Thursday, February 3, 2011

How Christians Should Treat Homosexuals


 This should be an  interesting conversation today. But here we go. I come from a strong Christian background, both my parents were deacons, and we attended church up to 3 times a week. I believe that the bible is the word of God, but I also believe that for Christians we should have a particular emphasis on the examples, words, and teachings of Christ. We are not called Leviticans, or Mosesists. We are called Christians due to our belief in the teachings, and saving grace of Jesus Christ. In that vein there are a lot of beliefs thats we as a culture and nation have that are not rooted in scripture, or if they are... they are rooted in Leviticus which is Old Testament LAW. The problem with that as I see it , is Jesus came to save us from sin, and redeem us from THE LAW, because ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and according to Levitical Law we should all be off sacrificing animals or should be somewhere getting stoned to death. 

     Now, before we go on, this is not a defense of "sin" or "sinning" this is me looking at our actions as a society  and seeing how they measure up to the actions, words, and examples of Christ.  Read this with an open spirit, and be careful to read not what you want to read, but what is actually here.

     Whether it was the story of the Samaritan  the adulteress, or the tax collector. Jesus always spoke up for the despised within his community. Samaritans were despised within the Jewish community. Both Samaritan and Jewish leaders forbade contact with one another, so the story of the good Samaritan is not just a story of helping your fellow man, it is a story of Jesus assigning a positive role to one of the despised. Tax collectors were considered sell outs and sinners, in biblical times they were the Uncle Toms of the community. Those who had sold their souls to the Romans to impose taxation on their own people. Yet in still read the story of Zacchaeus, and see how Jesus treated this tax collector who his fellow Jews called "a sinner". He spent the night at his house, he treated him with love and respect.. Lets take a look at the sinner, the adulteress. She lived in sin, and was dragged to Jesus feet, and the crowd was going to stone her. They told Jesus she was caught in the act and by Mosaic Law she should be killed, and they asked Jesus opinion.  He said the famous "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" line, and the crowd dispersed. Then he told the woman... "go and sin no more". His saving the woman was no predicated on the fact that she sin no more. Jesus did not demand that she sin no more before he offered his grace, and mercy. He did not demand proof, or demand that she join a 4 step program. Nor did he issue similar demands on the tax collector. His grace and mercy is not dependent upon our ability to stop sinning. Which is a relief because ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. 

     We, in our sin are redeemed by Christ who through grace saves us, in spite of our sin, not because of our march toward perfection. I would argue that Christ spent more time with sinners, and spent more time talking about how to treat "the worst" of society, than he did hanging around those who were the "purest" according to Mosaic law. We have this idea that certain sins are worse than other sins, and most of that has no scriptural basis, but is more based upon own our moral code. If you examine the bible and see what really ticks off Jesus he mentions treating children badly in Luke 17:2, and when he went "Hulk Hogan" on people who were defiling and scamming in the house of God. So really, if you are one of these fake preachers bilking the congregation, or someone who abuses children, you are more likely to be on the LIST than any other "sinner".

     Jesus never told his disciples to persecute those undesirables or even sinners, or even those who had lied in order to put him to death, when people did gather to stone the adulteress, he stopped them, and then told her to sin no more, he did not make her ceasing of the sin a prerequisite to his grace. So I find it uncomfortable as a black man in western civilization when Christians find reasons to persecute those who we deem as living in sin. Jesus never gave us a mandate to persecute, we need to learn to differentiate between the word of God, and the moral hang ups of western civilization.

     Now, I am not saying I advocate for sin.I am not saying lets have a big Sin-a-Palooza, what I am saying is that through example in word and deed I believe that Jesus gave us a guide on how he wants the "least of us" and the "undesirables" treated in society. I believe that if you call yourself a Christian you can believe that God does not like sin, without feeling as if HE gave you a mandate to be THE HAMMER OF GOD, and go forth an exact his wrath on sinners. I missed that part of the bible, the part where Jesus commanded His disciples that while they were out preaching they should wreak havoc on homosexuals . I missed the part where He told His disciples to not heal the sick if they were gay, or to not feed the poor if they were bi-sexual.

In fact one of the few direct Commandments from the mouth of Jesus are found in the gospel of Mark. Here a teacher of The Law asks Jesus which commandment is the most important. Jesus replies:

29And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
 30And 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: this is the first commandment.
 31And the second is like, namely this, Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Now, if you want. you can go on persecuting, hating and angrily attempting to limit the rights of the LGBT community. But me, my arms to short to box with God, and my closet's got too many skeletons labeled pride, lust, and lies for me to happily throw stones. I'm going to thank God for sending Jesus to save me despite my sins, and love my neighbors the best way I can.