At a recent gathering of friends, the conversation turned to homosexuality. Within minutes it was clear we were not all of one mind.

We could all be described as evangelical Christians who have a high view of Scripture. But we do not see eye to eye on whether a person can be engaged in a monogamous, noncelibate homosexual relationship and still be living within God’s standards of sexual behavior. When I expressed my view that such behavior is sinful, I was surprised at the response from one of my friends:

“You’re just homophobic.”

That hurt. Deeply. My best friend is gay. So is a very close family member. These are two people I love very much. I care deeply about their physical and spiritual well-being. In fact, it is because I love them that I want them to know the facts about their lifestyle. Knowing them has changed my views about homosexuals as persons. It has forced me to struggle with the issue far more than I would have otherwise. But it has not changed my position on homosexuality as a lifestyle.

Having listened to my gay friends recount horror stories of mean-spirited treatment by Christians, I have had to take inventory of my own attitudes. Yes, I have used pejoratives like queer and faggot. Yes, I have bought into unkind stereotypes. Repentance has not come easily. But in wrestling with a genuine desire to treat homosexuals compassionately, I honestly wonder how far I must go on behalf of those I know will disagree with me.

I have been running into a similar dilemma a lot lately with my teenage son. He thinks if I loved him I would let him do things that might be harmful to him. He would prefer I said, “Because I love you, I will no longer point out harmful things you do because I don’t want you to feel bad.” Instead, ...

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