I must weigh in on the gay marriage question. I live and teach being non-judgmental. I teach that this does not mean being a doormat but rather knowing where the line is between what to accept and what to change. This is called ‘boundaries’. Applying it is often delicate and requires deep prayer and wisdom. Here is how I walk that line by asking the question of whether God loves people who willfully engage in homosexual behaviours.
Firstly, every person wants to feel accepted. Accepted is love. Rejected is not love. I want this as much as the next person. Jesus said we are to love one another as he loved us. His love message is simple – repent and forgive. When to repent and what to forgive – these are the difficult questions!
Secondly, homosexuality is a sexual sin according to the Bible. So is adultery and fornication. Jesus said even looking lustfully at another person who is not our spouse is adultery.(Matthew 5:27) Indeed, anyone who divorces and remarries commits adultery, he said. Furthermore, adultery is explicitly forbidden as one of the ten commandments handed down to Moses directly by God.
Clearly, there is something about sexual sin that separates us from God. Few of us can claim sexual purity across our whole lives. Thus, we need God’s grace especially on this one. Of particular note is that some sins such as fornication end once we marry. Others, like lust, pornography, re-marriage and homosexuality can continue on repeatedly.
Thirdly, there is a case to be made that sexual sin committed by two willing participants only affects those persons involved. This is a major argument in favour of legalizing civil gay marriages. I believe this is why most western countries have moved to popular acceptance of gay marriage. No other person is harmed or restricted from having a traditional hetero-marriage, so why not support two people who want to simply love each other for life?
Fourthly, no one seems to be able to disprove the assertion by gay people that they do not have a choice. Their sexual orientation is hard-wired, they say. A gay man described how to know if a person is gay: he lusts to give oral sex to other men. My hetero-orientation is certainly hard-wired in the opposite direction. I cannot imagine anyone being able to ‘convert’ me to homosexuality. Can I imagine the reverse for them? Not readily and not without proof, proof that does not appear to exist.
My head agrees that my marriage is not directly harmed by gay marriages. I am not even concerned that making gay relationships openly visible and accepted will ’cause’ anyone to become gay. I do believe it may cause confusion in the teen years and cause experimentation that might not otherwise have happened.
However, secrecy also carries risks. For me, sexuality was wide-open on the streets by the fourth grade – and not in a healthy way. For this reason, I fully support teaching basic sexuality to children as early as experts say they can grasp it.
My heart totally wants gay people to feel as accepted and loved as I do. I have long lamented them as the lepers of modern society – outcasts persecuted for reasons beyond their control.
Only my soul is troubled. The Bible still calls it a sin. The Catholic church teaches that willfully committing a grave sin is mortal to the soul. (1John 5:16). This means eternal separation from God in hell after we die.
Thus, the person who has same-sex attraction really has only one choice if he/she wants to obey the will of God as taught in the Bible – abstention. The same is true for any Christian who divorces his or her spouse and for Christians who live together outside of marriage.
This is a hard teaching. Sex is hard-wired into us. I don’t believe I could walk the chastity walk, certainly not on my own strength. I have only admiration and prayers for anyone who chooses to live a chaste life.
The bottom line for me is that I accept giving gay couples full civil rights that go with marriage. The consequences will be for them to live with personally, though all of society is affected. I am optimistic that loving our neighbour without judgment outweighs any negatives.
I do not accept that any church be required to spiritually sanction gay marriages, anymore than a church be required to sanction a remarriage of divorced Christians. I hope and pray the pendulum doesn’t swing the other way in that gays will now condemn the church for adhering to the Bible.
This hits me personally as I am remarried myself. Though I was not a believer at the time of my divorce, I certainly knew full well that leaving my marriage was wrong. Now I can only hope and pray that God will forgive me on my day of judgment. This is all a gay person can hope for too.
Though my soul is troubled, I take comfort in two things. God is the judge, not me. Furthermore, he is a God of mercy for those who repent, even if in our last breath as the thief on the cross experienced while dying beside our beloved Saviour.
We live in a time of sea-change. This is one more. Yet I have no doubt the world is unfolding in accordance with God’s plan across the millenia. My job is to do his will – to love others as he loves me – an unworthy sinner saved only by Grace and the gift of Jesus’ freely-given sacrifice on the cross that opened the gates of heaven.