How about a topic that is never far from the news these days? One that is guaranteed to get me into trouble. Let’s talk about God and gays, lesbians, transvestites, trans genders and the “gender-fluid”. The world has changed considerably since I was young.
I believe that the people who argue that these sexual identities are part of a person’s make-up when they are born and the people who argue they are life choices are both missing the point here. They are asking the wrong questions. They are giving the wrong answers because they are asking the wrong questions. There is something deeper at issue here, something more fundamental and that’s what needs to take center stage in any discussion of sexual identity. The ultimate issue here is control. Who is in control? In control of your life? Your decisions? Your attitudes?
People who say that sexual identity is part of a person from birth and may or may not have anything to do with the “plumbing” with which a person is born are making a fatal assumption. They are assuming that sexuality is the driving force in our personality, that it determines our behavior and that it is the ultimate authority in our lives. They assert that it cannot be overridden or controlled. We are sexual creatures and we are helpless to fight its dictates. That is a pretty dismal evaluation of a human being. It lowers us to the level of unreasoning beasts. And yet it is our capacity to reason that raises us above the beasts.
People who say that sexual identity which varies from a person’s “plumbing” is simply a life choice are missing the fact that we live in a broken world full of broken people. We read in Genesis 8:21 how God sums up mankind. “I will never again curse the ground because of man, even though man’s inclination is evil from his youth.” This was after the flood when only Noah and his family remained. Noah was a man God declared to be righteous and yet God sums up mankind, which at that point only included the righteous people, as being inclined to evil right from their youth. Our very natures are so skewed from what is right that often we can’t even see that what we do is wrong. Do we know if sexual identity is a part of our DNA? No, but we also do not know if it is not part of our DNA. We cannot make a judgement in this regards because we do not have the science one way or another and it really doesn’t matter anyway. Why?
Because we, as believers, do know what lies at the heart of the issue.
It is control. It is who is in charge in our life. It is who we recognize as having the authority to call the shots and require that we conform to their decisions.
What happens in our life if it is God who has the authority?
What did God say about sexuality? In Genesis we find that he created man and woman as separate and distinct genders. He designed them to form a unique union.
This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh. Genesis 2:24
This is how he set it up to work. And in an ideal world, this is how it would work. Unfortunately Adam and Eve sinned and the world became broken. The marriage relationship fell from its ideal as well and our present divorce rate is a testament to its brokenness. But God did not abandon marriage. He confirmed it and we are called to work towards the ideal we cannot reach.
When God gave the Law of Moses he addressed the brokenness of our sexuality and one of the prohibitions he gave was this one:
If a man sleeps with a man as with a woman, they have both committed a detestable thing. They must be put to death; their blood is on their own hands. Leviticus 20:13
Why? Because the standard for sexual relations did not change even though mankind fell from perfection when Adam and Eve sinned. We changed but the standard did not. Read the section In Leviticus 20 which talks about sexual standards. The death penalty applied to more than just homosexuality. There are plenty of straight people in trouble if they read this section. God is serious about sexual purity but note here that it is the acts that are condemned. I want you to keep this in mind. It is the acts that are condemned.
God is concerned with the heart. He wants hearts that love him. Obedience to the Law of Moses and the standards Yeshua gave us is a result of loving God with all our heart. He does not call us to be perfect and then come to him. He tells us straight out that we are a mess and we cannot clean ourselves up. He tells us to come to him as we are and let him weave his standards into our hearts. Will we always understand why God tells us to live as we are told to live? No. Our natures are too skewed out of true for that. Our flawed nature fights against the right because the right is not natural to us in many cases. We are called to believe and trust. Out of love that gives us trust in God, we act. From this we draw closer to God and grow into a better alignment of our hearts to his heart.
It does no good to ourselves or our God to point our fingers at someone else and tell them they are too screwed up and not even God can sort them out. First of all, it’s not true. God loves to wrap his arms around the people in this world that look to be totally lost causes if they will come to him. Secondly, we condemn ourselves when we do that. If someone else is beyond the power of God to redeem then God is not powerful enough to redeem anyone, including us.
If you are out there telling gays, lesbians, transvestites, trans genders or gender-fluids that they are going to hell, you may be right but shut up. That is only part of God’s message to them and it’s not the important part.
If you are gay, lesbian, transvestite, trans gender or gender-fluid, here’s what I want to tell you. I don’t know if your sexual identity is hard-wired in or not and, frankly, I don’t care. Here’s what you need to know. God wants your heart because he loves you. All of you. In your entirety. Completely. As you are. But if you do not recognize him as the ultimate authority in your life, the one who calls the shots, then you have declared yourself his enemy. Why? God says he is the ultimate authority in the universe and in your life. If you tell him that you are the ultimate authority in the universe and your life, it is an assault on his authority. And that goes for straight people too. He wants you to stop and turn to him, to love him and change the relationship you don’t have with him.
So what does that mean? It means to love him, to learn about him, to develop a relationship with the God who reveals himself through the Bible. It means trusting him even when it doesn’t make sense to you or goes against your very nature. The result of this will be that if you are not in a monogamous, heterosexual marriage, then you need to be celibate. And that applies to straight people too. The standard is the same for both. It is a choice. You make that choice because you are not an unreasoning beast gripped by the power of your sexual nature. You make that choice because you are a reasoning creature who understands their place in the universe and that place is as the loving child of the loving God. It will not be easy. It will not come naturally. But it will be worth it.
And for my fellow believers who, like myself, are facing a world that is so consumed by making itself its own authority on right and wrong, remember this is not so unusual in the history of the world, nor is it a surprise to God who knows that the inclination of man is evil from his youth. He will win over the world. He has promised that and you can take it to the bank. The times when the faithful have had the biggest impact on their world is when they remembered these words of Paul:
But If your enemy is hungry, feed him.
If he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
For in so doing
you will be heaping fiery coals on his head.
Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.
Romans 12: 20, 21