Romans 3:22-24, “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus“.
I Timothy 1:9-11, “We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers–and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.”
I teach 7th and 8th grade Sunday School at my church. Our fall semester started a couple of weeks ago, but today, because of some prior commitments, was my first Sunday this year (we teach on a rotation). Something happened before we even started our lesson that caught me completely off guard. And to be honest, I still feel a little blindsided.
We always start out the class with a time for prayer requests. We have a great group of Jr. Highers and they all seem to take this time seriously and bring some pretty mature requests to the table. One of the students in the class mentioned today that there is a guy from the High School that she will be attending next year that has just gone public with the knowledge that he is homosexual. Her prayer request was for this young man because he is getting bullied and treated really poorly for this. Then it happened.
One of the other students, someone I had never seen before, came out with the statement, “there is nothing wrong with being homosexual, it’s not in the 10 Commandments”. So here’s my dilemma. I have a student that doesn’t know me and I don’t know him, making a statement that I believe is Biblically wrong. But again, I don’t know his background and I didn’t want to lose him completely. I wouldn’t say that I panicked, but I kind of froze for a minute. I did come out and say that homosexuality is a sin according to the Bible, but that all sin is equal in God’s sight. What I am frustrated with is the fact that I hesitated the way I did.
Looking back, I think it might have been a good thing because I was able to form my thoughts and what I said into a clear and loving manner. But in the moment, I was a little ashamed that I actually had to stop and consider exactly what I needed to say. The Bible is pretty clear on homosexuality but it is also pretty clear on a lot of other sins. It makes no judgement between the severity of sins, because there is none. Homosexuality is the same in God’s sight as murder, lying, stealing, cheating on your wife or husband and anything else I could think of here.
This is where the statement, “Hate the sin, love the sinner” really comes into play. You see, Paul tells us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We have all failed. I pray that I was able to get that across to my class today. This young man who is being bullied needs the love of Christ more than ever. Yes, I believe his choice in lifestyle is wrong, but I’ve got ongoing sins in my life as well that make my lifestyle just as wrong. There is a lot of hate in this world, but we, as Christians, are called to love. Not the sin, but the person behind the sin.