A friend of a friend, a seminary student in the south east, who grew up in a typical evangelical Christian home recently came out to his parents. He was tired of pretending, his suppression of his own identity had thrust him into depression. He could not hide any more so he finally went to the people he should have been able to trust with his identity, the people who one would think would love him for who he really is, his family.
Their response was not a positive one, to say the least. They voiced their shock and expressed anger and frustration, this is to be expected, but then they turned into him. His mother, pointing her finger, explained to him that his father was never going to be the same, that they were both ashamed of him, that his "decision" had eternal implications, and that he was tearing his family apart. Because of their belief in the gospel and their Biblical conviction they did not just react rashly but consciously felt it necessary to make their condemnation and their utter shame quite clear to their son.
He now undergoes psychiatric suicide therapy. Every day he considers whether or not he should even be alive. He considers his own self worth and wonders if it would be easier to end his life than to continue living in his shame--in his own identity.
In the name of Jesus Christ and in the name of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, homosexuals are terrorized, laws are passed, rights are denied, human beings are dehumanized in their identities, and parents disown their own sons and daughters. It is this gospel conviction that leads Christian people to treat homosexuals the way that they do. This gospel, the one that says that it is a parents obligation to rebuke their gay sons and daughters, this "good news" has thrust so many into suicidal thoughts and utter shame.
Is this the same good news, I wonder, that Paul was calling us to live out when he said, "Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God" Romans 15:7
or "God does not show favoritism" Romans 2:11?
Is it the same gospel by which Peter was able to proclaim, "You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean" Acts 10:28?
Is it this same good news that James is talking about when he tells some ancient Jewish Christians "If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, 'Love your neighbor as yourself', you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers." James 2:8-9?
Could this be the same good news that Jesus was talking about when he asked, "How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye"? Or when he said, "For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened"? Would Jesus not have opened his arms to his gay son and would Jesus not have accepted him just as he was even if he saw sin in him? Did Jesus not see sin in the world when he broke bread with sinners and broke his body on a cross?
Here are a couple of honest questions:
Do you believe that homosexuality is a sin? Would your response to that question change how you should deal with homosexuals? What if they are your own kids? Do you think homosexuality is a choice? Should people be guilted into being heterosexual? Choice or not, is homosexuality or heterosexuality something that is deeply a part of human identity or can it be separated from the person so that we can "love the sinner, hate the sin"?