As a Christian, I often wonder why it is so hard for non-Christians to understand my position on LGBT issues and gay “marriage.” Accusations of hatred and bigotry seem like purposefully inflammatory grenades launched to lure believers into angry responses.
But, I learned something important from a conversation with an atheist in this matter.
I had waded into hostile territory during a Facebook discussion defending the view that homosexuality is sinful, falling short of God’s intent for human sexuality. This, of course set off a string of colorful comments. But, one individual engaged in actual conversation.
What I discovered was that, in his thinking, to say that a person is a sinner condemned is to take joy in the pronouncement. In his mind, heaven-bound saints must look with disdain upon hell-bound rebels. He had no category in his thinking for a Christian looking with compassion upon those he calls sinners, and desiring their rescue.
Perhaps this is the expected fallout from the attention paid to Westboro Baptist Church and their hate-filled protests. But, I believe we, as the church, must undertake some introspection here. How have we responded to homosexuality’s ascent in the public’s consciousness? Have we communicated compassion, or have we been combative?
I have been noticing lately the facial expressions of Christians when the subject of homosexuality is brought up in conversation. The wincing. Looks that communicate disgust. The turned-up noses. Maybe we are self-righteous and judgmental. Perhaps we have forgotten that we were at one time objects of God’s wrath, lost in our sinful rebellion against him.
Homosexuality is sin. Jesus died to conquer sin and save sinners. God saved you and me to be conduits of his grace and mercy. Yes, we stand firm in identifying sin for what it is: rebellion against God. We also identify the sinner as one who is blinded to the all-satisfying glory of the Savior. We feel compassion for the blindness and do all we can to offer the greatest news in the universe.