Gay Marriage: One Christian's Perspective
Gay marriage is now the law of the land. As a committed Christian how do I deal with this reality and what advice can I give other believers navigating these new legal realities?
First off the Scriptures clearly tell us that homosexual behavior is wrong, period! Some examples are Romans 1:26-27, “Even women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. Men did shameful things with other men and, as a result, suffered within themselves the penalty they so richly deserved”; Leviticus 18:22, “Do not practice homosexuality; it is a detestable sin; and 1 Timothy 1:10-11, “These laws are for people who are sexually immoral, for homosexuals and slave traders, for liars and oath breakers, and for those who do anything else that contradicts right teaching that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God.” So if all homosexual behavior is sinful and wrong then gay marriage is completely unacceptable as a Christian lifestyle.
Having said that same sex behavior is wrong, what about people who have homosexual desires and don’t act on them. As I read the Bible, weaknesses and sinful tendencies not acted on don’t nullify one from participating fully in Christian activity. Forget for a minute homosexual temptation and place any other sinful desire in its place. What if a married person is tempted to have an affair, but sees it as wrong and doesn’t act on it? I don’t see that person being disqualified from active participation in church or any other Christian endeavor.
Look at all the sins the Bible lists such as greed, hatred, and especially pride. If any of us feel tempted to act on those wrong thoughts but don’t, then we can’t be subject to forever being banished from the fellowship of believers. If that is the case then nobody could participate. As the Scriptures declare, “if we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth” (1 John 1:8).
Another factor to consider is love, real Biblical God kind of love. By definition this love reaches out and cares for others in spite of their sinful behavior. This is a love that says despite your “behavior” I will still be your friend and care about you even though what you are doing is wrong.
By way of example this love says to people into homosexual behavior that I care about you and will not reject you as a person regardless of your belief. Boy is that hard to say to someone, your homosexual behavior will not stand in the way of you being my friend even though I believe that behavior is an offense to God. Remember that Jesus reached out to every facet of his society whose behavior was against his belief system. He didn’t reject them even though he was totally against their behavior. Like the old adage says: Love the sinner, hate the sin.
So with those paradoxical issues, how do we deal with the reality of gay marriage in our American culture? I have thought long and hard about this question and I don’t pretend that my answer will be the best but hopefully one that will elicit discussion.
First, since we live in a democracy and this has now become the law of the land, I don’t believe we should try and legislate a return to traditional family values. If I am convinced homosexual behavior is an abomination to God, why would I say this? My reasoning is thus: our country allows freedom of religious practice. We don’t say America must mandate everyone become a Christian, but as long as we can practice our faith, so can Muslims, Jews, Buddhist, etc. So if our law allows that freedom, and now allows “gay” people to marry, then that is settled for now. Since it doesn’t affect my being able to practice my faith, I can live with it.
Second, people of faith should never be allowed to violate their Christian convictions in performing a service that in their view would be sinful. A classic example would be a baker asked to put two men or two women on top of a wedding cake if he or she is the owner of that business. If a pastor is told he cannot preach against homosexual behavior as part of his church sermon, then he must violate that edict. This is non-negotiable.
Third, if asked by non Christians of our belief about gay marriage or homosexual behavior, we must be honest and tell them that we believe that behavior is wrong. However, we also let those inquiring minds know that behavior doesn’t need to change first in order to become a Christian. Jesus loves you just as you are, but once committed to him our goal then is to become like Him in every way.
I have read people who are committed believers, but still struggle with homosexual feelings who will tell you that their desires are wrong. They have not given into those desires and tried to “justify” their longings. I have also read about people who said they were once homosexual and now know that God has changed their “orientation” to a heterosexual lifestyle.
Ultimately it boils down to what the Scriptures teach and will we bend our will to the Bible or our own desires. That my friends is the challenge.