Homosexuality, like heterosexuality, is an orientation, a tendency, and, as long as it is acted out in accordance with the provisions for its practice given in God’s Word, it is acceptable. The problem is that it can’t be. There are no provisions given for the practice of homosexuality in the Bible. In fact, the Bible calls the practice of homosexuality unnatural (Romans 1), not in the sense that it doesn’t come naturally to some people (all sin comes naturally, a by-product of our sin nature), but in the sense that it is not what God intended when he created mankind.
The practice of homosexuality is sin (Romans 1), as are pre and extramarital acts of heterosexuality, as are drunkenness, theft, and lying, for that matter. Sin is sin is sin. One brand is as “bad” as another in God’s sight (James 2:10), as all sin has the same effect on our relationship with Him. Initially, before we accept God’s free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, sin separates us from Him (Romans 6:23). When committed after the point of salvation, sin causes relational static (Psalm 66:18), making it difficult for children of God to hear the Holy Spirit and experience the peace and joy that is rightfully theirs.
We don’t tend to see it that way. That’s understandable, considering the fact that most of us have either witnessed or experienced for ourselves the deep and devastating effects of sexual sin, it being the one sin that a person commits against his/her own body (1 Corinthians 6:18). To us, it just feels like a “big” or “bad” sin, one that would make the top five were we to make a list. Again, it isn’t, but maybe that’s why we, like the guys in the Bible with the stones, tend to overreact when we come face to face with it, unintentionally wounding the captives that we’ve been sent to help free.
Ten or twelve years ago, my family attended a Christmas program at church. It was a packed house. We’d arrived early, so I had plenty of time to people watch, one of my favorite past times. I smiled as family after family wearing some form of Christmas plaid filed in and took their seats, parents locking arms on the pew behind their children like bookends. Smiles were shared. Hugs were given. Shoes were tied, and bows were straightened. It was like a scene from Little House on the Prairie, only there were a lot more pews and the use of candle light, thank Edison, was elective.
Just before the program started, a young family took its place in the pew in front of us, two women and a little boy. I assumed that the ladies were sisters. A few tender looks and light caresses later, I realized that they were not sisters at all, but partners.
I have to admit that I didn’t quite know what to make of it. It was the first time that I’d really ever been confronted with the idea of two people of the same gender building a family together as committed, life-long partners. I wasn’t put off by it. I have homosexual friends. I was just sad. As I watched these ladies share a special holiday moment and love on their son, I realized that the practice of homosexuality and the adoption of it as a lifestyle, although no more sinful than my own transgressions, is much more serious, carrying with it complications that I will never have to wade through and difficult decisions that I will never have to face.
The Bible says that those who knowingly continue to live in sin do not belong to Him (1 John 3:6). To surrender fully to God’s will for their lives, partners in a committed homosexual relationship would have to abandon and repent of the intimacy they have shared, dismantle, essentially, the family that they have built, and learn to love and respect platonically one whom they once considered to be the other half of themselves. I wish that weren’t the case. I really do, especially when I see couples like the one I just described.
What agony! I simply cannot imagine it.
Could you make that choice? You might be able to if you were given time to understand how much God loves you (John 3:16), how willing He is to forgive (1 John 1:9), and how eager He is to heal and make new (2 Corinthians 5:17). You might be able to if you were taught with patience that this life is just a breath (James 4:14), that eternity with the Father is worth any cost to be paid here on earth (Romans 6:23), and that all things are possible with God (Mark 10:27). You might be able to if you were loved and accepted by His family, but you probably wouldn’t if you thought it was the very choice that those who avoided, ridiculed, and judged you at every turn wanted you to make.
My brothers and sisters, consider.
It is not ours to condemn. That’s sin’s job.
It is not ours to convict. That’s the Holy Spirit’s job.
It is not ours to judge. That’s God’s job.
Ours is to love freely and unconditionally, to speak the truth in love, and to extend to others the same measure of grace and mercy that we ourselves require on a daily basis. If your daily quota is as high as mine, that should be more than enough to keep us busy and reason enough to leave the stones be.