Summary: Searching for a Biblical understanding of the basics of sexual morality based.
I want to address a topic that is as difficult as any topic we could address today…. homosexuality.
It’s a subject that has become as politically charged as any in recent years. As the homosexual movement has developed a strong political voice, the response from traditional conservatives has become equally impassioned. A deep animosity has grown between portions of the homosexual community and those who embrace a traditional understanding of human sexuality and marriage.
As with other issues like this, the rhetoric has grown more political and polarizing. One side is cast as “homophobic” and the other as God-haters. One can find themselves caught between condoning homosexuality as morally right or condemning those with homosexual feelings altogether. In the heat of such polarization between condoning and condemning, what is often lost is compassion.
What’s lost are real people…. confused and trying to sort out their souls. What’s needed is a strength of conviction with a spirit of compassion. We can’t forget that homosexuality isn’t just an “issue,” it’s about people.
Some of those people whom I know, though I’ll change their names, include…
· Jeff - Jeff never had a lot in the way of parental involvement. He tried a lot of things in life to try to find out who he was…. including experimenting with homosexual encounters which left him confused about his own nature well into adulthood.
· Laura - Laura was made to be her father’s wife… never allowed to just have a mom, she had to be one. Later she would spend years in a lesbian relationship looking for love.
· Hank - So demeaned by his father that he was always like a child longing for love… from men and from Jesus whom he loved… until he died of AIDS.
· Julie - Julie was recently helping me at a store I was shopping at. As I was checking out… she asked if I was Brad Bailey. As she asked I immediately connected her familiarity. By her look I thought she must be the sister of a guy named Roger I knew in high school. What she said next I could never had imagined. She was Roger. “She” was really “he.” He knew I now pastored the Vineyard Christian Fellowship because he had been here before and he asked if we could step into a back room where he proceeded to tell me his story; a story he had told few … a story he wanted to share with me as a pastor … a story of never fitting in as a guy… of always feeling intimidated in his masculinity and deciding to change his gender to find a better fit in life.
All of these stories reflect a longing for love. Such longings become sexualized as adult longings for love often do; leaving one with desires that may be natural in terms of being genuine feelings, but not in terms of fit – that is, not fitting in regards to the complimentary nature of male and female.
What are we to make of these natural desires that don’t reflect the natural order of male and female?
Let’s begin by looking at…
I. The Created Order
In Genesis, chapters one and two, we are given a summation of the original creation. Even in it’s poetic literary form, it declares fundamental truths about God’s design and intentions.
“So God created humankind in his image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth." ….
Then the Lord God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner." ….
Then the man said,
"This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
this one shall be called Woman,
for out of Man this one was taken."
Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.”
(Genesis 1:27-28; 2:18, 23-24)
Here we find the completion of what God declares is “good,” literally “complete,” that is, everything that God intended. There are several basic truths which are revealed as part of this good and completed order:
1. Human beings were created to reveal the image of God.
2. Essential to that image is our uniqueness as male and female.
3. Our ability to create (reproduce) life is a part of this created order.
4. Becoming “one flesh” as husband and wife in the covenant of marriage is the context given for sexual intimacy.
Some have begun to argue that such ideas about our meaning and make-up as human beings are outdated and misguided. Even with further prohibitions against homosexuality found in the Old and New Testaments, some would argue that they aren’t relevant for today based on one of two general lines of reasoning: