Often when I hear someone bashing gay folks, I think of my mom. No, my mom wasn’t gay and as far as I know was strictly heterosexual.
But a few years after my dad died, my mom began a relationship with another man. They loved each other and made one another happy, and they ended up living together. My mom never considered marriage an option, because she would have lost the railroad pension my dad had worked for as well as other benefits she had received when he had died at only 52 years old. That turned out to be a very wise decision, as a few years later my mom’s partner suffered a disabling accident. She cared for him as lovingly as she had cared for my dad during his terminal illness. Although he was never able to work again, mom covered most of their living expenses through her own employment and the benefits she had as a widow.
Yes, my mom “lived in sin.” I don’t think my mom ever “repented” – I’d be surprised if she thought what she was doing was particularly wrong. Do I therefore believe that she is condemned to an eternity in hell because of that unacknowledged, unconfessed sin?
Certainly not! My mom was doing the best she could under the circumstances. And I know she believed that Jesus had died for her.
Was my mom’s situation really any different than gay partners in a loving, monogamous relationship? If you want to argue that sex outside of marriage is a sin, then it’s wrong no matter the gender of the partners. But you never hear the Christians so concerned about homosexuality condemn folks like my mom (and many other older couples who live together but choose not to get married because of silly pension or social security rules).
Here’s the thing . . . either sinners of all sorts are covered by the cross and are forgiven by God’s grace . . . or they are not. When you get right down to it, we all have sins we don’t admit, even to ourselves, and we all rationalize our behavior with a thousand excuses about why we are right. And when we die, we’re all going to have sins that we haven’t confessed.
Thank God we don’t have to count on ourselves for salvation. Jesus “saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (Titus 3:5).
Look, I’m not arguing here about the sinfulness (or not) of homosexuality. I’m not suggesting that repentance of sin isn’t something God desires. What I am saying is this . . . let’s stop being selective about which sins are the “worst,” because what happens is that we usually select the ones most unlikely to be temptations to us. I wonder if that’s why so many Christians tend to be so vocal about their condemnation of gay folks (not like me), but so easy on people in situations like my mom (could be me).
Or maybe why some pastors preach so vehemently about homosexuality (not much of that in their congregations) and so little about something so unequivocally condemned in the Bible as divorce (lots of that in their congregations).
If we Christians would worry more about the logs in our own eyes, and less about what other people are doing in bed, then we’d probably seem a lot less like a bunch of hypocrites to the unChristians we say we are so concerned about reaching with the Gospel.