Q. I have a friend who's gay and says it's not wrong because he was born that way. Is that true? How can I talk to him about this?
A. Your questions don't have easy answers. Let me start by saying the Bible is clear: Just like adultery, premarital sex and all other sins, homosexual behavior is wrong (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). It's not what God intended for us when he created us as male and female. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24, NIV). Believing that God created humans to have sex with someone of the opposite gender comes down to our belief in the Bible as the Word of God. If we commit to following the Bible, we have to admit that some things in this life are sins. But saying homosexuality is a sin is a hard comment to make today. Our politically correct world wants to affirm all lifestyles. Our culture doesn't want to say anyone's beliefs are wrong. And, many times, we don't want to hurt people we care about by saying the way they live displeases God.
The question of whether people are born gay or become gay is hotly debated—among Christians, and among people in the gay community. So, the answer isn't a simple yes or no. We just don't know how sexuality is determined.
I believe there are several factors that can lead people to experience same-sex attraction or become confused about their sexuality. Gender confusion might be the result of a broken relationship with a same-sex parent, a shortage of certain hormones or being molested as a child.
So how can you talk to your friend? Well, your job is not to debate the science of the matter as much as it is to show grace and concern for him. Loving people and upholding the Word of God, as Christ did, is so important. We must never make fun of gay people, treat them with hatred, or judge them harshly. That only sends them further from the unfailing love of God. The key is to remember that the problem is the sin, not the person. Practicing homosexuals are not evil. They are sinners, just like each of us, and deserve to be treated with kindness. In friendships, we are to be firm with our beliefs, demonstrate love at all times and not compromise the Scriptures. Jesus did this when he talked with the woman who was caught in the act of adultery in John 8.
I would also suggest that you talk with your pastor and get more information from organizations like Focus on the Family (Family.org) about homosexuality. But your basic strategy needs to be to just love your friend. People who experience same-sex attraction will never have an interest in Christ if we only make fun of them, judge them, and ignore them.
Jim is an author, longtime youth worker and founder of HomeWord, a group seeking to honor God through strong families.
Copyright © 2007 by the author or Christianity Today/Ignite Your Faith magazine.
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