Question: We hear so much about homosexuality and lesbianism today. What should be the attitude of Christians toward those who are gay?
Answer: That is a very important question considering the related turmoil going on around us. I feel strongly that Christians have a scriptural mandate to love and care for all the people of the world. Even those who are living in immoral circumstances are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect. There is no place for hatred, hurtful jokes, or other forms of rejection toward those who are gay.
Remember that Jesus was more compassionate toward the woman caught in the very act of intercourse--a capital offense in those days--than He was the hypocrites in the church. That is our model for how to respond to a person living in sin. Indeed, we should be trying to reach out to those who don't know Jesus Christ, which is impossible in an atmosphere of hostility.
Having said that, we are also obligated to take our values and our definition of right and wrong from the Scriptures. It doesn't matter what I think or what you think. The critical issue is what God thinks, and on this subject He has made Himself very clear. Let's look at the biblical references to homosexuality and lesbianism.
If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. (Lev. 20:13)
While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, "Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him." The owner of the house went outside and said to them, "No, my friends, don't be so vile." (Judg. 19:22-23)
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and became inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. (Rom. 1:26-27)
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor. 6:9-10)
We know that the law is good if a man uses it properly. We also know that law is made not for good men but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers --and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that confirms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me. (1 Tim. 1:8-10)
Obviously, these scriptures leave little room for debate. The only way their message can be negated is to reject the authority of God's Word. But I would like to point out that many of those same texts and numerous others also condemn premarital heterosexuality with equal vigor. Immorality is immoral whether it occurs with people of the same sex or those of opposite sex. In both cases, our responsibility is to call sin by its name and to admonish men and women to live in purity and holiness.
There is another aspect to this issue that needs to be clarified. Whereas we are obligated to treat gay and lesbian individuals with respect, we are morally responsible to oppose the radical agenda of the gay-rights movement. What they are trying to accomplish in the culture is wrong, and it must be resisted.
That agenda includes teaching pro-homosexual concepts in the public schools, redefining the family to represent "any circle of people who love each other," approval of homosexual adoption, and special legal status for those who identify themselves as gay. I won't take the time to explain why each of these objectives is harmful, but we must resist them.
Book: Life on the Edge
By Dr. James Dobson