Over the past couple of years, one of the biggest conversation topics online and in religious institutions is the topic of same-sex relationships. (The reasons are beyond the scope of this article.) One thing for sure, however, is that there are two sides to this conversation, those for and against it.
Back in school, and this was in 2008; same-sex relationships had started to become more open and talked about. And I believe what really ignited the conversation was when a couple of students hosted one of the first queer parties in my hostel. The reaction from many was as you guessed it, fiery. It was an outcry and the heterosexual majority scratched their heads to rationalize the actions of these students.
Fast forward today, many in the heterosexual community are changing their views on same-sex marriages. And it’s not because they have decided to change their orientation, preference or gender. It’s simply because they have come to know many in the queer community not as the sinful lot or whatever derogatory term thrown at them. They have come to know and love them as humans.
To be open-minded typically means to be open to anything that seems foreign. But I believe we can take this further. Because let’s face it, what’s the point in being open to the desires in this world that many claim to struggle with? Being really open-minded simply means not judging others based on your strengths, orientation et cetera. It is not judging someone queer simply because you aren’t, but rather loving them as God loves us. Being open-minded means not drawing lines and discriminating. Being open-minded is about getting to know people for who they are: their struggles, journey and lives.
It’s easy to see this as weak and lacking the evangelical fervor to burn all the infidels to the stake, but truthfully, God in His wisdom lets us know that even He didn’t come to judge the world, but to save it. And how can a person be saved if the very people they expect to love them are lifting up stones to kill them (See John 8:1-11). This is the one thing the Pharisees always got wrong and it’s what many Christians get wrong as well. One thing to keep in mind is this: salvation is for the living, judgement is for the dead.
For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. (John 3:17)
When certain people in the church are told to love others, they see it as weak; they see it as their responsibility to avenge God for all the hate-filled words that were hurled at Him. But the question is: did God ask them to or are they doing this out of religious pride? Without love we will just be a bunch of fleshy church-going barbarians driven by our sinful desires (anger, pride, lust).
Love and Judgement
At the time of the Old testament, in the Era of Daniel, Elisha, Moses et cetera (three mighty men who lived in different eras) the Word of God as was preached applied only to them. It contained mysteries and power that could be unlocked only by a chosen few—the Israelites. The Babylonians, Persians and even the Romans were never judged by the things they did that weren’t according to the law, for they weren’t a part of God’s Holy people. This all changed however when Jesus arrived. For after His death and resurrection, Gentiles—people born not to Jewish parents—could partake in the beauty of what was once reserved for a few. They—the Gentiles—could commune with God, walk in His power, peace, joy and love. They yearned for all of who God was by hearing and experiencing His goodness. In the same way, the queer community isn’t bound by every doctrine in the bible, for most aren’t even Christians. Yet we judge them by the standards that can only be upheld when one has the power of the Holy Ghost working within him.
God calls people to repentance, yes, but not via war. He pursues us till He wins our hearts. And as His children He guides us, comforts us, teaches us and chastises us when we go wrong (See Hebrews 12:6-11). But for people who aren’t yet His children—those born of and empowered by His Spirit—and who haven’t tasted the beauty of His Holy Spirit, it is wrong to measure them by the same standard we will with someone who has received all the power, beauty and presence of God.
The bible is a constitution for God’s nation, His royal priesthood and chosen people and thus many things written in this powerful book do not apply to unbelievers. Truthfully many verses that make reference to homosexuality were written to rebuke believers not unbelievers: it was written for people who had sensed a need for change, people who yearned for the light, the truth.
For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.
“This, then, is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed. But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God.” (John 3:17-21)