Okay, so I was just thinking that the title would attract a reader or two. But here’s the deal, when it comes to homosexuality as an issue with which the evangelical church has had to wrestle with — and make no mistake it is probably one of the key issues that will face churches in the next decade — when it comes to this issue, it is surely the case that we have become known more for what we stand against, than who we stand for…
In the study presented in the book UNchristian, 91% of the next generation believes that Christians, specifically evangelical Christians, hate homosexuals. David Kinnamon writes, “In our research, the perception that Christians are against gays and lesbians — not only objecting to their lifestyles but harboring irrational fear and unmerited scorn towards them — has reached critical mass.
Can I make this statement right up front. This is not a simple issue. When we try to simplify an issue that is very complex, what it typically means is that we don’t want to step into the mess. But Jesus has never been afraid of stepping into our mess. It is a mess filled with sincere people trying to interpret scripture. It is a mess filled with parents agonizing over children’s choices and children’s pain. It is a mess that’s left people feeling isolated, rejected and even hated.
I appreciated what I read from another pastor dealing with this topic. He pointed out that in life there are some words that so completely go together that when you hear one, you automatically think of the other. Like if I say to you…
- Peanut Butter and ________ you think of Jelly. (A handful of you think mayonaise but you are abnormal.)
- Batman and _____________ you say Robin.
- If I say hugs and ___________ you say kisses.
When it comes to this issue the two words that must completely go together are the words conviction and compassion. One is not enough, with only one we get imbalanced. So let me give you three convictions and I think they are in the order of importance to me.
1) My first conviction is that we live in a culture that is filled — filled, filled, filled with sexual brokenness. We have stores that market clothes to pre-teens that are designed to be sexually suggestive. Our middle school students are experimenting with sex, our high school students are sexting. College students are hooking up and the walk of shame is a right of passage. From internet porn to adultery, from media to music, from incest to sexual abuse, and then add to all of that, Jesus’ indicator of sexual brokenness — In Matthew 5:27, he said, “Guys if you even look at a woman and think about using her sexually, you have already committed adultery in your heart.”
2) My second conviction is that the only way to find wholeness in the midst of this brokenness is to put sex in it’s proper place. God never intended for people to be defined by their sexuality. I believe it is a sign of the brokenness of our culture that we would even think to describe a whole lifestyle, define a whole person in terms of their sexuality. God’s dream for humanity, his definition of people is envisioned in the phrase, in the image of God. He created us to be in his image.
Now I am convicted that in God’s plan the proper place for sex is within a covenant marriage relationship between a man and a woman. Within that relationship sex fosters wholeness. Outside of that relationship, I believe it always leads to various levels of brokenness. But hear me, that place, the proper place of sex, is a small place. The reason the Bible rarely speaks to it, is because it is a small place that was never intended to define who we are. Listen when we get to heaven, sex doesn’t even go with us! I know, I lost some of you. You are thinking how can it be heaven without sex? It’s because there is something even better.
3) Here is my third conviction. It is the one that I close with, and the one that I focused on in last week’s message (Click
How would it change the relationship between baptists and homosexuals if compassion were our conviction?