough to accept you as you are, but we love you too much to leave you that way.”
At our church, we stand on God’s Word when it comes to speaking truth, and we don’t need to be swayed by whatever is trending in our culture. At the end of the day, we serve a good Father, the Creator of the universe, who communicated his desires to us through his Word. We do not serve the gods of convenience or political correctness. But we always want to speak truth seasoned with grace.
Louie Giglio, speaker, author, and founder of the Passion Movement, said this, “Love and agreement are not the same thing. God doesn’t love you because He sees eye to eye with you on everything. He loves and values you because He created you and you bear His image.” I don’t need to agree with someone about their chosen lifestyle to love them. I can love someone because he or she is a person of great worth to God, even if we disagree.
We desire Christ’s Church to be a place where all people can come search, find Christ, worship, and work out their faith. If a person desiring to become a part of Christ’s Church is involved in a sinful sexual relationship, such as adultery, cohabiting outside of a marriage relationship, or homosexuality, we will extend love and acceptance, but we will also speak God’s truth. We don’t advocate sin, but we do advocate finding Jesus, and if someone is brave enough to check out the church, we are brave enough to meet them where they are.