If you are a Christian and you publicly condemn homosexuality or homosexual behavior, stop it. You’re harming the faith. You’re making Christians look like pinheads.
That’s because it’s not the Christian’s job to tell the world how to live. The Christian has three major jobs:
- Be the conduit for God’s love into the world
- Introduce people to God through Jesus Christ
- Encourage other Christians to become better disciples
There’s so much work to do in just these three jobs that we should be too busy to pronounce condemnation on anyone. There will never be a shortage of people in need: sick, poor, addicted, grieving, lonely, incarcerated. Go and do for them.
Sometimes, people you serve will become ready and receptive to hear more about God. Tell them your faith story and show them what the Bible says about redemption. Let your testimony and especially the word of God penetrate their hearts. After they’ve accepted Christ, help them build their relationship with God. Encourage them, study with them, pray with them, be their friend, and give them opportunities to serve people in need. And so the cycle continues.
Here’s where this gets a little thorny. Part of helping other Christians grow and become better disciples sometimes involves pointing out their sins. On the one hand, Jesus warned us in the Sermon at the Mount to take the log out of our own eye before we point out the splinter in someone else’s – that is, we should we should overwhelmingly focus on cleaning up our own act over correcting others. But Paul in his writings tells Christians that they should directly address the gross, unrepentant sin of other Christians.
It can be tricky to figure out through the Bible what God considers to be wrong behavior. It’s tempting, but risky, to read any English translation of Scripture as direct instruction to us. That’s because the Bible’s books were originally written for an audience that has been dead for thousands of years. Who was the original audience in terms of their history, culture, and level of understanding of the world? What is known about why that book was written? Additionally, do other passages about the same subject harmonize with this one and with the Bible’s overarching message? Finally, because the original language is not always easily directly translated into English, it is often very illuminating to look at the original words to learn shades of meaning obscured in English. In other words, a full understanding of any Bible passage requires study.
Upon that level of study, it’s clear that the Bible unambiguously calls out many sins: God hates divorce. Don’t sleep around on your spouse. Don’t murder anybody. However, I find after some study that the few verses that call out homosexual behavior are ambiguous.
But regardless of what your study leads you to think about homosexuality, those few verses are positively overwhelmed by verse after verse after verse that tell the Christian what behaviors and attitudes to put on. The Bible relentlessly tells you to live a life of compassion and service. Give yourself over to it, and let God sort out the rest.
Here is another thing I wish Christians would stop saying.