Gay Lifestyles

I had a conversation with a coworker tonight about LGTBQ beliefs. The Bible says practicing homosexuality is wrong. But she basically said, “So if a person is gay, you as a Christian think they should not live a gay lifestyle? You don’t want them to be happy?” I didn’t know what to say to that. What is a biblical response to this very sensitive matter?

Any Scripture references or resources would be appreciated as I navigate this tough subject.

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Thank you so much for asking this. God has called us to shine our lights that all men may see and know that we are the children of our heavenly Father. God has said in his word that homosexuality is a sin and the last time I checked, he has not changed his word or updated it to suit our modern day ideas of sexuality. So if God says its wrong, then its wrong.
I think we should be more concerned with pleasing God and not people - putting his words and happiness first above others. God frowns at sin and we are not to compromise on that.

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Some interesting counter questions to these types of objections are, “What do you think is required for a person to be happy? Is the source of a persons happiness to be found outside of themselves?” This speaks to a flawed notion that our unhappiness lies in not have the proper external environment or the right relationships in place. I would not buy into the totally. Not that this is not important, but is it sufficient enough to be our source?

Secondly, “Is happiness the point of life? Does happiness equal fulfillment?” This challenges a bit of a the hedonism lying somewhere around the heart of this question. If I cannot fulfill my physical desire for pleasure am I doomed to unhappiness? I think there is something more.

The truth is our fulfillment is not to be found in anything physical. Physical things are mercurial and temporal. They will always let us down over the long run. Our fulfillment ultimately stems from God. Only then our physical things put in their proper place and enjoyed properly.

Christianity is not dualistic. We don’t shun the physical. We just know that it is that of which we were made but not that for which we were made. It is beautiful and created by God, but it is not God.

Just a few thoughts.

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@hope, there’s no doubt your co-worker put you in the delicate position of caring for the sinner but not condoning the sin. And in today’s culture, your co-worker’s question expects you to adopt the prevailing demand that we should not only accept ungodly lifestyles, but also “give approval to those who practice them” (Romans 1:32).

You and @Cherry are correct that the Bible, neither Old Testament nor New, embrace homosexuality. If anything, Paul indicates this is one of the “old things that pass away” in the New Covenant in Christ, when he tells the Corinthians “such were some of you” (1 Corinthians 6:9). I encourage you to hold fast to God’s word, even though what He says about this is not popular right now.

Concerning their happiness, @Joshua_Hansen makes good points. As Christians, we understand that peace with God transcends happiness or any other emotion, for that matter. The Bible recognizes that there indeed are “pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25) that delight us for a while. But when we embrace what God does not, that so-called happiness is as fleeting as the grass that withers. This is why, as followers of Jesus, we are not concerned so much whether a lifestyle makes someone happy, but we seek the individual’s peace with God. We, like Paul, are to help remind ourselves and others “how you ought to walk and to please God” (1 Thessalonians 4:1). Only when we have this peace, which comes only through Jesus (Ephesians 2:13-17), do we have “full joy” that Jesus promised (John 15:11).

I hope this helps to strengthen your sensitiveness and steadfastness. May the Lord give you courage in such conversations.

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Hey Hope!
I think the best resource possible for anyone who is having issues with homosexuality as it relates to the Bible and to God should seek the council of RZIM’S; Sam Alberry. He has been personally battling the conflict of being a gay man and choosing to put Christ as Lord of his life. His book, “Is God Anti-Gay?” Should be a solid resource in answering most questions regarding the topic. I hope this resource is of help to you and your coworker.

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Thank You Hope for your thoughtful question .
I would try and relate to them God’s message that while adopting any number of human to human " lifestyles " can provide a momentary state of happiness only through a vital new “life” of personal intimate contact with Jesus Christ can the Spiritual uplift and power of eternal unshakable joy for the soul be attained.
This applies to all.
In earthly terms we are all handicapped by human " lifestyles " at some point but God has provided supernatural equal opportunity to us all for the building of a Spiritual “Life” to the Master’s glory and to our reward of joy unspeakable .
" Surely the Lord is in this place , and I knew it not ." ( Genesis 28:16 )

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Allow me to approach this from a more personal direction. Though I’m not gay, I have had an addiction to pornography in the past. And there are a good number of commonalities between these issues, even though they aren’t necessarily the same thing. And please note that these thoughts may be more philosophical in nature, so it is important not to answer with these kinds of thoughts alone. Rather these thoughts help to frame a more personal answer to the question. I apologize in advance for the lengthy response, but there is no simple one-line answer to this question.

When someone like this asks such a question, it is difficult to answer truthfully without offending, because offense stems from the questioner’s perception of their own identity. When we say, “Love the sinner; hate the sin,” it is often ill-received, because someone who identifies as gay usually identifies themselves that way. “It’s who I am!” Thus, they are often unwilling to accept an answer framed in such terms, because to them, the supposed “sin” is perceived to be a part of who they are. So we need to be careful in how we approach this answer.

But as I sought answers to my questions about how to overcome porn addiction, a thought occurred to me: What if I am genetically predisposed to being more attracted to sexual imagery than the average man? What if that’s just a part of “who I am?” It’s a legitimate question and opens up a bunch of other questions, such as, “Why would God make me like this if it is wrong to begin with?” And even more, “If this is who I am genetically, how am I ever supposed to overcome this?” Let me tell you, those questions and thoughts are daunting ones, and the feeling of helplessness was front and center and very real for me! I think our LBGTQA+ friends share many of these same questions and feelings if they get so far as to put the morality of their behavior in question in the first place.

But allow me to share some of the thinking process I went through in trying to understand this. Let’s assume for a moment that there actually is a genetic component to having homosexual tendencies, to some degree legitimizing the homosexual’s claim that it is, at least in part, who they are. Does that mean that because God created you that way that action on that predisposition should therefore be celebrated as “good?”

Let’s look at something that appears to be far more apparent in human behavior than homosexual behavior is. Would it be fair to say that the act of lying when a person perceives that they can get away with it and it is perceived to serve their own advantage is a much more universal human trait? I think it goes without saying that the predilection toward this kind of behavior is FAR more prevalent in humans than is the predilection toward homosexual attractions. Maybe 100% of us. (Anyone know of someone who hasn’t done this?) But we don’t celebrate lying, do we? But isn’t that even more “who we are” then? So you see, just because we have been made with certain predilections does NOT mean that the behaviors those predilections tend to push us toward are therefore “good.”

The truth of our condition is this: God has made every single one of us with a sinful nature. We are pre-wired to sin in some ways, shapes and forms. That’s “who we are,” but that doesn’t make sinful behaviors “good.” Just because a behavior “seems natural” does not mean that that behavior should be done. Otherwise sociopaths are gonna have a field day!

So the next question is, “How do we know what predilections are good and which ones are sinful?” As Ravi Zacharias has taught sin is, at its core, a violation of purpose. An acknowledgement that there are sinful behaviors suggests that there is a purpose that those behaviors violate. Thus, to know what is “sinful” requires that we know what the proper purpose is to begin with. What kinds of behaviors did God intend us to do? How do we know what those are? And how do we judge whether a particular behavior falls into which category?

One answer is our consciences. Conscience is a good guide to an extent, but it can be tricky, because as Proverbs tells us, “there is a way that seems right to a man, but it only leads to death!” Conscience can help, but it can’t be trusted with full confidence, because our own feelings can easily be misconstrued for “conscience.” Conscience is there to help, but it isn’t foolproof, because we can’t perfectly discern between feelings and conscience. Feelings have strong influence, make no mistake!

A second answer is the Word of God. The Bible is God’s revelation of Who He is. Ultimately, Who He is is what determines what is right, and violation of His attributes is what defines “evil” or “sin.” God has chosen to reveal Himself through the Bible so that we have a standard to which to compare behavior to test it for moral goodness. The Bible stands as our best way to reference what the objective standards are today.

But there has been no greater answer to this question in history than the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Law was the “standard” that was given us in order for us to understand how sinful we are. It doesn’t save. It convicts and condemns. It shows us that we are wrong and how wrong we are. In contrast, Jesus showed us how to live rightly. He lived the perfect life.

If that is true, how could the perfect life NOT include sexual satisfaction?! Wasn’t Jesus human? Didn’t He have urges? How come God didn’t give Jesus a mate? Didn’t God the Father want Jesus to be happy?

Whoa! Hmm. Wait! Jesus was called the Man of Sorrows, for crying out loud! If He lived the perfect life, what does THAT say? Since Jesus never had sex, how can we say His life was “perfect?” How could He say and mean, “It is finished,” if He never even started this fundamental aspect of life? After all, what was God the Father’s first purpose given to man back in Genesis? “Be fruitful and multiply,” right?

The fact is that Jesus lived a life of complete fulfillment, and sex wasn’t even involved. He experienced the ultimate in intimacy: perfect intimacy with God the Father. That intimacy never waned His entire life. He was able to live a life of complete fulfillment, because He lived a life of perfect intimacy with the Father. And the truth is that that intimacy and the fulfillment that is experienced with that kind of intimacy transcends “happiness.” Happiness is circumstance-dependent. Fulfillment is not.

The apostle Paul echoes this when he said that he had found the secret to being content in all circumstances. How did he do that? The same way that Jesus did. Interesting that he was single too, right?

It turns out that Jesus’ life proves that sexual pleasure, though very enjoyable, is not a requisite for our fulfillment. There is a place for it. And, it turns out, that the Scriptures delineate the bounds within which God intended for us to experience that pleasure.

Our problem is that we want to redefine what is intended for us. We want to redefine our purpose. I did it with porn–which, I one time even tried to justify myself saying it was “better” than homosexual sex, in that heterosexual sex IS what God intended. (SO wrong, twisting that thinking with such redefinition!) I wanted to redefine it! MY way!

That is what each and every one of us does. We just do it with our own predispositions and predilections. Homosexuals do it with theirs just like we do it with ours.

We are no better! And it is vital that we communicate this to our LGBTQA+ friends when framing our answers to these questions.

So now, what on earth do we do with this, then? If we really are predisposed to doing these behaviors, and they are indeed sinful, how do I stop myself from doing them? The apostle Paul echoes this when he declares what a wretched man he is. “I do the things I don’t want to do, and I don’t do the things that I want to do! What a wretched man I am!” If Paul is like this, what hope is there for us?

The answer to the question, “What can I do to stop myself?” is: Nothing! The truth is that nothing in the universe can change what it is essentially, itself. The only way something can be fundamentally changed is if someone or something else acts upon it! THERE IS NO SELF-HELP PROGRAM THAT WORKS!! We are not able to fundamentally change “who we are.”

When you finally come to this realization is a very low moment in life. You feel helpless. You are frustrated, because all of the efforts you have previously put in have been fruitless. And for me, despite trying to do all of the things a good Christian is supposed to be doing (praying, reading my bible, attending church, etc.), each failure then made me more despondent than the previous one. I would set rule after rule after rule. “Don’t turn on the computer after 11 pm, Dave! You’re tired then and more prone to giving in to temptation then.” The rules would work…for a little while…until my urges became so great they would overcome the rules. After all, rules that are that easy to make are also that easy to break!

Is there no hope then?

Here’s the Good News: We are not able to change ourselves, but the Holy Spirit is very capable of doing that. Transformation is actually His business! That’s what He does! When Paul says, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” in Romans 12:2, that is a passive verb. We don’t do the transforming. He does it! That is critical to understand!

So how do we get Him to do it? What do we do? The Bible tells us, and it starts with true repentance (assuming redemption). That’s much more than just saying “sorry.” If you read Scripture carefully, there are 5 steps to proper repentance. The Holy Spirit will not act to transform until sin is properly, Biblically handled. We need to turn back towards God. That’s what repentance means: turning away from sin and turning towards God. His way!

Remember the parable of the Prodigal Son? The Father is waiting anxiously for the Son on the porch. He doesn’t go out to the son when he is in the pig sty. The son has to start making his way back to the Father first! Then, when he is still afar off, the Father sees him coming and runs out to meet him, and restores him!

We need to repent to enable the Holy Spirit to begin His work of transformation. The ongoing process is one of continual dependence.

But let me be clear: Does that mean that God will completely remove that predilection in all cases? No. Not true. I am keenly aware that sexual imagery could still have its greater affect on me if I were to stop being dependent on the Lord for His transformational power in me. It would not be a long trip to get back to where I was. In my journey to victory, I had one slip up that was short–one bad night. It was painful, but it was a big reminder of how important it is for me to remain dependent on God, not to take away that urge necessarily–although if He wants to do it, I’m game!–but perhaps only to change me so that I don’t want to engage in it any more.

That was the real trick! I could never get myself to not want to look at porn! It was SO frustrating! But once I discovered that I needed to handle this sin His way, and stop redefining my own purpose, but rather let Him do the defining and the transforming, it led me to victory!

Was watching porn pleasurable? Absolutely! But only for a moment. It was followed by emptiness, and then after I tried to escape it on my own, to failure and desperation! And it prevented intimacy with God.

I now don’t need porn to be fulfilled. I have more intimacy with my wife, but it stems from my intimacy with God. Sex, it turns out, is more fulfilling now than it ever was with porn, even if sinful indulgence might have been more pleasurable in the immediate. Fulfillment transcends happiness. It transcends pleasure. Intimacy with God transcends all! Jesus walked that and showed us what that looks like.

That’s the Good News!

I hope some of this gives you a better frame for answering your colleague at work. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

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@hope, Thanks for posting your question. I too have been on the responsive side of questions relative to homosexuality - whether its right or wrong. I think the best path to go down in responding is to remove yourself from it. By that I mean, whenever we begin to respond by saying something like “Well I …”, or “I think …”, we are immediately inserting ourselves, our thoughts, rational and what seems right to us in the response. Rather I prefer to respond with “I believe God said homosexuality is wrong …” So you see there the conversation goes in a different direction. I’m not responding what I think, but from what God has said. Of course, it help if the person believes in God (and if they don’t we can bring other methods of apologetics in to the conversation to argue for the existence of God), and from there you can begin breaking down what God has stated in the Bible concerning homosexuality. Be on the look out for “Well, why should I believe in the Bible?” questions thereafter. However, the good news is there are several reasons to believe the Bible. One in particular is because Jesus places his divine stamp of approval of the Bible, and because Jesus is God, then whatever he says goes. Because Jesus who is God divinely validated all of scripture, then where the Bible speaks against it (such as in Romans chp. 1) is proof that the Bible, God’s word speak against homosexuality. I would then circle back to their question of “You don’t want the to be happy?” Again, here is an opportunity to say something like “Yes, I do, however, what I want doesn’t matter. I am not the moral arbiter of the universe. God is.” Then you can use the Bible, which you’ve introduced into the conversation earlier to show that indeed God does want them to be happy, which comes when we live life his way.
Hope that helps. :smiley:

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@hope this is an immensely important question for believers, in this day and age. The first place I like to go is to the book of First Corinthians. In Chapter 9 we learn about an extreme case of sexual sin that was taking place. When writing to the church in Corinth, Paul wrote the following, beginning with Verse 9.

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case, you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

I like what Paul says here. He makes it clear that we in the Church are called to a holy lifestyle. Those outside of the church are not, so we should love them as Jesus loved them. Any sex outside of heterosexual marriage is sin to the Christian and we should avoid it, but we should not demonize one sin over another. I personally very much value my gay friends and consider them no different to my best friend who lives with his girlfriend.

As for resources on this topic. As @Gnichols mentioned Sam Allberry is the RZIM expert in this field. Here is a thread from when he joined us for a week to answer our questions. I highly recommend reading through it. Here is a video on gender. Here is another video titled, “You Are Not Your Sexuality”. I hope they help you as you delve into this topic.

To sum up my answer is that we believers strive to live a holy life and consider any sex outside of marriage to be out for the Christian. However, there is no difference between the couple living together unmarried and a gay person, except the gay person, probably has more dress style :joy:

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I don’t think the reasoning in the question is valid. I think you can both want a person to refrain from a gay lifestyle and also want them to be happy. I think I would gently explore her reasoning and suppositions in her question. It could be very enlightening.

We make choices based on our nature. Some choices are righteous (to a degree, but not perfectly so) and some are sinful.

Our natures often cause us to make choices that are harmful to ourselves and others. Some of the choices are even codified as illegal.

Lets say I am a greedy person (actually I am) and I decide to take something that does not belong to me. Is that wrong? Am I right in saying it cannot be wrong because God made me that way? I would not try that defense in a court of law. You can go on and on to justify your behavior based on your nature.

The question for the Christian is whether choosing a gay lifestyle is a sin. I would say that yes a gay lifestyle for a Christian is sin.

For the non Christian it may not be a sin so there is no problem with the gay lifestyle. Yes I know Romans 1 tells us that all are without excuse, but bear with me.

First I think we must love those where they are. Your friend may be way different in her thinking. That is ok. We need to try to understand her. Ask her questions. Ask her to explain what she believes and how she is forming her opinions. You must be sincere and not looking to set her up. It will be very interesting.

After you understand her belief system perhaps she will want to understand yours. She may even begin to ask you about yours. If not maybe you can ask her what she knows about your belief system.

I think after you both understand each other then you will be able to express why you are opposed to a gay lifestyle and maybe she will understand your reasoning. Maybe. It may talk a lot of work. It may take many conversations.

May the Lord be with you. Always remember, Jesus has got this.

Thank you for writing all this out! It provided a great many insights.

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Thank you for opening up like this and giving us your perspective! I also want to add, praise God for what he has done in your life. :blush:

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Hi @Spikedds thank you for sharing your response so candidly. I really benefited from reading what you shared and felt reminded that we can all do with considering how we justify our own sins and how we find true transformation in Jesus. There are principles here that apply to every human and I find that if we approach any answer with this in mind, it will help us to respond with humility and love, showing the questioner that we all struggle with identity and intimacy issues, whether these include sex or not.

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Thank you, everyone, for your feedback and thoughtful responses! This has helped me tremendously.

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Hello!

This is very sensitive issue in our day.
So much has been said and I have been asking many similar questions over the years.

I think that the biggest problem with that is that most of the times people identify themselves with this particular sin.
We don’t call ourselves “liars”because we have said lies in the past.
When my kids where small it was so easy me too see which one of all the sins were predominant in they lives. We can easily see which kid will have problems with pride, which one will be struggling with vanity and I think we can see which one will struggle with homosexuality as well.
I think the biggest problem is that people that have this particular sin of homosexuality to be the most predominant in they lives wrongly identify themselves as a “ homosexuals”
I think this is why it is taken to be so personal and it is so difficult to deal with it as it is very sensitive because they sin has become part of who they are.

I hope this helps a bit