“Love the sinner, hate the sin” is one of the most abused phrases in the evangelical circle. Many Christians think that, in order to treat homosexuals “properly,” they should use this phrase. Now, it’s not that the phrase in and of itself is wrong, it’s that our culture has done such a bad job at treating homosexuals properly in the first place. I have written a few posts on homosexuality, so my views on the subject are pretty clear. However, I really don’t care who you are, if you claim to be a follower of Christ, it’s time to stop treating gay people different from everyone else.
I have seen pastors handle this issue the wrong way time and time again. First of all, and this should go without saying, the way that John MacArthur and people like him handle homosexuality is blatantly unbiblical. If someone comes out of the closet and professes to be gay, shunning and isolating them is evil, sick, and twisted. Nobody deserves this kind of behavior. Now that that’s on the table, let’s go to the bigger issue.
I see pastors and theologians say things like, “the homosexual community is a community of sinners, and we should reach out to them.” Now, once again, the content of the message is not necessarily demeaning, it’s more due to a cultural problem. Why is it that we say this to homosexuals, and NOBODY else? Why is it that homosexuals are looked upon as different from everyone else? This is something I will never understand. People who say things like this do not necessarily hate gay people, but they go about the issue with a non-Christian attitude. It would be one thing if we said “love the sinner, hate the sin” about everybody else, but nobody feels the need to do that. There are a couple of very important aspects we need to look at in order to determine how to properly handle the homosexual community.
Jesus never once said anything about homosexuality. This doesn’t really mean anything about homosexuality being a sin, but it’s interesting to note. Jesus did not care about what kinds of sins people were committing, but he cared much more about reaching out to people of all different kinds of sinful backgrounds. This is very significant. One of my favorite verses is Matthew 7:1-5,
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
I love this verse because it captures a big part of Christian discipleship. Christians often get so clouded in their own sin that they cannot see clearly into other people’s lives. Why do Christians judge in this manner? I don’t know. I guess we’ll just have to love those sinners and hate their sins. Luke 6:37 says,
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;
In the context of this verse, using the phrase “love the sinner, but hate the sin” is asinine. We have taken one specific community of sinners, labeled them as “different”, and we have built entire phrases built of the backs of these groups. It’s really disappointing.
Why are people gay, and how should we recognize this as Christians?
“People choose to be gay” is one of the most ignorant statements I can think of. Nobody chooses to be gay. Homosexuality is a tricky field to get into. So Christians, how do we handle this tricky field? First of all, understand that none of the homosexuals in your life chose to be gay anymore than you chose to be straight. I guarantee you that you will never find a homosexual who has consciously chosen to be gay. Second of all, recognize that there ARE biological factors that play into homosexual behavior. There are many genes that can cause, for instance, a man to be attracted to masculine traits. Simply ignoring this because you don’t want it to be true will not cause it to go away. Third of all, and most importantly, recognize that the Kingdom of God and Christ’s love transcends far beyond the sin in this particular individual’s life, no matter what kind of sin that is. Treat them as anybody else, and focus on how you can help use the Kingdom to build their life in a positive way.
A couple of final points
Remember, the Kingdom of God should be our focus here, and if it is, homosexuals will not be treated in a hostile way like they currently are. Secondly, gay marriage, whether you disagree with it or not, will not affect your own personal rights and liberties. That being said, be careful how you protest. And lastly, follow closely to the teaching of Jesus. Live amongst the sinners as opposed to preaching to others about them.
Make your ways known upon earth, Lord God,
your saving power among all peoples.
Renew your Church in holiness
and help us to serve you with joy.
Guide the leaders of all nations,
that justice may prevail throughout the world.
Let not the needy be forgotten,
nor the hope of the poor be taken away.
Make us instruments of your peace
and let your glory be over all the earth. Amen