Seeing the World Through the Word
Homophobic. This label has been liberally applied to many professing Christians due to their unwavering stance on the belief that homosexuality is not God’s design for man. Phobia is defined as an irrational, excessive, and persistent fear of some particular thing or situation. Homophobia then is the irrational hatred or fear of homosexuals or homosexuality.
The antithesis to fear is love. In this postmodernist age of information our unrelenting faith in what has been deemed as rational thought (with its attending companions of relative morality and personal spirituality) has spawned an ideology of persistent resistance to and an unyielding intolerance of our most basic and essential human need – love. So integral to our nature is this fundamental human quality that long before we could identify it – during our earliest stages in life as we stepped innocently into “being” as well as during our more mature years after we have ventured tentatively and sometimes boldly into experiences and have felt the rewards as well as the pains life proffers – to succor our pains, to attend our wounds, to support our dreams, to accompany our victories – to embolden us – to validate our worth –- we have all yearned to love and to be loved.
God is love. The latter part of 1 John 4:8 makes clear this fundamental reality of the nature of God. God is love. Love therefore which is consistent with the Word and nature of God – is of God. Through God, man, having been created in His image has a profound capacity and need to express, exercise and experience this essential quality of the nature of his Creator. This innate compulsion to love and to be loved, however, in a fallen world saturated in sin is often contorted and ultimately reshaped to fit man’s self- serving desires rather than its purposed design of serving God and others. Two great commandments found in the Word of God make very clear how we are to love. “Mark 12:30-31 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength…and Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is no commandment greater than these.” When we fail to love as expressed in scripture or when we love what God forbids, as communicated in 1 John 2:15-17, we are not expressing nor experiencing love as God designed. Our love has become a perversion. 1 John 2:15-17 “Love not the world neither the things that are in the world. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father but of the world… but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” When we love the way God commands – there are benefits to be reaped in this life and the next.
Herein lies our challenge – loving as God commands. Jesus said in “St. John 15:14 If you love me keep my commandments.” Expressing love in such a way that we treat others as we ourselves wish to be treated is the plenary command given regarding how we are to interact one with another. Yet in conjunction with this broad command to love, despite humanities attempts to validate that which God clearly forbids in His Word, God has placed parameters on love. God, as the omniscient Creator of all things, the progenitor of the intricately structured and delicately balanced subatomic to universal rules by which the universe operates; the designer of the human mind, the sculptor of the human intellect, the craftsmen of human emotion and sentimentality, the artificer of human biology and anatomy skillfully and intellectually crafted male and female to commune -fit- socially, emotionally, physically – lovingly before Him to form lifelong enduring bonds establishing the foundation and structure of the family. Male and female created he them.
God has not given us the spirit of fear. The irrational hatred or fear of homosexuals or homosexuality, Homophobia, is a condition ascribed to many Christians who have truly embraced the two great commandments found in Mark 12:30, 31. These are individuals who truly love God and their fellow man. However this term, homophobia, is indiscriminately applied within our society to describe the sentiment of all those who believe that homosexuality is not the design that God has ordained for human interaction. Admittedly, though it is true that there are many individuals who hate homosexuals and many who may fear them or fear homosexuality, the stance of the true loving Christian regarding homosexuality is not founded on the hatred of any individual or fear; nor are his/her objections regarding homosexuality irrational. They are rather soundly founded upon the love and the Word of God. The love of God is such that He communicates to us, His creation, the things that are pleasing to Him as well as the things that displease Him so that through obedience we can optimally experience the loving relationship between ourselves and Him and ourselves and others. “Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.” “Romans 1:27,28 And likewise also the men leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving that recompense of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which were unseemingly.”
The true believer in Christ, who is living out the Christian mission dedicated to true discipleship and the making of disciples is not ruled by fear – but by its antithesis – love. Again, God is love. Therefore God’s expression of His love for his creation is sound –free of moral defect –perfect and flawless. His wise judgment in the giving of his Son as an act of love for undeserving humanity is a plenary example of love in action. (St John 3:16). The mind of the true Christian yielded to the love of Christ, and founded upon the message of guilty humanity finding redemption through Christ, is therefore sound and rational. 2 Timothy 2:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind.”
Intolerant of Love. Loving our neighbors as ourselves compels the loving Christian to share with others the love of Christ and the rewards that embracing that love will yield. Sadly what has been esteemed as rational thought causes many to be intolerant of love as defined in scripture – rejecting it- their rationale being based upon other foundations rather than the sound foundation of the Word of God. The loving Christian strives to communicate to all men and women that we are all born sinners and that the wages of all sin, all disobedience, is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
It is important to acknowledge that the love of any sin, whether it be lying, or stealing, fornicating, loving another woman’s husband or another man’s wife or a member of the same gender, homosexuality, based upon the standards of the infinitely intelligent designer of all reality, is sin and will yield consequences. The Christian must be diligent to ensure that he/she expresses the message of salvation through Christ in a manner that will draw people from their sins to the love of Christ. Homosexuals must know that they can find within the realm of Christianity the message of God’s love that embraces and validates them as human beings, yet condemns but offers liberty from the lifestyle that they may have embraced. The common assertion that one’s emotional commitment to or passion for that which God restricts justifies the individuals continuance in that transgression sadly positions that individual to miss the true love and mercy of God.
Those true Christians labeled homophobic -fearful and hateful- as they with care strive to convey and share with all people, including homosexuals, the genuine love of our Creator and the boundaries that that love enacts for our present and eternal well-being, and our optimal love experience in life – have little in common with those individuals who attack with hate the hearts and minds of those in need of God’s love and mercy. The only prevailing commonality being an agreement that based upon the revealed Will of God via scripture, homosexuality is not God’s plan for man. Sadly the distinction between these two groups is not made clear by the political activists, lobbyists, the media or our lawmakers. Consequently all those who stand in opposition to the mainstreaming of a lifestyle God, as noted in His Word, defines as an abomination are categorized as homophobic-fearful and hateful-and therefore unworthy of being acknowledged as rational. Yet the Creator of our universe, through His infinite wisdom and boundless intellect designed two unique genders possessing distinct anatomical, biological, intellectual and psychological differences which by intelligent intent and design complement each other. Genesis 2:18 And the Lord said that it is not good that man should be alone I will make a help meet (fit) for him.” God then deliberately created the woman who is fit for the man in every respect including gender.
It is therefore a rational position to observe our world and ourselves from the perspective of the Creator. To lovingly declare His standards to those in danger of reaping the consequences of breaching His commandments is a profound act of love, and concern for our neighbor – not an act of fear.