It seems this is one of the big issues with how Christianity and our western culture disagree. In our culture it seems that being homosexual is not a big deal, and people don't understand why the Christians keep saying it is. Then there are the extremists that go out and say "God hates gays" and such, and give a horribly wrong impression of Christianity. In this article I will discuss why the Bible says homosexuality is wrong, and what the proper response from Christians should be towards homosexuals.
Christians are called to Love everyone
First off, Christians should not discriminate or hate people who identify as homosexuals, transgender, or any other type of sexual identity. It is true that the Bible disagrees with the way these people choose to live, but it doesn't say anywhere that they are exempt from the rule to "love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:39). In fact, if you hate your neighbor (even if your neighbor happens to be gay), the Bible has some harsh criticism for you. 1 John 5:8 says "God is love, and anyone who doesn't love others has never known him." and 1 John 5:20-21 says "If we say we love God and don't love each other, we are liars. We cannot see God. So how can we love God, if we don't love the people we can see? The commandment that God has given us is 'Love God and love each other.'".
So if you decide you hate homosexuals, or anyone else for that matter, you are not acting how God commands us to. If you go around saying "God hates gays" and protesting at funerals , then there is a good chance you are not a real Christian and have never loved God. This is not a condemnation, but should be a huge hint that you're doing something wrong which needs to be fixed. Christians should love gays and lesbians and transgendered people, and everyone else. We don't have to approve of what they do, and should try to lovingly correct them and guide them to Jesus, but we are not allowed to hate them. In fact, if Jesus was around today, I'm sure he would go down to the nearest gay club and preach and care for them all, just as how he hung out with the tax collectors and prostitutes of 1st century Israel.
The Bible does disapprove of Homosexuality
No article on homosexuality would be fair unless it presents the truth accurately. The Bible does say that homosexuality is wrong, and there is no way to just ignore the parts of the Bible that you may not like. The main verses used to show that homosexuality is wrong are:
- "It is disgusting for a man to have sex with another man." (Leviticus 18:22) A clear statement against homosexual activity.
- "It's disgusting for men to have sex with one another, and those who do will be put to death, just as they deserve." (Leviticus 20:13) An Old-Testament commandment forbidding homosexual relations.
- "No one who is immoral or worships idols or is unfaithful in marriage or is a pervert or worships idols or who behaves like a homosexual will share in God's kingdom. Neither will any thief or greedy person or drunkard or anyone who curses and cheats others." (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
Note that this last verse is not only against homosexuals, but also against many other broad categories of people. The category of being unfaithful in marriage most likely has a much much larger number of people than those who are homosexuals. But never-the-less, homosexuality is mentioned. However, there is hope: "Some of you used to be like that. But now the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and the power of God's Spirit have washed you and made you holy and acceptable to God." (1 Corinthians 6:11). So even though you may have done any of these things, by turning to Jesus and asking for forgiveness, you can be made clean and holy.
Also, note that these verses are against homosexual activity. There is no condemnation for having a deeply felt attraction to the same gender - this is something that if you become a Christian God can help you with if you want, but God does not send you to hell for being attracted to someone. It just means a person may have more of a struggle choosing not to be involved in homosexual activity than others, just as some people have more struggles not cheating on their spouse or not going into casinos and gambling. An ex-gambler will still be tempted to go spend money in casinos, but if the choose not to then they have not actually sinned. Then they can pray that God will help them remove the thought about casinos so they are no longer tempted. Its' the same for homosexuality - the thoughts and temptations will probably be there a long time, but those can be worked on after the actual homosexual activity has stopped.
Are people born homosexual?
I believe that no one is actually "born" homosexual, however we are all born as sinners (Romans 3:10-18). The Bible says that homosexuality (and sin in general) is the result of rejecting God and not following Him. In Romans chapter 1 it says that because the people did not worship God, "God let them follow their own evil desires. Women no longer wanted to have sex in a natural way, and they did things with each other that were not natural. Men behaved the same way. They stopped wanting to have sex with women and had strong desires for sex with other men." (Romans 1:26-27). There are other results of not following God too. Some of them are listed in Romans 1:28-32 and include being evil, greedy, being a murderer, cheating, being proud, not loving others, etc. So homosexuality is just one of the many results of not following God. Note that it does not have to be a conscious choice to reject God. We are all born as sinners, and naturally our choice will be do to what we want and not follow God.
Unless we turn to God, repent, and ask for the Holy Spirit to help us live as God wants, then we will naturally be evil, greedy, murder, cheat, lie, etc.. This is not to say that all of these are present in one person. Naturally, some people will be attracted to money, some will be attracted to power, or to violence, or to lying, or to cheating on their spouses. Some people are naturally attracted to the occult, or to alcoholism, or to gambling addictions. It just so happens that some people are naturally attracted to the same sex. I'm sure all these people would say they are also "born" with it in their genes - that they can't help being an alcoholic or can't help cheating on their spouse, or being greedy, etc. Just because some people tend to like the same sex does not make them any worse than anyone else. Even those who identify as Christians would be in the exact same boat if it weren't for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to help us live better.
Before people become Christians, they have attractions to things they shouldn't, and just because it happens to be money or power doesn't make it any better than those who are attracted to the same gender. Even when one becomes a Christian, it can take years to deal with some of these issues, and they may haunt the person for their whole life. Fighting against sin is a constant battle even after you have become a Christian. Paul admitted "I know that my selfish desires won't let me do anything that is good. Even when I want to do right, I cannot. Instead of doing what I know is right, i do what is wrong. And so, if I don't do what I know is right, I am no longer the one doing these evil things. The sin that lives in me is what does them... With my whole heart I agree with the Law of God. But in every part of me I discover something fighting against my mind, and it makes me a prisoner of sin that controls everything I do." (Romans 7:18-23). It can be a very hard thing to fight against our natural desires, and we will all mess up occasionally, but if we ask for God's forgiveness and try honestly to do what is right, God will forgive us.
A Message to Homosexuals
"Christ died for us at a time when we were helpless and sinful." (Romans 5:6). God loves you so much that he sent Jesus to die for you. God loves you right now, and it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks besides Him. You can turn to God right now and accept his love and forgiveness for any sins you have done, ever. It doesn't matter to him if you're gay or lesbian or transgender or anything else. "God treats everyone alike. He accepts people only because they have faith in Jesus Christ. All of us have sinned and fallen short of God's glory. But God treats us much better than we deserve, and because of Christ Jesus, he freely accepts us and sets us free from our sins. Christ offered his life's blood, so that by faith in him we could come to God." (Romans 3:22-26). If you have had negative experiences with Christians, or dislike the church because of it's traditional stance against homosexuality, please realize that these are just people too, who are imperfect and make mistakes. The church has on many occasions been wrong and treated people unequally, but God is completely fair and treats us all equally. God loves you just as much as he loves Christians, and wants to have a personal relationship with you which is deeper than any that you can have with someone on earth.
So I hope this discussion has not come across as judgemental or intolerant. God loves Christians, but he loves gays and lesbians and anyone else just as much. Christians need to remember this, and to care for and help and love homosexuals just as they would love another member of their church. If we don't, then we are not true Christians and are not acting how God wants us to. We should encourage those we know who may be dealing with homosexuality to consider what God tells us in the Bible, but to never judge them or think they are worse than we are. Remember - we all have our own issues too, and just because they're different doesn't make us better than anyone else.
For those who are dealing with homosexuality, God loves you just the way you are now, and wants you to come and repent and follow Him. God can help you deal with any struggles you go through on the way, and it may be difficult at times. Although it may not sound "politically correct", God does wish for you to give up your homosexuality, just as God wants people to give up their greed, lust, and any other sins. It will be hard - I know how hard it is to give up something you feel is part of you and you want to keep so badly. But if you can trust God that this is best for you, you will find that God can do some amazing things in your life. It won't happen right away and it will be a process, and you will still be tempted to go back, but in the end it is totally worth it. I hope that you will discover the amazing love that Jesus has for you, and learn to follow and trust him.