The issue of homosexuality, specifically gay marriage, has been focused on a lot lately, especially as a hot topic of discussion in the news. North Carolina voted to define marriage as between a man and a woman recently, to be followed a few days later by President Obama giving his unequivocal support of same-sex marriage. At the conventions a few weeks ago, the Democratic Party officially endorsed same-sex marriage in its 2012 platform, while the Republican Party officially condemned it. Watch the commentators on TV and read the blogs on the Internet, and you will be exposed to views on this subject ranging from complete acceptance and/or apathy to complete, unconditional rejection and/or hatred. I’ve found it interesting that the Bible is often used by both sides to justify their views. As a result, it can be easy to either misconstrue or be completely ignorant of what God’s Word says on the matter. We are told to accurately handle God’s Word (2 Tim. 2:15), and the way to do so on an issue like this is to simply take it for what it says with honest and open hearts rather than with preconceived prejudices (Luke 8:15).
Some say that the Bible promotes hatred of homosexuals. They say that Christians are taught to speak hatefully to homosexuals, or even to promote or partake in acts of violence against them. I have not found that to be true. Yes, there are Old Testament passages which both condemn homosexuality and pronounce the penalty of death upon those who commit it (Lev. 20:13). However, the Old Testament law of Moses was taken out of the way when Christ died (Col. 2:14-16) and the New Testament has taken its place (Heb. 8:6-13). This New Testament, the law of Christ, is what we are under today, and the New Testament in no place teaches that Christians are to harm or speak hatefully to anyone (Eph. 4:29-32; Matt. 7:12), including homosexuals. Therefore, the Bible promotes love of homosexuals, not hatred.
That said, it is clear that while the Bible promotes the love of all men, including homosexuals, it does not promote the acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle. The New Testament clearly condemns the practice of homosexuality (Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; 1 Tim. 1:9-10). Therefore, the Bible teaches that Christians are to love homosexuals, but not condone or approve of homosexuality. There is a distinct difference. You can love someone and yet not approve or condone what they choose to do. Good parents do this with disobedient children all the time. In fact, that’s how God is with us.
The Bible also makes it clear that homosexuals can become Christians, but only after they repent of the sin of homosexuality (1 Cor. 6:9-11). In the cited passage, Paul welcomes those who were once homosexuals (as well as those who were once idolaters, thieves, greedy, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers) into the church, but he made it clear that they were no longer involved in such sins. “And such WERE some of you…” Repentance – the cessation of sins, including the sin of homosexuality – is the key.
I recognize that this is not the most politically correct, “tolerant” message out there today. But do not be deceived. The Bible does not teach complete acceptance of homosexuality. It does not teach that one should be apathetic about the subject. However, it also does not teach hatred of homosexuals, or unconditional rejection regardless of repentance. God loved the whole world, including homosexuals. That’s why he sent his Son, Jesus, to die for us all (John 3:16). It is up to us all, including those of us who are homosexual, as to whether or not we will accept that free gift of salvation through obedience to his will (Heb. 5:9).
When any of us who are sinners (and that would be all of us – 1 John 1:8) decide to accept God’s grace through obedience to his Word, he accepts us after we repent of our sins, and that is when we should accept each other – as Christians who have been washed clean of sin through the waters of baptism (Acts 22:16).