Moral Dilemmas

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was sitting in a class on “Moral Dilemmas,” when we began discussing the issue of homosexuality. I tend to be more of an introvert, but when I’m passionate about something I’ll speak up. We were discussing how the church should approach the issue of homosexuality, how can we lovingly share the gospel, and does the Bible really call homosexuality a sin.

I may have been day dreaming a bit through some of the conversation, but I distinctly remember when we began discussing whether or not homosexuals were “born that way.” At the time, the notion of a “gay-gene” was being tossed around and Christians, by and large, were against the mere possibility of such a gene. My jaw almost hit the ground as I heard student after student give a passionate defense against any notion of a “gay-gene.”

Finally, I simply couldn’t help myself. I raised my hand and said, “What differences does it make? Aren’t we all born in sin?” Understand that this class, as I recall, was mostly made up of third year Bible college students. Everyone in that class should have been taught that we are born in trespasses and sins. They may not all of have agreed to what extent that affected them, but I guarantee they all had been taught a basic understanding of man’s depravity at birth.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
–Psalm 51:5

The reason this story sticks out in my mind is because of what happened next. A fellow student, in response to my comment, began to argue that God can’t hold people accountable for something they can’t control. If there was a “gay-gene,” in his view, then God couldn’t hold homosexuals accountable. This story marks the very first time in my life that I heard someone blatantly defend a notion that I felt was completely unbiblical. I can remember muddling something like, “Oh, I thought we all agreed on man’s depravity.” I walked out of that class dumbfounded.

Born That Way?

In chapter 3 of my book The Fury of God, I write,

The Bible tells us that we are all born in sin. To the homosexual I say, “Welcome to the club.” I, like you, was born in sin. My sin is different from your sin, and I too was born this way… I was driven by my sin. I was consumed by my sin. Maybe we have more in common than we’d like to admit. (83)

Understand that I don’t mean that quote to be insensitive. It seems that whenever homosexuality is compared to anything it is seen as insensitive or derogatory. That is not my intention. What I want the homosexual to understand is that I am, in many ways, no different than you. We have something in common. We are both sinful. We both love our sin. Frankly, we’re both defined by our sin apart from Christ. More to the point, we both need Christ to redeem us from our sin.

The trouble with homosexuality, in our culture, is that it wants a free pass. Homosexuals want their sin to be passed over, ignored, and at this point even affirmed. What they have to understand is that, as a Bible believing Christian, the most unloving thing I can do is tell you that your sin isn’t sin. The most offensive thing a Christian can do is pretend that Jesus Christ can’t, won’t, or doesn’t need to save your sin. Jesus Christ went to the cross to redeem sinners. He shed his blood that my sin, and your sin, could be made right before God.

In a sermon a few months back I dealt specifically with the homosexual’s constant demand for equality. The problem is when the homosexual asks Christians to treat their sin differently than we treat all other sin, they’re not equal. Watch this short 1 minute clip…

Scarlett Letters

One of the reasons Christians are having so much trouble dealing with homosexuality in our culture is our own self-righteousness. Society, down through the ages, has had numerous Scarlett Letters—tabboo sins that have been elevated to a level of social shame. Adultery, divorce, and homosexuality have all fallen prey to society’s tendency to stigmatize certain sins. Why do we do this? I believe Christians, specifically, do this to minimize the magnitude of their own sin.

These taboo sins usually serve as pedestals for some to proclaim their own righteousness. The self-righteous can fight the homosexual, condemn the adulterer, and despise the divorced, and in so doing they can ignore their own little sins and declare themselves righteous before God in light of the unrighteousness of others. (85)

Fellow believers, we must stop doing this. We must stop maximizing the sins of others so we can minimize the sins in our own life. Let me put it this way. If you look at the homosexual, the adulterer, or the divorced and think, “I’m not that bad,” then there is a serious problem in your life. Your sin is just as egregious and offensive to God as the sin of any other person.

I point out in my analysis of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah that it wasn’t just homosexuals who died when God destroyed the cities. Lot’s lazy, disbelieving son-in-laws were also destroyed. Lot’s own wife was turned to a pillar of salt because she simply turned back and looked at the destruction of the city.

We have got to realize that God hates all sin, and he has sent his Son to redeem all who repent, and put their faith and trust in Christ. That is as true for the liar and the thief as much as it is for the homosexual. This is what is so wonderful about the cross of Jesus Christ:

Regardless of our particular sin, the Gospel calls on us to confess and repent from our sins, and turn to Christ alone for forgiveness. (92)

Fellow Christians, we have to stop minimizing what Christ has done in our lives. By doing so, we become impotent to bring the cross to bear on the “taboo” sins of our culture. In order to find the confidence to preach a bold Gospel to a brazenly sinful world, we must affirm the Gospel’s forgiveness of our own brazen sinfulness. If the Gospel was sufficient to save you, it is sufficient to save all who turn from their sins, and put their faith and trust in Christ alone.

Discussion Questions for Further Study

  • What sins, in your mind, are considered “taboo?”
  • How should we approach homosexuals with the Gospel?
  • How should the church deal with Christians who struggle with homosexual tendencies?
  • Have you ever been guilty of tabooing a sin? How can we combat this?

Photo by Guillaume Paumier via Flickr