I’ve written about homosexuality a good bit of late, and I do earnestly pray that this is my last post on the subject (it will be, unless I need to answer a specific argument). One of the most distressing things I have heard about my posts is that my firm conviction that homosexuality is a sin means that I do not love homosexuals. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I’m not sure when our national psyche developed the idea that because a Christian, informed by the Word of God, believes a certain act to be sinful, he automatically hates the individual trapped in that sin. My parents love me deeply, but they did not always find my actions right when I was growing up—they would remove privileges, would give me looks that would make me wish I were dead, and, yes, would even spank me. They didn’t discipline me because they hated me; in fact, they disciplined me precisely because they loved me. Corrective discipline occurs, you see, not because of hatred, but because of love.
Let me give you three major problems with saying that a Christian hates homosexuals because Scripture teaches homosexual acts are sinful:
The problem isn’t homosexuality.
All sin is an issue before God. If I preach again murder, does that mean that I automatically hate murderers and that they cannot receive the grace of God? Were I to preach that children should obey their parents, do I hate disobedient children? What if I preach about lying or greed or lust or fornication or. . .? Logically, the argument falls flat.
Throughout Scripture, I find Jesus and others confronting sin without hating those caught in sin. Jesus told the woman caught in adultery to go and sin no more (yes, he called her adultery sin; John 8:11), but the text nowhere indicates that Jesus hated that poor woman. Paul urged the church at Corinth to put an adulterer out of their midst (1 Corinthians 5), but Paul did not hate that man, for, after that man’s repentance, Paul urged the Corinthians to reaffirm their love for him (2 Corinthians 2:8). James, the brother of Jesus, urged his readers bring the sinner back to the fold and cover a multitude of sins (James 5:19-20); no hatred, but a desire for reclamation and forgiveness.
God does not hate the sinner.
God does not hate the homosexual or the liar or the disobedient or the thief or the drunkard or the lustful or the foul-mouthed or the [insert your own sin here]. In fact, God loves the sinner. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16).
God didn’t wait until Justin had his act together to send Jesus to die for him. In fact, God sent his only Son to die in my place before I even thought about trying to serve him. What an amazing God we serve!
Preaching truth is love.
As twisted as it may sound to some of you, urging those who engage in homosexual acts to come to repentance is, in and of itself, an act of love. Were I to know that a bridge had washed away and simply stand by and watch a bus full of children race toward the rolling river while doing nothing, you’d rightfully call me a monster. Why is it seen as an act of hate to call a sinner to repentance?
“We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20). Reconciliation to God brings peace and joy. Reconciliation brings spiritual blessings found only in Christ. Reconciliation brings salvation from the wrath of him who sits upon the throne. Be reconciled to God!