They may well be termed the gold standard for interpersonal relationships. A heaven-sent standard introduced by Jesus in Matthew chapter seven. “Judge not, that you be not judged” (vs 1). And, “…whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them” (vs. 12) (NKJV). Not surprisingly, both passages are usually embraced wholeheartedly by believers, for themselves, even as they sparingly apply either verse for the benefit of others.
Oh, but we will judge. And, we will heap mistreatment upon others once their sins become known to, or suspected by, us. Nowhere in daily living does this reality display itself quite so prominently than when believers voice rejection and condemnation of the LGBTQ community’s residents and supporters.
What is curious, though, is how tolerant we can be of the sinful practices of those we know and love. For example, suspected robbers and thieves in our midst don’t bother us. You know, those whose financial support of the church’s mission through tithes and offerings, we suspect, is either sparse or nonexistent. Then, we tend to accept those known to take the Lord’s name in vain. Still, more curious, is how comfortable we can be indulging bearers of false witness, dis-respecters of fathers and mother, engagers in idolatry (putting relationships, cars, money, and all the rest ahead of God). Curious, too, how cozy we can be with those who kill the faith of others through gossip and innuendo. And, interestingly, coveters, adulterers and fornicators, are often met with the silence of the lambs. Each of the aforementioned acts are counted as sin by God. Yet, when family or friends, are reported to have engaged in such conduct, our silence becomes a “get out of jail, free” card.
Of Eve and Steve
True, often we don’t have all the facts; but, even when suspicions arise, rarely do we feel the need to investigate. Except, it seems, when there is suspected LGBTQ involvement. Then, suspicion is sufficient for taking action against those we’ve determined to be involved in “the number one sin before God”: same sex relationships.
Meanwhile, supporters of gay rights maintain that God does not view same gender relationships as sinful. In his book, God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships, Matthew Vines offers what he deems to be a valid response to what Christians used to quip: “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.”
Using Genesis 2:18, Vines admits that “in the beginning…” God created a woman for Adam. However, he says notice that when God said, “it is not good for man to be alone,” God gave Adam a suitable helpmate. Accordingly, Vines suggests, the key to understanding God’s gift to Adam is the word, “suitable.” His theory is that because Adam was a heterosexual man, the only suitable helpmate for him was a woman. The gift of a male helpmate would have been a deviation from the Divine plan to provide “suitable” helpmates. So, adds Vines, “if Adam had been a gay man, a suitable gift would have been a gay helpmate.
Sadly, there is no Biblical support for this teaching.
Two points on that thinking: 1). Human intimacy occurring outside of the sanctity of marriage is unlawful. Furthermore, at the time of the creation, there was no sin on the earth. Thus, there would have been no gay or lesbian candidates for the choosing of a helpmate. 2). Genesis chapter two is an expansion of chapter one. Therefore, it is clear that God’s admonition to Adam and Eve as found in Genesis 1:28, to be, “fruitful and multiply” would have been an impossibility, if He had placed two men or two women in the Garden.
There is no ambiguity in the Bible concerning the sinfulness of same gender relationships. Genesis 19:5 reminds us that the men of Sodom sealed their own doom with the words, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally.”
Attempts to reduce the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah to inhospitality or injustice is wishful thinking, not “thus says the Lord.” Leviticus 18:22 is very explicit: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.” Leviticus 20:13 concurs: “If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.”
God’s view of same gender relationships is consistent in the Old Testament and the New Testament. See: Romans 1:26-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; Jude 6. Nonetheless, a professed Christian does not have license from heaven to mistreat or abuse anyone. All are to be loved according to God’s will.
As Christians, our obligation is to demonstrate God’s agape love to every believer, and non-believer, with whom we interact. We’ve not been called to heap condemnation on sinners. 1 Corinthians 13 reminds us of love’s patient and kind qualities. Jesus Himself gave clear instructions throughout the Bible. In Matthew 22:39, His disciples are called to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Heaven’s call for a loving spirit is so comprehensive that in Matthew 5:44 believers are admonished to “love your enemies.” If we are to love our enemies, surely, He expects us to love adherents to the LGBTQ way of life, who are not our enemies.
We are to love and be kind to everyone we meet. Each is a potential citizen of the Kingdom of Glory. Our role is to love as Jesus loves. Undeservedly. Unreservedly. For every child of the King, that’s the gold standard.
This article is part of our 2019 July / August Issue