“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8
Not overly political or issue-oriented, I didn’t focus much on the recent hub-bub that escalated in the Boy Scouts. Personally it didn’t affect me because none of our sons ever joined their group. But the Boy Scouts’ controversial decision regarding membership standards, which states, “No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone“*, garnered my attention. Yet not in the way you might think. What struck me was the overriding, disapproving attitude of many partnering Christians. In essence they seemed to heartlessly communicate to these boys, “You’re too sinful for us. There’s no room for you in our good Christian group. Go away.”
Truly less than two years ago I would have been right on board with “Christian” efforts to prevent homosexual-identified young men from this organization–not in a militant, ugly way, but in honest sincerity. Biblically speaking, homosexuality remains a sin that shouldn’t even appear to be condoned–especially by groups designed to positively influence boys. I sensitively sympathize with the the Boy Scout leadership’s struggle in this decision. And I’m not suggesting a flat statement on it today, for I’m not knowledgeable enough concerning details to form an absolute opinion. However, I am disappointed with the church’s overall lack of compassion on this issue. Real people are involved in homosexuality, and wherever people are, there’s an opportunity for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Troubling me greatly is the unspoken belief many Christians possess that somehow, we’re just a little bit better than others. Sure, we’re all sinners, but THAT sin, homosexuality, is simply the worst. And anyone who has those tendencies–outside or inside the church–is just too sinful for us. Oh my, who do we think we are?! Have we forgotten we’re all destined for hell until God mercifully, graciously reaches down and draws us to His Son?
Many Christians with honorable intentions and genuine love for Christ remain unaware of homosexuality’s contributing factors. They simply know it’s a sin and express such–sometimes lovingly, but often cold-heartedly. Others realize it’s a sin and and put it to the side since it doesn’t affect them. That was me. Until God stepped in. He brought it to the forefront. The issue of homosexuality interrupted my life in January 2012. No longer was it something “out there” I could consider at leisure. Discussions about homosexuality and same-sex attraction suddenly crashed into my world, presenting me with diverse thoughts to process. Challenging, searching, and clarifying, this journey with my son has pressed me to reevaluate truth, sin, and God’s heart in this matter. I have a long way to go–a lot more learning and growing to do. Yet I’m thankful for where God has brought me, how He’s opened my eyes and given me deeper compassion for the homosexual community and those affected by SSA. God has confronted me with prejudices I unknowingly held and ignorantly clung to. Thankfully God continues to enlighten me as I contemplate His Word and His heart as expressed in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Please know I struggle even as I write. My flesh still sometimes leans toward categorizing homosexual behavior as one of the “worst” sins. But that is sin and pride on my part. That’s my desire to feel better about myself in light of another’s sin. Instead of focusing on the speck in someone else’s eye, I need to remove the log in my own (my paraphrase, Matthew 7:5). May the Lord continue to search my heart and reveal every last place that displeases Him.
Loving Father in heaven, please forgive me for my proud, self-righteous heart. I cry out to You on behalf of the church, the body of Christ. Please grant us more of Your compassion and love–specifically for those who live the homosexual lifestyle. Enable us to see them through Your eyes of mercy and grace, that we might extend to them the love and hope of Jesus Christ. I also lift up Your people who are tempted by same-sex attractions, and humbly ask that You strengthen them to resist, just as all Christians seek to resist temptation in other areas. Indeed, “… do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13). Jesus, You are mighty and victorious, the king of Kings and lord of Lords! In Your name I pray, Amen.
Rather than pushing sinners away, let’s remember we’re sinners too. In humility, let’s reach out in Christ’s love like God reached out for us.