Recently, I became aware of Adam Hamilton’s book Confronting the Controveries ((Adam Hamilton. “Confronting the Controversies.” iBooks.)) and after reading the chapter on homosexuality was moved to speak on the topic of the nature of sin. From the start, let me say that homosexuality is, and always will be, a sin, grievous to the heart of God and unacceptable to the perfecting of his children.
The Sin From Whence We All Come
It will be important to understand a broader frame of reference, I think, for this very important topic. Whether or not we are raised in a Christian environment, God draws us first.
The term draw comes from the Greek word helkuo as you can see in this excerpt from Strong’s Concordance. It literally means to drag.
1670. ἑλκύω helkuo, hel-koo´-o; or helko hel’-ko; probably akin to 138; to drag (literally or figuratively): — draw.
We all start from same point. No son of Adam is privileged at birth. We are all estranged from our maker from the moment we are conceived.
In this same passage God convicts us all. He then declares his intention to redeem us by taking our black mark of sin, and its consequences, onto himself. Even before he spread out time and space and matter from between his hands, he knew that we would fail. This plan was not a contingency in case we failed. It was intended all along because he knew we would fail.
The same love which creates us, refuses to enslave us. But love must also allow us to create the mess we’ve made for ourselves. Jonah 2 declares that God descended even to the pit of hell, into the cesspool of our depravity to retrieve us.
God is love, to be sure, but sometimes that sounds like a 60s flower child, and not like a child snatched back as it lurches dangerously close to a hot, roaring fire. Here is 1Corinthians 13 read with the mathematical equivalency of God relative to love and perfection.
God’s intentions are, and always have been, to love us and redeem us. He is both fully just and fully merciful. Mercy kisses justice in the person of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God.
Our prison cell of sin is locked from within. We hold the key in our own hand. Friends and family that are imprisoned cannot hold any of heaven’s citizens hostage. God alone will bear the heartache of their eternal separation.
No Special Sin
Social pressures today prod Christians to accept a sinner’s sin as normal and OK. Hate towards homosexuals must certainly not be allowed. Even to deplore homosexuality will bring you scorn. Every aspect of homosexuality is declared off limits. Hate for others is only allowed by self-named, hate-despising proctors who define who is or is not a hater. These anti-haters are then consumed by their own hate for those who don’t think like they do. Yet there is nothing especially more sinful or corrupting about homosexuality than any other sin.
The church is bound to seek holiness and abandon all sin. We tend to think less of lying, stealing, cheating, and such, as though they are lesser sins. Homosexual behavior is, however, viewed by many as worse, even to the point that heterosexuals sometimes fear touching or interacting with homosexuals lest they be infected by their sin. This is a terrible tragedy.
I’ll never forget how the Lord showed me my own bias through my wife, Stacy. We had an acquaintance who was at the time a practicing homosexual. While Stacy acted kindly, and with Godly love, I had a very hard time feeling respect for that person. Inside I felt contempt and disgust because of their lifestyle.
One day, she said, “You know they know how you feel about them when you shun them.”
I was cut to the heart, because she was right. I was throwing out the baby with the bathwater. I had fallen into the trap of hating the sinner along with the sin. We can wink at the sin in our own life, but when we see it in others, we are drawn to condemn it. To this day, I treat homosexuals and heterosexuals the same. We are all in the same sinful boat.
Let me again repeat that there is no sin that is especially worse, for we must be free from all sin. As Laura Story so aptly says in her song Blessings ((Blessings)), “Love is not content to give us lesser things!” We are made in the image of a perfect and loving God who intends and requires us to be clean. He will make his children clean. He loves the homosexual just as much as the heterosexual. He wants all to be clean and whole!
Sin Is Not Congenital
Pastor Hamilton attempts to pigeonhole homosexuality into different categories. He thinks some are necessarily born to be homosexual as though it is a congenital physical anomaly. These persons make no conscious choice of homosexuality. They are just the way they are from the time they are conceived.
Another subset is not exactly born homosexual, but has homosexual tendencies. These persons are shaped by circumstances such as poor or sexually abusive relationships with other males. Being either swayed or swept away, this group is poorly defined by Hamilton.
The last group are persons with no homosexual tendencies at birth, but for whatever reason make a conscious choice to persue homosexuality despite normal heterosexual desires.
Hamilton presents the argument that a large number of homosexuals cannot somehow help themselves. In other words, they can be no more responsible for choosing homosexuality than a the child with Down’s syndrome would choose to be born with that condition.
Homosexuality is thus transformed from sin to a medical condition or congenital birth defect. It is not a choice, but an inevitability in those born with the condition. Once the sin of homosexuality is denied, then everything about their lifestyle, particularly gay marriage, is allowed.
My question then is, if there are different categories of homosexuality, who decides which homosexuals are in which category? If we are allowed to so redefine the sin of homosexuality, then what about the other sins? Are some who lie, also congental liars? Do some alduters, also commit adultery because they are born to be adulterers?
Giving a pass to homosexuality or any other sin because you feel that these people are born that way, smacks not of love and concern, but of consigned injustice and wanton denial. Will we use that as an excuse to give the homosexual lesser things?
Hamilton does clearly state what God calls sin as you can see in this quote. He is prepared, however, to carve out a niche for those ‘born’ homosexual. What right does anyone have to redefine sin just because they feel badly for a particular class of sinner?
There is no such thing as a congenital sin. That term is merely a rationalized excuse. God is not satisfied to leave us in our sins. His love will not permit us to be any less than whole. To consign homosexuals or any other class of sinner to the depravity of their sin is cruel and hateful.
Only Good Things
When God created everything, he never called man, or even human life, sacred. Only God is sacred. He called us good. He is intent on giving that abandoned goodness back to us. He even assumed a human body in the person of Jesus Christ, so that he himself would suffer the penalty of the justice that his own nature and character requires. Only God can do this for us.
We must never excuse or condone sin with a ridiculous and illogical argument about being born a homosexual, a lier, an adulterer, or other such thing, against our will. We are beset by sins, because we have a depraved human nature. We choose to sin because of that depravity.
Courage Calls For True Love
I now behave much differently toward that homosexual acquaintance I mentioned. I confessed to Stacy that she was right and repented. I do not shun that person, nor do I condemn that person. I pray for them. I take particular care to speak and interact with them as with anyone else. I know that God loves them just as much as he loves me. I know that God wants only good things for that person just as he does for me. I want the best for them.
To patronize any sinners by mere excuse instead of repentance is, at the very least, to cowardly shrink back from having true love for that person. At the very worst, it steals from them an opportunity for the relationship with God that he desires. Those who reject the sinner will be held just as accountable as those who make excuses for them.