Friday, August 31, 2012

Bible Answers About Homosexuality

I was recently asked how the Bible feels about homosexuals (aka “gay” people).

Below, I consider the following three questions:
  1. Does God discriminate against homosexuals?
  2. If people can’t choose to live the way they want, how is that “free will”?
  3. Some say homosexuals are “born that way.” How do you respond to that?
Lets start with an illustration: In "free countries" (my experience is only with USA), no matter which race or ethnic background, no matter which religious affiliation, no matter what your financial situation is, you can be equally accepted and respected as a citizen as long as you obey the laws. But say someone of a certain religion is caught in illegal financial ventures; or say that someone of a particular ethnic background is repeatedly arrested for reckless drunk driving? Or what if either a rich or poor person is caught shoplifting? In each case what got the person in trouble is not their skin color, beliefs or status, it was their actions, their conduct.

The same goes with our relationship with God. Acts 17:30 says that whatever past experiences we had in life, he is willing to overlook our past conduct as our having acted in ignorance of what God required. The apostle Peter (at 1Peter 1:14) wrote that those who have come to know God, need to conduct themselves as obedient children, transformed from their former life styles. What were some of those lifestyles? Paul, at 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 mentioned four different sex acts that were disapproved, two different financial wrongs as well as being greedy, a drunkard and other things. But then Paul wrote "but that is what some of you were." Yes, regardless of a person's past, if they truly want to be accepted by God and are willing to obey "the laws of the land" (the  Bible), he is willing to accept them on equal standing as anyone else.

So just as a former alcoholic or a person given to fits of anger can be accepted by God if they control themselves, so too a person who used to be actively homosexual can be accepted as a friend of God. I am not discounting that sexual urges and attractions are very strong and are different from being a drunk or brute. I know that controlling or changing sexual desires is not like a light bulb or light switch. For some I've known, they are never able to get over their attractions to the same gender. But the point is that they keep those feelings controlled by reflecting on how merciful & loving God has been to them and how much they appreciate being accepted by Him in spite of their inward desires. Note this statement by one of Jesus’ apostles recorded at Acts 10:34,35 "For a certainty I perceive that God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him." Yes, if we are willing to conform to God's direction, we can all be equal in his sight.

What then about the question: If God gave us free will and freedom of choice why can't someone choose to be homosexual? Again, by illustration, lets say a loving & caring parent tells their child to play only within fenced area of their yard and to stay out of the busy street. The parent doesn't put a dog chain on their child--they have freedom of movement. A child could choose to disobey and go out in the street. But would that be in their own best interests?  Also, how would the parent feel about the blatant act of disobedience? The child is risking his own life by being in the street & is straining his relationship with his parent. Similarly, God gave us sex & wants us to enjoy it--within the fenced area of heterosexual marriage. But he doesn't prevent us by turning us into robots and he doesn't chain us by preventing us from choosing wrong. If we want to go onto the streets of moral danger, away from the safety outlined by our Father, we can do it.

Question: I heard that people are born that way. What does the Bible say?
God wants to give everyone a chance to be at peace with Him, otherwise it wouldn't be fair. So since the Bible says that those practicing homosexuality cannot get God's approval, it would be unfair if God made them in such a way so that it would be impossible for them to win God's favor. There have been many reported instances of both men and women who were homosexuals and changed. True God did not make each of us individually. We are imperfect offspring from a long genetic line. But even people with strong dispositions toward sex, substance addiction and even mental diseases have successfully come to know and serve God. So it is not impossible to do what God and Jesus ask of us to prove our love for them.

So to recap the questions and answers from the beginning:

  1. No, God does not discriminate against people based on their background. He does discriminate against acts of which he disapproves. However, those willing to conform to his direction, whether they were previously gays, drunkards, thieves, or whatever else the Bible says God frowns on, can be accepted as his friend.
  2. Free will means that God does indeed grant people to choose their own course in life. However, just as drunk speeders choose to drive, doesn’t mean their conduct is without consequences. Rejecting God’s loving direction has consequences. It is much better to accept that what God wants of us is for our own good.
  3. If it were really true that we have no choice in our sexual preferences, and that a homosexual has no choice, then, since God in his Word, The Bible, condemns the act, that would mean that God is not fair and intends to punish them even though they can’t help themselves. But God IS fair and anyone can change to meet his requirements.

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