It’s a sticking point. Truly. A make or break. Are gay people made that way or do they choose to be that way?
That’s the question of the hour. Pick a side. If you believe homosexuals are born that way, that intimates God made them that way and for those who believe the Bible says homosexuality is a sin, that can’t be. Flip the coin over, and everyone recognizes that many people seem to be gay, even from a young age, although that also intimates buying into stereotypes (which is totally a blog for another day).
I had a conversation with a friend who has a gay niece. She said she was frustrated because she loved and supported her niece, but just didn’t agree with her spiritually and didn’t understand why that was such a problem. I spent a lot of time thinking about that. Shades of gray … I believed more and more in life that things really aren’t black and white. I’m a registered republican, but have become more and more … purple? magenta? … in life as I’ve walked the scale from hard-core full-out Red back towards more Blue ideals. So I get what my friend was saying. Why can’t we just agree to disagree and love each other? It should work. It makes sense. We should be able to do that.
But here is the problem with that in this realm. Love the sinner, hate the sin translates to Love those sinners, and hate their sin. No sin is worse than another is really your sin of homosexuality is no worse than my sin of … let’s say gossip. No matter how you look at it, if as a Christian you see someone else that you believe is sinning, you condemn that behavior. You have to. It’s SIN. And from the other side, that just sucks.
Let me explain better, and from a parent’s view. Your kids are awesome. I see their flaws and love them anyway. I accept them into my home. AS LONG AS THEY STAY ALONE. If they ever date or marry or have kids, that all changes. I will always love them, but will never accept them. Will never be willing to socialize with them. Will whisper about them when my kids are around. Won’t attend their weddings, won’t throw baby showers, won’t send baby gifts, won’t like any posts on Facebook about them and their families. You see what I’m getting at?
If you haven’t yet faced homosexuality in your own family somewhere, or frankly more accurately don’t realize you have homosexuality in your family somewhere, that doesn’t get you off the hook for studying this, deeply and thoroughly. Someone you know or love is dealing directly with it. And failure to engage is perceived as failure to care.
I get it. I was there. In the days before I knew my son is gay (I refer to the day I found out as G-Day), I had a lot of friends who were gay, and I had searched my concordance for the word “homosexuality” and had read the verses it directed me to. I considered that good. I was wrong.
Back then, I still interpreted those couple of scriptures about homosexuality literally and without full context, and I totally believed homosexuality was a sin (I no longer do). And as such, I could not accept that my God would create someone who had no choice but to sin (although I admit the passages about God hardening hearts and such still gave me pause in connection to free will). But I also heard from many gay friends that they would never chose to be attracted to the same gender. Would never chose to be bullied and made fun of and beat up and rejected because of that. And I believed them, which seemed a conflict.
Of course, I had the answer. Some people are born pre-disposed towards different temptations. Take me, for example. I’ve never been tempted (as of yet anyway) towards using drugs or towards stealing. I have my own sins that I have to work daily to combat (which are none of your business), so I’d have to say I am pre-disposed towards those sins. I felt confident back then that categorizing homosexuality in those terms worked.
Let’s do a little word play with that, shall we?
“Being born pre-disposed towards certain temptations.” Let’s cut to the stop-beating-around-the-bush chase, Edwards, and say what I really meant by that. What I meant was that I’ve seen and known young kids — way younger than puberty — that nine out of 10 people would label “gay.” Yes, much of that is based stereotypes, but is it what it is. So really saying “pre-disposed toward homosexuality” is in effect saying “born gay.” Let’s face it.
But Christians have a hard time saying LGBT people are born that way, because we all know God knit us together in the womb. So how can we say homosexuality is a sin and agree that gays are born that way? We can’t … and that’s the real crux of the issue: did God make us gay in the womb, or did Satan tempt us to be gay during puberty?
My own logic doubled-back on itself when I actually allowed my son’s words and conviction of how he felt — you know, actually listened to someone who IS gay as to what it’s like instead of assuming I knew what it was like — and accepted that he was born attracted to guys. Suddenly I was faced with a couple of new challenging questions. I’m sure you see them already.
First, how can someone be born attracted to the same gender, when sexual attraction doesn’t hit until puberty? The answer to that was again provided for me by my son with a simple statement that slammed me between the eyes: “Mom, (being gay) isn’t just a sex thing.” Wait, what?!?
“Ok, I want to understand this, and am trying here. Explain what you mean,” I stammered.
“I mean, sexual attraction is a part of it, but I’m just drawn to guys. Explain to me why you were drawn to dad,” he said.
“Well … I just was. I can’t explain it.”
“Exactly.” Smart kid. “I’m drawn to guys’ personalities and to the way they laugh and talk and think. I just am drawn to guys and not girls. Not in that way.”
I was dizzy from the idea, which is probably a no-brainer for many of you reading this. If SSA (same-sex attraction) is more than a sexual temptation, and I’ve already accepted that it’s something people are born feeling … hmm.
This actually eased up the moral struggle I had with God not being able to create a person who had no choice but to sin. If homosexuality is more than a sexual act, if it’s really an overall attraction to the same sex, then it’s ok to agree people are born gay. That doesn’t mean they have no choice but to sin. Being attracted to someone isn’t a sin after all, it’s only when you act on that, right?
Jesus made a point of teaching that it’s not just actions that count, but what’s in your heart. Take a look at Matthew 5. Jesus quotes the law not to murder, and adds that anyone angry with a brother or sister is subject to judgment. He goes on to say the law says not to commit adultery, but he says even looking at another with lust has already committed adultery. His whole point is look to the heart, not just to the actions.
So now what? I was at a crossroads. I accepted that people are born drawn towards one gender or the other. I accepted that God made them that way. I understood Jesus’ concept that it’s what in your heart that matters, not just what you do with that (which also nipped in the bud the idea of celibacy). BUT that would mean if homosexuality is a sin, then it’s a sin just to have those attractions whether or not they are ever acted upon.
I had no loophole left. Either homosexuality is a sin — and I would have to accept that God created people to live that life of sin whether they wanted to or not, or …. or it’s not a sin after all, which makes more sense, but puts the literal interpretation of those scriptures into question.
It was time to do some serious studying.