Complete question: Why do you condemn homosexuality when it’s clear that God made gays and that he loves all people the same?
- The Story of Jesus’ interactions with the Samaritan woman (John 4:1-26) provides a helpful model for our consideration
- Jesus modeled the need to affirm God’s love toward all people–including men and women ensnared in any kind of sexual immorality.
- Our primary focus should be on affirming the positive model God gives us for sexual expression within a biblical marriage–one man and one woman, for life.
- God clearly prohibits homsexual activity in the Bible, but it isn’t listed as being worse than other sins.
- Human desire might seem natural, but that doesn’t make it right.
- We need to explain that someone’s orientation toward or temptation by same-sex attractions is not in and of itself sin.
- Jesus’ treatment of the woman at the well clearly demonstrates that God wants all kinds of sinners to come to him for salvation.
- As we seek to respond to this difficult question, we can find guidance in what Jesus did and said.
- In the main passage for this chapter (John 4:1-26), Jesus is seen traveling through Samaria, an area the Jewish leaders avoided because they simply would not associate with those people.
- In interesting insight from Our Daily Bread, with reference to the woman at the well, “He revealed a supernatural understanding of her unquenched thirst for life.” Jesus saw something in this woman that no one else understood because he wasn’t there to judge her, he was there to save her.
Affirming and Showing God’s Love
- God loves all people. We should affirm God’s love for all people, regardless of their lifestyle or the particular activities or sins they may be engaged in.
- Our actions here will speak much louder than our words
God our Savior…wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. 1 Timothy 2:3-4
- Jesus reaches out to homosexual men and women–and indeed all those in the LGBTQ community–with the same kind of love and intentionality that he showed to the Samaritan woman
- His love was radical and real. He genuinely cared.
Extending God’s Grace
- Jesus, the quintessential evangelist, expressed a mixture of grace and truth–including truth about her moral failures.
- Don’t focus on trying to reform people from the outside in, but rather on sharing the life-changing gospel…from the inside out.
Affirming God’s Model for Human Sexuality
- From the beginning, “This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” Genesis 2:24
- How many people? Two. Which genders? One man and one woman.
- If you are married, sexual expression between you and your spouse is encouraged and even celebrated as a gift from God. But outside of that, there are no examples of sex condoned by God. Absolutely none.
Telling the Truth About God’s Will
- We need to lovingly tell the truth about what God says regarding sexual relations.
- First, make clear that the Bible’s position is not based on isolated verses
- Second, those who see this issue differently often try to explain away the texts that do seem to prohibit sex between members of the same gender.
- The detestable act: Leviticus 20:13, 18:22; Deuteronomy 23:18
- Since Jesus doesn’t explicitly address the issue of same-sex practices, could someone make the case that he actually endorses it just because of a lack of specific prohibition?
- He never speaks out agains slavery, child trafficking or the oppressive occupation of his homeland by Roman authorities
- The consistency of his message provides implicit understanding
- Paul also provides a clear warning about same-gender sexual sin (among others): 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 1 Timothy 1:8-11.
- The matter-of-fact way in which Paul includes homosexuality in this list must mean people at that time were familiar with the practice.
- Paul makes it clear that God expects us to regard these activities as a thing of the past, something we did before accepting Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Addressing a Misguided Assumption
- Some have said, “it’s clear that God made gays,” that some people have same-sex desires. Since “God made me this way, with these desires, so he must have intended me to have and to fulfill these desires.”
- There are major problems with this way of thinking.
- First, all kinds of desires occur in people (food, recreation, fame, fortune, etc.). These can be from God, but taking any of them to the extreme doesn’t automatically make them appropriate.
- Second, not every desire is from God.
Temptation Does Not Equal Sin
- Being tempted to steal something is not the same as actually stealing
- Temptation itself is not sin
God is Looking for True Worshipers
Making the Church a Place of Grace
God Uses Redeemed Sinners of Every Stripe
- Turning Atheists into Missionaries
- God seems to delight in turning unlikely candidates into uncanny instruments of his love and truth. The anti-Christian Saul became the apostle Paul.
Tips for Talking About This Issue
- Prior to talking about this issue, try to gain Jesus’ loving perspective toward all kinds of sinful people.
- God sent Jesus for all of us…we are all sinners.
- Eliminate degrading humor and comments about homosexuals and the gay community–the church, small group, within your family–completely. Mittelberg actually says, “to the degree possible;” I have less empathy. Ephesians 5:4
- This is a charged issue, remember James’ admonition (James 1:19): “you must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”
- People often expect us to be uncaring. Surprise and intrigue them with your Jesus-like love “in a gentle and respectful way.” 1 Peter 3:16
- Speak the truth of God’s Word without pronouncing judgment on individual people. We are all challenged by biblical principles. This is God’s revelation, not your personal opinion.
- Emphasize the life-giving message of the gospel, “When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.” Romans 5:6
- Try to help people understand the biblical perspective, but be prepared to be misunderstood. Persevere, be consistent, know that God is with you and “joy awaits” you (John 4:36).
Questions for discussion
- What kinds of examples have you seen from Christians in addressing issues of homosexuality? Did they emphasize truth at the expense of grace–or vice versa?
- How do you feel about the balance of grace and truth in your own perspective on this issue? Do you need to shore up one side or the other a bit? How can you go about doing that?
- What can we as Christians do if we’ve been too strong on one side of the issue, failing to live out the WWJD principle discussed at the beginning of the chapter?
- What are some practical things your group or your church could do to make it a more accessible and friendly place for serious spiritual seekers who are struggling with this issue?
- Toward the end of the passage in John 4, after the disciples came back to find Jesus talking to the Samaritan woman, they urged him to eat. Jesus replied, “I have a kind of food you know nothing about…My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work (John 4:32, 36). Have there been times or eras in your life when you related to Jesus’ statement? What could you do to experience that kind of era once again?