It’s time for me to be the big brother I never really was when we were growing up. I was too involved in my own life. But it’s time for me to stand up for my sister.
Not that my sister needs me to defend or speak up for her. She’s my “little sister” only because she is 2 years younger than me. She is in better shape materially and physically than I am. I am a very proud older brother.
But I’ve been silent while people have said all sorts of mean and hurtful things about my sister. Most of those mean and hurtful things have been said by Christians.
They say “hate the sin and love the sinner.” But then they go and say ignorant things like those listed below. All of them are untrue, and none of them are loving. And when they are said, they slander real people like my sister.
So stop talking about my sister. Stop saying stuff like . . .
Gay folks choose to be “that way”
I’ve never talked about this with my sister. I figure it would either be insulting or incomprehensible to ask her,” So, when did you decide to be gay?”
I mean, if you asked me “When did you decide to be straight,” I would have no answer for you. It’s a setup. I never “decided” to be straight, it’s how I am.
I cannot imagine deciding to be attracted to men instead of women.
I would imagine the same is true for my sister. So stop insinuating that she could have.
Stop calling her a liar – “You’re not really gay, you just decided to pretend you are.”
Insisting my sister chose to be gay only flaunts your ignorance. So stop!
Gay folks are evil
We are all sinners – we’ve all fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23 ). We can disagree about whether homosexual behavior is sinful or not, but if you want to believe it is, why be so fixated on it when there are so many other great sins to dwell upon?
Gossip hurts many more people than homosexuality ever has. Let’s not allow gossips to get married, or to adopt children, or be schoolteachers.
Actually, that’s not a bad idea . . .
Look, my sister is a sinner (like me and you) not because she is gay, but because she is human.
Stop pretending homosexuality is some kind of super sin and that gay folks are super sinners. You’re talking about my sister.
Gay folks are “that way” because of bad parenting
Now you’re talking about my mom and dad. When you make statements like that, do you ever consider that you’re talking about real people, not rhetorical points?
Our mom was an awesome mom (you can sing that to the tune of “Awesome God” if you like), especially when we were little. There was no “role reversal” in our home – she cooked, cleaned, and did all the stereotypical mom things while staying home until we were in elementary school. She never left the house without her makeup. My dad brought home the bacon and was in charge (or at least thought he was; you know how that goes). Both mom and dad made their kids their number one priority.
My parents certainly weren’t perfect, but they weren’t the screwed up failures you accuse them of being when you say my sister’s gay because of my mom and dad – and that is what you’re saying when you make blanket statements about the parents of gay folks.
So just stop. Stop talking about my parents.
Gay couples don’t last
I guess gay folks can’t commit like us heterosexuals, huh. Us heterosexuals with our 50% divorce rate and our multiple marriages. Yay us! We’re so smug in our superiority.
My sister has been with my sister-in-law for 21 years. That’s four years longer than I’ve been married. I’m very competitive and that’s tough for me to admit.
So here you’re not just talking about my sister. You’re talking about, as my kids refer to them when they don’t call them their aunts, my sisters.
Stop it. You don’t know what (or who) you’re talking about. Or who you’re hurting when you say these things.
Gay folks are pedophiles
Now I’m pissed. You’re talking about my sister – and my sister-in-law – who I would trust with my kids before I would anyone else in the world. And I have.
Statistically, there are way more straight pedophiles than gay predators. That sentence really doesn’t make sense, because pedophilia is a whole different class of sexual attraction – whether it involves attraction to minors of the same sex or different sex, it is neither “gay” nor “straight.”
Acting on such an attraction is wrong because it is exploitation of power imbalance – a child cannot consent, so it is always involuntary.
Homosexuality is not a gateway drug to sexual perversion. Pedophilia, even though it seems to be brought up over and over in these sorts of conversation, has nothing to do with homosexuality.
It has nothing to do with my sister, so shut up about it.
Now that we’ve taken care of that, let’s go to a related topic . . .
Gay folks shouldn’t be parents because they harm kids
My sister would be an awesome parent. I’m willing to back that up with the most precious gifts I’ve ever received – my children. According to my wife and my wills if something happens to both of us (i.e. we die at the same time) my sister and sister-in-law will be the parents of my children. They love them like nobody else does. We all need somebody in our lives who loves us unconditionally, and for our children those people are their aunts.
It’s just a shame they live in a state where they could never (unless the law is changed) legally become their parents. “The ideal is for a child to have a mother and a father.” Yeah, we could have them raised by some of their abusive or addicted relatives . . . hey, it’s a mom and a dad, so it must be okay. This is not an “ideal” world, nor is that an ideal solution.
We need to stop letting our prejudice get in the way of love.
Studies have shown that children being raised by same-sex parents are no more likely to get into legal trouble or to use mind altering substances. Being gay is not something you catch or that you learn.
I don’t have any fear that my daughter would “turn” if something happened to my wife and I. I don’t think she is but if she’s gay she’s gay.
I feel the same way I did when someone asked me what I would think if she dated an African-American (although the questioner did not say “African-American”) or married “one.” I said as long as he loved her and treated her with respect and agape, it would be great. I’d feel the same way about a woman.
Gay folks can’t be Christians
So according to you my sister’s going to hell. That’s about the worst thing you can say about my sister.
Even if homosexual behavior is a sin, where in the Bible does it say that it is unforgivable? Where does it say that the blood of Jesus doesn’t cover it?
I know, I know. Your argument is that if it is not repented it’s not forgiven. Is that true of all sins, or just homosexuality? If it’s true for all sins, heaven’s going to be pretty empty because the second most popular activity in most churches (behind potlucks) is gossip. All those unrepentant gossips, are they going to hell? And folks who are greedy or selfish and don’t even realize it because they’ve rationalized their avarice, they’re on the down elevator as well?
I’m all for repentance. But repentance doesn’t mean being perfect in either behavior or understanding, it means doing our best, guided by the holy spirit, to turn toward God. Some things we’re going to get right . . . and others we’re going to continually mess up. Thank God we’re saved by grace through faith!
My sister goes to church a lot more faithfully than other straight Christians I know – in fact more faithfully than most folks in my church. She never, as far as I know, professed to be an atheist (like her brother – me).
So really, who’s saved and who’s not isn’t up to you or me. It’s up to God.
Stop talking about my sister like you’re God.
I have prayed, studied, and otherwise struggled with the issues around Christianity and homosexuality. I still do. We can, and should, continue to talk about these issues. But we must never forget that we are talking about real people – like my sister. Empowered by the Holy Spirit and directed by Jesus’ command to love others as we love ourselves, we can have that conversation without employing unfounded – and unloving – defamations like those listed above.
I’ve intentionally stayed away from statistics or links to references in this post because I wanted it to be personal, from my heart. For a more scholarly look at these kinds of misconceptions, read 10 Anti-Gay Myths Debunked by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
One last thought for those who make these sorts of statements . . . Maybe if you got to know some gay folks – like my sister – you’d stop saying such hurtful things. Jesus hung out with folks all the “religious” people looked down on . . . and mostly criticized the religious people for their narrow-mindedness and hypocrisy. Perhaps the key to overcoming this stuff is to be more like Jesus. Just a thought.
It took me some time to come to believe what you have written. That came through prayer and as you said, getting to know people who are gay. While teaching, I came to know gay couples raising children. They were among the most sincere and dedicated parents I’ve met! I have friends with gay children; children who I love! I pray for them as their lives can be more complicated because of prejudice! Yes, we heterosexuals have not done a super job of honoring marriage!
One sad thing is that those who are prejudiced probably won’t change!
Thanks, Peggy. That’s an awesome testimony of how God’s love worked through you!
It is sad but true, isn’t it, that the people who say “Gay folks shouldn’t raise kids because it is hard for those kids” are often the very ones who are making it difficult!
Although I agree with you that “those who are prejudiced probably won’t change,” I do maintain hope that the Holy Spirit can change even the hardest of hearts.
I completely agree that we need to treat homosexual people no differently than we treat anyone else. It’s not a “super sin”, and homosexuals are not “super sinners”. Very well put. 🙂
Thanks for your comment and your encouragement!
Thank you for this well-expressed truth…The hurtful criticisms of gay people by Christians does more harm than just wound those who are gay. It also turns people away from Christ. There are those in my family and among my friends who were baptized and raised in a Christian family, compassionate people who have rejected Christianity because they see Christians as people who are self-righteous and hateful to people who do not live up to their personal standards. How can we call ourselves “Christian” and be so unlike Christ? How can we reject others for their sin and be so blissfully unaware of our own?
Thank you, Caryl. It is indeed a problem for the church when (according to surveys) the first thing young people think about when asked about Christianity is “anti-gay.” God forgive us for putting stumbling blocks in the way of faith!
Thankfully the Bible provides many examples of the power of the Holy Spirit to change prejudices – Paul (Saul) is the most beautiful example. The bible challenges my sins every day and helps me discover new ways to love my neighbor.
Thank you David for this post and especially for bringing your sisters into my life.
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Luke 10:27
Thank you once again for an excellent post, Pastor Dave. as you know you are the person I go to the most with questions etc. about this very issue.
While I agree with 90% of what you said, I wanted to state my view on one of your points and I would *really* like to hear your insight in return so I can learn more on that.
You have mentioned that sin must be repented if it is to be forgiven, whether it’s homosexuality or gossiping. “Are unrepentant gossips going to hell?” you ask rhetorically. The Bible does say that you cannot continue in sin if you are changed. If we are human and sin again (I have, several times this week!) we not only ask for Jesus’ forgiveness but we try, with Jesus’ help, not to sin again since God cannot abide sin. But, would someone who continues in an active (ie not celibate) gay relationship not be repentant since they don’t intend to give up their sin for God? Since God should be our number 1 priority, above our children and our spouses, and God wants us to give up our sin for Him as a sacrifice (and keep doing it when, not if, we fall), isn’t someone in a gay relationship continuing to hold on to their sin not intending to repent (to give it up) the same as the unrepentant gossip?
Again, like all of your posts, this is something every Christian should see. (I also have a dear family member, a cousin, who is gay, who I love like a sister, and can sympathize with your post). I would like to hear your feedback on my question, as you seem to have more knowledge on this than I (and lots of other Christians), indeed you have helped shaped my current views on the issue since I recognize your God-sent knowledge
David, thanks as always for your thoughtful comments.
I started a reply to your question about repentance but when it reached seven paragraphs I figured it needed to be a post of its own. So look for that in the coming days.
Let me give a “sneak preview” by saying that the crux of the issue is the definition of “repentance.” To paraphrase “The Princess Bride,” that word doesn’t mean what what we think it means. The Greek word translated “repentance” in many English Bibles means “change of mind” or “change of attitude.” It does not mean making a list of behaviors that we need to change – it is much deeper than that.
Christians disagree about what behaviors (or lack of behavior in the case of sins of omission) are sinful. Homosexuality is just one example. Thank God our salvation doesn’t depend upon “getting it right,” because rather than assurance we’d be faced with either constant anxiety about whether we have interpreted everything exactly correctly OR with smug superiority that we have it right and no one else does.
I’ll flesh that out in the forthcoming post. Thanks again!
This was powerful. Thank you. I wish my family would stand up for me like that. But it’s okay as long as there are people out there like you, the world can heal.
I just want to say, people don’t choose to be gay, but they do choose to own themselves and live their love; and to me that is the mark of God. To live out the will of your heart is to live God’s spoken love.
Again, thank you. Your sister is a very lucky lady.
Thank you for your kind words. Blessings on your journey!
Darn! I’m not sure how I missed this when it was originally posted, but so blessed that I’ve read it now! Pastor Dave & Karen, you know how much we love you and truly appreciate how you both have continued to be there for us time and time again! I’ll be sharing this with my family as well. Your words have hit close to home, to say the least!
As the parent of a gay son, it hasn’t been an easy road to travel – even though society is thankfully more accepting these days than in the past – it is still a worry. I want my son to be safe. I don’t want him to experience the ignorance or negativity that still exists and above all else, I don’t want him to turn his back on his faith because of it. When our boys were born, I remember telling my husband as long as they grew up loving the Lord, then we will have done our job as their parents. That is as true now as it was back then. I give my husband a lot of credit for coming around to being more accepting, as a Christian it has been a struggle for him, but he is trying. I know he would never turn his back on his son and more importantly, I believe our son has always felt loved and supported. My prayer for both of our sons is that they be happy in their lives and feel home is a safe place for them and continue to walk in their faith.
Thank you Pastor Dave for sharing your message.
You’re welcome, Pam. It’s a message that had been percolating in my head and heart for some time. I’m glad it meant something to you. You and your family continue to be in my prayers!
Now I’m going to look for your response to dhkendall’s question.
So am I! 😉
Honestly, I’ve wondered the same thing… I know it’s the question my husband has pondered. And probably the one that has kept him awake sometimes.
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