The clash between pro-gay culture and the church is turning into a tragic comedy with about the air-time quality of a 20-year-old 2 a.m. TV-Land repeat. Snooze. Who loses?
I think sometimes we care way more about why someone struggles than we care about who struggles, almost as if in the search for a sensible reason we can make some sense of sin . . . which is, in itself, senseless, though ever-present and unrelenting in its mission to diminish our significance to make us little more than the centerpiece of a . . . senseless . . . debate. Do we, for some reason, think that if we only did know why, we would suddenly be overwhelmed with a sense of compassion we could not evoke for the poor little who when we didn't know why?
While a suffering soul lies in a darkened state of being, fleeing from self and hiding from others, curled into a camouflaged ball of despair, the less-encumbered-at-the moment among us enter into the debate of why he or she does what we don't. Some of us conclude that it can't be helped -- it's just who he is -- while others conclude he wants no help. If he did, he would have straightened out last time we extended a bit of grace in his direction. No wonder some strugglers emerge from the cocoon of confusion and embrace a sudden cure of their broken ways or an enlightened acceptance of themselves as never having been broken to begin with. Anything to get out of the raging debate.
But what about that why? Does the homosexual choose homosexuality or was he born that way? Let's just keep talking while the Christian struggler dies a little more each day, dwindling away at the edge of the endless debate, wishing he could answer the why himself so we would see he is a who. We ought to be debating why we are not more like Christ, who saw sin for what it was and the sinner for who he was. And could be. Those who struggle and fall are of no less value to Christ today than was the woman caught in adultery who received His grace face-to-face.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” -- John 8:11
Who cares? Who . . . that's who.
So many in our churches and in our culture are distracted with the search for explanations for temptations or excuses for behavior. Such distraction blinds us to the truth as we work overtime to clarify God's Word with our clumsy wishes. Oh gee . . . if He would only have asked me, I would have told Him to write it this way. The devil has always known we would do that and he has counted on it. No doubt he cackles at the chaos he creates with simple questions and great promises that confound us and give us twisted hope in our search for justification for what God clearly said is sin.
"Did God really say?" (Eve fell for that one and Adam jumped right into the middle of the first great culture shift with a hearty amen.)
"All this I will give you." (Jesus did not fall for that one, knowing that everything good comes from His Father.)
One question and one statement. Two lies. Repeated over and over in an evil echo down through the generations to today when people so crave internal peace that they care not from where it rises; they just want it. They want someone to tell them what God really meant rather than what God really said, which was, by the way, what He really meant. Interestingly, Satan boldly questions God's Word, His character and even His motives.
People, often unwillingly and unwittingly the worker-bees of Satan's mischief, do the same. Christians who believe what the Bible says about homosexuality are painted as backwards and intolerant, selectively judgmental, determined not to set the captives free but instead bury them under some prudish outdated pronouncement of purity, not out of love, but out of superiority. We have, after all, the Word of God on our side. That's true, but the overriding emphasis of the Word of God and the One who spoke everything into being is love.
Yes, God really did say that homosexuality is a sin. God really did say we would be tempted to sin, which includes homosexuality. God really did say we can be forgiven and He can make us whole again. He said He loves us, doesn't leave us and wants to be with us. Which, by the way, is not the typical way Christians treat sexual sinners . . . even those who confess and repent.
He also said Satan is a liar, so, when Satan appears as the voice of modern culture and repeats his age-old promises, why should we be surprised that they're delivered with the precision of a practiced deceiver? He's slick, and not just because he's a serpent.
For the man who has repeatedly fallen into sin with other men . . . for the woman who longs to be in the arms of another woman . . . for the teens to senior citizens who position themselves behind screens to watch pornography play out as they fantasize . . . to the man who opens the car door to a prostitute and the prostitute who hops in, Satan says: "All this I will give you."
What is he offering? Peace, acceptance, freedom, wisdom, rest, satisfaction, bonding, understanding, love.
Wow . . . that sounds really good, doesn't it? Especially if you've been doing daily dives into the swamp.
To complete the masquerade, the great deceiver even labels his words as truth.
What is he really giving? Shame, guilt, lust, pain, fear, frustration, anger, destruction, confusion, self-hatred, all packaged up with a beautiful scarlet bow which wraps around the soul in slow strangulation.
And that's the truth. I should know. I stored all those great gifts in my own closet.
The further truth is that many engaged in this draining debate don't really care. We prefer to state positions over saving people. And I mean saving in the sense of pulling them back from the brink, as many of those who are poised and tilting are already "saved," which is certainly a hard pill for the church to swallow.
Here's a couple of truths we should probably all just deal with: The church is probably not going to convince a culture that makes it decisions on the basis of "it sounds good to me" that engaging in homosexuality is a sin and that we are not born "that way." And, same-said culture is not going to convince the church that homosexuality is a part of God's best for humanity and that it is merely an expression of who God intended some to be. Yes, there are wishy-washy churches and denominations who cozy up to culture and there are cultural -- if you can call them that -- splinter groups who cozy up with hate and think not only are gays not born that way, but should not be allowed to live that way . . . or live at all.
Here's the bottom line. If you are a person who struggles with sexual sin, the choice you need to make is to tune out the chaos, no matter where it is coming from, and pay close attention to the truth of Scripture and the no-conflict voice of the Holy Spirit which will answer if you seek.
The church you attend may not be the church you need to attend. You need a Christ-affirming church that sees you as God created you . . . to be like Him, not like the world. So, avoid the gay-affirming and the gay-hating and seek the God-following. In the meantime, ignore the repeated cultural attempts to elevate gay characters to creatures approaching Nirvana with all their insight and cleverness and self-assured sexual expression. For every one of those, there are dozens dipping their toes into the quicksand of self-doubt out of rejection from their own. Culture proclaims that enlightenment, not "The Light," is the key. Don't fall for the attractive theatrics.
People are not gay by chance, like some sort of birthing lottery ritual. They are not tempted by choice, opting for homosexuality over Hostess Twinkies. People are people; the world is filled with sin, dazzling with gilded temptations and people do what people do: sin. Which is why Christ did what He did. In gratitude accept the grace, seek the strength and skip the debate, leaving it for people who have more time on their hands. You have a battle to win . . . with a Savior at your side.