Friday, April 26, 2013

Explaining What's Wrong With Homosexual Behavior to Eighth Graders

Some of our eighth graders were interested in the song "Same Love" by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.  The song stresses that homosexual love is the same as heterosexual love.  It is the popular idea, and if you disagree, according to the song, you're a mean-spirited racist.  How do we as Christians respond?  

In the past Christians have often been criticized for their beliefs. In the first three hundred years after Jesus, Christians were often persecuted because they wouldn't accept the "popular belief" that "Caesar is Lord."  Many Christians went to prison and even death because they wouldn't agree with view and were considered enemies of the empire.

The question for Christians is not "what is popular?" but "what does God say?"  That is the choice we have always had to face.  In the first chapter of Romans, Paul points out that people turned away from the true God and began to sin in various ways.  One way was: 

"Their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful" (Romans 1.26-27).

But he mentions others sins as well (here and in 1 Corinthians 6 and 1 Timothy 1) such as murder, adultery, fornication, lying, drunkenness, greed, and gossip.  Those who practice these things without repentance and forgiveness cannot be saved (1 Corinthians 6.9).  

This means that Christians must continue to do what we've always done. We need to live in repentance and faith in God's forgiveness ourselves. We need to resist the temptation to disobey God's laws. We also need to urge the world to turn away from these sins and seek forgiveness. We cannot tell them to continue living in a way that God's word says is wrong.  

One way people try to find acceptance of homosexual behavior in the church is to point out that it is listed along with other sins. People, even Christians, commit sins like drunkenness and adultery therefore homosexual sins should be treated like those sins. But the fact is, they are treated in the same way. We do not accept gossip, slander, adultery and drunkenness, and so on. People who commit those sins without repentance also cannot be saved. 

Another approach is to say that it's not hurting anyone. There are many things that people do or don't do that don't necessarily hurt others in the short run, but they are still wrong. If I choose not to worship regularly, I may not be hurting anyone right now. But I am hurting myself, and God says that is wrong. If I view pornography, it may appear that I am not hurting anyone else. But it is still wrong, and I am definitely hurting myself. In addition to this, can we really say sin never hurts anyone?  When we accept a sin and promote it, we are giving a bad example to others and we are encouraging them to sin along with us. When people choose not to worship, they are hurting others because their example will only encourage others to do the same. When someone watches pornography they encourage the pornographers to carry on their activities even more. 

I showed the eighth graders the testimony of Miriam Alexander as she tearfully related her journey out of lesbianism and drug abuse. She explained how she begged God to save her from drugs and homosexual behavior. Yet, for some time, she would fall back into the sinful behavior again and again. Christians would say that Miriam was saved even though she was struggling with these sins. How long it may take to be free from certain sins may vary from person to person.  We urge anyone struggling with any kind of sin to keep repenting and keep praying for forgiveness and healing.  It may take a long time, but the healing will come.  No Christian will ever overcome all sins. They will fight them all their lives, and only after they die in faith will they be completely free from them.  This is what Martin Luther meant when he said that all Christians are "Saints and Sinners."  

Giving into sin is never what God wants. Rather, He calls us to resist sins, repent of them, be forgiven constantly, and carry on the battle to overcome them.  Paul gave God's ultimate promise to the Corinthians:

"And such were some of you (homosexuals, covetous, drunkards, etc.). But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6.11).

Lastly, I pointed out to the eight graders that they need to think about what's coming in the future. If they accept homosexual behavior now, what will be the next thing that the Bible says is wrong but the world will say is right?  When you start disagreeing with God, where will it end?  

Prayer:  O gracious God, save us in our temptation, pain and misery. Save us from our sins and heal all the wounds that they have created in us and others.  Heal us for Thy mercy's sake. Amen.  

Hymn:  "Come, Holy Ghost, in Love"

Come, Holy Ghost, in love
Shed on us from above
Thine own bright ray.
Divinely good Thou art;
Thy sacred gifts impart
To gladden each sad heart.
Oh, come today!

 Come, tend’rest Friend and best,
Our most delightful Guest,
With soothing pow’r.
Rest which the weary know,
Shade mid the noontide glow,
Peace when deep griefs o’erflow,
Cheer us this hour.

Come, Light serene and still,
Our inmost bosoms fill,
Dwell in each breast.
We know no dawn but Thine:
Send forth Thy beams divine
On our dark souls to shine
And make us blest.

Exalt our low desires,
Extinguish passion’s fires,
Heal every wound.
Our stubborn spirits bend,
Our icy coldness end,
Our devious steps attend
While heavenward bound.

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