Jesus’ response to homosexuality and same-sex marriage?

A group of ministers from several denominations met to discuss the pros and cons of same-sex marriage. Half of those present condemned same-sex marriage on moral grounds, but the other half condoned it on compassionate grounds. There was no meeting of minds; it was either condone or condemn.

But Jesus neither condoned nor condemned when faced with a woman caught in adultery. He said: “I don’t condemn you, but go and sin no more.” He had enormous compassion for the predicaments we humans get ourselves into, but he wasn’t soft on sin either. In the meeting of ministers, however, it was like hearing one half of Jesus’ statement, “I don’t condemn you,” from one half of the room, and the other half of Jesus’ statement, “go and sin no more,” from the other half of the room. No one put both Jesus’ statements together.

When homosexuals or same-sex couples want to attend a church, therefore, what response will they get? Or better put, what response should they get for that church to be an effective witness to Christ?

Well, based on how Jesus dealt with the lady caught in adultery, it’s a delicate balancing act between heartfelt feeling for human weakness and strong admonition to change one’s life for the better. Jesus didn’t say, “I don’t condemn you madam, please carry on sinning,” like some Christian churches that allow people to continue in their sin in church, but nor did he say, “You’re going to hell, lady, because of your sin,” like other Christian churches that don’t allow some types of sinner to enter the church at all. Jesus did neither; he neither condoned nor condemned.

Jesus showed us how broken human beings are healed and restored. It’s by a combination of compassion and a call to repentance. In combination they work wonderfully, but tip the balance too far either way and problems result. Lean too much toward compassion and a church can become soft on sin – and that’s no help to people when sin lies at the root of humanity’s problems. But lean too much toward morality and a church can become hard on sinners – and that’s no help either, when love lies at the root of humanity’s solutions.

I imagine Jesus’ first response to a homosexual or a same-sex couple wanting to attend church would be compassion, because these are hurting people who’ve been messed up by sin, just like everyone else. He would also let them know that they are entering the church to recover from sin, not continue in it.

Broken people need both compassion and a gutsy call to repentance. It’s both, not one or the other.


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