Speaking God’s Word in love

In 1,300 blog posts over 7 years, I have written about homosexuality less than 10 times.  I wrote about it when our government approved gay marriage.  I wrote about it when Burger King rolled out the Gay Pride Whopper.  It is not a cause I lobby against, but one I address on occasion when it is in the news.  This week it is going to be in the news, especially in the United Methodist Church.

There’s a lot going on regarding homosexuality in the United Methodist Church this week.  Half the denomination in the USA is praying one way and half is praying the opposite.  The UMC equivalent of the US Supreme Court is convening this week to make a ruling on the constitutionality of the election of a gay bishop in the more liberal, western United States.  Aside from that, the council of bishops has called a special meeting of the worldwide UMC (known as General Conference) in 2019 to focus solely on the issue of homosexuality.  The worldwide UMC includes the explosive growth of the UMC in Africa, which is basically keeping the USA from approving gay marriage and preachers and bishops in the UMC.  And finally, there has been and continues to be a small group appointed to meet (and our own WV Bishop is on this committee) to try and find a way to keep the orthodox part (those who hold to historic Bible teaching) and the progressive/liberal part of the church from splitting (this is the perception, even though the leadership would probably say they are trying to find a way to keep the entirety of the UMC working together).  And I have tried to lay out facts in the preceding paragraph, even though it’s difficult not to let my point of view show through.

I’ve paraphrased part of the next line from Richard B. Hays and added my orthodox spin:

In the midst of a culture that worships self-gratification and a church that preaches a false Jesus who panders to our desires, there is still a call for the few who will hear and follow the narrow way.

I’ve been to a few meetings about the drug epidemic in our area.  In every meeting they stress that the people hooked on drugs are not bad people.  They have a sickness.  They need help.  We must not hate on them, but we love them even as we despise the drugs that have an evil hold on them.  What kind of love condones the use of drugs?  What kind of love encourages people to destroy themselves?  The truth is we love the person and hate what they are doing.  No sane person would argue that we are “Opiophobes” because we want to see the people quit destroying their lives with drugs.  On the other hand, there are some people who say people should receive Narcan (the life saving drug) a limited number of times and then we should just let people die.  People who feel that way are in the minority and they are not showing love.

This is the best way I can describe how I Biblically approach the homosexual issue.  I see myself as a rational, loving pastor whose job it is to tell people of the call to turn from their sin, receive forgiveness, and follow Jesus.  Of course, you can still follow Jesus while you are sinning.  The reality is all who follow Him do so imperfectly.  So sin does not preclude you from following Him.  The problem is when we twist the truth into a lie and call sin good.  That is not loving, even if a lie is what people want to hear.  But we must speak God’s Word from an attitude of love.  People who are mean to people who are caught up in the sin of homosexuality are no better than those who want to let people die from a drug overdose.  They do not realize that their sin of hate is on display as well.

…he must be hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it was taught, so that by sound teaching he will be able to encourage others and refute those who contradict this message.~ Titus 1:9

(These are my thoughts and opinions and in no way reflect the position of any agency, conference, or congregation of the United Methodist Church. These words, thoughts, and opinions are my own as I understand the Word of God at the time I write them.)

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2 Responses to Speaking God’s Word in love

  1. This is one of the best explanations I have heard on the subject and I agree wholeheartedly. All Christians sin — even while we are Christians — and although it is part of our duty to tell others about sin, it is also our duty to tell them about God’s love. Jesus died so that all sinners could have eternal life — including homosexuals. We should not perpetuate sin with more sin; we should not respond to those who identify with the LGBTQ community with hate (which is a sin), but rather with love. With love, we can guide them to Jesus and show them rather than scream at them to repent. Jesus did not let the sin of the adulteress in John 8 prevent her from salvation once she repented; likewise, we should not let the sin of people prevent them from even giving Christianity a chance.

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