Opinion

Respecting homosexuality

The issue of homosexuality is in many ways the biggest issue facing the church today. With the definition of marriage changing in many states and the public opinion shifting, it is important that the church address and revaluate its position on what is an increasingly prominent issue. No matter where your doctrinal position on homosexuality resides, there is no denying that Christians have failed to treat those with same-sex attraction with enough respect and acceptance to keep them from leaving the Christian community.

The primary way we interact with the LGBT community cannot be to condemn or rebuke first and then pursue a personal relationship second. Same-sex attraction is a deeply personal struggle that defines someone’s identity and as a result must be addressed tactfully and sensitively within the confines of a personal relationship.

We as Christians need to form a community in which people feel comfortable admitting same-sex attraction so together we can move forward prayerfully. If someone comes out to you as gay or admits that they struggle with same-sex attraction, your response needs to take into account the great bravery it took them to open up to you. It should also realize how deeply painful same-sex attraction can be for a God-fearing Christian. Do not respond by saying that you do not agree with their ‘choice.’ Feeling same-sex attraction is not choice. Making being gay a key part of your identity and acting out on your urges is a choice. Too often in the church we condemn the former, leading those condemned to reject the church and take refuge in the latter. The vast majority of gays in secular culture and all Christians struggling with same-sex attraction know what your opinion is on the matter as a Christian. Loving and comforting and being a shoulder to cry on is not condoning, so don’t feel the need to qualify your love with disagreement over their ‘lifestyle.’ Homosexual attraction is not a lifestyle; it is a deep thorn in the flesh. If we treat it as lifestyle, those struggling will feel no other option than to leave the Church and our condemnation becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we continue to be uncomfortable with and unready to lovingly address the issue of homosexuality, then we will fail to be properly equipped to deal with it. Same-sex attraction is a great source of pain for many inside and outside the Church, and we need to treat it with the utmost care.