Friday, July 1, 2011

The Devilish Debate Over Choice vs. Chance


Don't take credit for not falling into a sin that never tempted you in the first place. -- Billy Graham

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?

Truth 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.

Questions like:

"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.)

Promises like:

"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.

And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. -- 2 Corinthians 11:14

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.

True that.

God Bless,

Thom

11 comments:

  1. Today, God directed me to Romans 2. A powerful (and pertinent) read. We must always remember that "there but for the grace of God go I." :)

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  2. I'm so glad I stopped and read your post. You made so many important points and one really stands out - "state positions over saving people." So many are arguing and defending their position and lose sight of those who just need to know that someone loves them and will stand with them, showing them that they are worth knowing, demonstrating God's love. Thank you for sharing this.

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  3. Thank you for putting things into perspective for me and countless others

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  4. Thank you for your strong and compassionate stand for truth. This is a message that every church and every struggler with sexual sin needs to hear. I'm so grateful for brothers like you in this world where truth, love and freedom get brushed under the rug.

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  5. The truth is so simple. If G*d says something is a sin, it is a sin. The gay affirming "churches" that fight reasons and illogic (excuses) to condone their sin is "god-making" with reversed roles. Instead of G*d saying, "let us make man in our image" (Gen.1:26) fallen and unrepentant man says,"Let us make G*d in OUR image." This also "...and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator..." (Rms.1:25) and "having a FORM of godliness but DENYING the power thereof..." (2 Tim:3:5). By their distortion and misapplication of Scripture, they DENY that G*d through the power of His Spirit (not man's spirit or will power) can change a person. Yes, i have heard all the Greek MISapplications of the verses condoning and accepting homosexuality. I believed them at one time myself in order to justify my sin and not having to confront it. The gay "church" twists and ignores the historical and cultural background of the original languages. The word "church" comes from the Greek word "ekklesia" and that concept has its roots in the Hebrew word "kehilah"...an assembly of called OUT people.

    For those who say, "G*d made me this way," I say, "That is why you need to be born again."..." I am in a monogamous loving relationship" but that doesn't make it kosher.

    What is next? A "church" for pedophiles who are in a momogamous relationship with their partner? a "church" that accepts alcoholics? The Body of Messiah must be loving enough to lovingly and sometimes strongly present the GOOD NEWS that A PERSON CAN CHANGE. " such WERE some of you..." 1 Cor. 6:11

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  6. Debbie,

    If we could keep that thought in mind, imagine how much more compassionate we would be to people around us and how much more positive impact we might have in their lives. Even when we accept the reality of God's grace, we often find it so hard to extend to others.

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  7. Stan,

    I remember one time whenit dawned on me that there were a lot of people, particularly within the church, who were more concerned about being right on the issue than they were about responding to the real pain and hurt of the struggler. It looks and feels cold and does no good for anyone. People need to feel loved before they build trust in our words.

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  8. Prodigalnomore,

    I think we can take heart that more people are emerging from their pain with courage. I know it's difficult for many to be s transparent as I am, but I know they pray and they realize the ones who struggle need right relationships. It's a slow process, but I believe God will bless a consistent effort. Thank you for your good heart.

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  9. Ezra,

    I am thankful that you learned the truth. I'm sorry that you had to endure the misleading, but God brought you through and he has give you a srong voice with which to share with others. We do need to help others avoid the pitfalls that can sometimes look so attractive.

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  10. Thanks Thom, when I was still trying to justify it, I even contacted non Messianic Orthodoxy and asked them about the verses in Torah that condemn homosexuality. Homosexuality is one of the insidious ways that satan tries to destroy the Jewish people by not having them procreate;Hitler also sterilized us before the Final Solution. The Orthodox rabbis told me that the "neshamah", the "life force or spirit" has gender assignment and so two males (lovers) could have a male "neshamah" and the other male partner have a female "neshamah" so the verses in Torah are not applicable to them. Nice try but I didn't buy it.

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  11. Well said. I am neither a victim or homosexual, but society has made it very difficult for me to address homosexuality with my children, who are surrounded with mainstream cultural acceptance of gay marriage and homosexuality. My favorite line of yours is "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."

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