By L.A. Stauffer
Men of genuine faith in God and Christ are not homophobes. They have no antipathy toward homosexuals as human beings who apart from their sinful practice have been made in God’s image. Only folks who misunderstand and incorrectly define love would accuse Christians who despise the sin of homosexuality of hating the man or woman who practices it.
Love is defined by the very being of God – for “God is love” (1 Jn. 4:8). Yes, God is love and He loves all mankind. God so loved the entire world that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die for all men (Jn. 3:16). Jesus tasted of death for every man – including rapists, pedophiles, murderers, adulterers, liars, thieves – and, yes, homosexuals (Heb. 2:9; Rom. 5:6-8). But the God of love calls on every sinner to repent of sin, forsake the practice of sin, and be baptized into Christ “for the remission of sins” (Mk. 16:15-16; Acts 2:38).
God’s people, those who are in Christ, strive to emulate God’s love and devotion to sinners by reaching out to them with the “good news” of the gospel that all men who cease the practice of sin can be redeemed and saved by the blood of Jesus (see Eph. 1:7; Rom. 5:8-10). Christians do believe that homosexuality is a sin and they that practice it are worthy of God’s condemnation and repudiation (Rom. 1:26-32). But they have no desire to harm homosexuals and must refrain from mistreating or belittling them.
They Are Created In God’s Image. We love homosexuals, first of all, because they apart from their sin are human beings who have been created in the very image of God Himself. That is special. They, as God who is a Spirit (John 4:24), have an immaterial soul or spirit that resides in their bodies of flesh (Gen. 1:26-27; Mt. 10:28, Jas. 2:26). At birth that spirit is innocent and without sin and will reside in man’s body till the day of his death (Jas. 2:26). Every sinner, whether a liar, murderer, or homosexual, has that element of being that at birth is pure before God and is to be respected, honored, and loved.
They Have Minds That Understand. We love homosexuals, also, because as men created in God’s image they have the capacity to understand God’s will and purpose for their lives. The apostle Paul says that apostles and prophets have written down what God revealed so men can know what He demands of them in life. Paul also says that when a man reads what is written in Scripture he can know what even Paul himself knows about God’s demands of every man (Eph. 3:3-5; 5:17). The Scriptures are profitable for “teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Homosexuals can read Genesis 18 and 19, Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:26-27 and understand that homosexuality is a wicked and grievous sin, an abomination before God, and an unnatural and vile passion. They can also learn that God demands that they forsake it and be washed, sanctified and justified in the name of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 6:9-11).
They Have a Capacity to Choose. Finally, we love homosexuals because they, as all men created in God’s image, have the capacity to choose. They can decide what to love and hold on to and what to reject and forsake. As Joshua challenged the nation of Israel, so God challenges all man: “Choose you this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15). In demanding choice God also challenges every man to “deny himself,” “take up his cross daily,” and follow Jesus (Luke 9:24). Sinners of every evil practice must choose to serve either themselves and their own lusts or Jehovah and the righteousness He demands. Adulterers, liars, or thieves are not the God-given identities of any man, but descriptions of perverted lifestyles these men have chosen to practice. Adulterers don’t have to be unfaithful to their mates, liars don’t have to distort the truth, thieves don’t have to rob their fellow men – and so it is with homosexuals. Homosexuals do not by divine design have to engage in sexual relations with someone of the same sex. They do so because they distort who they are and choose to.
Yes, Christians love homosexuals as men made in the image of God who have the capacity to understand and choose right or wrong. Many of us have prayed with homosexuals, studied with them from God’s word, and have shown them that God rejects this lifestyle choice. God made man “male” and “female” at the beginning and said that a “man” shall cleave to his “wife” and the “two,” a man and his wife, shall become one flesh (Matt. 19:4; see Gen. 2:21-25). Only in a God-ordained marriage of one man and one woman is the bed honorable and the union of two bodies as one flesh undefiled (Heb. 13:4; cf. 1 Cor. 6:16-20).
***I appreciate greatly what Brother Stauffer has written and the tone with which he approached the subject. Let us all remember who we are and how we should treat all people. *** g.l.