Homosexuality: Doing what Jesus would do pt2

What was the last great movie that you saw? Do you remember it? Movies and narratives has a great way of inspiring and depressing us, teaching us values and disvalues (ie. what not to value!), and etc. Many times, they provide us examples to follow and we learn how to act or react in various situations.

In the previous blog entry, I proposed that the church needed to take a stand for compassion and for truth and that by doing so, the church would be acting in a manner that is worthy of its calling.

In John 8:1-11, Jesus provides us a great example of taking a stand for compassion and for truth.[1] In short, the religious leaders bring him an adulterous woman and ask him what must be done. The answer, according to the Law, is to stone her. Jesus replies that whoever has never sinned can be the first to throw the stone. He then turns to write on the ground. The religious leaders shamefully slink off in shame and when Jesus looks up, they’re all gone. The adulterous woman waiting condemnation is not condemned, but is free to go.

I think this is a great story of Jesus, which provides us an example by which we can follow. There is a danger here of focusing only on one aspect of the story and not of the others, so let me try to make observations that show a complete picture of what Jesus did.

1. Sin is Sin

Jesus never tells the religious leaders that they are wrong in their observation, that the woman committed a sin and deserves death. Furthermore, he never tells the woman that what she did is ok or that committing adultery is acceptable. As Christians, we cannot tell people that having homosexual relationships or that entertaining homosexual desires/fantasies is ok. It’s not.[2]

2. The ultimate judge

Jesus indirectly affirms the law to stone an adulterer and but directly indicates that only the one without sin could cast the first stone. He was pointing out the hypocrisy in their hearts.[3] Did they really care about justice or were they merely using her to trap Jesus? Why were they condemning this woman for her sin when they themselves were sinful? Was her sin of adultery more grievous than their sin of hypocrisy and pride?[4] We should never use other’s sins and the resulting shame for our own benefit. Additionally, while we are to confront Christian brothers and sister with truth, our responsibility is not to disgrace people into being repentant; that is the Holy Spirit’s work.[5] God is the only one without sin and thus, as judge of the earth,[6] he is the only one worthy of judging people for their sins.[7]

3. Stand for compassion

When Jesus sees no one left but him and the woman, he asks the self-evident question of “has no one condemned you?” He sees a broken and shamed woman and acts compassionately toward her, withholding condemnation. It’s really easy for us to rant and rail against the sins and wickedness of others, until we are confronted with a human face which shows us the pain that one goes through by ostracized by society. When confronted with such a person, Jesus decided to act with compassion.

4. Stand for truth/righteousness

Interestingly enough, not only does Jesus not condemn her, but he commands her to not sin anymore. Widely forgotten or passed over by many using the story to push for acceptance of homosexuals, this half of the verse speaks volumes toward a God who is both compassionate and righteous. He loves us for who we are, but desires to see us changed. He invites us to come as we are, but to leave transformed. The Bible teaches us that in Christ, we are new creations and that as such, we should not conform our thinking to the way the world thinks.[8] Jesus espoused just that when he tells the adulterous woman to stop sinning.

***

Narrative is such a powerful way to mold the way we think and shape how we respond to various situations. This passage is a great narrative and example from our Lord Jesus Christ to show us how we can relate to our homosexual friends and neighbors. He shows that we can both take a stand for compassion and for truth.

*This post series should really be posted in my other blog, but since I started it here, I will continue it for the benefit of those readers linked to this blog.  **The post on practical steps of how one can take a stand for compassion and truth will follow this. I believe that viewing Christ’s example first would be powerful for many of us.

[1] It should be noted that this passage is not in the earliest manuscripts. According to renown scholar on John, Leon Morris, “The textual evidence makes it impossible to hold that this section is an authentic part of the Gospel (of John)” but that also “we can feel that the story is true to the character of Jesus. Throughout the history of the church it has been held that, whoever wrote it, this little story is authentic. (Morris, Leon 2011; Kindle)”
[2] Gen 19:4-5; Lev 18:22, 20:13; Matt 15:19-20; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Cor 6:9-10; 1 Tim 1:9-10.
[3] Mt 7:1-5 Jesus tells us in vs 1 that we are not to judge. He also teaches us that we should take the log out of our own eye before we can notice the speck in our brother’s eye.
 
[4] Luke 11:39-44; 20:45-47
 
[5] Jn 16:8-11; There is a difference between confronting a fellow believer with their sin, showing them God’s law, and exhorting them to repent…and trying to put them down or taking joy in showing them how sinful they are or acting superior “for their benefit”
 
[6] Isa 45:19
[7] We should not judge others (in the sense of looking morally down upon others and feeling spiritually superior), but we can judge others (in the sense of showing how one compares to the laws God has given and whether we break them or not). This will be further explored in another post.
[8] 2 Cor 5:17, Rom 12:1-2
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One thought on “Homosexuality: Doing what Jesus would do pt2

  1. Larry Epps says:

    I loved your truthful yet compassionate response to such a sensitive and hotly debated topic. Offering acceptance and love does not mean that we have to agree with everything that someone says. I appreciate your courage to discuss homosexuality with a clear Christian perspective.

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