(supplemental material related to my current preaching series, Sex in a Broken World from 1 Corinthians 5-7)
Am I a homophobe?
Dictionary.com defines a homophobe as “a person who fears or hates homosexuals and homosexuality.” I’m not at all happy with that definition, but it is the meaning attached today with the emphasis being more on hate than fear. I certainly don’t want that to be me. But what do I do?
I confess to a certain fear of homosexuality in the sense of its negative impact on people and society And because of that negative impact, I suppose I should confess that I hate “homosexuality” as a condition, much as I hate all disorders because they hurt people. And I hate it as a practice because God has revealed it to be outside of his will, that is, sin, and I hate what sin does to people. I hate my own sin and what it does to me. As a pastor, I deal with the consequences of sin in all kinds of ugly ways every week.
But to hate a particular practice does not mean I hate the persons. In fact, isn’t it right to hate what hurts people because you love those people? Aren’t we to hate the sin and love the sinner?
Admittedly, that is a tricky proposition because we are tempted to think negatively or even despise people who live certain lifestyles that we believe are damaging or sinful. We can fall into self-loathing for the extra weight we carry, or our lack of discipline, or failures. So the internal warning is certainly there – How do I guard my heart from going beyond my rejection of a behavior to the rejection and the demeaning of persons.
This challenge is certainly part of the equation as to why we are losing the argument about homosexuality. Kevin DeYoung posted an insightful article last March, Why the Arguments for Gay Marriage are Persuasive.
He points out that societal acceptance of homosexuality and the move toward same sex marriage fits with “our cultural mood and assumptions.” He lists 5 arguments:
1. It’s about progress.
2. It’s about love.
3. It’s about rights.
4. It’s about equality.
5. It’s about tolerance.
That sounds so fair, so American. But can you see where this new view of tolerance takes us when it comes to redefining the cornerstone of society, marriage itself. I urge you to follow the link and think about it.
More to come…