confirms and endorses the Genesis account of faithful heterosexual
relationships,“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the
beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and
be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has
joined together, let no one separate,” Mat 19:4-6. From a biblical
perspective then all sexual relationships outside of marriage between a
man and woman, including premarital or extramarital sex, are a sin and need to
be confessed and repented from, the same as any other sin. While we do not
have Jesus speaking to someone who is practicing a homosexual lifestyle we do
have a record of him engaging with someone struggling with sexual sin. In John
8 Jesus offers us the most loving way of treating those who are practicing
a homosexual lifestyle:
1. None of us is in a position to throw stones
The self-righteous approach of the
Pharisees is wrong and we too are wrong when we take on this attitude. This
kind of approach to sexual sin is the most hurtful for the offender as
it its aim is to make a public spectacle of the offender without
acknowledgement of our own sin. The Pharisees lack of self-awareness prompts
them to ask Jesus the question, “Now what do you say?” The world of
unbelievers and sceptics often asks the church the same question today – how
will you treat me?
2. Stand by them and love them
Jesus turns the attention away from the
sexual offender for a moment onto the sin of the Pharisees, which is the prideful
judging of others. He does this through an attention grabbing question, “If
anyone is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” One
by one they walked away, the older and supposedly wiser ones first; having
realized Jesus had trapped them in their own sinfulness. Jesus stood by her
when the world had left her alone. We should do the same.
3. Wrong not to point out that it is sin
Having been left alone with the woman
Jesus in love says to her, “Go
now and leave your life of sin.” He offers her the opportunity with quiet
dignity to acknowledge her sin, to repent and change her way of living.
Some say that it is unfair to ask practicing homosexuals to change their
lifestyle because they were born that way. The biblical record does not make
any distinction between sexual orientation and sinful homosexual practice, but
simply puts them in the same universal sin basket, (see 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
This passage is also very hopeful that those who practice a homosexual
lifestyle will be able to change that lifestyle through God’s grace and the
empowering work of the Spirit, within a supportive group of believers.
4. Wrong to judge people’s hearts
Sometimes Mathew 7:1-2 which says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you,” is used to say that Christians should not judge at all, but that is a misreading of the text. The concern of the text is to root out all hypocritical judging, the same kind the Pharisees were engaging in the John 8 account; for the passage goes onto say, “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” So once we have removed the hypocrisy from our own lifestyle through careful self-examination, we are still to remove the speck from our brother’s eye. When we do this in love the requirement is to judge the person’s words and actions and leave the judging of their heart’s to Jesus. When we judge people’s hearts we hurt them when we leave it to Jesus he heals them. 1 Corinthians 4:5 agrees that this is God’s work not ours,“He (Jesus) will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart.”
Prayer: Father thank you for your revealed truth to us through your Creation and your Word, which equips us to find clarity on issues that divide your church and hinder Your mission of grace and truth in the world. Guide us today into a lifestyle without hypocrisy that is also brave enough to point out the sin in our brother’s eye, in love.