Christ is not Homophobic… are you?

10 1328

The next topic in my blog series on “church issues” is the (lack of) response on the topic homosexuals and bisexual in today’s churches.

Let me tell you a story.

I graduated from Southeastern University in 1996, a school in Central Florida, formally known as Southeastern College, and Southern Bible College before that.  In the 90s Southeastern was well-known in the community for its music program.

One night I turned on the local news, and there was the Professor of Music.  Local police arrested him right on TV for soliciting another male at a local park.  He was caught with his pants down.  Literally.  It was a sting operation.   That stung one of our professors!  Quite the buzz on campus the next day.

But something about the sting bothered me.

It’s something I see prevalent in many church’s and Christian circles.

You see, it was later revealed that our music professor, married with children, music minister at his local church, and very loved by students and faculty alike, had been struggling with this issue for quite some time.  He felt there was literally no one on the campus that he could confide in about his desire to solicit other men for sex.  Especially not the faculty or administration members who admired him so.

Let’s be clear.

The college stance on homosexuality was extremely strict.  Plainly, it was a sin.  A sin for which a student could be expelled.  A sin that no one didn’t dare mention or acknowledge, much less profess to entertain.

God Himself labels it a sin, too.  You don’t have to be a Bible student to clearly see that the Bible, God’s Word, doesn’t condone homosexuality or the gay lifestyle.  

We’ll examine those scriptures more in a little bit.

For now, back to what troubles me:  how this sin in particular is treated in churches & Christian circles.

The silent sinners.

I bet church doors swing wide open each Sunday for murderers and thieves.

Think about it.  I mean, how would anyone know if the visitor sitting on the front pew killed somebody just last night?  Or robbed a bank that morning?  Unless that person told someone in the church.

So yeah, doors swing open for murderers and thieves.  Pedophiles and rapists.

But the same doors slam shut on homosexuals, if they are looking the part.

For example, let’s say a male shows up to church, and he’s acting “sweet,” that is, behaving in a more feminine way.  Maybe he extends his pinky finger while sipping a cup or coffee, or he’s caught putting on lip gloss in the men’s room.

Some church leaders would treat such a person with a violent attitude and with great disdain.  I’ve seen it.  The vibe is that the person doesn’t belong there.  In fact, it’s communicated, overt or otherwise, that the gay person had some nerve or audacity to show himself or herself in church.

It’s almost like there’s an unwritten rule that gay people aren’t allowed to express any interest in God.

Heterosexual males in the congregation particularly seem to get upset when another acts like anything but a man.   Now, I understand righteous anger.  Some sins can tick a Christian off.  Big time.  Jesus in fact displayed a righteous anger when He went to the Temple and witness gambling and all sorts of unbiblical activity going on.  Jesus overthrew a few tables and what not.

Yet, we can’t imply to gays or any other sinner that the church has nothing to offer them unless they clean up their act first.  No, Christ says come as you are.

Are churches for saved folk only?

The church is a place where sinners can go to hear the Gospel and potentially become saved.

The churches isn’t just for already-saved folk?  Or is it?

Must sinners shave first, take a bath, wear nice clothes, remove their hat, stop smoking, become a heterosexual and *THEN* maybe they can be welcomed to hear the Gospel message?

Isn’t sanctification a process?

Now, back to the music professor for a brief moment…

The Music Professor’s secret sin

It’s a shame he felt that he had no one he could trust with his struggle.  This not ought to be a case on an entire college campus of mostly believers.  He also attended a local church in the community and apparently felt there was no one there either in whom he could confide.

Tragically, this is the reality in many church circles.  

The Bible encourages us to confess our sins to one another (James 5:16), but many Christians are too often judgmental and condemning, especially with this sin.

So the people among them in their very midst who are hurting and struggling with homosexuality as their “thorn” in the flesh don’t dare go to anyone in the church.  Instead, they hide it.  They wouldn’t imagine confessing having an issue with this sin when it’s so radically and angrily spoken out against.

Jesus hates sin, yes.  But Jesus shows great compassion towards the sinner.  He will leave the 99 and go after one.

None of us are sinless or have a right to cast a stone.   We pick up a stone, hold it tightly, and then wonder why folk with deep spiritual struggles are afraid to go to the church or church folk for help.

Saints and sinners alike

My story about the music professor illustrates that it’s not just sinners who deal with homosexual tendencies.  In fact, sinners may not really struggle much with this sin because they don’t resist or fight it.  Instead, they embrace it.  Whereas a believer struggles greatly.  Is tormented even.  Because the fay lifestyle is so contrary to the very faith they have to come to know and endear.

Generally speaking, it’s not too terribly hard to spot those persons in the church who are struggling with this issue.  Just about all of us can probably recall a choir director or two, males, who seemed to be a little on the not-so-masculine-side of the gender pendulum.

The model lover would do what?

There’s a popular saying, “WWJD,” which means, “What would Jesus do [in any given situation].”  I believe Jesus would love persons struggling with this sin.  And we should do the same.  Christ tells us to love even our enemies (Matthew 5:44) so how much more should we love our fellow brothers or sisters in the faith.

Jesus is the “model lover” shall we say.

Let me tell you two more stories, both from the Bible.

Stories from the Bible

The Adulteress Woman

The first story found in John 8:1-11 is about a woman who was sleeping around on her husband. She gets caught and a crowd surrounded her ready to stone the woman to death when Jesus came to her rescue.

It is speculated that Jesus began to write the words of different sins in the sand because he says to the crowd, “He who is without sin cast the first stone,” and nobody threw a stone.  Jesus then asks the woman, “Where are your accusers?” Apparently the crowd had dispersed.  So Jesus tells the woman that he doesn’t accuse or condemn her either.  He never condoned her adultery of course. In fact, He told her, “Go and sin no more,” but he surely didn’t respond the way the local rereligiousect of that did in cases like this.

Jesus here models love.

Zacchaeus from Jericho

The second story found in Luke 19:1-10 is about a short man named Zacchaeus who lived in Jericho.  He was a tax collector.  Now, back in New Testament days, tax collectors were some of the most despised and unliked persons by all, particularly the religious sect of the day, because tax collectors overcharged folk and made a killing being crooked (hmmm… sounds like today’s tax collectors too… aka Uncle Sam or the IRS! – LOL).

Well one day Jesus came to his town and was preaching to a large crowd of listeners.  Zacchaeus wanted to hear what Jesus was saying, but he was so small that he couldn’t see over people’s heads, so he climbed into a tree so that he could hear what Jesus was saying. As it turns out, Christ sees him in the tree and gives him a special shoutout, almost like a “I see you” type response, calls him by name and asks him to come down from the tree, that he wants to go to his house and eat.

Jesus looked up and said to him,

Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.

Can’t you just hear the people in the crowd gasp?

Verse 7 says,

All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.’

“Giiiiiiiiiiiiiiirl, did you hear that? Jesus is going to eat with that sinner Zacchaeus, the tax collector?!?!? How repulsive for him to sup with someone like that.”

Sound familiar?  I could see Jesus today calling out to the gay and lesbian person, some of the most despised persons of our day and totally shocking the crowd by saying,

Hey Pedro, I see you over there in the corner trying to listen to what I have to say.  I must eat at the House of Darion today.

We’re so busy being offended or pretending that we “don’t see” or notice that many gay persons feel isolated, living with massive inner conflict and ultimately they give up their “struggle” altogether.  They decide to leave the church altogether and fully engage in the homosexual community full-fledged, perhaps to the degree of publicly marrying someone else of the same sex.

Why is it so hush hush?

It’s a shame that Christians and churches in general frankly don’t talk about this subject, except to say how wrong the lifestyle is from the pulpit.

The same is true on school campuses.

Bible colleges nationwide seem to attract males to their music programs who struggle with this issue, yet because school authorities stay quiet on this subject, this leaves room for the whole “marriage cover-up” scenario where men struggling with this issue marry women hoping to “overcome” their feelings for other men or hoping to be “accepted” in church circles where they desire to become music ministers or choir directors.

The “marriage cover” scenario is a devastating reality.

The problem is that the males in these type of “cover-up” marriages often end up leaving the marriage when the kids are all grown up, citing that they are going to “stop pretending” and pursue their attraction to other men. Needless to say, a lot of folk get hurt in a scenario like this: certainly the wife and kids and the congregation where he led worship.

There are many ideas we can explore as to the reasons people struggle with this particular sin (e.g., men growing up in homes with no fathers, men who were raped at a young age, etc), but this blog isn’t to address whether the homosexual lifestyle is right or wrong.  The point is that gay people and persons who struggle with homosexuality should be treated with dignity and respect.

There are persons at my job who are openly living a gay lifestyle, and while I don’t agree with it, I treat them with respect.

God hates homosexuality, the sin itself.

Now, don’t get it twisted, God hates sin, and the Bible (in every version) very clearly and directly addresses homosexuality as a sin, as something displeasing to God.

For example, Romans 1:24-27 says,

 24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. 26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.

Another scripture I will cite is Genesis 19:4-6:

4 Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. 5 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.”

6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7 and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing.

No matter what version of the Bible you read, those two scriptures along with several others are quite clear on the topic. There’s no “grey” area here.

The actual word “homosexuality” isn’t used in the Bible, but we all know what it means when it says “the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other” and “Men did shameful things with other men.

God’s plumbing by design

The Bible also tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.  It doesn’t take a genius or medical doctor to realize that the human bodies are simply incredible in their design.  God our Creator is a master designer indeed.  He first created man, then He created the woman from the man’s rib.  And judging by the plumbing alone, God designed it for the human male and female to fit together.  This natural union can procreate, by God’s design.  People of the same-sex can’t procreate, nor do their bodies naturally fit together the way a man’s and woman’s does.

Yet despite this, the reality is that literally thousands and thousands of person are forsaking God’s natural design and doing their own thing.  For example, two women get married and they both want children, so they adopt.  Because two women can’t naturally have children.  It takes sperm to fertilize an egg.  But because two women want to be together, they will make “their way” work and say it’s their right to live their way in contrary to the way God setup.  Like Burger King, they want life “their way.”

God loves sinners, see John 3:16

But check this out, and this is redundant but bears repeating.  God still loves those persons who live contrary to his law.  Even though He hates sin, He still loves the sinner.  In fact, God so loved the sinner that He sent His only Son to die on a cross to pay the price for our sins (John 3:16).  And despite what I believe, or you believe, all people, even those living against God’s law that is outlined in the Bible, deserve the dignity and respect to be afforded human rights that we all share (e.g., being able to have loved ones at their bedside when they are ill or dying in a hospital bed).

Christians aren’t sinless, they just (hopefully) sin less.  So saints, I ask you, if sanctification is a process, and if God hates sin but loves and embraces the sinner, why can’t we?

Some churches are caring to all

It was refreshing to learn that a growing number churches are including ministries that target persons struggling with these issues (i.e., homosexuality, bisexuality, trans gender issues).

For example, there’s a church in Atlanta that has a ministry specifically for transsexuals, person who get saved after having a sex change operation.  We need to have more ministries to help people in these and similar type of situations.

It’d even be nice for there to be recovery groups for persons whose spouses left them for same-sex relationships.  We are living in modern-day times and the church ought to be addressing modern-day issues, even though truthfully, as Ecclesiastes tells us, there’s really not too much new that hasn’t always been going on in the world.

The world will know us by our love

I leave you with this thought.

Jesus says in John 13:35 that our love for one another will prove to the world that we are Christians.

 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.

 So where’s the love?

Where is the love?

Please feel free to comment below.

  • Nicole

    Why do some pastor’s speak ill of Homosexuallity but have a Gay person running his music department? Also, why does the King James version of the bible not mention homosexuality but every other version of the bible has interpreted it that way? People are just people. Yes every culture has that bad group that can be very effective in making the whole look bad or unappealing but that’s just a small few. So what is the church afraid of? This fear is what has created the Down Low Brotha’s. They think they can’t be active in this spirituallity if they are Gay because a (person, human, fleshling) is going to judge them. No one judges me but God.
    The sooner we get back to the real Love for self and others. The sooner we get back to living in spirit instead of flesh. The sooner we get back to service the better off our society will be.

  • Nebtastic

    I dont think homosexuality is something people chose to be……mind you there are some but over all i dont think it is a choice. I do not believe that if you go to church and be saved that you can be de-homofied.

  • Nicole, you pose a good question when you ask why do some pastor’s speak ill of homosexuality but have a gay person running his music department.
    As far as the King James version, it actually has the same scriptures as the other versions of the Bible. While the actual word homosexuality isn’t used, it’s clearly described; for example, see Romans 1:27 in the KJV. It says, “And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”
    But I definitely agree that more love is needed when churches address this issue and deal with the persons it affects. Jesus says in Matthew that we are to love even our enemies and to love our neighbors the same way love ourselves. I can’t imagine Christ treating gay persons the way many Christians do.

  • Nebtastic, I actually know people who testify to being quote-unquote “delivered” from homosexually after becoming saved.

  • Great points you raise June and great discussion. I hope more people come to by to chime in. @Nebastic, I agree with June in that I know of entire ministries formed and ran by ex-homosexuals. I’ve heard many personal testimonies from those who were delivered. Some even married after the fact. But they are very frank and honest about the struggle. Christ is alive and well and very interested in the homosexual community–to set those who sense and admit enslavement free. These are some of the most honest human beings I know. And to have a serious ministry to this community of people, you have to be a seriously mature Christian who values authentic living–and practices it yourself. They can smell a fake a mile a way and will not tolerate you.
    I think June’s and many Christian’s frustration with other Christians has to do with where one is in their walk with Christ. The Christians that are exasperating other Christians and exhibiting this chronic un-Christlike self-absorbed hyper critical behavior are lacking maturity in Christ. Christ has not yet become their treasure. There is an element of personal surrender that is lacking–if they are Christians at all. So their preoccupation with themselves renders them incapable of being patient and empathizing with these complex spiritual struggles.
    What grieves me is true Christians get a bad rep from people who really do not accurately represent the true Church. Television preachers and the depictions you see in Tyler Perry movies and Hollywood is NOT authentic biblical Christianity. We are complaining about people that highly likely are not Christians in the first place.
    I’m digresss…..

  • Nicole

    I disagree with a lot of what you said Latisha as it is my right to do so. In an attempt to create a healthy and upfront discussion of this what does the Tyler Perry fictional character have to do with this? The movies have a basic and very valid point in most cases. The intentional miss-quotes are only meant to add comedy and are to be taken lightly.
    I know there are people who claim to have been delivered from homosexuality. These people 1.) Were never really homosexual in the first place and were going through a phase in life that they happen to have gotten caught up in. 2.) Are afraid of what people have told them the bible said. I know several also and they are normally apart of the down-low clan. Don’t think just because these people speak out about a struggle that they are all really living as you think if they are really Gay they are trying to pass in a world that does not accept them. They are saying what they feel they need to say or doing what they think they need to do to survive in a world that is conditioned to follow the leader and not ask question. This is why so many over time move away from Christianity all together. What happened to WWJD in all this? Would Jesus tell those people that God hated them and that they were not wanted? Would Jesus treat them any different then the “real Christian”? It’s my understanding that only the one without sin should cast stones and there are no sinless people here.
    Your saying that order to be a “true” Christian you have to suppress feelings and be someone that you may not be. This causes suicide, mental break downs, and who knows what else. I accept, and respect everyone’s right to be confused, no matter which direction or stance you take on this subject. Bottom line is WWJD and why. There is some enlightenment in stripping out all the mess and focusing on what Jesus would do in a place where sin lives in ever corner.

  • Latisha

    Thanks for your comment and insight Nicole. First let me say that I don’t think the author of this blog and post meant this topic to turn into a cultural debate on the legitimacy of the homosexual lifestyle.
    Consider that, the first gentlemen who responded cited something to which June and I consequently gave facts to the contrary, as you have cited some facts to the contrary of the facts I cited. Facts that I totally agree with you on, btw…some indeed are “passing” under the pressures of the insensitivities and harsh judgements of un-compassionate Christians and NON-Christians in this culture.
    Which brings me to the original intention of this post. I think the author was trying to communicate compassion towards those who are in this lifestyle and to challenge those who happen to be in the Christian community to think more empathetically, practically, and holistically about this matter.
    Not for the purpose of converting them to our faith–but for the purposes of doing what Jesus would do (as you say) and that is love them, meet their need, and simple become their friend.
    So in the midst of our differing viewpoints, I think from what was said, we can all agree that we both have facts to support our points of view.
    Your tone toward what I said and the points you focused on actually strongly support my thoughts about real Christians (interested in doing WWJD) get a bad rap in this culture and rightfully so. Anytime, someone who publically cites they are a Christian and speaks a viewpoint counter cultural, they are automatically “type casted” and our motives for speaking is villified–as if there could be nothing truthful or sincere or rational about our convictions.
    I find that in all this push for tolerance, American culture is growing greatly INTOLERANT of Christians. All other systems of faith receive empathy but I find the ABC’s are always in order for we Christians.
    That is you can be Anything But Christian. ABC LOL! And this was where I was coming from…but not to be labor that point.
    So said all that to say, hey, contrary to your disagreeing with much of what I said, I actually agree with much of the heart of what you said.
    There are great facts and evidence to support our insensitvity and self-righteous spirits in dealing with issues like abortion and homosexuality–for example.
    But again, I believe this post was intended to be a step toward changing public perception about Chrisitians–specifically as it relates to this topic. As we are NOT all like the ones that are fed to the culture via media.
    Finally, regarding my reference to Tyler Perry, I understand totally get the Christian humor. I know it is meant to be taken lightly, and for the most part I do take it lightly. Some of it I laugh out loud at. I just watched him this week. I enjoy the majority of his work–as it is light.
    I appreciate a lot about him and is sincerely glad that he is not afraid to be open about his faith in this culture. He always includes a moral to his stories. So, contrary to your assumption, I actually like Tyler Perry. I support his movies. Looking forward to the next one–as I’ll be in theaters. So although inspite of all this, the depiction of Chrisitanity through the humor that is typically highlighted is not all together a true depiction of authentic biblical Christians–particularly me and those I roll with.
    I hope these comments clarifies and brings balance. This is NOT a debate about if homosexuals are born that way or if their lifestyles are legit. This is about being compassionate, befriending, and building with those who want to build with us.

  • @Nicole, Jesus Himself would not mistreat gay folk the way most Christians do (see my illustration above about Zacchaeus the tax collector). But just to relcarify or restate the purpose of this particular blog post, it is NOT intended to debate the legitimacy of homosexuality (i.e., whether it’s right or wrong — or whether it’s a choice or something people are born with and can’t help), but rather, the purpose of this blog is to discuss the church’s response to persons who practice the gay lifestyle.
    And I think everyone who has responded thus far agrees that the church’s response to homosexuals leaves *MUCH* to be desired. And the fact that there are homosexuals out there trying to “pass” (as non-homosexuals in Christian circles by marrying women, for example) is a real problem that has devestating consequences for the women and children involved once the male decides he wants to leave his wife and children for another man.
    @Latisha, I agree with your assessment that too often “us Christians” are lumped into one group by non-Christians. It’s interesting to note that Nicole also said that non-gays tend to do this regarding the gay population… she cited that most people only see the “bad gays” out there but that those few bad apples are not representative of the entire gay culture. In like manner, there are Christians out there that give all of Christianity a bad rap, jokers like Pat Robertson issuing statements about why Haiti was hit with an Earthquake, for example. Non-believers may hear crap like that and assume all Christians have those type of wacked out positions on current events. (I’m actually drafting a new blog that is specifically about Christians in the workplace who give us all a bad rap – LOL.)
    Anyhow, ladies, thanks both of your comments thus far. I’m hoping more persons will join in on the discussion. I may ask a few pastors to soundoff on this topic.

  • Godlyspice

    Good points June. I was there under that professor, and adored him. I left the semester, or two before all of that went down. He was one of the most Godly men I knew, but he had a problem, just like you or me, a sin problem, and “we” as Christians treated him like he had leprosy… I agree, God isn’t Homophobic, he loves us all.

    • Thanks for reading Godlyspice :)

      Another friend I’m connected to on FB sent me the below link last night about a film addressing the same topic. I haven’t checked it out yet but thought I’d pass it on. Looks interesting: http://www.forthebibletellsmeso.org/indexb.htm