Last July, I began writing a series of articles on the Supreme Court’s decision on homosexual marriage. I’ve been absent due to moving out of state and pregnancy, but I’d like to finish this series of articles before our daughter’s birth.
Please note that this entry is Part 2 with the topic being judgment. I will not be debating whether or not homosexual acts are sinful in this article, nor in its comments, because that was discussed in the previous article. If that topic is something you would like to comment on, please read what I already had to say in the previous article and then leave your comments there. A link has been provided below for easy access. Thank you!
1. The misinterpretation of the Bible concerning whether homosexual acts are sinful or not.
2. The misinterpretation of the Bible concerning judgment.
3. The misrepresentation of those who respectfully support the sanctity of marriage.
4. Why Christians care about the lifestyle of others.
5. The loss of religious freedom in our churches and Christian institutions that I believe is to come.
So the main question in this article is this: God judges homosexuality to be wrong, but can people judge homosexuality to be wrong?
Our culture today has some favorite sayings concerning judgment:
“Who I am to judge?”
“You can’t judge me.”
“Only God can judge me.”
“You’re so intolerant / close-minded / bigoted.”
I hear these phrases almost any time someone points out someone else’s wrong-doing. To be quite honest, we’ve lost the concept of using judgment to help others. We’d rather tolerate a wrong by pretending it is right than help each other overcome a wrong by doing right. This extends far beyond the homosexual debate.
I once heard someone use the example years ago of a father discovering his son is smoking weed. If that father tells his son weed is not tolerated in that household, that action isn’t the action of a close-minded father; it is the action of a father who cares about the health and well-being of his son. It is an action of love. (I can’t help but mention that since I heard this example, weed has been legalized in Colorado for recreational use. Once again, we’d rather rewrite what is right than help. It’s easier to close our eyes.)
My point is this: Tolerance does not mean we let our loved ones participate in behavior that will hurt them; tolerance means we love them even if they disagree with us – and we are allowed to disagree.
I already explained in the previous article how the Bible says homosexuality is not God’s plan for our lives. Where does that leave Christians? Do we express this? Can we say, “I love you, but what you’re doing is wrong?” Let’s see what the Bible says about confronting our loved ones about wrongs.
Matthew 18:15-17 – “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”
These are God’s instructions for confronting someone who is doing something wrong. There is nothing about not saying anything. There is nothing about accepting the wrongdoing if the person refuses to listen. When Christians follow these instructions, the world tells us we are being judgmental, but we cannot forget that God does want us to help guide each other.
John 8: 3-5, 7, 9-11 – “The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to Him (Jesus), ‘Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?’
He stood up and said to them, ‘Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.’ But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before Him. Jesus stood up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’
She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
I hear this biblical account quoted often by those who tell Christians not to judge. And true, we should not be like the Pharisees who sought to harm this woman and condemn her to hell. However, what people often miss when they quote this account is that Jesus never said that adultery was acceptable. He didn’t change the rules in order to give her forgiveness; He gave her forgiveness in spite of her sin. This account does not end with Jesus saying, “Go and sin some more.” He said, “Go and sin no more.”
Luke 6: 42 – “How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.”
This is another verse I often hear quoted by those who tell us to not judge – however, I usually only hear them quote the first half. It’s so much easier to ignore the wrong-doing of our loved ones and the wrong-doing we, ourselves do. However, the Bible tells us to first look at our own actions. If you’re going to confront someone for something he/she has done wrong, first make sure you are not being hypocritical. Remember that you will be judged as you judge others (Matthew 7:2).
For instance, if you’re going to confront someone for the sexual sin of homosexuality and you expect them to change their lifestyle to line up with God’s instructions, then you had better also be following God’s instructions for our sexuality. Are you having premarital sex? Are you living together before marriage? Are you committing adultery by sleeping around? Are you committing adultery by lusting after others in your thoughts? Are you getting a divorce for reasons other than adultery or abuse? Do you look at porn or read raunchy material like Fifty Shades of Grey? Before you criticize someone else’s sexual lifestyle and expect them to change it around, criticize your own sexual lifestyle and ask yourself if you are willing to change it around. Remember that telling someone who is naturally inclined to be attracted to the same sex to not act on that attraction is a very big deal. It’s not an easy decision for them. It is heart-wrenching and life-altering.
(Note: I am not saying I’m perfect. I’ve definitely made both one-time mistakes and lifestyle mistakes. Thank God – literally – that I had friends who loved me enough to call me out on those mistakes. Thank God those friends put up with my stubbornness and anger while I worked at changing my lifestyle.)
There is a type of judgment that no one can do but God. Christians can lovingly point out to someone and say, “This is what God says about what you are doing,” but a Christian cannot say, “You’re going to hell.” That ultimate judgment – the judgment of whether someone has faith and salvation – is completely and totally up to God.
Honestly, thank goodness for that, because that is not a responsibility I want. Do I believe there will be homosexuals in heaven? Absolutely, because I believe in forgiveness. I cannot wait for the day when all believers are united in heaven with our Savior where there will be no more sin or sorrow.
I am sure I will be asked this question regarding judgment: Do you think Christians’ biblical beliefs should determine secular laws?
Oye, this is a tough question. I struggle explaining to non-Christians why we believe what we believe. I struggle telling a non-Christian to act on God’s Word when they don’t accept God’s Word in the first place. I also want separation of church and state when it comes to my religious freedom. If I don’t want the government making decisions concerning my religious lifestyle, should I still expect the Bible to have an impact on the secular government? The human logic in me says to accept the government’s decision and focus on homosexuality in the Christian community.
However, I believe that God blesses us when we follow His instructions for our lifestyles. I want those blessings to extend to my country as a whole. I want America to be blessed by God. I want my daughter to grow up in a culture that celebrates the family unit God created – husband and wife, mother and father. I want those who are naturally attracted to the same sex to know that God has a different plan, and He blesses those who follow that plan, and I think that would be easier to see if homosexual marriage was illegal.
So should my religious beliefs affect my secular vote? In this case, I’m not sure. In other cases, I feel the answer is much clearer. However, I think this question concerning this topic is obsolete. I don’t feel like the calling Christians have right now is whether or not homosexual marriage should or should not be legal. I believe our calling is in defending the freedom of religious institutions and speaking boldly and lovingly to fellow Christians about what God says concerning marriage. We need to strengthen our own community of believers before expecting to have much of an impact in the secular world.
So bottom line on judgment –
No, we cannot condemn or judge people to either heaven or hell; leave that to God.
Yes, Christians have a responsibility to judge our own actions according to God’s Word and then to help lovingly call our fellow Christians to live according to God’s Word.