Saturday, January 24, 2009

Grace for Gays

Tonight as I watched the television movie called ‘Prayers for Bobby” I again entered into a place of many emotions and many uncertainties. It is a true story of the Griffith family, and specifically their son named Bobby. Bobby battled with same sex attractions and held them secret for years, fearing his religious parents would not understand and might even reject him. He was right, they did not show him any compassion and eventually he could not endure the inward struggle and he jumped off an overpass, timing his jump to collide with a tractor trailer.

I completely admit that the Scriptures and the obvious physiological distinctions make it clear that God’s design was between a man and a woman. But what is not so clear to me is how we as the recipients and sharers of God’s grace should interact and reach out to those who cannot deny what they feel. Who would choose to force themselves into that attraction at the expense of losing your family, your church, and eventually your life?

I have no idea why that lifestyle seems to have become more prevalent in today’s world. Perhaps it is because most had to suppress it in former generations, or maybe it is because the continuing revelations of Adam’s sin are becoming more pronounced in these last days. I do not know, and neither does anyone else. But I do know that pat answers are easy and safe, and I also know that the church has for generations relied on our systematic theology, confident in the fact that we all agree on this particular sin.

It is exactly that safe haven that has kept us from a dangerous journey to hold open the door of grace through Jesus Christ, and allow the Spirit to move where He desires. I have been a Christian for 34 years now, and I know one thing for sure – everyone is a practicing sinner, and everyone practices sin they know is sin and sin they refuse to admit is sin as well. To be sure there are homosexuals who are now living a heterosexual existence, some with growing families and some are even preachers. To what extent they battle those same sex attractions probably varies with the individual, but I am sure many do.

But what kind of inward torture would drive a person to jump in front of an oncoming truck? Have we no compassion, and can we show no sympathy for their situation or are our theological positions enough to insulate us from experiencing their pain? And exactly what requirements are necessary before one can believe on Christ for redemption? How many sins do we have to forsake before we can approach Him, and must we be aware of how God views the entire catalogue of our sins before we can become a legitimate believer?

And during this movie, and I’m sure a scenario that is lived out in thousands of cases, Bobby heard his family and others refer to gay people in the most demeaning and unloving way, his grandmother even suggesting they “line them up and shoot them all”. And these people claimed to be believers and followers of Jesus. And the lineage of these callous people continues today with a complete array of invectives ranging from “Sodomites” to “bath house deviants” and all the rest. And we have to ask ourselves this question, are grace, mercy, and love incongruent to our Biblical beliefs about sin? I do not mean just informing a gay person about his sin, but exhibiting those spiritual fruits to someone in spite of their lifestyle.

No one should practice sin as a believer and follower of Jesus Christ. But I have come to this conclusion, only practicing sinners will enter eternity under the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. My heart grieves to watch a 20 year old young man leap to his death because he has been rejected by almost everyone he loves and within that experience he has come to violently hate himself.

That surely cannot be New Testament Christianity.

6 comments:

gordo said...

Rick,

How 'bout you just leave gays alone - don't spend your time, money and efforts making our lives more difficult by negating our relationships, taking away our insurance, banning us from our loved ones hospital rooms, and firing us from our jobs.

Let's start there first.

Thankful Paul said...

Hello! :)

The Blainemonster said...

Thanks, Rick. Good words.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I was homosexual. The earliest homosexual desire I remember was when I was 4 years old, looking at some singers on TV. I pointed to one of them and I said "I like this one". My mom and dad told me that men like womem and if remember the episode is very likely because they were very clear in this.

I always had these tendencies, which led me to choose friends by their looking. As I grew up, thanks to God, there was never the opportunity to actually act upon those desires.

When I left my city after finishing university I went to study somewhere else. With money, and living alone, opportunities appeared.

I fell into grievous sin and I know personally what "the punishment due to their sin" means because it was like a fire that inflamed more and more.

During this time I had been reading the Bible. At first, I tried to say "let this one be my only sin" but I knew I could not get away with it.

One night, after coming back from doing unwholesome things, I was convicted of sin. I was sure I deserved to be condemned to hell, because I commited sin while knowing it was wrong. That night I prayed for forgiveness and from that time on (when I look in retrospective) I consider I was converted to Christ.

It has been a struggle, for the tendencies are there; and probably will remain there until I die. But the Scripture tells us:

1 Corinthians 6:9-11
(9) Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
(10) Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
(11) And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

I can tell, for personal experience, that you will not help homosexuals by making their lives easier. You will help them by approaching them and presenting them the Gospel. They already know they are sinners, for their consciences give them witness every day of it.

Christ, grace, reconciliation, justification by faith alone. These are the sort of things we should talk about with them.

I am now surprised at the promotion of homosexuality in schools and children's TV. This should not happen. By these means many will become homosexuals and be further enslaved to sin.

I must say I dislike when people is "strong" against this sin but not against adultery. Divorce is tolerated and not warned against as it should. I may say that only apostasy or adultery (perhaps also domestic violence) are valid reasons for divorce. But many divorce out of whim, because of lack of self-discipline and love of the espouse.

The Lord Jesus was gracious with me. I know that with many others he will prove gracious also.

Existential Punk said...

i am reading a FANTASTIC book that actually goes into the Hebrew and Greek translations and shows that homosexuality is not a sin but was about purity for the Israelites and NT followers. The Bible is clear if you choose to do the work to research!

'What The Bible Really Says About Homosexuality' by Daniel A. Helminiak

i also echo Rick's sentiments and add that your interpretation of scripture may not be correct. We are humans and are imperfect and miss G-D ALL the time. NO ONE has a monopoly on interpretation. Just because 'traditionally' something has been interpreted one way for many years does not mean it is correct!

Warmest Regards,

Adele

Existential Punk said...

Oh, and the link to Helminiak's book is:
http://www.amazon.com/What-Bible-Really-About-Homosexuality/dp/188636009X/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1238435085&sr=8-1