Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Cor 6.9-11 ESV
A recent article by the Associated Press relayed a very tragic story of a young man who took his life after his Christian parents told him that he had to change. They talked the issue over with their pastor, the young man entered therapy, and immersed himself into Bible study. Yet, he did not change. Unable to reconcile his very nature, and what God required, he felt he had no choice but to take his own life. This tragic story pains us. Our prayers go out to his family and church.
The article then goes on to relay the parents’ remorse over their efforts to try and change their son. Now, they are taking steps to change their church’s approach from within. The Associate Press goes on to detail the thoughts and directions of other leaders of churches as well as various major denominations. They represent a growing trend across the nation. However, one must ask whether their efforts truly line up with God’s Word and His purposes.
First, we must understand that the Bible clearly labels homosexuality as a sin, along with adultery, bestiality, prostitution and a myriad of other sexual deviations. God makes it clear that He considers sexual union a sacred act, to be shared between man and woman in the bonds of matrimony. The Bible communicates numerous times that we must flee from sexual immorality. 1 Cor 6.18 states, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.”
Second, we should consider that since the fall of Adam and Eve, many of the natural order of things have changed due to our fallen state. In particular, our natural desires have been warped to some degree. For example, for some, their genes give them a dispensation towards alcoholism. We have natural and fallen tendencies which, if left unchecked, would lead to sin and chaos. Ponder for a moment the plight of most heterosexual men. The Bible calls them to live in a monogamous relationship, yet, by nature, men feel attraction to multiple women. Jesus warns us that we commit adultery if we even lust after another. Many of us have natural tendencies, twisted and turned by the fall, which require us to discipline and fight against ot to maintain order in society, and walk Holy before our God.
Last, but not least, we must keep in mind, that the heart of the matter is a matter of the heart. When we struggle with matters of the flesh, or other temptations, we must look to Jesus in faith. Sheer willpower alone, or man-made efforts to reprogram us, rarely work. And, when they do, can sometimes have devastating results (See Mat 12.43-45). We all struggle with various sins, but they all have one common solution: the cross. Sometimes God changes us from within, and sometimes God gives us the power to weather the storm. But if we try to win the day under our own power, we will surely fall.
In reading the AP news article, it becomes increasingly clear that churches and leaders struggle to answer these issues as the topic of homosexuality forces itself into the forefront of our lives. There are numerous concerns and challenges in the approaches, and answers, mentioned in the article… toomany to properly respond to in one blog entry. However, we would like to answer one question. In the final paragraph, Linda Robertson echoes the sentiment of Christian parents with gay children who ask, ‘We have a gay child. We love them and we don’t want to kick them out. How do we go forward?’
First, let’s review some basic passages about raising children.
Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.“
Colossians 3:21 “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.”
Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV) 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
First, and foremost, Jesus taught us to love one another. We should interpret all other laws and directions through those lenses. Then, we see numerous directions to raise our children in the way of the Lord and teach them His ways. No where does the Bible show that parents should kick their children out as a way to somehow show them the true way. Instead, they should lovingly show their children Christ. The challenge for gay children is the challenge faced by all children…and all adults. For all have sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God. But, if we will put our lives at the foot of the cross, repent and follow Him, “He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”