The resentment garnered by this church group is not just a problem for these few picketers. David Kinnaman, in his book UnChristian, indicates that, sadly, more than nine out of ten outsiders view all Christians as anti-homosexual as well.
So what does God think about homosexuals? Does he love them as much as he does heterosexuals, or does he really hate “fags”?
Jesus went on to make a point about sin and sinners. He said there would be no judgment against the sinners who believed in him. But those sinners who refused to believe he was God’s means of forgiveness would be judged. He explained that he was God’s light, or salvation, and that “all who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants” ( John 3:20).
It appears the type of sins committed wasn’t an issue with Jesus as long as each sinner turned his or her back on their sins (repented) and placed their trust and hope in him. In effect, the only sins he considered unforgivable were the unconfessed sins. This isn’t to say that some sins aren’t worse than others. Jesus said to Pilate that “the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin” ( John 19:11). He taught that “much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given” (Luke 12:48 nlt). Punishment and rewards may not all be equal—some sins are worse than others—but God’s forgiveness is open equally to all those who seek it.
The apostle Paul listed out numerous sins—including sexual immorality of all kinds—that needed the forgiveness of God (see Romans 1:24-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; and Colossians 3:5-6). But it doesn’t seem that he or the other writers of the New Testament singled out homosexuality as the vilest of sins. The judgment of God is reserved, rather, for all those who fail to place their trust in Christ as their sacrifice for sin. So how should we treat sinners, specifically homosexuals?
Some years ago I (Sean) attended the Olympics with a Christian group. On one occasion I was attending to a stand that was selling Christian-oriented T-shirts. A man wearing a T-shirt covered with rainbow flags approached my booth. I inquired about the flags and asked what country it represented. “Oh, they’re just a queer thing,” he responded. “You see, I’m gay.” In a matter-of-fact manner I asked him if people made fun of him for being gay. He responded immediately, “Oh yeah, I get demeaning statements thrown at me all the time.”
I looked right at him. I could see a man who had been hurt and broken by the taunts and ridicule of others. I felt compassion for him. I said, “I’m really sorry that people have treated you that way. It’s not right.” He thanked me over and over again. In fact, he asked if he could get a picture of us together. He said I was the nicest person he had met at the entire Olympics.
People, no matter what their sexual orientation, are loved by God and we, as his representatives, are to love them as well. The message of Jesus is the same to all sinners, including us: “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die” ( John 11:25-26).
This chapter originally appeared in 77 FAQs About God and the Bible by Sean McDowell and Josh McDowell (2012). Used by permission from Harvest House Publishers.