It is no secret that the church likes to pick and choose which moral shortcomings it likes to stick on. Depending on where you live, your denomination, and your class you probably have a list of specific sins that are extra sinful than others. I grew up with premarital sex, drugs, swearing and not going to church being the worst possible things you can do. In some cultures greed is the worst possible thing. In others homosexual sex is the worst thing you can do. Depending on our church culture will dictate on how we treat these sins. Depending on the kind of sin you are committing and how socially acceptable it is in your church culture will depend on if you can be a leader or not, if you can serve in kids ministry, if you can sing songs up front, if you can be ordained or if you will eventually find yourself in the inner circle of friendships in your congregation. Lots of sins creep through unnoticed. Gluttony is a big one. I grew up with an overweight pastor dripping sweat from the pulpit calling out the gays and Muslims. He was allowed to be in leadership. Yet fornicators would be kept at an arm’s length from the entire congregation.
Without arguing the rightness or wrongness of homosexual sex, here is my proposition.
If you find yourself in the camp in that homosexual behaviour is a sin then may I suggest that you look at a gay man like a women who had premarital sex and ended up getting pregnant. Most people in most churches hold to the belief that pre-marital sex is sin, so this young woman committed a sin. The problem with this specific sin is that it now changes the direction of this person’s entire life. One “sin” changed everything. This teen is now a mother. Most Christian do not believe that this is the proper way to become a mother, since it was based on sin. With this situation before you, my guess is that the solution is not to condemn, judge and kick out of the church this teenager. My guess is that no one would say “you can never be on leadership while you are still mothering this child that was born because of your sin.” No one would ask her to throw away her motherhood. No one would ask her to stop being a mother so that she can follow Jesus. This is her life now. It’s a life based on sin, but it’s her life. She is what she was handed, whether or not it came from sin or not. Even if this teenager asks for forgiveness, she is still a mother of a child out of wedlock, she always will be. Her title, her very identity has changed forever. This child in many ways is a symbol of a sinful lifestyle and yet I feel like most of us would have no issues with her eventually being on one of our leadership teams and being one of us.
Now, why do we allow some “sin” to define people forever and other sin we eventually are able to look past and bring people into our closed circles? I know I’m stretching here making this link, but more than anything I’m trying to make a point. If a women through sex can turn into a mother and have their lives changed forever because of a sinful decision, then maybe we can look at homosexuality the same way. Being gay and having gay sex is an identity that depending on where you land on the issue, could be considered a sin. Yet for some reason, this identity of gay will never be overlooked at churches. The mother of a child out of wed lock will be forgiven, and probably very quickly, and they will probably eventually get all sorts of love and support dealing with this “problem” that they have brought on themselves. Grandmothers will watch the kid, the daycare will find extra help, the families will help her get comfortable in her home. But if you are gay? Why would we support you? That is sinful. Love and accept your boyfriend? Hell no. That is aiding and abetting your sin. That is pretending like we support this lifestyle and we do not. We don’t mind aiding and abetting this mother by watching her kid, but no way we are having dinner with your gay boyfriend.
So why do we have to take a stand on homosexuality but we don’t make the same stand against single moms? For the sake of this argument and for those that are stuck on this gay issue, I say that if you should offer the same kind of love and support to a gay man as you would a single mom (and hopefully every single other person in the world). We all live wrong lifestyles to someone somewhere. Wrong lifestyles are the prerequisite for being human and needing Christ. I don’t see why we allow sin to define one person for there entire lives but for other people we seem to look past it very quickly and see the broken human that is there. I don’t think we have the right to pick and choose. I think we should all find who the people are that we have the most compassion for in life and then learn to extend that to those that we have a hard time giving any to.
Update: Please read this comment below, I think Kevin better approached what I was trying to say in much less time. The basic question he is asking is what does repentance look like for a married gay couple with kids?