August 3, 2012

Love, Hate, and Homosexuality

by Mike Riccardi

What is LoveAs I mentioned yesterday, Wednesday’s post on Chick-Fil-A Day generated a lot of discussion on various topics. In particular, a couple of commenters listed a number of popular arguments for why they believe homosexuality is reconcilable with Christianity. I wanted to take Thursday and Friday to address a couple of those arguments that I encounter most often. My hope is that I might serve those who erroneously believe that faith in Jesus and His Word can be reconciled with attempts to legitimize homosexuality.

Yesterday, I addressed those who object to our prohibiting homosexuality while failing to prohibit the mixing of fabrics, the eating of shellfish or pork, and other regulations of the Mosaic Law.

Today I want to address what I think is the most widespread objection in the entire discussion. I honestly think that this issue gets to the very heart of the disagreement. This goes deeper than just our views on homosexuality or the definition of marriage. It strikes at the very core of the worldview of contemporary wisdom. It has to do with the notion of love.

The objection goes something like this: “In the midst of all of your attention to details of various Bible verses, you’ve lost the big picture. The cardinal virtue that Jesus taught His followers was love. If you value love, what’s the problem with two consenting adults making a commitment to each other out of love? Love is love. To insist that homosexuality is sinful and to deny them the right to get married is simply not loving, and therefore not Christian.”

So you see how the collective reasoning of the culture paints the Christian into a corner here. Any response which does not fully affirm homosexuality—no matter what the Bible explicitly says about the matter—is hatred, pure and simple. And Jesus calls us to love. And you claim to follow Jesus. So you’re an un-American, un-Christian, hypocritical bigot.

Love as Unconditional Acceptance

But the argument simply doesn’t hold water. And this is the reason: the wisdom of secular society has failed to define love biblically. To our self-indulgent, narcissistic, perennially adolescent, self-willed culture, “love” means nothing more thanJust the Way You Are Carl Rogers’ notion of unconditional positive regard. To “love” someone, according to our society, is to affirm every decision they make and to applaud them just for being them. Bruno Mars’ hit song is the soundtrack to Western secularism’s gospel of unconditional acceptance: “You’re amazing, just the way you are.”

And that kinda thing feels good, doesn’t it? It feels really good to be affirmed without qualification—to be told that you’re amazing, just the way you are. And because of that, people have confused the idea of being affirmed, accepted, flattered, and made much of with true love. Loving me means making me feel good by making much of me. And this ideology of love as unconditional acceptance is woven into the fabric of our cultural consciousness. To believe anything else would be un-American.

And then, those who have imbibed that definition of love turn to the Bible. And all of a sudden they start reading and hearing about love. God is love (1 John 4:8). For God so loved the world (John 3:16). The greatest commandment in the Law is that you love God and love others (Matt 22:37–40). Love your neighbor as yourself (Gal 5:14). By this everyone will know you’re My disciples: if you love one another (John 13:35). All of these wonderfully biblical concepts come flooding into their minds.

But then something tragic happens. Rather than surrendering their own preconceptions to the authority of God’s Word and seeking to understand how God defines love, they use their own distorted definition of love that they have imbibed from our society, and they foist that definition onto the Scriptures and onto their conception of God. So now, when they hear that “God is love,” they think, “God doesn’t ask people to change. God doesn’t judge people. God accepts everyone just as they are. And so Christians must do the same.”

Love Seeks the Objective Benefit

Rom 5;8But this isn’t true, because this is emphatically not how God defines love. “In this is love,” says the Apostle John, “not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). “God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, HCSB). “But God demonstrates His own love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). All of these passages and dozens more teach us that love is acting, even laboring, to secure someone’s greatest benefit.

These passages aren’t teaching us that God just thought we were so wonderful, just the way we were, that He would deliver His Son to death just to show us how great we were. No way. These passages teach us that God labors at great cost to Himself, and even suffers in the Person of Jesus Christ, in order to secure the greatest benefit of His beloved. When we were dead in our sin, cut off from God, and without hope, what would have been our greatest benefit at that moment? Answer: a perfectly righteous, wrath-propitiating, sin-bearing Substitute. And that is exactly what God gives us. God demonstrates His own love by benefiting us with Himself in the person of His beloved Son.

Biblically, then, love does not mean to accept someone unconditionally, to affirm them without qualification, or to make them feel good by making much of them. Biblical love labors for the beloved’s greatest benefit.

What is Our Greatest Benefit?

That’s the question, then, isn’t it? If love labors to secure the beloved’s benefit, what’s someone’s greatest benefit?

I’ll tell you what it’s not. Our greatest benefit is not to be made to feel good about ourselves! “Well hey, why not?” you ask. “That doesn’t sound too bad.” Here’s why: If all I do in my effort to love you is try to make much of you—to work for your own self-exaltation and unconditional affirmation, I rob you of joy. I rob you of true and lasting satisfaction and happiness. “How in the world do you figure that, Mike?” Because your own glory and self-exaltation (“You’re amazing just the way you are!”) might feel good for a little while, but they will not satisfy the longings of your soul for eternity. You just haven’t been designed that way. God didn’t design human beings to thrive on the glory of self. So the one who seeks to satisfy you by holding you up to yourself as an all-satisfying treasure does not love you. They lie to you, and lead you down a short road of naïve “happiness” to an eternity of misery.

Created for His GloryBut God did design you to thrive on the glory of Jesus Christ. Just as a car is designed to run on gasoline, you were created for the glory of God (Isa 43:7). He has designed your heart, your soul, your affections, your emotions—all of you—so that you are most satisfied by Him. He calls spiritual life the ability to see the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ (2 Cor 4:6). This means that love is helping someone to see and know and enjoy God in the person of His Son! That is the greatest benefit you can do for anyone! The vision of your own glory and self-exaltation won’t satisfy the desires of your heart. But the vision of His glory will!

So love is not making much of someone. Love is laboring, and often times even suffering—even being called hateful and bigoted—so that the beloved might find joy in making much of God forever, because that (i.e., making much of God) is what will most truly and lastingly satisfy them.*

Loving Homosexuals

Can you see why, then, the unconditional acceptance and affirmation that our culture calls love, is actually hate? Can you see why never warning someone that fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, homosexuals, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers, will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9–10) is the opposite of love? Because it is not in the best interest of sinners for Christians to affirm a lifestyle which, if unrepented of, will end in eternal destruction. It is not hateto warn people of danger. It is hate to fail to issue such warnings.

We do not love like Jesus loved if we unconditionally affirm someone in a choice that robs them of true, abiding satisfaction and leads them to ruin. We love like Jesus loves when we graciously and patiently proclaim a message that has the power to free people from the bondage of their suicidal love affair with themselves—the power to liberate them into the freedom and the joy of making much of the glory of God. We love like God loves when we point people away from worshiping themselves and their own desires, and when we steer them toward their greatest benefit: God Himself.

Mike Riccardi

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Mike is the Pastor of Local Outreach Ministries at Grace Community Church in Los Angeles. He also teaches Evangelism at The Master's Seminary.
  • Michael

    To love a homosexual used to mean that you wanted to help them out of it, by prayer, Bible teaching, etc. Then love to them was just to ‘live and let live’. Now it’s 100% acceptance of their lifestyle as completely normal. Next, love will be to say that a same sex relationship is better than a heterosexual one. Oh wait, that’s almost here now…

    http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1994480,00.html

    For other examples, read A Queer Thing Happened to America by Michael Brown

    • Flyingshark

      A bit melodramatic there buddy

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  • http://almostreadytogoamish.blogspot.com/ Rational νεόφυτος

    I think you make some good points here, especially of the warnings of I Corinthians (which, other than just homosexuality, include a number of critical issues that can keep people from the cross.) But here’s something I still puzzle over, that I’d love to hear addressed in a future post: what about those folks who have been born with a misbalance of certain hormones/blended X-Y chromosomes, etc? It does seem as if there is a demographic that can blend the gender distinction, which poses something of a difficulty, for me at least, to reconcile with some of the gay passages. I mean, as a simple example, I’ve seen some of the research that shows how if a pregnant mother is exposed to certain chemicals during pregnancy that there can be what is described as a “feminizing” effect on the male child…. so that being the case, biologically being “effeminate” becomes the potential, and how do we reconcile that with passages like I Cor. 6 that speak about the vice of being “effeminate”?
    Personally, I think the struggle for me boils down to, are we rightly applying/translating these Greek words in the context of Pauls’ letter to Corinth? Was to be “homosexual” or “effeminate” the same exact meaning of the word as we read it today, or was this something else more nuanced in Roman society?
    Not trying to defend anything here, btw, just striving for as accurate a application of this text as I can find. Thanks guys.

    • tom sousley

      Hi Rational, I think if you look at 1Corinth.6 along with Romans 1 and Jude 7, it makes it a more relavent theme throughout. As to the genetic end of things, I was born with genes that cause me to be an unperdictable drinker (alcoholic). The scriputre still says no to drunkard regardless. sin is sin is sin, the saying goes. Praise the author of all, He knows best

    • Mark C

      The most over-used non-sequitur script of pro-gay forces is their use (actually abuse)
      of the term “sexual orientation”, which is a loaded label, filled with numerous
      assumptions that are never defined nor adequately explained. Above all else,
      the use of this undefined terminology is meant to imply that there is a proven
      biological/genetic link to homosexuality. Therefore, homosexuality is as immutable
      and involuntary as skin color, or an uncorrectable disability. It is for this
      reason many wish to accord civil rights status to the whole of the LGBT
      movement. Thus, disagreement with the same is equal to “racism”, “hatred”, and “bigotry”.

      The trouble is, upon examination, this
      genetic aspect of the “sexual orientation” assumption remains unproven. The
      “science” surrounding same-sex desire has not determined any definite genetic
      link. The science is all inconclusive. Most of the studies are filled with
      sample bias, flawed statistics, most can’t be duplicated, and many studies are
      often conducted by homosexuals themselves, who are hardly dispassionate in
      their research. There currently exists no truly objective means for determining
      whether a person is inherently and congenitally homosexual — there is not one
      diagnostic test to validate the claim. Even if a genetic link could be
      definitively established, this would in no way negate one’s moral
      responsibility, any more than a genetic link to grand-theft auto would excuse a
      car thief for hot-wiring and stealing your car.

      Same-sex desires and same-sex orientation
      find their source in the broken and disordered sexuality that is a direct
      result of original sin and the innate sin nature we all share (Matthew
      15:17-20; Mark 7:18-23). The mere presence of same-sex desire does not justify
      the act. Otherwise adulterers, pedophiles, the incestuous, and
      zoophiles could all justify and legitimize their particular deviancies based on
      their subjective desires and urges. To be inclined toward homosexuality is not
      the equivalent of being consigned to it. To insist otherwise is a grand
      demonstration of non-sequitur thought. That the unexamined orthodoxy of same-sex
      “sexual orientation” is just assumed by most, cannot be attributed to empirical
      evidence. Rather, it is a result of shrewd application of the old adage that if
      you repeat something often enough, loud enough, and long enough then people
      will believe it. But that doesn’t make it so.

      • http://almostreadytogoamish.blogspot.com/ Rational νεόφυτος

        All good, well-reasoned responses. Thanks guys.

        • gabes

          Fantastic Post! I believe another reason that the issue of love is brought up is not simply because the definition of love has been reinterpreted even though I agree that it has, but as Christians we do have to admit that our engagement with Homosexuals has been a bit terse and even hateful in presentation sometimes.

          With fringe groups like the Westboro Baptist Church and some incendiary republican pundits, and the church’s love affairs with protesting and picketing has established a general consensus in the minds of the Nation that Christians are bigoted and hateful. Right or wrong the talking heads have established a stigma about Christianity which is decidedly un-biblical but still very present. Any Christian who tries to have this discussion, has to acknowledged it and wade through it.

          So I would add that at times Christians have been poor communicators of God’s truth and poor extenders of the olive branch. This original post is fantastic and well thought out but we do have to acknowledge that the church has been unloving in treating homosexuals as deviants to be argued against and screamed at rather than individuals that need just as much forgiveness as we do.

          Love is always calling sin “sin”, but love is also humbly treating others with respect in the way we do so. This article does this very well but we all have to remember that presentation is very important (1 COR 13) We have to recognize that the context of this discussion is already one steeped in emotions and hurt and Christians have to apologize for demonizing this specific sin over all the others and call everyone to Christ.

    • Mark C

      To answer your question about the biological links to homosexuality, the research to date is inconclusive. Most of the studies I have read were filled with sample bias, cherry picked stats, and could not be duplicated by other researchers. In addition many of these studies are done by homosexuals themselves, who are hardly dispassionate in their conclusions. That they still rely on supposed homosexual animals, proves the levels of desperation in their research. Certainly one my born inclined toward homosexuality, but to be inclined is the same as being consigned. Even if a genetic link could be definitively established, it would not negate one’s moral responsibility, anymore than a genetic link to grand-theft auto would excuse a car thief who hot-wires and steals your car.

      Same-sex desires and sexual orientation find their source in the broken and disordered sexuality that is a direct result of original sin and the innate sin nature we all share (Matt. 15:17-20; Mark 7:18-23). The mere presence of same-sex desire does not justify the act. Otherwise adulterers, pedophiles (oh excuse me, they are now called “minor-attracted persons” by some in the APA), the incestuous, and zoophiles could all justify and legitimize their particular deviancies based on their subjective desires and urges.

    • http://mriccardi.blogspot.com Mike Riccardi

      I think that’s a fair question, my friend. And I think the answer is that every human being is born with a predisposition to love sin and hate righteousness. That is an effect of the Fall. But it doesn’t excuse sin.

      Some people are naturally inclined to one sin or another. For one, it might be drunkenness. For another, it might be lust and promiscuity. For another it might be greed. For another, laziness. And for another, sexual attraction to the same gender.

      But in all those cases, we do have a choice. The choice is, “Am I (1) going to give in to these impulses to drink heavily, to have sex outside of the covenant of marriage, to lust after money and wealth and power, which feel so right and seem so natural — or, am I (2) going to recognize that my Creator has commanded me not to do these things, and by His grace, am I going to fight these sinful inclinations?”

      • jon

        Forgive me if I seem stupid, but it seems to me that you are saying that since I am gay, that in order to have gods love and not be a sinner that I should not act upon my feelings. I am attracted to females, but it’s not sexual. So I should live a lie or live alone with out the love of someone else in order to not sin. While straight people get to have love and family. If it’s an issues about sex being for having kids only then only those men and women who can have kids should be allowed to have love and marriage… even those they cant produce kids? That’s not love at all.

        • http://mriccardi.blogspot.com Mike Riccardi

          No worries, Jon. I don’t think that’s a stupid question at all.

          …it seems to me that you are saying that since I am gay, that in order to
          have gods love and not be a sinner that I should not act upon my
          feelings.

          That is certainly part of it, yes. The same way a murderer, rapist, adulterer, thief, drunkard, or lustful heterosexual shouldn’t act upon their feelings to do all those things. You’re probably pretty surprised about that — that someone would say you must not act on your feelings. But that is exactly what God’s law tells us: “Because you’re evil,” it says to all of humanity, “you desire evil things. But you must not do them.” And at that point you think, “That’s impossible!”

          And you’re exactly right! The Bible says that very thing. The law shows us our sinfulness and the impossibility of doing anything about it ourselves. And in doing that it points us to Christ, who only had righteous and godly feelings, and obeyed God in all the ways that we failed. And because He lived that perfect life and died on the cross in the place of sinners, if you purpose to turn from your sin, repudiate it, and cast yourself on the mercy of Christ, trusting in His work alone to provide your acceptance with God, you can know God’s love.

          And then (!!), Christ will dwell in your heart by faith in the person of the Holy Spirit. And He will give you power from the inside to overcome those sinful feelings, not just so that you won’t do what you want, but that you’ll begin to want different things! And let me tell you from personal experience: That’s awesome!!! When we forsake our sin and trust in Christ alone for our righteousness, God’s Word becomes power from within, instead of pressure from without.

          So you wouldn’t be living a lie, because Christ can change your desires by the power of the Spirit. In fact, just read this comment from Austin Davies, who gives wonderful testimony of that very thing!

          And with Christ, Jon, you’d never be living alone. The fellowship with Him that comes from walking in obedience (cf. John 14:21) is so sweet that it blows any human relationship out of the water! In fact, Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life” (Mark 10:29-30).

          And besides that, when you’re saved to union with Christ, you’re also saved to union with all those who are united to Him — i.e., the church! There are hundreds and thousands of Christians who would love to minister to a man who is struggling with but repenting from his homosexual desires, precisely so that you don’t have to be alone. That’s what Hebrews means when it says that the church is here to stimulate one another to love and good deeds (Heb 10:24).

          It’s a hard road, Jon. And no one here is denying that. But Christ and His church aren’t here merely to tell you what you can’t have. We’re here to tell you of the glories of what you can have if you’d forsake your sin and pursue your joy in Jesus Christ. It’s so worth it, my friend. I pray you’ll take Him up on it and see for yourself. :-)

          • Jon

            So in a nut shell… Gay= if you want God’s true love you, can never have true love with another person of the same sex.That’s just a sad sad way of wanting to live. Not acting of desires cures you of them. I’ll stick to being Spiritual, because being your ind of Christian is just awfully hard and so closed off. I’d rather live life believing in a God that wants us to be good people. To help others in need and not judge no matter what. Read this
            http://mountaineagle.com/bookmark/19672861/article-Jesus+and+the+Chick-fil-A+ordeal#.UB7cp2bJYDD.facebook it gives me hope that not all Christians share your same views. Oh and BTW I’m republican too.

          • http://mriccardi.blogspot.com Mike Riccardi

            I’m sorry, Jon, but you’ve really misunderstood me. I don’t at all mean to say, “Not acting on desires cures you of them.” That would basically be moralism. “I’m just gonna grit my teeth and control my desires.” It’ll never work. But the Gospel speaks so differently. It says: You have no hope in fighting your desires. But if you repent of your sin and trust Christ, He gives you the gift of His Spirit, who works powerfully in you to change who you are — to change your desires.

            The picture is not living life never doing what you want. That would be a sad, sad way of living. Instead, though, the picture is having life, and life more abundantly, by enjoying the Treasure that Christ Himself is, and being transformed into His likeness, such that you begin wanting, and even enjoying the right things. Again, Austin’s testimony here is a perfect example of that.

            I’ll stick to being Spiritual…

            I don’t mean to be harsh by saying this Jon, but there is nothing Spiritual about regarding as falsehood the truth of God revealed to us by His Spirit (2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:20-21). The only way to be Spiritual is to born of the Spirit (John 3:6). And the result of spiritual re-birth is faith in Christ, whom the Spirit exists to glorify (John 16:14).

            …because being your kind of Christian is just awfully hard and so closed off.

            I plead with you to see that this is not my kind of Christianity. Between Thursday and Friday’s posts and all these comments, I’ve sought to ground every word I’ve said in Scripture — in God’s word. If you think I’ve misrepresented God’s word, you are certainly welcome to show me how specific things I’ve said contradict the Scriptures. But unless you can do that, you have to admit to yourself, if you’re honest, that this is not my kind of Christianity, but God’s kind of Christianity. If other people who call themselves Christians don’t share these views, but can’t demonstrate how they’re at odds with God’s views, those people are not Christians, no matter what they call themselves.

            And I understand that it is awfully hard. Believe me I do. I’m not devoid of sympathy on this point. But we should expect this. Jesus Himself said, “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matt 7:14). This is just like Jesus. He told a man who loved money more than anything else that he had to sell everything he had to have eternal life (Lk 18:22) — not because eternal life can be bought, but because Jesus (the real Jesus) demands that we worship Him and Him alone. After this, the disciples said, “If this is the standard, if men have to turn from all of their idols, who can be saved?”

            It needs to feel hard. If it didn’t, we would think that we can just go on and work our way to Heaven. But we can’t. If we believed that, we would deceive ourselves and do the worst thing we could do to ourselves: lull ourselves into complacency by believing we’re saved when we’re not. It is hard, Jon. Awfully hard. Indeed, it’s impossible. But Jesus’ answer to the disciples’ question was: “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God” (Lk 18:27). That’s the point. You can’t look to yourself for salvation. The inner transformation of the heart that salvation requires can only be accomplished by God. It falls to us, then, to humble ourselves, admit we can’t do it — any of it — and beg God to receive us by grace and mercy.

            I’d rather live life believing in a God that wants us to be good people. To help others in need and not judge no matter what.

            Even if at the end of your life you find out that you were wrong? Even if you learn that God is more righteous than you thought, and it means you’ll perish in eternal torment? What need is there that we could help others out of, that is greater than the escape of hell?

            See, I agree with you here. God does want us to be good people. He does want us to help others in need. But “not judging no matter what,” which I simply understand as synonymous with the “unconditional acceptance” I sought to refute in the original post, is neither good nor helpful. It is like seeing a child running into the middle of the street, delightfully chasing one of his toys, tickled to death and seemingly enjoying himself — because he has no idea a truck is speeding through at 50 mph. Does a good person — a helpful person — stroke the child’s ego and encourage him in the fun that he’s having, because he doesn’t want to judge the way he has fun? Of course not. A good, helpful, loving person is going to yell, scream, warn, and even run in front of the truck to save that child.

            This post, and these comments, are my way of warning you and others that what seems like a delightful enterprise is actually going to end in tragedy, but that there’s still time to get out of the street.

            I pray you’ll have the courage to consider these things, to think through them patiently and honestly. There’s nothing more important you could do.

  • Mark C

    Thanks for the post Mike! You hit the nail on the head when said they redefine the terminology. That is at the core of pro-gay thinking, postmodern deconstruction based on a transvalued morality that calls “good evil and evil good”. All the cliches and slogans bandied about by pro-gay advocates are always left undefined and unexplained so that they can keep it fluid. In my deliberations I badger them with questions regarding definitions and authority for such definitions. Seldom are the definitions forthcoming. Of course the Holy Grail of slogans used is the amorphous version of love. I usually ask them if God has any other attributes and what those attributes are. Ultimately God is a complex of attributes to include holiness, justice, righteousness, goodness, long-suffering, truth, et. al , which means whatever else God’s love is it is informed by those attributes so that it is a just love, a righteous love, a holy love, and truthful love etc . It usually gets quite about that time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Chester/1409987409 John Chester

    Great post Mike, but I think there is something more that you could have added. Preaching through James 3:13-18, probably the most significant passage on wisdom in the NT, it has become crystal clear to me that this notion that Jesus gives the unconditional thumbs up to everybody, is not just worldly false wisdom, it is demonic in origin (James 3:15) and a lie from the pit of hell that is leading countless people to perdition.

  • Steve

    Great article, Mike! You hit the proverbial nail on the head.

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  • Jon

    Mike – great article – thanks brother! …especially liked the ‘thrive on the glory of Jesus Christ’ section.

  • http://www.facebook.com/michele.coffman Karen Michele Coffman

    excellent article! one of the best short reads i’ve ever set my eyes on!

  • http://hausers.us Jason

    Great post Mike.

  • Peter Martin

    Thank you mike. great post.

  • Jamie

    Just to show how prevalent “God is Love” is:

    “I went out there because I’m a Christian and I don’t think Chick-fil-A
    is representing my Christian beliefs,” Halverson, 35, said. “So I wanted
    to stand in support of the gay community. I believe that God has
    created each of us as beloved human beings and God’s greatest gift is
    the gift of love and if we share it with one another, I believe God
    rejoices.”

    http://www.ocregister.com/news/chick-366976-fil-family.html

    • http://mriccardi.blogspot.com Mike Riccardi

      Yup. There it is right there, in living color. Love is not doing any real, objective good for someone. It’s merely affirming them.

      It’s like watching a friend driving his car toward a cliff he has no idea is there. Even if he’s having a great time in his car because driving is fun and he doesn’t realize the danger he’s in, it is not loving to make him feel affirmed and encouraged as he speeds to destruction. It is loving to do everything you can to open his eyes to the cliff he’s speeding towards and to steer him into safety. The person who says, “Hey man, who do you think you are to force your views on him? Can’t you see how much he’s enjoying himself? He’s not hurting anybody. Just leave him alone and worry about yourself!” does not love that man in the car.

  • Becki D.

    Wow. Great post!!

  • Dawna J

    Really well spoken, we are so afraid sometimes of being politically correct that we forget what the Bible says about touchy subjects. This is a great resource.

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  • nanc

    Very insightful and thorough.

  • Jason

    Great post, Mike! Thank you so much for succinctly writing what I think so many of us have trouble explaining to others. God bless you and your continued work for His glory!

  • Wimcottage

    I applaud your definition of love – shouldn’t that be a guiding precept for heterosexuals as well as homosexuals? Most of the post dealt with how SOCIETY has lost that loving’ feeling, yet you assert that this is evidence of why GAY love is un acceptable. What I took away from your post is that we need to be more aware of HOW we love, mot WHO we love.

    • http://mriccardi.blogspot.com Mike Riccardi

      Actually, the point was much more provocative even than that, Wimcottage. The point is that if you don’t act in your relationships to present the glory of Christ to those whom you say you love, you don’t love them at all.

      But… you can’t present the glory of Christ to people when you yourself fail to behold it. And you can’t behold the glory of Christ when you continue in a lifestyle of unrepentant sin.

      Now, it’s extremely true that that applies to heterosexuals as well as homosexuals. Heterosexuals who live in habitual drunkenness, adultery or other sexual immorality, lying, stealing, anger, impatience, and so many other sins, cannot present to their friends and family the glory of Jesus Christ, because they themselves have not partaken of Him. Their unrepentant lifestyle is mutually exclusive with a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. And therefore they cannot love, as God defines love.

      But as true as that is for those sins, whether committed by homosexuals or heterosexuals, homosexuality itself is one of those sins. And therefore, anyone who lives a life of unrepentant homosexuality cannot present to their friends and family the glory of Jesus Christ, because they themselves have not partaken of Him. Their unrepentant lifestyle is mutually exclusive with a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. And therefore they cannot love, as God defines love.

      But the glory of the good news of Jesus Christ is that repentance is possible! As impossible as it seems, as difficult as it feels, Christ promises that if you turn from your sin and trust in Christ’s work alone to provide your acceptance with God, your sin will be forgiven. And not just that, but the Spirit will indwell you and give you power to overcome sinful desires. In fact, He will change your desires, so that you will begin to hate sin and love righteousness. As I said to Jon above, when we forsake our sin and trust in Christ alone for our righteousness, God’s Word becomes power from within, instead of pressure from without.

  • Jennifer

    Thank you for this post. Maybe now that I have something concrete to show some people that have argued with me on this topic, I can finally explain why its wrong and not hateful.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.divelbiss.3 Joe Divelbiss

    Bravo Mike!!! Thanks for all your hard work and service to the church.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jesse.tinkler.9 Jesse Tinkler

    You people frighten me. Why do you try so hard to force others into your narrow minded, outdated religious views? I am not gay but I have many friends and some family members who are gay and all they want is equality. THey are not asking you to like their way of life but to simply accept that they follow a different view on life. CHristians preach understanding and love but the hypocrisy amazes me. THis whole situation is very similar to school desegregation in the 50’s and 60’s. Its the same concept of fearing something different and fighting to stomp it down. Why can’t you CHristians simply let others live how they see fit and you live your lives how you see fit. You all need to relax and let people live by their own morals and stop trying to police anyone different from yourselves.

    • http://mriccardi.blogspot.com Mike Riccardi

      The answers to your questions are in the original post. Did you read it before commenting?

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