All of us have our beliefs–for better or worse. It’s that part of us that is very personal and it becomes the way we identify ourselves from the pack. We operate out of these beliefs and express ourselves at different levels of behavior. Some beliefs or characteristics seem to be inborn, traits that we don’t choose but traits that choose us. I didn’t ask for my eyes to be hazel, they just are.
Such is the case of sexuality. People are born either heterosexual or homosexual or a mix of the two. That’s just the way it is. Being one or the other may be a choice for some, but for many, it is their true nature, their persona, their natural state of being. If we say that God creates human life (which I believe is true), then condemning people for their sexuality is like condemning the Creator.
Church Conferences seem to have debated this issue all over the country for decades. After the 1970s, it seems to have been the main agenda. People seldom change their mind, insisting that they are “right” in their belief system. The battle cry of the peacemakers is “Live and let live,” yet there are many who render harsh judgments for those who don’t agree with them. So the chasm between both sides of the issue seems to grow wider and wider.
It is not my purpose in this article to try to convince you of only one way to look at the issue. I do wish to share some ideas with you.
I know a family (not from this area) who had one son who turned out to be openly gay. He said he knew he was different very early in his life and when he told his parents, his father ordered him out of the house permanently. He died several years after that. The father refused to attend the funeral and he asked the family to never mention his son’s name again. I believe there’s something very wrong with this picture. I will quote part of a letter that this son wrote to a friend.
“After realizing what was happening to me I began to loathe myself. Many evenings, I cried myself to sleep, begging God to either change me or to let me wake up dead. I tried quoting Scripture and I went to church to pray at the altar. I tried sheer will-power. I was convinced that God would hear my prayers and would deliver me from this disgusting lifestyle. I even tried hypnotherapy. I thought I must be demon-possessed.”
He went on to describe his misery and struggle and final acceptance and peace, after talking with a counselor, who set his mind at ease.
I don’t remember ever talking with a gay person who was extremely happy with their situation. Of course, we are living in a new day when attitudes are changing and gay people don’t have to live double lives anymore. I find it interesting that there have been homosexuals in every culture down through the centuries. Yet people in this age seem to be the ones disturbed about it.
Much research has gone into the origins of homosexuality. Genetic comparisons have been conducted with all sexual types. Several theories have emerged. One is that young males who have a weak or negative relationship with their father tend to move toward gayness in order to find acceptance with other males. They call it “sexual orientation” which can also be applied to lesbians who have a weak relationship with their mother. Another theory, as I have indicated, is that homosexuals are born that way. I am not aware of any fool-proof theories or explanations, and I don’t like labels, anyway.
There is a claim that homosexuality is condemned in Scripture. Paul, in 1st Corinthians 6, lumps a lot of things together and is strictly against them before moving towards forgiveness. The Sodom narrative is found in Genesis 18-19. God decided to destroy the cities of the Plain because there were no righteous people there. The prophets indicate that the great sin is that of inhospitality to strangers. The men of Sodom were going to engage in forced sexual relations with three visitors. Abomination? You bet. Clearly, it was a violation of personal rights, more like “rape”. Does that even begin to compare with the situation today? In Jude 7, the author refers to the “Unnatural lust” of the Sodomites. I would say that Jesus would condemn unnatural lust, which can be abusive, unloving and uncaring.
As far as Paul is concerned, he says that the homosexual act is a direct result of idolatry and is earmarked by lust rather than love. There are no “Jesus passages” regarding this issue.
As a minister of the Gospel, I have tried to be open to all people, regardless of their situation. I am all for wholeness, which of course includes sexuality. I believe sex should be consensual, caring, and responsible. I believe sex is sacred. Jesus said, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” The word “all” appears several times in the Gospel. I do strongly believe that we are far too judgmental of people who don’t share our personal beliefs.
Much of it has to do with “fear”. We are afraid of people who are different. We are afraid of our own feelings. We need someone to look down upon. We want to be “better than” or “smarter than” or “holier than”. We want to be right and look down on those we consider to be wrong.
Do you think the day will ever come when we will accept people as they are, warts and all?