he article on "The Sin of Sodomy" (The Examiner, March 1990) was thought provoking causing me to look deeply at how I feel about the sin of homosexuality. After studying this subject in the Bible, I believe 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 sums up best the spiritual condition of the sodomite:
"Or do you not know that the unrighteous" shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you..."
As you can see, there are other sins which are just as unacceptable to God as homosexuality. Yet, sodomy seems to be one of those sins that create intense feelings of disgust and anger, rarely evoking sympathy or mercy.
God clearly condemns sodomy as can be seen in 1 Tim. 1:8-10 and it is not normal nor acceptable as the homosexual community would have one believe. It appears as if Leroy Garrett has fallen into a trap by giving his approval to "a homosexual church". (I did read his article in Restoration Review.) It is apalling, to me that practicing homosexuals, claiming to be Christians are trying to justify their sexual deviancy and expecting other brethren to accept their lifestyle even though they are in blatant opposition to God's teaching on the subject. Brother Garrett appears to have succumbed to the personalities of the people losing sight of the sin. By condoning a homosexual "church" he has given approval to the concept they are promoting that sodomy is acceptable to God.
The believers' responsibility toward the unsaved homosexual differs from that toward a practicing homosexual who proclaims to be a Christian. One teaching in many "churches" is that if a Christian remains silent around sin, he is giving approval. Usually this is true; but is it always in the best interest of the person involved to "righteously" point out the sinful behavior in a person's life, particularly that of a non-believer? (I always try to look at each case individually and determine my motives.) In some instances an opportunity to share the gospel may be lost forever because of "self-righteous" condemnation. It is not a Christians "God-given" duty to tell everybody else what's wrong in their lives. When a Christian is asked what he thinks about certain things he can safely reply: "What I think doesn't matter, let's see what God says about it".
I am concerned that these feelings of disgust and anger are hindering many Christians from ministering to the unsaved homosexual. ( I am told that one C of C preacher in this area declared from the pulpit that all homosexuals should be killed!). There are brethren who have little problem with being patient and merciful, toward non-believing adulterers, gossips, alcoholics, liars and drug abusers, but the homosexual is avoided or subjected to a "sermon" regarding his decadent lifestyle and how he will burn in hell eternally.
I have observed that believers who are the most successful in reaching the lost are those who genuinely care about and listen to the downtrodden, become their friend, and eventually have the opportunity to share the gospel. When any sinner realizes that he is loved by God in spite of his sin, he will either be "cut to the quick" and repent, or reject God and continue sinning. By no means should friendships terminate simply because the gospel has been rejected at this time!
I recently heard a man being interviewed who had a ministry to street people, many of them being prostitutes and homosexuals. One young homosexual prostitute he had befriended began to share his story. He had been on the streets since a young teen, was now in his early twenties and had contracted the deadly AIDS virus. He admitted he hated his lifestyle but seemed to be powerless in getting out, continuing his self-destructive behavior, fully aware of the risks. He was gently asked, "Why do you think you continue to live like this?" Weeping, he replied, "I'm looking for love, I just want someone to love me". As many other lonely, unloved people often do, he was confusing sex with love. If this street minister had not taken the time to befriend this young man, he might never have had the opportunity to let him know that although he seemed to be powerless over his homosexual lifestyle, he had a Savior who loved him and could deliver him.
After the homosexual realizes his sin and repents, he can then be encouraged to get professional counseling and seek God's help through prayer and Bible study. He will continue to need a tremendous amount of emotional support and love as he adjusts to his new life in Christ. Yes, he might backslide, and the shame and guilt may be enough to cause him to desert God altogether if he is not forgiven and encouraged by the brethren.
Oh, how we need to love the sinner but hate the sin; it is so very difficult! But, if Christians do not show mercy, compassion, forgiveness and love to the homosexual, who will? They are forced to turn to those who will accept, encourage or take advantage of them in their sin; often not having the opportunity to be taught how very much God loves and will deliver them. Did Christ ever treat sinners with contempt or scorn who came to Him seeking help? No! He loved them even in their sin and treated them with respect. He was firm and honest with sinners, giving them hope with His gentle kindness. In Matthew 18:35 Christ says that all of us are to forgive our brother from our heart or we shall receive no mercy.
This does not mean that believers should stand idly by and allow the promotion of homosexuality as an "alternate" lifestyle to continue. We need to educate our children that sodomy is wrong because God said it is! They need to be informed of how to cope with any situation that might arise compromising what they have been taught because of their vulnerability. I will address this and other issues in Part Two of this article.
Yes, brother Blakely, homosexuality is wrong but brethren need to prayerfully consider how to approach every sinner in the best possible way to save his soul for eternity. If we are not compassionate enough to share the gospel with them how can anyone every say of them "... and such were some of you.