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“WHAT ARE WE ACCEPTING?” – May 10

May 10, 2013

“Therefore, God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”  Romans 1:24

paul pierce kevin garnett jason collinsIn April, history was made.   Jason Collins, a NBA basketball player, announced  that he is gay.  He is the first active male athlete in a major American team sport to come out as gay.  The general coverage has been universal acceptance. Mr. Collins received a telephone call from President Obama congratulating him on his bravery in coming out.  He has been proclaimed a hero.  He is scheduled to headline a fundraiser with First Lady Michele Obama at the end of the month.  Some have speculated that this might be an avenue for Mr. Collins to extend his 12 year NBA career.

Jason Collins’ announcement is part of a larger shift as explained by Jessica White in her article, Is it really no big deal that pro-athlete Jason Collins is openly gay?  As she writes, “These days, America is starting to see the moral urgency in dismantling homophobia, not defending it.”  Homophobia as Ms. Write defines it, is not accepting the gay lifestyle.  “This is how acceptance works in the public imagination.   Once bigotry recedes to the wrong side of history, few people want to be associated with it. They do not want to acknowledge that it remains in force anywhere – that hatred does lasting damage. That would implicate them.”

Those who believe what the Bible says about certain behavior are on the wrong side of history according to Ms. White.  Paul is very clear in Romans:
“For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; an men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” (Romans 1:26)

Rainbow flag flapping in the wind

Rainbow flag flapping in the wind (Photo credit: @bastique)

Many in the gay community will consider anyone who believes that verse to be a bigot.

The Bible identifies homosexuality as a sin; right alongside “…envy, murder, strife, maliciousness, …gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.” (Romans 1:29-31)  All of those behaviors are examples of God giving people over to a debased mind to do what they ought not to do because they have not seen fit to acknowledge God. (Romans 1:28)

How should Christians respond?

Those who exhibit any of those behaviors should draw the compassion of followers of Christ.  Their behavior demonstrates their need for Christ.  I am praying for Jason Collins because his announcement is not historic in the sense that it is just another refusal to acknowledge God.  That type of announcement is made every day by millions.

I realize that many who read this will lump me in the bigot category.  There is not much I can do about that.  I don’t hate anyone in the gay community.  Just because I do not accept a person’s lifestyle, does not mean that I hate that person.  There are a lot of behaviors in my own lifestyle that I do not accept but I do not hate myself.  I hate the sin that I do because of what it reveals about the condition of my heart and my attitude towards God.  My attitude towards the gay community is actually the opposite of hate.  The sin that is front and center in the gay community reveals the heart condition of those living that lifestyle and their attitude towards God.  I want to see all come to a saving relationship in Christ.  I want to see all who refuse to acknowledge God as Lord of their lives to come to repentance.  There is forgiveness of all sins, including homosexuality, in Christ.

Acceptance of sin is the worst action a follower of Christ can do for an unbelieving world.  How hateful is it to allow the lost to remain in their sin and face the judgment of God because we felt compelled to accept their sinful behavior?

The most compassionate act that I can do is to bear the stigma of bigot while calling the lost to repentance. 

Unfortunately, compassion is not what the gay community has generally experienced from the Church.  Hate and condemnation has been more of the response.  The reality is that those reactions are sin.

Jesus came for sinners.  He came for me.  He came for Jason Collins.  He came for all of us.  May our message to the gay community and all communities be the gospel;
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.  This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.  It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:23-26

PRAYER: Lord, I pray for Jason Collins and all those who are living a gay lifestyle.  Father, they need their eyes to be open.  They need to see you clearly.  Help me to show love and compassion to my gay friends while at the same time not accepting their behavior.  Lord, give us the fortitude to consistently preach your gospel to all people, at all times, in love and compassion for the lost.   I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

13 comments

  1. Dear Sir, I really enjoyed your article, but feel it and your prayer are a tad incomplete: we really ought to include the sins of overstepping the boundaries of prescribed heterosexual activities (fornication, rape, adultery) as sins that are equally as destructive as people of the same gender sleeping around with each other.

    Years ago, I met a man a church who told me was homosexual, but celibate, because his brand of sexual experience was not approved by the Bible. I have to tell you that I have a lot more respect for that man than I do for heterosexual people who claim to follow Christ but sleep around with members of the opposite sex instead of saving their sexuality (“God’s wedding present”) for such time as they may be married.

    You are doing a great job in your writings, and thank you for calling us to pray for, instead of condemning, those who disagree with us. True tolerance is loving the sinner while hating the sin. Keep up the good work!


    • I agree that we should not overlook the myriad of sexual sins by heterosexuals. I actually had a couple paragraphs written by that particular point but pulled it out because the blog post was just getting too long. That might be a topic of a post in the future. I appreciate your comments.
      God Bless!
      JD


  2. The truth spoken, soaked in compassion, mercy, humility and love.


  3. JD. Thank you for your compassionate spirit as we enter into this debate.


  4. I think it is important for us, as Christians, to realize that SSA (same sex attraction) is NOT the sin it is the acting out that is the sin. All can still live a chaste and holy life.


  5. Thank you for your bold yet tactful post! May the Lord use this to plant seeds for those reading this…


  6. thank you. Brilliant post. I agree with all the points you made, especially about dislike of our own sin and lifestyle choices and ‘The most compassionate act that I can do is to bear the stigma of bigot while calling the lost to repentance.’ I think you’ve hit the nail on the head


  7. Great post! I got into a discussion if this last weekend. I agree- a sin is a sin, and homosexuality is a sin. But, we are all sinners.
    My friends and I were discussing homosexuals who are Christian or have accepted Christ. I DO believe you can be both gay and Christian, as you can be a lying Christian, murderous Christian, adulterous Christian, and so on.
    What are your thoughts on baptism of an openly gay Christian? A lot of gray area there…


    • Dearly loved…I hope my post on SSA (same sex attraction) will help answer some of the questions you are asking. My personal belief, after some study, is that people can suffer from SSA during some parts or most parts do their lives. I do NOT like to use the term gay when discussing this subject because there is so much confusion regarding the term….To answer your question can people who have SSA be Christians….my answer would be yes….with a BIG however, they are called to forsake sin and live a chaste and holy life….We the church are called to help them in that.


    • I believe that the Bible defines repentance as confessing of our sins, asking for forgiveness, turning away from those sins, and following Christ. No one is free from sin and everyone stumbles. However, there is a difference between the person who hates the sin in their life and is striving to kill that sin and the person who is habitually practicing a particular sin. These sins are in no way limited to homosexuality. I wonder whether someone who is living in habitual sin has actually repented of their sin. I cannot look into anyone’s heart to know if they are saved or not. However, I can tell from a person’s life the degree of assurance they should have in their salvation. If they do not see the fruit of the Spirit in terms of increasing victory over sin, then their assurance that they are a new creation in Christ cannot be great. This is why I would not recommend baptizing a person who is actively practicing a sinful lifestyle as if there is nothing wrong with it. I would recommend baptizing a person who as repented of their homosexual lifestyle and have turned from it but are still struggling with the temptation of that particular sin.


  8. My thoughts and feelings exactly! You have spoken it so clearly and purely. We taught our youth group kids to love the sinner, hate the sin. The two must be separated. Thank you!


  9. Right on, JD! I agree wholeheartedly with your prayer. Hate the SIN, not the Sinners. We are all sinners, but God loves us and calls us to repentance.


  10. Great post on a very difficult and very real subject. Praying that with you.



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