Culture

Responding to Your Friends About Homosexuality

Unless you have been living somewhere without a computer, lights, electricity, or people, you have no doubt noticed the massive culture shift within the last few years on the issue of homosexuality. In 2008, the majority of the California’s voters passed Proposition 8, a stipulation which defined marriage as being between a man and a woman.

Now, years later, the culture has turned and it is considered not only politically incorrect to oppose gay marriage, but downright evil. One clear example from 2014 is the Mozilla co-founder and CEO Brendan Eich, who was forced from his position simply because six years ago he did the popular thing and supported Proposition 8. This example is just one of the numerous cultural examples which shows that the homosexual culture is far reaching and will impact everyone in the future. It is necessary for a Christian to be able to interact with a culture that believes homosexuality is a right that is to be enjoyed.

photo of man supporting homosexuality

If you are like many Christians, you probably wonder how we are supposed to talk about homosexuality? And what mindset should Christians have? Whether it be in a general conversation about homosexuality or directly with a homosexual, here are some helpful reminders.

Remember that the Scriptures are clear: homosexuality is a sin.

Not only is homosexuality never spoken of positively in Scripture, but there are places which are very specific about listing it as sin.

26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error (Rom 1:26-27).

9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9-10).

9 realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers 10 and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching (1 Tim 1:9-10).

Of course there are also multiple passages in the Old Testament which affirm that homosexual behavior has always been wrong (Lev 18:22; 20:13). So the universal testimony of Scripture is that homosexuality is a sin.

This clear evidence is supported by the overall biblical narrative which includes God creating two genders: male and female. (This is why there is a connection between evolution and transgenderism). The biblical pattern is that the two genders (male and female) are enjoined together becoming one flesh in marriage (Gen 2:24). The pattern of male and female united in marriage continues throughout the whole Bible.

All sin (including but not limited to homosexuality) has one source of forgiveness.

Unfortunately, to some Christians, when family members come out and embrace homosexuality, it is the ultimate humiliation for the family. The family often wonders if they should ever associate with that family member again!

But, we need to remember that all sin is grievous to God and worthy of an eternity in hell. Christians should not single out homosexuality as the unpardonable sin. We need to proclaim the gospel against all sin. Those who embrace homosexuality need to be told that their entire worldview is anti-God. Homosexuality is one sin out of many that must be put aside to come to Christ.

In reality, the way we treat homosexuals is the same way we treat alcoholics, those addicted to pornography, liars; or even murderers, thieves, etc. All sin must be repented of while turning to Jesus, the only one who can save.

And the encouragement in all of this, is that God will forgive those who repent. It is not merely theoretical, but God’s forgiveness is readily available.

We are to love those enslaved to homosexuality, but love is not acceptance.

A big pro-homosexuality argument today is that we should want homosexuals to be happy and to be able to experience life the way they want to. In other words, Christians should love and accept their homosexual neighbors by allowing them to live their lives.

The problem with this idea is that this is a redefinition of love. As Christians, we DO love and want to help our neighbors. We want to see them embrace their Creator instead of alienate themselves from Him forever! Therefore, love is what compels us to tell people of their sin and how they need a Savior. Accepting a person’s sin is not loving to that person. A Christian should not sit by while he watches his friend prance happily into everlasting darkness and torment!

Yet, it is important to truly act in a kind manner. Anger, name-calling, hatred, and arrogance are all to be put out of conversations. It is important to be patient, loving, and kind. If at all possible, relationships should be kept up so that there is always an opportunity to share the good news of Jesus. Yet, we are never to compromise on speaking the truth and standing up for what the Bible clearly teaches.

photo credit: CarbonNYC via photopin cc

Peter serves at Shepherd's Theological Seminary in Cary, NC as the professor of Old Testament and Biblical Languages. He is a husband, father, and sports enthusiast.

2 Comments

  • Noah Kelley

    Although I have not yet gotten much response, I have found it helpful (at least for my own thinking) to try to reframe the issue in terms of a positive direction instead of a negative direction. We often find ourselves saying “no” on this issue, and we need to be clear that we say “no” because of the greater “yes” of God’s good design. You can read my attempt to do that here: http://kelleys4christ.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/we-are-not-anti-gay-we-are-pro-people/
    Thanks again for a thoughtful series of posts, Peter!

    • Peter Goeman

      That is a good insight, Noah. I appreciate how you laid that out in your article. We ultimately oppose (negative) homosexuality because we want to people to live in the blessing of God’s design (positive). Well said.