Homosexuality is a very emotive issue.  People have been slandered, bashed, and even killed because of it.  Both gays and straights are guilty of abuse toward the other.  I have thought long and seriously about this issue, especially since several of my friends are gay.  How should a Christian view homosexuality and homosexuals?

There are two issues to focus on, here.  I can separate my viewpoint on homosexuality into (1) my personal Christian belief and (2) my relational Christian belief.

(1)  My personal Christian belief.  This must be based, as in all things spiritual, on what the Bible tells me.  What does the Bible say about homosexuality? Not a great deal, actually!  But it does say something.  We know that there were homosexuals in ancient society:

Genesis 19:4,5 Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house.  They called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them."

Here was condemnation for the wicked of the city of Sodom, who wanted homosexual dealings with the two angels who came to warn Lot of impending catastrophe. This reference is not specifically against homosexuality, but against sexual crime. However the following verses do condemn a homosexual lifestyle:

Leviticus 18:22 DO NOT LIE WITH A MAN as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.

Leviticus 20:13 If a MAN LIES WITH A MAN as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is DETESTABLE.

Romans 1:26,27 Even their women exchanged natural relations for UNNATURAL ones.  In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed INDECENT ACTS with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their PERVERSION.

1 Corinthians 6:9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor HOMOSEXUAL offenders.

Some say that these verses simply condemn homosexual acts outside of a loving, committed relationship, the same as heterosexual acts outside a loving, committed relationship are condemned. However, in 1 Corinthians 6:9 homosexual acts are listed as well as sexual immorality. That indicates that homosexual acts are judged of themselves to be sin.

It's obviously not God’s ideal for us to be homosexual and so, if I were to have had these tendencies, I’d have to seriously consider the Biblical stance and question my choices of lifestyle.  You see, I could be gay without living a gay lifestyle.  That would indeed be a burden, restricting my relationships and preventing me from forming an emotional and physical bond which would satisfy my deepest human longings.  However, a sexual union is not the only way to have a fulfilled life!  Many have lived successful productive and celibate lives, whether homosexual or heterosexual. Believing as I believe, I would have to be celibate or abandon my relationship with God.  There can be no compromise, for me.  There is one other option - a change of orientation which, although difficult, is not an impossibility.

On the gay Christian network I found an excellent article by a gay Christian man called "Ron B". 

One of the points he makes is: "Merely to be tempted is not to exchange the truth for the lie. In Eden, Satan offered the lie, but Adam and Eve did not sin until they exchanged the truth that they were not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil for the lie that the tree would make them like God. In the same way, to be tempted to homosexual acts is simply one of the many forms of temptation faced by human beings in this fallen world. I believe that I would sin if I exchanged the truth that God has forbidden homosexual acts for the lie that sexual intimacy with my own gender is in accordance with God’s will and would be good for me. But I do not think that the temptation itself means that we have turned away from God: Christ Himself was “tempted in every way, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15)."

(2) My relational Christian belief.  This tells me that a gay person has value - as much value as any other person.  And a gay person doesn’t always choose to be gay; it’s how he or she was born, or developed in the environment they grew up in.  No matter what my personal beliefs are, I have no right in God’s eyes to judge anybody in anything, including homosexuality.

Do I think any less of my gay friends, because they are gay? Certainly not! They are exceptional people and I regard them very highly.  Do I believe it is a sin to be homosexually inclined?  No. My friends are no more able to help their feelings than I can change my inability to go to sea without getting seasick. It's a physical trait which they were born with or grew into, a handicap.

"Hang on," I hear someone say. "It's not right to call being gay a handicap!"  Here I disagree, and I think my friends would too. As much as they've come to grips with their sexuality and have accepted themselves as valuable human beings, I don't believe any of them would have chosen to have had these tendencies if they'd had a choice.  It has brought them pain and heartache; people have ostracized and rejected them and it has affected them in many other ways.

However, is a person with homosexual tendencies doomed to be a homosexual?  It seems not: "Dr. Francis S. Collins, one of the world’s leading scientists who works at the cutting edge of DNA, concluded that ‘there is an inescapable component of heritability to many human behavioral traits. For virtually none of them is heredity ever close to predictive.’  As Dr. Collins would agree, environment can influence gene expression, and free will determines the response to whatever predispositions might be present. Dr. Collins succinctly reviewed the research on homosexuality and offers the following: ‘An area of particularly strong public interest is the genetic basis of homosexuality. Evidence from twin studies does in fact support the conclusion that heritable factors play a role in male homosexuality. However, the likelihood that the identical twin of a homosexual male will also be gay is about 20 percent (compared with 2–4 percent of males in the general population), indicating that sexual orientation is genetically influenced but not hardwired by DNA, and that whatever genes are involved represent predispositions, not predeterminations’" ("Homosexuality Is Not Hardwired," A. Dean Byrd, National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality April 2007).

Is it possible for homosexuals to change their orientation? Yes, it seems so. Columbia University Professor of Psychiatry Dr. Robert Spitzer wrote a study published in the October 2003 Archives of Sexual Behavior. He says that people can change their ‘sexual orientation’ from homosexual to heterosexual. He interviewed more than 200 people, most of whom claimed that through reparative therapy counselling, their desires for same-sex partners either diminished significantly or they changed over to heterosexual orientation.  Here are some personal stories of men who have changed their sexual orientation through the power of God.  There is a "way out" although it requires commitment, hard work and support.

While homosexual tendencies are not always a choice but a handicap some folk find themselves with, it doesn't become wrong unless that person practices a lifestyle involving a same-sex partner.

There are some very good articles online from NARTH (National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality).  One summarizes a study  on identical twins, and there is useful information for homosexuals, therapists and parents.

And there's another factor in this: God doesn't judge a person as committing sin unless he or she knows that what they are doing is the wrong thing. Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at...

If a person doesn't know his actions are wrong, to him it is not sin. But when God gives that person light and he refuses to walk in that light, that is sin. The same principle applies to any issue you care to mention. If we're honestly seeking God's will in our lives, He will reveal our sin to us and expect a "turning around".

Do I personally judge my gay friends? Most certainly not! God knows every thought, every motive and reason in their minds, and for me to sit in judgment would be the height of arrogance.

I can feel anxious for them and desire change in their lives, but only God knows what factors have led them to their current position. I have no idea. In fact God says “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you." Matthew 7:1,2.  Of course I believe that a homosexual relationship is wrong, in the light of the Scripture; I can’t do otherwise. But to condemn my friends, even in my mind, is not an option for me.

I can accept a homosexual as a dear friend. I can’t approve of a homosexual relationship, but I can respect my friends' journey, as I hope they would respect mine.  I don't have a mandate to judge; I do have a mandate to love!

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