There’s been a lot of talk and news reports over the recent controversy with respect to Chick-fil-A’s president public opposition to homosexual marriage. The controversy is not a new one and it won’t be the last time. It is said that Christians are not tolerant towards homosexuals.
I looked up the word tolerance to ensure that we are on the same page. It is defined as “a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry.” (Emphasis mine.)
Let’s be clear, Christians will never have a permissive attitude towards sin. By the same token, homosexuals do not and will not have a tolerant attitude towards Christian beliefs. In the Chick-Fil’A’s controversy, it started because it became known that the company donated to organizations that are “anti-gay” – that is, the organizations do not support a homosexual lifestyle. The homosexual community is not holding a “permissive attitude” towards Chick-fil-A’s founding family’s beliefs and their right to donate their money where why wish. In this country, homosexuals have a right to their beliefs and have a right to donate their money to any cause that they wish. By the same token, Christians have that very same right as citizens of the same country that they share with the homosexual community. Homosexuals are not donating money to causes that are against their belief system so it is incredibly hypocritical to expect Christians to donate money to cause that are against our beliefs and values or to not donate to causes that support our values.
Should Christians shun homosexuals?
To understand how we, as Christians, should treat people who are living a homosexual lifestyle, it would be helpful to understand how God views homosexuality with respect to other sins. In other words, should we treat the sin of homosexuality different than we would other sins? To be clear, homosexuality is a sin and those that do not repent will perish in their sins.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1Co 6:9-10)
In the above verses, there is no distinction made with respect to the different sins. Idolaters, thieves, greedy persons, drunkards, and homosexuality, etc. are all lumped together equally and those that practice any of those sins will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21 tells us that the works of the flesh are evident and lists some of these things such as “fits of anger, idolatry, impurity, sexual immorality, jealousy, envy, etc.” “Those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
We need to understand that homosexuality, adulterers, heterosexual sex outside of marriage all fall within the “sexual immorality” category. Homosexuality is one of the many sins that fall within sexual immorality. Without repentance, there is no salvation.
The question that needs to be answered is “how should Christians treat sinners” which those that practice a homosexual lifestyle are.
We can use Jesus’ example from John, Chapter 8. The Pharisees caught a woman in the act of adultery and under the Mosaic Law, it was commanded that she be stoned (Leviticus 20:10, Deuteronomy 20:21-24). The punishment for sexual immorality was death under the law that God gave to the Israelites. The punishment for homosexual acts was also punishable by death (Leviticus 20:13). We can understand how God views the sexually immoral by the punishment He required under the Mosaic Law.
When the Pharisees brought him the woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8:3), Jesus was quiet for a moment. He bent down and wrote something in the dirt with His finger while the Pharisees continued to badger Him. Finally He stood up and stated “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7) The Pharisees could do nothing but leave one by one for none of them was without sin. The adulteress woman was left standing alone with Jesus. He showed her compassion and asked her where were her accusers and if anyone has condemned her. She answered “no one.”
“And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.’” (John 8:12)
All of mankind are all guilty of sin and would perish if Jesus did not save us from the penalty of our sin. Jesus came to heal the sick and free us from the bondage of sin (Mark 2:17). Jesus did not reject anyone but instead He spent His time with sinners (Matthew 9:10). He had compassion on sinners and gave His life on the cross for sinners. No one was excluded because of his or her sin.
God uses Christians to spread the Good News (Gospel) to all people (Mark 16:15). We cannot exclude sinners based on their sin. A homosexual is in as much need to hear the Good News as any other person. We cannot shun them for Jesus did not shun a single sinner. He desires that all repent of their sin and NONE should perish.
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)
Christians cannot condone sin; however, Christians should not shun anyone because of their sin. Instead, the world should see Christ through us for we are His ambassadors.
While this controversy obviously makes Christians angry for we are asked to do what the homosexuals refuse to do which is have a “permissive attitude,” there are times when we are come across individuals that are homosexual. It’s difficult to deal with a large group of people whose means of protest is to stand outside and kiss in front of cameras or to hold parades for the purpose proclaiming their sexuality. Yet, each and every one of them are individuals that are bound for eternal destruction unless they repent.
If the scene where Jesus was presented with the adulteress woman was changed and He was presented with a homosexual caught in the act like the woman caught in the act of adultery, no Christian can argue that He would have said “stone him” instead of ““Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone. He would have said “from now on sin no more” just as he said to the woman caught in the sin of adultery.
Across the street from me live two homosexuals who have been kind to me. I have no idea if they also went and kissed on camera as a means of protest. But in my neighborhood, they stay to themselves and I don’t see much of them. They have seen my animals and have shown interest in them and have been very kind to them and have been very polite to me. It is these type of encounters that are not full of anger towards each other than can be used to share the love of God. After all, we are Christ’s ambassadors.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (2Co 5:20)
As ambassadors for Christ, we are to represent Him and we do that by sharing the Gospel to all regardless of their sin.
Photo Courtesy of AllAboutWolves.com
This post is adapted from an answer written for GotQuestions.org