February 12, 2019
1 John 4:8 (NIV) Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Recently, I was surprised by a new acquaintance with whom I was sharing the gospel. She is a very agreeable career woman with a solid marriage and three kids. Winsome and engaging and quite open to the Good News of Jesus Christ. After a couple of promising discussions, she asked me if I supported gay marriage. When I said “No” she was visibly disturbed. “That’s where we part ways” she observed. “I cannot understand why Christians hate gays and why they insist that God hates gays!” My reply was “I don’t hate gays and God does not hate gays. Actually God loves gays.” Her response after a moment: “Well…how come everyone thinks Christians and maybe even God hates gays?”
The answer is probably rooted in the careless and even wicked words of some who claim to be Christians … whose personalities are far from Christlike. And some so-called Christians whose gift is cruelty and who carry signs that say things like “God Hates Fags!” So, those yet to know Christ can be understandably confused over the whole matter. Hence, we should clear it up.
God does not hate gays. God does not hate criminals. God does not even hate terrorists. God hates sin! Or, as Luther said “God is not angry at sinners. He is angry at sin!” It’s incredibly important to think this through carefully. Why does God hate sin? Is it because it offends Him in that we are not following His rules? Is it because we are morally petulant, and God deeply resents our failure to honor Him? Is it, in short, because God has an ego problem like a dad whose son has disobeyed, and that dad feels disrespected … so that the disobedience is more about dad than the miscreant son? No. God hates sin BECAUSE IT HARMS US AND HE WANTS GOOD FOR HIS IMAGE-BEARERS!
An example. Before I was saved, I used to drink a gin and tonic now and then. I rarely got drunk but once or twice I had a “few too many.” Afterwards I experienced the mild hangover that is the recompense for such foolishness. Then I decided to be more disciplined. But I have a hunch that when I drank too much gin, God never got a head ache and God never had a hangover! It did not hurt God when I sinned. It hurt me. But it did hurt God in his heart. In that same way the heart of a parent is hurt when the son or daughter acts foolishly and suffers. God hates sin because sin hurts us. The sixteen-year-old might shout “I hate you dad” because he can’t have the car. But it might be because dad is not confident yet of his driving skills. The kid is certain dad is an insufferable crank and very cruel. But that is not it at all.
Now…about the “gay” life. When my new friend said she was troubled by Christians who oppose gay marriage and the gay lifestyle, I asked her why. “Well, it is just unkind and mean-spirited. And what business is it of yours anyway?” Fair question. It is God’s business and I love and fear God. BUT, here is the key: God’s prohibition against homosexual activity is, once again, out of His love. I suggested to the woman that she do some research. It may be hard to find but it can be located. Namely, the morbidity rates for active homosexual adults. Although many pro-gay websites will dispute it, all kinds of diseases attend to the lives of active gays especially men. Cancers and HIV related disease. Higher suicide rates. Consider:
“LGB youth are at greater risk for depression, suicide, substance use, and sexual behaviors that can place them at increased risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).3 Nearly one-third (29%) of LGB youth had attempted suicide at least once in the prior year compared to 6% of heterosexual youth.3 In 2014, young gay and bisexual men accounted for 8 out of 10 HIV diagnoses among youth.” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV Surveillance Report, 2014; vol. 26. Published November 2015. Accessed October 2016.)
Now, gay activists are known to say those pathologies are precisely because active gays are ostracized and criticized and treated hatefully. No doubt it is hard to be an active gay but they are unwilling to admit that it is their behaviors that account for depression and disease. If everyone were to affirm the gay lifestyle, the Word of God indicates it would still be unacceptable.
Romans 1:26-27 (NIV) 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
The point is that the active gay is estranged from God apart from repentance. “God gave them over” means God allowed them to choose to disobey him. It does not mean He hates them and is glad about their suffering. The horror is that the active gay is estranged from God Himself. After all, the Word of God says that the Maker of Heaven and Earth considers homosexual activity “abominable.” We read:
Leviticus 18:22 (NIV) “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.”
“Detestable” is a Hebrew word … “toy-ah-bah” meaning disgusting and degrading. I’ve spoken with enough homosexual men to shudder at their self-loathing after nights of multiple same-sex partners. God is calling them out of that lifestyle behavior not because He is petty but because they are self-destructing.
So…as Christians, we must look for opportunities to declare that God loves the sinner and wants what is best for him or her. Those who claim to belong to Christ and yet appear at funerals carrying signs that God is filled with hate neither know God nor anything about His ways. The truth is that God hates what sin does to us, including homosexual sin. It damages our bodies and defiles our spirits and trashes our sense of God-given dignity. The active gay person needs to be set free. And one thing is certain. Jesus said:
John 8:32 (NIV) “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
God be praised! Pastor Alberta