What would you do if your homosexual friend or family member were to interpret your biblical stance against homosexual behavior as a lack of love towards them? Does believing that homosexual behavior is wrong automatically make you a hateful person? Can the Christian hold to the clear biblical teaching that homosexual behavior is sinful while remaining loving towards the homosexual?
You need to understand that our 21st century culture has adopted a new view of tolerance. They now define tolerance to mean that you must agree that everyone’s point of view is correct. However, it wasn’t that long ago when tolerance actually meant just the opposite. To tolerate a view meant that you disagreed with the person, but that you would fight for their right to hold their view.
Now, when your homosexual friend or family member says, “You need to tolerate my behavior,” what he means is, “You need to come to the place where you don’t see what I’m doing as sinful.” He is looking for you to accept and even agree with his behavior.
This puts the Christian in a very difficult and awkward position. He must either deny the straightforward teaching of the Old and New Testaments on homosexual behavior, or he will be seen as intolerant and unloving or worse. But are these the only viable options?
Consider this strategic point when you get into emotionally charged conservations: If the person you are talking to doesn’t feel loved by you, it does not automatically mean that you are being unloving towards him.
Whether or not I’m unloving towards someone is measured by my actions towards him, not by how he feels about me and my beliefs. If you let his emotions be the trump card in determining whether or not you are being unloving, then the only way he will ever feel loved by you is if you completely change your view and agree with everything he says.
But doesn’t love transcend differing beliefs and opinions? Or are we to believe that love only agrees?
Of course, it should go without saying that we need to treat homosexuals as Jesus would. By the way, that means doing a lot better job then we have been doing up to this point. But don’t let people get away with saying that just because they don’t feel loved, therefore you must be unloving—that just doesn’t follow.
If you find yourself in a situation akin to the one I’m describing, I want you to keep a very important question in mind. Simply ask your homosexual friend or relative, “Are you able to love me in spite of my views that you think are so wrong?” If he says, “Yes,” then gently and graciously respond, “Why will you not give me the same courtesy and assume that I can love you in spite of your views that I think are wrong?”
If he can love you even though he disagrees with you, then surely you could love him even while disagreeing with his sexual behavior.
Furthermore, you can only truly love someone eternally and meaningfully by loving him in truth because biblical love rejoices in the truth. Therefore, simply agreeing with a person engaging in this behavior would be the most unloving thing you could do because that pseudo-love would be devoid of truth.
Think about biblical truth like 1 Corinthians 6:9–11. Paul says,
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
For the most part, this is just a list of sins to avoid. Why would anyone rejoice in this truth? It’s because when we learn about our sin, we are able to repent of it and be redeemed. Knowledge of sin brings hope because Jesus died for sins. Remember, Jesus said, “The truth will sets you free.” The flip side of this is that not knowing the truth will keep people in bondage. No one repents of sins that he is ignorant of.
Finally, Christians need to make sure they are properly communicating the fact that everyone needs to come to the place where he acknowledges that he is a sinner—not just the person engaging in homosexual behavior—and that everyone needs to put his trust in Jesus. It’s the same gospel for everyone, regardless of your particular sins.
Make it your goal that every person you have a conversation with will simultaneously experience the love of Christ and the truth of God’s word.