Homosexuality: Does Jesus Even Care?

Homosexuality remains a hot topic both in and outside the church. But discussing it at length comes with two inherent dangers: either we see homosexuality as worse than all...
07-11

Homosexuality remains a hot topic both in and outside the church. But discussing it at length comes with two inherent dangers: either we see homosexuality as worse than all other sins, or we act as though it’s no sin at all. Last week, I responded to the first danger by reminding readers that Christians who struggle with homosexual desires are just ordinary sinners with the same extraordinary Savior. This week, I’m tackling danger number two.

Amid the gay debates, you’ve probably heard arguments like this: “Jesus never said anything about homosexuality, so it must not be all that important to him.” What they mean, of course, is that his silence is the stamp of approval for homosexuality. Let’s look at five biblical responses:

1. To begin with, the “Jesus never said” argument is too simplistic. What we should say, rather, is “Jesus may or may not have said anything about homosexuality.” John tells us Jesus did many things that were never written down because there aren’t enough books in the world to contain them (John 21:25). Perhaps Jesus had quiet conversations among friends, or heated debates among the masses. But one thing is certain: we can’t say he never talked about homosexuality.

2. So we have no record of Jesus ever addressing homosexuality. What we do have is his take on marriage. In Matthew 19:4-6, Jesus reaffirms the design that God deemed good in Eden: one man, one woman, one flesh. That’s because Jesus, of all people, understood what marriage represents: him and his people. Anything that marred the metaphor, that distorted God’s living picture of the gospel, Jesus most certainly considered sin—homosexuality included.

3. Imagine if we listed all the sins Jesus seems to have never addressed: rape, abortion, pedophilia, gluttony. The list goes on. Does that mean we don’t bother addressing them? Or worse, celebrate them? Rather than assume the silence of Christ is a license to sin, God would have us search all the Scriptures for his will. It’s in more than the red letters.

4. Which brings me to my next point: Jesus may or may not have said anything about homosexuality, but he commissioned disciples to carry his truth to the world. Paul was one of those disciples, and he has a lot to say about the sin of homosexuality (Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10). Paul’s words, like all of Scripture, are God-breathed and Jesus-approved (2 Timothy 3:16).

5. Read it again: “Jesus never said anything about homosexuality, so it must not be all that important to him.” If you have no other reason to deny this statement, imagine what it sounds like to the person who struggles with homosexual desires: “Jesus doesn’t concern himself with sinners like you.” Where’s the gospel in that?

Truth is, Jesus cares. He cares about every sin that stands between him and us. He cared all the way to Calvary. The blood that flowed from his cross was sufficient to cleanse us from our sins—all of them. Whether or not he ever said a word about them.

 

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Bryan Magana

Bryan has a master's degree in English, a full-time job in public relations, and the gift of joyful singleness. He leads worship at his church in Utah and enjoys traveling, singing, playing games, hiking, and eating out. He can be reached at kindasortayeahnotreally@gmail.com
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  • Bill Walden
    11 July 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Good, concise, clear, compelling. Thanks for this.

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  • Chris
    11 July 2012 at 1:29 pm

    I think one point that you did not touch on is that Jesus is God. So what God says in the Old Testament concerning sins, homosexuality along with other sins not recorded in the New Testament, is the same thing as Jesus saying it. John chapter 1 comes to mind. All the other points are very good and covers a all sins not just homosexuality. Thanks for your great articles and insight.

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    • Bryan Magana
      Bryan Magana
      17 July 2012 at 7:01 pm

      Thank you, Chris! I shouldn’t assume all of our readers are familiar with Christian teachings on the deity of Christ. In hindsight, I would’ve mentioned it less subtly (but I do think it’s there). Glad we have these comments to help clear things up!

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  • Collin
    11 July 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Spot on.

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  • clare
    11 July 2012 at 5:51 pm

    You people are sick. Spending a little more time on your own sins and a little less time judging other people would go a long way to addressing the problems of the world. You must have way to much time on you hands.

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    • Bryan Magana
      Bryan Magana
      11 July 2012 at 6:55 pm

      Clare, Jesus certainly calls us to address our own sins first. Please don’t assume I haven’t done just that in this article. Also, I’m not sure if you made it to the last paragraph, but ultimately I’m talking about every sin (and every sinner). There’s power in the blood to cover them all.

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    • William
      12 July 2012 at 10:30 am

      I totally understand what you mean. However, we do need to remember that it our responsibility to teach the younger generation about who God is. It is our responsibility to teach them HOW to read Scripture. So, I know for me, that is what I do. In fact, I am responding to the video by Matthew Vines where he says that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality according to the bible.

      Why? Not to prove myself. The reason is for the younger generation. At this time, most people over 30 won’t be changing their theology. However, younger kids who have less understanding about Scripture can be easily decieved. So, I want to take care of them so that they can see New Jerusalem. If anything, I think that, sometimes, standing up for it shows more love than letting it sit there and simmer.

      (Side note: I am not one of the people trying to make it illegal… because I know I can’t legislate morality.)

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      • David Ochabski
        12 July 2012 at 2:57 pm

        I’m always interesting where some people got this mentality that “you can’t legislate morality.” Laws are made to tell you something is wrong and, conversely, to tell you everything else is right. What is morality then? I’ll tell you. It’s a set of laws about what’s right and wrong.

        Romans 13 says God gave the positions to all the authorities that are in place (though it’s good to remember that God also gives the definition of what He believes is true authority in verse 3 so we shouldn’t just listen to any ruler). We live in a democratic republic. God put in place the Constitution, so we must fulfill our end. As a democracy, the individual is given the authority to legislate laws and vote.

        The reason God made moral laws is to show us how sinful we are (Romans 3:20. I see where you’re coming from with the prime goal of teaching kids how to read the Bible, but it’s also important to show them where the cultural pitfalls are so that they don’t take them for granted.

        Likewise civil laws that follow the Bible help secularists stay on fertile ground because it gives them a point of reference for what’s really right and wrong. If there were none, then everyone would be inclined to say everything is okay. Our sinful nature pushes us to run from responsibility (Romans 3:11).

        Most importantly though, we should know that we exhort others out of love. (And it should be in a 1 Corinthians 13 loving way unlike how some Christian groups go about it.)

        “The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,”a and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:9-10)

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        • William
          13 July 2012 at 1:32 am

          I would love to discuss this. I just don’t wish to get into this because I know that it would require a lot of work on my part… and I have been quite busy with life. So, I DO understand what you are saying. Although, I also disagree with your conclusion and interpretation of the Scriptures. So, I shall agree disagree. If you follow my blog, I will try posting my thoughts about “Legislation of Morality” in the future.

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        • James Rednour
          14 July 2012 at 6:08 pm

          “Laws are made to tell you something is wrong and, conversely, to tell you everything else is right. What is morality then? I’ll tell you. It’s a set of laws about what’s right and wrong.”

          Absolutely 100% wrong. Laws are made to tell you what is permitted and what is not permitted. Morality or right and wrong are secondary considerations and sometimes not considerations at all. Do you think abortion is right or moral? Well, it’s legal. It is permitted but it is not moral. Slavery was (and is still in some parts of the world) legal as well.

          Laws are made to establish a set of principles upon which civilization may be built and maintained. Laws which limit the rights of some people based solely upon private matters that do not infringe upon the rights of anyone else should be opposed and resisted. Now I believe that government should have no say in who cannot be married, but since it is, and since it bestows benefits to married couples and not to others because of their sexual orientation, then the law should be changed to allow homosexuals to marry and not be denied the same rights.

          That is what is meant by not legislating morality. Laws should not be established to restrict the rights of certain people simply because you disagree with their behavior as long as their behavior does not threaten the rights of others. Homosexual marriage threatens the rights of no one and it rights a wrong.

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          • David Ochabski
            31 July 2012 at 12:39 am

            I don’t think you fully understand your own views here. You first said that laws are secondary to legislature, then you said that the laws should be changed based on morality. Those are conflicting views if you don’t realize. One is nationalistic and the other is individualistic.

            I think the problem you are running into is the fact that you realize that neither the individual or the crowd is always right. And I’ll agree with you on that.

            What sets you and I apart is the sense of objective morality. I believe God to have a set of unchanging absolute moral laws.

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      • Another Mike
        13 July 2012 at 5:40 pm

        But governments today have no difficulty legislating immorality.

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    • Dr. John D. Abbott, Jr.
      14 July 2012 at 6:36 pm

      Clare, one is not sick when searching for the truth in God’s word. However, one may be sick when what they think and hope carries greater weight in their mind than God’s word.

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  • Worth a Look 7.12.12 – Trevin Wax
    12 July 2012 at 3:07 am

    […] Homosexuality: Does Jesus Even Care? Read it again: “Jesus never said anything about homosexuality, so it must not be all that important to him.” If you have no other reason to deny this statement, imagine what it sounds like to the person who struggles with homosexual desires: “Jesus doesn’t concern himself with sinners like you.” Where’s the gospel in that? […]

    Leave a Reply
  • Quora
    12 July 2012 at 2:02 pm

    How would Jesus react to the gay rights movement?…

    > First, it’s not certain that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality. The Gospel writers didn’t record everything that Jesus said – only what they thought was important to their audience. Indeed, most of what Jesus said (and did) was never writ…

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  • Mike
    12 July 2012 at 2:24 pm

    I would like to add, that if the Bible is the source for our morality, and God is the author of the Bible, then when we preach what is said it is not us judging the person but God. And, God is the ultimate authority. Morality cannot be based on feelings, otherwise why do we throw people in jail for murder and rape. There must be a standard and God has given us that standard through His Word

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    • David Ochabski
      31 July 2012 at 12:40 am

      Great word Mike. I completely agree brother. 😀

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  • Edro
    13 July 2012 at 4:30 am

    It’s a bit disingenuous to use Paul to justify Paul. All Scripture is God breathed, was Paul writing Scripture or was he writing a letter which later became part of the canon?

    A sad truth is that so many Christians are so vocal about homosexuality in particular. There are no picket lines outside bars or strip clubs or gambling dens or gun shops.

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    • Tony
      13 July 2012 at 10:34 am

      What’s not disingenuous is to use Peter to justify Paul. Peter, one of Jesus’ closest apostles and the rock in which Jesus decided to build His Church, made the same claim as Paul in 2 Peter 1:21 and affirmed that all of Scripture was not merely writings of men but that these men were ‘carried along by the Holy Spirit’. Also, in 2 Peter 3:15-16 Peter affirms Paul’s writings as Scripture and makes clear that they are hard to understand and will be twisted and distorted. So no, Paul’s writings were not merely letters that later became part of the canon.

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    • Jason
      13 July 2012 at 10:50 am

      We can let Peter justify Paul. (See 2 Peter 3:15-16) Paul wrote God’s Words which are Scripture. I agree that some Christians should be more consistent and learn to love people a little better too. God bless.

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    • Rob
      13 July 2012 at 10:51 am

      In 2 Peter 3:15-16, Peter says Paul writes “with the wisdom that God gave him” and encourages readers to not only listen to Paul, but to consider his writings scripture. There are plenty of places in the Bible outside of Paul’s writings where believers in God are told to listen to and internalize God’s words.

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      • James Rednour
        15 July 2012 at 11:45 am

        Most modern scholars (and virtually all non-fundamentalist ones) believe that 2 Peter is a forgery (i.e. not written by Paul). That’s not a compelling argument at all.

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        • H.L. Jackson
          16 July 2012 at 4:11 pm

          Neither is your statement a compelling one because you cannot support your claims that “most modern scholars … believe” anything. This is a fallacious appeal to authority.

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    • Gary Zimmerli
      13 July 2012 at 12:13 pm

      Edro, the difference is that homosexuality is the only sin that is coming into the church and demanding acceptance and even celebration as a legitimate alternative lifestyle, of which one doesn’t have to repent because its adherants claim it is not a sin.

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  • Pastor Steve Nelson
    13 July 2012 at 10:19 am

    He never said anything about crack cocaine either or marijauna or heroin. But actually Jesus as the second person of the Trinity also known as the Word/Logos was a part of giving us the OT law to begin with so perhaps it is not because he did not care about that issue or another but because he had already spoken extensively in His Holy Word on the matter of sexual purity and sexual holiness standards…so that when he sent the woman caught in adultery he told her to go and sin no more. This also precludes the argument that the scriptures do not speak to or address modern committed homosexual practices…a rediculous argument unless one dismisses that the scripture came from God to the writers and that no scripture is produced at the will or desire of a human person…in which case there is no reasoning with you or dialoguing with you since you reject God’s Word. To think that the scriptures do not or cannot speak to a current sinful situation like homosexuality is to say that the God who gave the scripture could not look into the future and predict or see what the world would be like today…this is the not the God we know and worship…our God did see into the future, did anticipate what kinds of relationships would exist in all their different varieties and called sin, sin and homosexuality unnatural and sinful handing such over to a reprobate mind in romans chapter 1. Now, GGod does have grace and knows our hearts and can and does deliver from any and all sin when we come to Him in faith…He is the master of the “new creation” existence in Christ. he longs for heterosexuals and homosexuals to no longer be defined by their preferences and desires but by His life changing power.

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  • Pudentiana
    13 July 2012 at 12:10 pm

    The reason Christians are discussing homosexuality so much is because there has been a full court press initiated to have the society affirm it as acceptable like regular heterosexuality. Before this became a cause celebre folks were free to spend time and money defending the Gospel. When the doctrines and tenets of the faith are under attack, we cannot ignore it.

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  • Ryan
    14 July 2012 at 1:11 am

    You people have got to be kidding me. How much energy do you waste worrying about the social activities of others? Do you not realize that outdated and irrelevant attitudes toward modern society are what plague Christianity (and all religion, for that matter)? I will never understand the double standard that exists in American Christians (and/or Republicans, in many cases). Politically they require the freedom to choose their own path and establish their own means of “happiness.” Religiously, they require others to follow as they do and those who “deviate” from that are sinners. Interesting.

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    • JD
      14 July 2012 at 2:26 am

      “How much energy do you waste worrying about the social activities of others?”

      As a few others have mentioned, Christianity as a whole is being put under enormous pressure to change our views on this subject. It is only natural that, as a result of this barrage, we have a lot of literature coming out to confirm where we stand and affirm that we are still indeed sticking to scripture. I don’t think it’s unreasonable that we’re seeing a spike in articles/conversation about this.

      “Do you not realize that outdated and irrelevant attitudes toward modern society are what plague Christianity (and all religion, for that matter)?”

      Under that mindset, you should take it a step further: If the goal of Christianity/religion is to stay up-to-date, relevant, and politically correct, then it’s a superfluous belief to hold anyway. The thing is, Christianity has presented and defended a specific view of reality for thousands of years – either you agree with it or you don’t – it’s not something simply blows along with the cultural wind.

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    • Dr. John D. Abbott, Jr.
      14 July 2012 at 6:42 pm

      Ryan, we “waste our time” on the social activities of others because the others are cramming it down our throats by attempting to force us to change our religious understanding to allow their disregard for our religious understanding to become the norm. We are forced to waste our time on this and other issues to keep our faith as biblical as possible.

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    • H.L. Jackson
      17 July 2012 at 12:28 am

      “Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” – Jude 1:3-4

      Ryan, your question of “why” is legitimate and, while you might never agree, you should try to understand that the “why” is because we Christians truly believe that we must contend against ideals we believe to be opposed to the faith that has been handed down to us. History bears out the fact that the beliefs we hold today resulted from severe, and often public, confrontations between opposing theological, doctrinal and social views as societal and philosophical views shifted over time.

      To us, it not simply about individual behaviors, but about universal truths we believe lie at the heart of the social norms and personal behaviors of individuals. We do not attempt to deny others the freedom to choose behaviors such as homosexuality, we fight for the freedom to call certain behaviors sinful and not to have them institutionalized as acceptable, resulting in us being found to be criminals in our own beliefs against them.

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  • FRC Blog » The Social Conservative Review–July 19, 2012
    19 July 2012 at 11:11 am

    […] “Homosexuality: Does Jesus Even Care,” The Two Cities […]

    Leave a Reply
  • Craig Chilton
    20 July 2012 at 10:45 am

    To Bryan: At the time Paul wrote the words in 2 Tim. 3:16, the ONLY scripture that existed was that which we see today in the Old Testament of the Bible. Paul had no way of knowing that councils of men a century and more later would arbitrarily declare his writings to be scripture. So I have no problem at all with regarding anything that Paul said detrimentally about homosexuality to be nothing more than injection of bias on his part into his writings. Bigotry against gays very likely goes back thousands of years, and Paul could have been prone to that. The fact that the Bible is not flawless can be seen in the many instances of irreconcilable contradictions that it contains. And that leaves room for it to contain the flaw of biased opinions having been injected by Paul into some of his letters, in places. (And just for the record, I’m a “straight” Christian believer, so have no ax to grind by saying this.)

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    • Tom
      10 February 2013 at 5:58 pm

      Craig, I question whether ‘arbitrary’ is a balanced way to describe the inclusion of Paul’s letters into the cannon of scripture. You dont seem to have much faith in the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the creation of Scripture? If you dont believe that the Epistles are trustworthy, do you believe that the (very heteronormative) Gospels are trustworthy? And do you believe that the Old Testament, with it’s prohibitions of homosexual sex in Leviticus, is trustworthy? If you want to believe that homosexual sex is not sinful, it’s not just Paul’s epistles that you need to reject. You have to reject so much of Christian orthodoxy that there is not much left.

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  • saddened
    23 July 2012 at 7:37 pm

    It seems to me that your knowledge of the Christian gay person is limited. I don’t know how many Christian gay people you really know well and have learned to love as Christ loved and left the judging to God. I have met many, not because I wanted to but because the pain has entered my family. As a Christian I felt it was a simple case of repent and be healed and turn from sin. I personally know many Christians who have pleaded and prayed for release from their prison of homosexuality. I have worked with these Christians for over 20 years. Some have tried suicide and some have been successful in suicide. Many have gone to missions ( I have worked in missions and the numbers are quite significant) and fully dedicated themselves to God and prayed without ceasing and tried celibacy and yet cannot find release. I personally know 2 pastors who tried so hard, even had children and yet it does not go away and it just causes more pain. I do not understand why so many Christian people are tortured by this. As my family member, a strong Christian from youth, has said, “you think I want this- being ostracized by friends and family, marginalized socially, afraid of God’s judgement and eternity, and doomed to live completely alone hopefully celibate- then you must be crazy! I do not want this! I have prayed and fasted for long periods for release.” If it were as simple as turning from a sin Christian people would not kill themselves. It is very painful. Christian gay people do not attend churches where they are not welcome and that is tragic as they never experience the love of Christ. It is also why these cocooned Christians in churches do not know the depth of this issue and think it is as simple as alcoholism or something. I have painfully learned that I knew nothing of the trauma as I stood in my “purified church” where gays did not come, and thought I understood. I understood nothing! as do many of your responders . I don’t know the answer. It could be genetic defect like other diseases but hasn’t been researched because of politics…it has been a problem for thousands of years. I can’t understand it because I have never experienced it or walked in those shoes, most of us can relate to sin of 10 commandments, but not this. I have spent 20years with people who suffer … And christians do suffer…. Many still seek a relationship with God even though their years of prayer have not been answered . It is very hard to believe in God when such prayers are not answered. Yes I know the scriptures but still have unanswered questions. We all keep on praying for our families and struggle with unanswered prayer. Healing would glorify God so much.. So why not? I agree with Paul and Scripture, but.. don’t understand the why … Just for a week, imagine that the law required that you had to be with the same sex. Imagine how hard to stop the strong attraction to the opposite sex. Imagine the isolation and condemnation of the church, and the loss of family and friends. Imagine the fear of eternity if you could not learn to love the same sex. Imagine how hard it is…Christians tend to see only from their own selfish paradigm. Think about how hard to walk in their shoes. Suicide is often the option they take…think again about How Christ loved the sinner, the prostitute the tax collector…is your attitude just as loving to the gays or are you judging an experience you have never had to deal with and really know nothing of what it feels like. It is not simple. It is painful. It can lead to torment and suicide…the genetics have not been studied. There are other mental and emotional diseases which we accept and medicate….let us pray for a discovery and maybe a genetic cure instead of marginalizing these people. Bring them to church and love them into a relationship with Christ and let Christ deal with their problem. New Direction has a good blog and website to leard from those struggling . May I suggest that you read it for some in sight

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    • Bryan Magana
      Bryan Magana
      13 August 2012 at 12:18 pm

      Thanks for your comment and your ongoing prayers for those who struggle with same-sex desires. I can’t address your comment point by point, but I will mention a couple things.

      First, my “knowledge of the Christian gay person” is most certainly not limited. If you’ve read any of my other articles here at The Two Cities regarding homosexuality I think you’d see that my heart, like yours, goes out to the gay community. I’ve even talked about some of the concerns you mention here. I’ve in no way “simplified” the emotional and spiritual struggles of those Christians dealing with same-sex attraction, as you suggest. Trust me, I get it.

      Second, we seem to differ on our approach to the solution. More than simply understanding other people’s struggles, or walking a mile in their shoes, we should, above all, seek to point them to Christ. No matter the person, no matter the struggle, the solution is not merely to sympathize, but to show them the life, hope, joy and freedom found in Christ. That’s not judging. That’s not hating. That’s not marginalizing. That’s simply the gospel, and it’s for everyone—gay people included.

      I really appreciate your heartfelt concerns for Christians who struggle with homosexuality. But please don’t detach your concerns from the power of the gospel. That will leave you “saddened” indeed.

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  • Marcia
    2 March 2013 at 11:12 am

    It must be nice to be “straight”, feeling all content about your salvation, while throwing stones at gay people, as if they cannot have a relationship with God as strong or stronger than yours. Greatest Commandment: Love God with all your heart…. Second greatest commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself…”

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