*I wish I could relate to you just how long it has taken me to get to this place, how much “chipping away” at sin and hardheartedness God had to do to bring me here. When I first became a christian I lost my very best friend because she was gay and I didn’t know how to relate to her any longer. Later, I would go on to shut members of my family out of my life and my children’s lives for the same reason. Never in a million years would I have thought I’d be sitting here at my computer, writing what I’m about to write. Thank God for His mercy, His love and His exceeding patience….
A few weeks ago, my uncle told me about a conversation he had with a Catholic scholar who urged him to look at the biblical commandments against homosexuality “in context.” The context, of course, is the Old Testament law and she made the point that we no longer follow the Old Testament laws today and therefore homosexuality is no longer a sin.
This is one of the most frustrating arguments I hear (over and over again) because the assumption is that God’s law has been “done away with” and we can therefore justify participating in a whole plethora of things that used to be called sin. And I used to think: “If the church would JUST understand that the law wasn’t ‘done away with’ in the first place, we wouldn’t have all these problems with ‘interpreting’ the biblical commandments incorrectly!”
You guys, I’m a fool. In one intense light-bulb-over-the-head moment last week I realized (now this is going to shock you) that even I “pick and choose” which commandments to keep. (Hard to believe, right?) In fact, we all do, whether we believe in keeping “all” of God’s commandments or not. For instance, most of us torah-keepers have never built a parapet on our roof (Deuteronomy 22:8) or sacrificed a lamb on Passover (Exodus 12) and I don’t know anyone who only wears robes (Exodus 28:4, Revelation 22:14) or stays sequestered in her home during menstruation (Leviticus 15) or who has bought ox for the purpose of keeping it unmuzzled (Deuteronomy 25:4.)
And how about those commandments found in the New Testament? Are women staying silent in church (1 Corinthians 14:34)? Refusing to wear jewelry or braid their hair (1 Peter 3:3)? Covering their heads during prayer (1 Corinthians 11)? Are we cutting out our eyes if we lust (Matthew 5:29)? I know what you’re thinking right now. You’re thinking “well, that’s because….” and that is my point. The bible very specifically tells us to do these things, and we don’t “because…” We all – every single one of us – choose which commandments to follow based on our understanding of the bible, and of God.
Christians often bring up 1 Corinthians 6:9, which tells us that homosexuals “will not inherit the kingdom of God.” I find it interesting that adulterers are also among those listed as being unable to enter the kingdom of God, and that the bible defines those who divorce and remarry (except for in cases of sexual infidelity) as adulterers (Luke 16:18, Matthew 5:32, Mark 10:11.) Can we stop to think about that for a moment? Anyone who divorces and remarries for any reason other than sexual infidelity is considered an adulterer and according to the same passage that seems to condemn homosexuality, adulterers are listed as among those who cannot enter the kingdom of heaven! Yet, inexplicably, I’ve never once heard a pastor teach that divorced people should not remarry, or that those who have already divorced and remarried should seek a second (or third or fourth) divorce because they are currently “living in sin” and ineligible for salvation. Not once. If nothing else, can we please pay attention to this, and acknowledge that we, too, are “picking and choosing” what to believe, what to teach, and how to live our lives?
Seriously, can we admit that, just for a moment? And then, can we admit that if we feel free to “pick and choose” which commandments to follow and still call ourselves Christians, that homosexuals can also “pick and choose” and still be Christians?
Please know that I’m not writing this to convince anyone that homosexuality isn’t a sin. Heck, I believe that eating pork is a sin. But I also believe that those who eat pork are doing what they believe is right according to their understanding of the Bible. And many of those pork-eating Christians are amazing, wonderful, filled with the Holy Spirit and with God’s love and I admire and love and look up to them and want to be just like them when I grow up. Despite their bacon consumption. In fact, here is what I believe, more strongly than anything: We’re ALL wrong. In one way or another, none of us has the full truth, none of us are doing exactly what God wants us to do and we’re all in one stage of growth or another. And that is a good thing. Because if we can recognize that and embrace it, then we can keep our hearts soft toward each other and toward God. We can listen to Him and we can hear Him when He speaks to us and we can truly let Him mold and shape us into who He wants us to be. We can change. We should change. If we’re still doing and still believing the same things about God today as we did when we first met Him, we’re doing something wrong. When we step back and consider this all-encompassing wrongness and wonderfulness of it all, are we really ready to say that those who believe differently from us regarding homosexuality can’t be Christian? That they can’t know and love Jesus Christ? That they’re going to hell? Can we, just for a moment, lift the veil from our eyes and acknowledge that just because we don’t understand everything about the bible, just because we don’t follow God perfectly, just because we “pick and choose” what to believe regarding the bible (and we all do, I promise!) doesn’t mean we don’t know Jesus, or that we’re not Christian, or that we’re “going to hell.” That goes for us and our homosexual brothers and sisters.
Is it possible to know Jesus AND be homosexual? I believe it is.
I know that two words immediately pop into most of our minds when we consider