Monday, May 26, 2008

Thoughts Following the Sermon

Yesterday the morning sermon was from Romans 1. The subject was how does the Christian face the question of homosexuality. Is it an alternate lifestyle? Is it genetic? Can one change? What is to be our attitude?

Our pastor did a terrific job in handling this very sensitive issue. One statement he made was to "get rid of your repulsion." And he suggested that Christians pray for the people they know who are in this lifestyle.

I wrote in my notes an additional thought: we need to pray for ourselves that we will truly love all people as people and respect them and their choices.

Homosexuality in the scripture is noted as a sinful lifestyle, along with adultery, hatred, and many other sins. I do believe that homosexuality is a learned lifestyle through environment and personal tendencies. I do know a few who have been in this lifestyle and have changed. I also have several personal acquaintances who continue in this lifestyle.

I think the challenge for the Christian is to accept and love the person and at the same time hold to the truth that homosexuality is wrong. That's an almost impossible task. And one reason is that oftentimes the one living in this lifestyle insists that if you really love them, you will see and agree with their view that this is natural and is okay. They fight for acceptance.

I see a lot of the problem as the holier-than-thou attitude many Christians and whole denominations have toward people who say they are homosexuals or lesbians. Sometimes these same condemners are lenient toward heterosexual people who have affairs or who live together before marriage or who are married and have adulterous affairs. That's quite a double standard in my opinion.

In my world and my generation, the condemning of homosexually oriented people was hateful, repulsive, and filled with slurs and bad jokes.

The current generation seems to express total acceptance with no reference to a standard of morality.

The challenge to me and for me is to show grace and love to all (and not only "show," but to really BE loving and gracious from the inside out). And the second part of this challenge is learning how to hold a moral standard and to struggle with the pain of doing this as I also show love and acceptance to the person. Whew!

Is this possible?

"[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you–energizing and creating in you the power and desire–both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight." Philippians 2:13 Amplified

This, to me, is great food for thought and a true reality check.


Debbie Kaufman said...

Mary: I don't comment very often because my comments would just sound the same. This is good stuff and I agree. See what I mean?

Mary Burleson said...

Yes, I see what you mean. And thanks for commenting anyway. Glad you agree. I thought this post might be a little controversial, but perhaps not among the ones who stop by and read.

Lin said...

Paul says, We are not to judge the outside world (1 Corinthians 5). So many of our churches rail against the culture while there is sexual sin all around us in the churches. We must judge ourselves and hold ourselves accountable while loving those in the world and sharing the truth of the Gospel with them. We forget that Jesus taught that if there is even lust in our hearts it is sin.

I used to have to deal with this all the time in my career. I worked with quite a few I worked on a year long project very closely who was 'married' and had adopted a little boy. This guy knew I was a Christian and could not understand how I could be a Christian and still 'like' him so much. He did want to get our kids together for a play date and I told him the real reason I could not do it and he was ok with that.

I pray that we will stop war-ing with the culture. We don't need to embrace it, either. We should just witness to this lost world.

Debbie Kaufman said...

I just don't think that we should treat anyone unkindly. That we are not at war with culture, but that instead they are a mission field. A leopard cannot change it's spots according to scripture. I have worked with those who are gay, and when I befriended them, they would open up, surprised that I as a Christian cared about how they felt, or that I treated them with dignity. Even those men who wore make up or painted their nails, etc.

I could then tell them of the Christ who changed me. I did not experience any coming to Christ, but they listened as intently to me as I did to them. Many of their stories contained abuse, rejection etc. which led them to where they were now.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Lin: No wonder I like what you write, we think a lot alike. Kind of like I, Alyce and Emily. It seems there is a fourth now. :)

Elora Danan said...

Mary: I think your way of thinking is very good for what you think is a sin. I personally don't think loving a person, even if they are the same sex or not, is a sin. Love is love. I happen to think it is more of a genetic factor rather than environmental but that is just my opinion. I do think more Christians should use love in their vocabulary as well as in their hearts. Its such an easy concept yet it seems to be lacking in the Christian community. My husband and I enjoy your blogs and find you very inspirational! Keep up the great posts!

Brett & Kelly Burleson said...

This is really interesting. Sorry, it has been a while since I have posted a comment but stumbled across this one tonight and it really caught my attention. I "personally" believe that God intended for us to love one another no matter what their desires or sinful nature. We do not have to agree with what they do, but love them for who they are. Brett has helped me in so many ways and every time I am around you and Paul, I see where he gets it. I am a slower learner, but I'm getting there. Thanks for posting such thought provoking "real life" issues. I think all too many times the Church steers clear of some of these issues.