Unless you have your head in the sand, you realize that the greatest sin, according to our culture, is intolerance. Christians are often charged with this “crime,” particularly as it relates to homosexuality.
Immersed in the hotbed of a liberal culture, teens will be especially affected by this issue, and they need to be carefully guided as they navigate these muddied waters — not only for the sake of their own faith walk, but also for the sake of their ability to be salt and light in the world in which they live.
Godless Intolerance and Hate
Defined by words like “bigotry,” “discrimination,” and “prejudice,” intolerance at its heart is a truly sinful disposition. The kind of heartless funeral-picketing famously enacted by Westboro Baptist Church is far from displaying the kind of life-giving message Christ came to give (John 10:10). Instead, even the name of the church’s website [http://godhatesfags.com], “God Hates Fags,” is clearly antagonistic rather than compassionate — completely contrary to Christian love. Unfortunately, this small group has become the face of Christianity to much of the GLBT community, providing a major obstacle for followers of Christ to overcome, if we’re to ever minister to this needy demographic.
Today’s View of Tolerance
Now touted as a civil rights issue, the argument about homosexuality’s legitimacy is encapsulated by this statement: “Sexual disposition parallels race. I was born this way. I have no choice. I wouldn’t change it if I could. Sexuality is unchangeable” from the article in which the phrase “Gay Is the New Black” was first used. Offering a thoughtful counterpoint to the argument, Voddie Baucham thoughtfully and graciously debunks the commonly held view that true tolerance of homosexuality includes allowing for the re-definition of marriage. Still, our culture’s unprecedented elevation of homosexuality is leading to new legislation against bigots, defined as anyone who even peacefully disagrees with the acceptability of their lifestyle.
True Tolerance and Love
After all, Scripture seems to discourage discrimination and encourage equality and unity across genders and socio-economic statuses (see Proverbs 22:2, Galatians 3:28, James 2). Jesus Christ himself violated the religious taboos of His day in order to share God’s love with a sexually promiscuous woman from an undesirable ethnic background (John 4). He looked beyond the unapproving glances from others to demonstrate benevolence and sensitivity — two words seen as synonymous with “tolerance.” Yet, He did not meet our culture’s standards of tolerance, which really entails acceptance: His conversation with her pointed out her sinfulness and her need for forgiveness.
Our culture would have us ignore the bleeding, gaping spiritual needs of homosexuals, and some religious types — even other Christians — would have us throw salt into their wounds. Christ’s way was and is clearly neither of those. Mark 2:17 offers this guiding principle: “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Continue reading with Part 2.