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Why I Can’t Say Love the Sinner / Hate the Sin Anymore

Church Pews

I thought we just needed to try harder. Maybe we needed to focus more on loving the sinner, and less on protesting his sin.

But I’m done. I can’t look my gay brother in the eye anymore and say “I love the sinner but hate the sin.”

I can’t keep drawing circles in the sand.

Even if I was able to fully live up to that ideal, I’d still be wrong. I’d still be assigning him an identity, viewing him as something other, something different.

Not human. Not friend. Not Christian. Not brother.

Sinner.

And despite all my theological disclaimers about how I’m just as much a sinner too, it’s not the same. We don’t use that phrase for everybody else. Only them. Only “the gays”. That’s the only place where we make “sinner” the all-encompassing identity.

Then we try to reach them, to evangelize them. We speak of “the gays” in words reminiscent of the “uncivilized headhunters” from those epic missionary stories – foreign and different and far away, the ultimate conquest for the church to tame and colonize and save. Maybe we accept them in our midst. But even then, it’s sinners in our midst – branded with a rainbow-colored scarlet letter. They aren’t truly part of us.

Even that word “them” makes me cringe as I speak it, as if my brothers and sisters are somehow other, different from me.

It’s a special sort of condescending love we’ve reserved for the gay community. We’ll agree to love them, accept them, welcome them – but we reserve the right to see them as different. We reserve the right to say “them” instead of “us”. We embrace them with arms full of disclaimers about how all the sinners are welcome here. And yet, they’re the only ones we constantly remind of their status as sinners, welcome sinners.

In all this, we turn our backs on all the gay brothers and sisters already in our church, already saved, already following Jesus. Our us vs. them narrative leaves little space for those who didn’t choose to be gay but did choose to follow Jesus. Using “gay” and “sinner” interchangeably, we force them away from the Table and into the shadows.

__________________________

They say Jesus was a friend of sinners, but he didn’t describe himself that way. His motto wasn’t “eating and drinking with prostitutes and tax collectors.” Those were the labels used by the religious community, by the disapproving onlookers. What’s amazing about Jesus is that when he hung out with sinners, he didn’t act like they were sinners. They were just his friends. People with names. Defined as beloved children of the Creator, not defined by their sins. Icons of God’s image. His brothers and sisters.

It was the Pharisees who looked at them and scrawled “sinner” on their foreheads. It was the accusers who drew circles in the sand with themselves on the inside and “those sinners” on the outside.

Those words, “a friend of sinners”, were spoken with an upturned nose and a self-righteous sneer. And that’s the same phrase the church has adopted to speak of our own brothers and sisters – “Love the sinner, hate the sin.”

It’s the same self-righteous sneer heard in the words of those who dragged the woman caught in adultery to Jesus: “What should we do with such a woman?” They defined her by a moment. She was “one of those”. Not a sister. Not a human. Just a pawn in a political debate. A sinner.

But Jesus knelt with her in the sand. Unafraid to get dirty. Unafraid to affirm her humanity. “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”

He could have said “You’re a sinner, but I love you anyways.” But she knew she was a sinner. Those voices were loud and near and they held rocks above her head.

Jesus refused to let his voice join theirs. By telling her “go and sin no more”, he affirmed that sin is not her deepest identity. It’s not how he saw her. It’s not who she was at the core of the being.

__________________________

I am a sinner.

But before I was a sinner, I was created in the image of God. While sin has twisted and smudged that image, it can’t erase it. Sin, my sin, is so terrible that it killed Jesus. But it doesn’t define me any longer. I am a new creation.

Because of Jesus, “sinner” is not how God sees me. It’s not how I see myself. And it shouldn’t be how I see my brothers and sisters in the church.

There is no condemnation for those who are in Jesus. To look at my gay Christian brother and say “God loves the sinner” is to set myself against Jesus and bring condemnation again to those he’s already redeemed.

So I’m done.

I’m done with “Love the sinner, but hate the sin.”

I won’t say it anymore.

I’m done with speaking as if I’m different, better than you.

I’m not going to define anyone by their sin. That’s not my identity. It’s not yours.

We are icons. We are children of the Creator, redeemed by Jesus. We are brothers and sisters. And today, that’s enough.

Read the story behind this blog post here: “All I Have to Offer”

 I’m indebted to Pastor Jonathan at Renovatus for his teachings on Jesus and the women of the Bible. See “Everything I’ve Ever Done.”

[ Image Credit: Sarah Moody ]

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  • http://www.gatebeautiful.ca bekka

    This is courageous, and true. I share these sentiments, but you have articulated them so much better than I could.

  • http://www.registeredrunaway.com/ Registered Runaway

    Thank you for this Micah :)

  • http://www.thechurchofnopeople.com/ Matt Appling

    Amazing, Micah.

  • http://steveedwardsthoughts.wordpress.com/ Steve Edwards

    Amen bro!

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      Thanks so much for your encouragement, Steve!

  • Doug

    Micah
    – as always, I greatly appreciate your heart to show Jesus to people
    that too many Christians have ignored. I just don’t know that I can buy
    that the majority of the Church singles out and turns up their noses to
    the gay community, treating those within it with a special disdain.
    There is an unfortunately loud SEGMENT that do so, yes. Our life
    experiences, the communities we grew up in may make it seem certain sins
    are singled out by the Church, but in my experience (different than
    yours, I know), it really HAS been, for the most part, a very loving,
    even keeled response to this particular sin. This has been true of both
    large church communities I’ve been a part of in my life.
    Can we really not join Jesus, the
    apostle Paul, the disciples, the authors of the Word of God, in defining
    to an individual what sin is, especially if we do so in the same way
    Jesus did? Does “go and sin no more” and “stop sinning or something
    worse may happen to you” (both from Jesus) have to go out the window
    because some obnoxious Christians have been angry and bitter towards the
    gay community? I don’t think you’re suggesting that, but aren’t those
    important distinctions to make?

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      “I just don’t know that I can buy that the majority of the Church singles out and turns up their noses to the gay community, treating those within it with a special disdain.”

      All the gay people I’ve ever talked to about this, both inside and outside the church, have expressed this sentiment. If we claim to be loving gay people but gay people feel perpetually unloved and unwelcome across the board, I don’t think we’re loving them very well. We may not intentionally be turning up our noses at them, but I’ve come to learn from a few very kind and gracious gay friends that the ways I thought was was being loving (such as being dedicated to “loving the sinner, hating the sin”) actually communicated judgement and self-righteousness.

      • big hair

        Micah,
        Be careful that you don’t bow down to the wrong way.

      • Ryan

        You are dancing on a fine line with unrighteousness. You artistically disempower “Go and sin no more” from being what it actually was: a mandate for repentance. If we love Him, we will obey His commands.

        • Jake Harris

          I suggest you read my comment above that regards this argument of obeying His commands. Is being gay a sin? Maybe, maybe not. The point of it is that whether it is or is not a sin in the eyes of those that are gay, they are prepared to accept any punishments they will receive. So, why is that your problem? Someone might not obey the “no-homo” command God gives, but obeys plenty of other ones and loves God as a someone who is straight like you and me. Again, why is it your problem? The problem with society is that we have been categorizing people since the dawn of human existence on this Earth. Why is it your task to categorize someone as a sinner? “If we love Him, we will obey His commands.” You said it yourself. God has commanded to love one another. Why are you not doing that? By your standards you are just as guilty as those you accuse as sinners. If you love God, then drop the gavel, Judge Ryan. Drop that gavel and love your gay neighbor. Don’t let their choices be your problem.

          • http://hispenonmyheart.com/ Tereasa Mansfield

            Jake, I don’t make a habit of replying to other comments, but there is something incredibly sweet about you and I can’t ignore this urge to offer a challenge. You seem to think life is about being good enough and that punishment comes in doses according to our crimes. If you are a Christian, which I believe you have claimed in one of your comments, your beliefs are misinformed. Either you are in Christ or you are not. The choice is certainly up to you. Being good or bad has nothing to do with it. Any “rules” are there to show that God’s children are meant to be set apart. When we realize that we cannot do it, we recognize that we are sinners. That is when we can finally be free of sin…when we stop trying and put our faith in Jesus, because Jesus is the one to set us apart. Any consequences for your sin will be on earth. you know, the natural kind. In Christ, however, there is no condemnation. If our faith is in Christ, any behavioral change will happen as a result our relationship with him, not because we personally pick and choose what works for us. I hope that you will truly have the peace you obviously desire for others. Your comments show that you are a very kind person.

          • Jake Harris

            I respectfully disagree with your statement Teresa. “Any ‘rules’ are there to show that God’s children are meant to be set apart.” This is the categorization I mentioned in the comment you replied to. It is not your job to separate the sinners from the righteous. It is your job to love one another and let God judge. Am I to cast out my brother for committing sin? Am I to judge and scold him? I am my brother’s keeper. But I am not his judge or jury. You say that I do not recognize being gay as a sin. You read my comment incorrectly. I, and many others, recognize it as a sin, and those that are gay accept the consequences of their feelings. I’m not gay, but I have committed many sins my religion decreed to be immoral. I believe that God loves me, my sinful whole. I know what is right and wrong. I know what the Lord asks of me. I know that what I have in my life is different than most believers. I have sinned. But I walk a path that is different. I accept that I have done wrong, and I accept any consequences of my actions. THAT is what sets me apart from everyone else. Even with all my sins, I will stand guiltless before God, even knowing of my sins. Committing sin is not losing faith in Jesus. That is a perspective. I fight and stand for what is right, what I have been revealed by the Lord in my own search for truth (When I say this, I don’t believe that God comes to me in dreams or anything; I prayed and received an answer). I know that God exists. And I know that He has given a commandment: love one another. I cannot, in good conscience, say that I am when I pass judgment on anyone who is gay, lesbian, bi, transexual, atheist, catholic, jewish–whatever. I shall stand guilty before God should I judge and preach that they do not show faith in Christ. Once again, I respect your opinion; however, I disagree with it.

          • Jake Harris

            One note to add, Teresa: You should show more respect to the beliefs of others. I was careful to not tell you that your beliefs are wrong. I merely said I disagreed with your view; I could be wrong, and so could you. To say that one’s view is “misinformed” is disrespectful to his beliefs, and a blatant disregard for God’s will: which is to be open-minded, yet resolved in your beliefs. I do not take offense to your comment, but others might. Consider preaching your beliefs while doing so respectfully to others in the future. Missionary work is not Bible-bashing, and it is no wonder why so many that have announced their sexual orientation feel isolated in their respective congregations.

          • http://hispenonmyheart.com/ Tereasa Mansfield

            I’m going to be really honest and let you know that I am home with a stomach flu today and it is very possible that I am not understanding you. It is also possible that I have miscommunicated and that I will continue to. (Perhaps, I should remember not to comment while under the influence of a fever in the future.) You seem like someone with whom I could share a conversation over coffee. When I read your previous comments, I got the sense that you feel there are different sins with different punishments. I won’t even try to explain anymore because I don’t want to get lost in debate. I only wanted you to know that there is peace in Christ and that you don’t need to live in fear of punishment.

      • Michael Cordima

        Those who hate Christ will always say that he hates them for not accepting their sinful behavior because they are of the flesh and want to continue to live by the flesh it is their desire and not God. Also, acceptance and love are two very different things. If I love someone who is in sin the Bible instructs me to lovingly talk to him about it, if he continues I am to take others from the church, still if he continues he is to be ejected so that the sin does not infect the church with an acceptable form of humanism (a little laven ruins the whole loaf). This is what is being done in the church today with the homosexual issue. We are being pushed into not even calling it sinful anymore by politically correct forces that are driven by people in the church who don’t know God and CERTAINLY DON’T FEAR HIM or they would err on the side of caution instead of their own “rights” to live in sin and re-write the Bible.

    • http://www.registeredrunaway.com/ Registered Runaway

      Just a quick note: there is no universal doctrine on homosexuality as a sin. So the frustration is that a) no one actually studies the word, exegesis, hermeneutics and so on really comes to their own conclusions, they make assumptions on snip its of scripture and a hand me down worldview, b) if you are assuming its a sin, why must you, as Jesus says, point out the speck in another’s eye? You’ve got a log in your own!

      For other Christian Perspectives, check out Justin Lee’s book Torn, Andrew Marin’s Love is an Orientation, the documentary For the Bible Tells Me So, Rachel Held Evans sexuality series, Steve Chalke’s “A Matter Of Integrity”***, Matthew Vines sermon before his church and if you need other sources, just ask!
      Also read this from Addie Zierman: http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/?p=462
      And this:
      http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/?p=581

      • http://www.registeredrunaway.com/ Registered Runaway

        Also- typing from my phone so forgive my gwammar. :)

      • Tom

        There no universal doctrine on homosexuality as a sin … but there is no universal doctrine on anything as a sin.

        • Jeff

          Then why are we so adamant about judging one another according to their sins? If all of our sins are man-made, and as the Bible tells us that no sin is greater or lesser than any other, then who am I and who are you to judge anyone else for anything? I’m too busy being a sinner to judge someone else. So this argument comes across as intensely judgemental for those that accuse another of a “sin” when they are just as guilty in the eyes of God. No?

          • Tom

            Well the whole issue of judging is less than straight-forward. That is obvious from the fact that the Bible includes statements that say both not to judge (Mat. 7:1) and yet at the same time, it says to judge correctly (John 7:24). No wonder we get confused about it! You allude to the problem of hypocrisy when judging others, and I agree that this is an important consideration. The Bible does teach not to judge hypocritical way (Luke 6:42).

            Overall, I guess it’s a matter of balance. Someone who goes around criticising others constantly and regularly making them feel discouraged, is out of line. But on the other hand, completely turning a blind eye to the sins of your fellow Christians, is also unbiblical. Imagine a parent who never corrected their children when the children did something dangerous or stupid. A parent like that might be very good at avoiding being judgemental, but they would end up with very messed up children. At the end of the day, it’s just a fact that the Bible tells Christians to lovingly encourage each other towards holiness and away from sin. The key is to do it in an encouraging or uplifting way.

      • trog69

        In all seriousness, Why did your god bring about a book that is supposed to guide everyone in their journey though life, and yet make it so ambiguous that none have been able to parse it so that there was no misunderstanding?

    • JPD

      I understand where Doug is coming from with his comment. I hear many other Christians struggle with the whole “we can’t ignore sin” idea. Many Christians believe it is their duty of faith to call what they believe the Bible states as sin…sin. What I appreciate about what Micah points out in this post is that all too often in churches, LGBT are special reciepiants of this “call of the faitful” to point out sin. In my experience, issues dealing with heterosexual behavior goes unnoticed, ignored, or just not even thought about in the same way by folks who claim to be “Bible believing” Christians. Often I joke that if people followed what the bible had to say about heterosexuality there wouldn’t be any gay people around to worry about because we would have died off as a species (remember, Paul thought it best to remain unmarried if we were single and not worry about marrying because Jesus was to return any moment…well that was 2000 years ago). So while many Christians may not speak unkindly to gay people or act violently towards them, their BELIEFS that our core orientation could only result in sinful expression is what Micah points out as condesending. All too often, heterosexuals in the church think of their sexuality as morally superior to any non-heterosexual. As a gay man who has experienced this type of attitude from Christians my whole life in several different churches and Christian settings, it does not at all seem to me that there is only a small minority of Christians who believe harmful things about gay people and who end up treating us as “less than” and as an “outsider” This feels very unloving indeed.

      • Kenny Pierce

        I couldn’t agree more, and I’ve retweeted this blog post and shared it on Facebook. I’m also gay, and I’m Christian. It took me about 30 years to get back to that place that I’d abandoned, when I felt that it had thrown me to the street.

        Some of the nuance in language, however well meaning, is exactly what is so devastating – and wounding – to the gay community. And this article I believe “gets it.” Phrases and words sent me and others away when I was trying to figure out why I was different. When I begged and pleaded with God, bargained and begged to be anything but the amoral monster I was told that I was. With “open arms”, The Church told me that they were ready to accept my kind back to the fold – along with other sinners LIKE ME, including prostitutes, murderers, liars, thieves, and what have you. Yes, that was enough to tell me that God simply hated me, didn’t exist, wasn’t listening, etc. etc. I’ve run the gamut from agnosticism, atheism, “spiritual but not religious,” and every other spiritual creed but the one that I desperately desired so much. Living in the shadows indeed. Desperate for the UNCONDITIONAL love of my father (the one under and with whom I’d been raised, and who loved me before I knew what “me” meant).

        Perhaps it’s an argument in semantics, but the phrases and words that have been continually offensive and which make “Us” (the gay community) bristle (or at least me) include “Love the sinner, hate the sin,” “lifestyle,” “acting upon your sin,” yadda yadda. All implying that this is an implicit choice. That we weren’t intrinsically born as we are, but decided to take up being gay, as if it were as cavalier as taking up jogging. As if anyone in their right mind would choose a “lifestyle” that forces us to have to overcome what we have, and what we continue to have to do on a daily basis. No, we aren’t possessed of demons. We aren’t sinful for who we are any more than one would be sinful for the color of their eyes, or their height. Yes, we sin, as all humans do. But we aren’t sinful for our being who we are, any more than the Gentiles in the earliest times were sinful in their desire to follow Christ. All the while being told that they were unclean, an abomination, and forced to sit in the separate waiting area until such time as they might be deemed acceptable enough to be accepted into the fold.

        “Kill and Eat, Peter…” I think of that story often, when I feel the lowest, and most cast out. It gives me hope and comfort, now that I understand what it really means.

        This might raise a hornets nest, but I daresay that we are the latter day Gentiles. We are who we are, as they were – despite the disdain that the early Jews had for them, and despair in the idea that they could share in the witness of Christ. I’m 30 years older and wiser than I was as a scared 20 year old. And I have come to understand that the heart of Christianity boils down to two things. The love of one’s heavenly father, first and foremost. And the love of one’s neighbor. Christ demanded nothing less, or more, than that. And with that, I do my best to hold my head up with dignity, to love my father, and to bear witness to Christ as best I am able, to the least and best of those about me, as any other brother in Christ would do.

        Whether others are able to embrace the love of the father enough to allow me to be their brother in Christ in return – unconditionally, as our Father made me, is not for me to decide. It is simply my job to love (the hardest job of all).

        Micah Murray draws heavily here on Jonathan Martin of Renovatus Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. A 3rd-generation Pentecostal preacher, Pastor Martin often speaks about the danger of following the letter of the law, at the expense of ignoring the heart of God. This article, I believe, was based on a sermon of his entitled “Don’t Stand up for Jesus” which was, for me, eye-opening and, frankly, brilliant. His sermons are very well worth hearing.

        Sorry for the long reply. This article has been with me all day and I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.

        • Tiffani

          Kenny, thanks for sharing your testimony; it truly inspired me so much to hear about your journey, and that you found your way back to Christ after what you went through.

        • Meredith

          “All implying that this is an implicit choice. That we weren’t intrinsically born as we are, but decided to take up being gay, as if it were as cavalier as taking up jogging. As if anyone in their right mind would choose a “lifestyle” that forces us to have to overcome what we have, and what we continue to have to do on a daily basis.” Amen, Brother! Thanks for your eloquence. The lack of empathy of those who think we choose our sexual orientation is astonishing. To the straight people: When did you decide to be heterosexual?

        • Heather Smith

          JPD – so wonderfully put! I believe something like this is only to be understood by those of us who have lived that trying journey – the despondence, the pain, the attempts to “pray it away”, the anger, the pain (yeah, I know I’ve already said it, but it’s something that pops it’s head up over and over throughout the journey), the revelation, acceptance and finally loving ourselves (if we’re lucky and haven’t succumbed in a way so many of our brothers and sisters have and ended their lives) and the strength to stand up.

      • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

        JPD – I am perpetually baffled by the church’s perceived mandate to make sure that everyone knows homosexual behavior is sinful. It seems to me that the gay community (and everyone else in the world) is painfully aware of the church’s stance on this. What we haven’t communicated very well, it seems, is that this “lifestyle” (*cringe*) doesn’t define your worth or value, or determine whether or not anybody should be welcome in the church.

        • Michael Cordima

          Wrong. Orientation does not determine your value or worth. But lifestyle proves if you fear God or not and have even begun to have any wisdom as to who He is and what He wants from your life. We are to overcome our lusts (all of us). Homosexuality (choice or not) is no exception. The reason the church takes such a hard stance on the issue is that so many people want to make an exception for it, making Christ a minister of sin. Paul’s letters spell all of this out very clearly. Those who live by the flesh and seek for their own and those who are of the spirit to which such issues are of no concern or consequence because they do not need to live in the flesh. They have God instead.

    • http://worldsandtime.blogspot.com/ sphericaltime

      Hey,

      I’m gay and I hope you’ll allow me to respond. You really can’t join Jesus in defining to an individual what sin is and still love us. He could manage it, but I’ve never met anyone else that could pull it off.

      I would say that “love the sinner and hate the sin” is a pretty easy way to identify the Christians I’m not going to get any love from. The Christians that are interested in showing love for me tend to want to get to know me before they tell me how sinful I am.

      • Meredith

        I’m struggling right now with the concept of “love the clueless straight people, hate the homophobia.” They don’t make it easy.

        • Heather Smith

          Sadly true Meredith – it’s a struggle I deal with daily <3

  • Lori Tintes Hartmann

    You say so beautifully what is in my heart about all this. I kept saying “Amen” all the way through and I don’t do that very often. :) You hit it on the nail for me. Thank you. I will be sharing this post!

  • Chris Hyde

    Awesome post…thank you!

  • Destiny

    Your article is great but it leaves gaps out of the equation.

    The problem here is not whether or not someone is a sinner or isn’t a sinner it’s if they REMAIN in their sin. If someone remains trapped, addicted, etc in their sin, I would be willing to say that there’s a chance that they might not be saved.

    Christ DID say “Go and sin no more” because it WAS IN FACT possible, and we always forget that. It is possible to deny our most natural of instincts, the bible TELLS us so, so it must be true.

    As someone who struggles with homosexuality myself (a woman), I look at this article and say, “Ah, yes, there is a lot of truth here… we DO need to treat others in the light that says that they’re more than a sinner etc…”

    However, I ALSO look at this article and see a LOT of flawed thinking.

    We are to be blameless and perfect before the Lord. He is coming for a pure and perfect bride. Christ ALSO frees us from sin… If He does so, (which we know He does) and we KNOW that homosexuality is a sin, then we should NOT be calling ourselves “gay Christians”… or “gay” at all. We should say, “I struggle with this”… but affirming that we are still “gay” “addicted” “hateful” “liars” etc… simply AFFIRMS that we are STILL sinners and not “really” struggling.

    What is my point?

    There is a VAST difference between one who “confesses their sins” before the Lord and others and does anything and everything that they can to CHANGE themselves with the help of Christ Jesus, and one who simply says, “I’m gay, and I’m a gay Christian”… These words “gay Christian” “carnal Christian” are not found anywhere in the bible… nay, in fact, they are not found at all because the OPPOSITE is meant to be true.

    If we are FIGHTING, we are saved, if Christ has FREED us, we are saved…

    Someone who has married someone of their same gender, or is living with and sinning with someone of their same gender, does NOT understand salvation and freedom in Christ, the same way that someone who is ALWAYS looking at or addicted to pornography does not understand salvation in Christ.

    Salvation means that you walk AWAY from your sin, not accept it.

    I am accepting of a “gay” person if they are trying. I am NOT so accepting of a gay person if they outright say, “I’m gay and God loves me anyways…”

    Well, no… the bible is pretty clear that A, God DOES hate (certain) people, and B, that those who practice sexual immorality (homosexual or otherwise) “will not inherit the kingdom of God” … whether God loves you or not is irrelevant, living a life of sin will send you to hell.

    This, (again, respectfully) coming from someone who knows deep down that I’d love to be a man so I could be sexual with a woman.

    I love my gay brothers and sisters VERY much, but I would not be so unkind as to allow them to believe that accepting their sin is “okay”. Accepting yourself as “gay” and unable to change is NOT okay.

    God blessed me in the end with an AMAZING husband that I can be open with about this struggle and who understands, and I would have it no other way.

    IF you are gay, and choose to be celebate to honor God, more power to you there too. IF however, you are “gay” “Accepting of your sin as just being a part of you” and “acting” on this sin… then I say, “no… I’m sorry, but that is wrong.” The bible SAYS that it’s wrong.

    And while, yes… homosexuality IS looked at as being the “sin” in churches, I believe it’s because the homosexual tends to force it down everyone else’s throat that they are “born that way” “can not change” and “God loves them anyways” which the bible tells us is false.

    Again, there is a difference between someone who is repentant and someone who is “God loves me anyways, you can’t judge me,” etc.

    God DOES love me, and His Son died for me, and shed HIS blood. So, as natural as it might “feel” for me to want a woman, I was created as a woman, destined for a man by God’s natural law. Due to this, I can do NOTHING accept bring this continually to God, and deny that part of my flesh in the truth of the word, Amen.

    One of the reasons that gay people do not feel “loved” is because they have a conflict in their spirits. They KNOW that they’re doing wrong, and yet the world tells them that their “gayness” is okay, and they are “born with it” and “can’t help it”… this is how an atheist feels when they encounter a Christian, even one who is caring, or how a Christian feels when they’re called out and cry “judge not, lest ye be judged!” – We’re not CALLED to make them “feel good” we’re called to guide them away from hell… if they feel “unloved” because of that… well shoot… I guess the bible also says that the world will “hate us” because of the fact that we speak the truth. And the truth is that most gay people have no desire to change. The same way that most people addicted to something behind closed doors have no desire to change either.

    Something to think about.

    You may wish to reply, but I will not receive it as I’m posting as a guest with a fake email address.

    • http://www.registeredrunaway.com/ Registered Runaway

      I am just wow. I don’t even. Perhaps worst comment I’ve seen. Ever.

  • Destiny

    Oh yes, I’d also like to state that you incorrectly say that “Christ hung out with sinners and didn’t act as if they were sinners”…

    Firstly, He never made it a “habit” of hanging out with sinners, He did so in a few instances in the bible, yes, but He wasn’t regularly hanging out with prostitutes and thieves just to chum it up. Most of His time was spent either alone, in prayer, or with His twelve followers/disciples who (again) while they might have been sinners initially, they were open to understanding and changing for the most part. The bible commands us not to be “unequally yoked”.

    Nextly, While He didn’t “sin” in acting like they were sinners, He did in fact call them out on their sins, albeit, in a way that was elegant and showed them the error of their ways.

    and lastly, He did so because he knew that these “sinners” were subject to “change” that they were ill informed and that it was their hearts that were misguided. They were not the kind of people who would have said, “Well, we’re fine being us and You love us anyways”… He recognized that they had an ability to change because they were open to it.

    When you look at the stories in the bible, it’s quite obvious that what I just stated is what happened.

    Christ didn’t go “hang out” with prostitutes, liars and thieves to have a beer and kick it. He went to them to guide them away from their lives of sin knowing that their hearts were open.

    Those whose hearts were NOT open, He did not “hang out” with.

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      Maybe their hearts were opened BECAUSE he was willing to hang out with them?

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      ( for what it’s worth, I deleted your previous comment. I want this to be a safe place for my gay brothers and sisters, and your comment made it unsafe. )

    • Ryan Stallings

      I’m curious why you assume the entire thirty-three years of life Jesus walked as a man on the earth is painstakingly detailed in a few short chapters of a few short books. To assert that Jesus, God in the form of man for the purpose of seeking and saving the lost, only hung out with those the entire world deemed as lost and sinful a few times to exemplify the point of His very existence in flesh among us is uncannily misinformed.

      Jesus did not pre-select His audience, His followers, or those whose lives He touched. He wasn’t judging the opening rounds of American Idol and choosing only those with the most beneficial backstories to suit His cause. He saw needs, and met needs, where they were as they appeared before Him. He didn’t just find those He could instantly sensationalize with instant, radical change.

      Humans like results, especially instant ones. We love the stories of Zacchaeus and the woman at the well because we get a bird’s eye view of near-instant changes of heart and actions. And perhaps these stories even exist because God knew humanity had to have them, that none of us are really any more than Thomas’s ourselves, needing to see His hands and feet to believe. But we don’t get those stories of the hearts that may have taken longer to receive the seeds He planted. I’d venture there are many thousands of those we won’t be privy to until we are in glory.

      Jesus associated because He cared, He cared because He created, He created because He loved. He knew what ones he touched would have some instantaneous conversion, what souls would find Him again in their hearts perhaps years later, and what lives may not ever change beyond the knowledge that just this one time in their lives, they knew that at least one Man sat with them with His arm around them and had loved them where they were.

  • Russvandine

    I don’t understand this stand that you are taking…I agree with not liking the “Love the sinner hate the sin” thing, got it. But it isn’t up to us to decide who is acceptable and who is not. You can see yourself as the same as someone who is actively living a life that is not acceptable to God but it doesn’t sound like you are. Really, it sounds like you are thinking of God and His love, what He might want for your life. You can’t be both, salt spring and fresh spring. If someone sets them self apart from God that is their choice. Sure we all sin, some decide to sin all the time because God has to accept them… but this is not what the Bible says. God gave Jesus to die on the cross for all but He also demands payment for sins. If you or anyone else makes it to Heaven, they will have to pay for their sins, are their sins forgiven? You shall know a tree by its fruit. If the main fruit of the tree is sin, it will be cut down and thrown into the fire. Just seems like the whole idea is a little too much about your thoughts and a little bit about God’s thoughts.

  • Guest

    I love

  • http://www.alyssalikes.com/ Alyssa Bell

    I love this. Love it. This is truth and love spoken in humility. Thank you for sharing!

  • http://dramaticelegance.blogspot.com/ rachel lee

    Micah, this is going in my list of “best posts of ever.”

    honestly, the way you write is so tender, straight from your heart and spoken in the gentlest and most loving of tones. it’s not patronizing or head-patting or scolding. it’s just…beautiful and powerful.

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Rachel. It means a lot to me.

  • http://www.cliffymania.com/ Cliff Richardson

    Micah, I appreciate your view of not wanting to be condescending and I think that is commendable and something all Christians should strive to be; strive to be not condescending. In your post you mention that “gays” are the ones singled out for their sin, but to make your point you reference the Scarlet Letter. Isn’t the Scarlet Letter about women who were ostracized for heterosexual adultery?

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      I referred to a “rainbow-colored scarlet letter” because the way the church often ostracizes gay people is similar to the way the community ostracized the woman with the scarlet letter.

      • http://www.cliffymania.com/ Cliff Richardson

        And I would take the story of the Scarlet Letter to mean that this stereotype of the church has been around for some time. So, isn’t it fair to say then that this “special sort of condescending love” isn’t just reserved for the “gay” community?

        • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

          We live in a different culture and era from the one in which The Scarlet Letter was written. Back then, the “gay community” didn’t exist as it does today. I think that attitudes in the culture and in the church have been shifted toward sexuality, and today the church does treat the gay community with distinct disdain.

          • http://www.cliffymania.com/ Cliff Richardson

            What do you mean by “the ‘gay community’ didn’t exist as it does today”? As I understand it homosexuality has been around at least since the days of Abraham. Is it your contention that this is not the case and that homosexuality has only surfaced in the last few generations?

            Also, in one of the comments you made the statement, “All the gay people I’ve ever talked to about this, both inside and outside the church, have expressed this sentiment [that 'gays' are treated with a special disdain].” I’ve also heard of adulterers, unwed mothers, drunks and porn addicts receiving a ‘special disdain.’ Is it your contention that only ‘gays’ receive special disdain?

          • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

            I think homosexuality has always been around, but at least in American culture, the “gay community” has not.

            In response to your question, yes, I do think gay people are treated with a special disdain. They are not the only people who are treated with disdain, but they are treated with a unique disdain. For example, the church hasn’t raised a ruckus because the Boy Scouts don’t exclude people who look at porn or leaders who are divorced and remarried. And the church hasn’t been part of a campaign to deny unwed mothers or adulterers the legal right to be married or to be parents, even though their scenarios both violate the “one man, one woman, for life” “ideal”. I don’t have any intention to debate the intricacies of these issues, only to mention them as support for my statement that the church’s disdain for the gay community is indeed unique.

            If you don’t feel that the church has a unique disdain for the gay community, I don’t venture to assume that I can convince you, nor will I try. However, if you keep an open heart and open eyes to the gay people in our churches, I think you’ll come to the same conclusion pretty quickly.

          • http://www.cliffymania.com/ Cliff Richardson

            To be honest, I don’t believe the disdain for the “gay community” is unique, or the response. I do believe that there are many self-righteous Christians who believe they are not as sinful as others.

            Without debating the intricacies of the issues I’ve known churches that have been quite vocal about the things you say they are not vocal about. However, would you say the church should, or shouldn’t, speak out against porn, adultery, divorce, and unwed mothers?

          • http://www.cliffymania.com/ Cliff Richardson

            If homosexuality has always been around and since the world was not all Jewish and is not all Christian, isn’t it fair to say that the “gay community” has been around for thousands of years? I think it’s well documented that there were homosexuals living proudly among heterosexuals in both the Greek and Roman Empires. So, isn’t is possible that the church has been just as opposed to adultery as it is to homosexuality all along? We’re really not talking about anything unique to the homosexual community. What is unique is the homosexual community wanting things that the other groups (porn addicts, drunks, adulterers and unwed mothers) didn’t want.

    • Kenny Pierce

      Cliff, thank you for your comments (here and below). I use “Hester Prynne” often as a metaphor. It’s funny that it was brought up here.

      I’m reading through these posts, and truly appreciate the understanding and thought around this discussion by so many. I hate to call it a debate, but my knee-jerk thought when reading these initially was “God,this is just never going to winnable in my lifetime.” But then, it’s really not about winning is it? The best place that I (we) as LBGTQ individuals (I won’t say “community” because then we’re in our own virtual ghetto) is to hope for dignity, and communion with everyone else. I don’t think that any of us want to be singled out for anything, other than perhaps our strengths and how they might be best used as a counterbalance for those around us who need some of that strength. Those that need for us to have their backs, as we would have theirs, in this world.

      No, I don’t think we want any form of distinction, being set apart in a special way at all. In fact, it’s anything but that – that has been what has plagued us back to antiquity. And as an FYI, in ancient Greece, yes, homosexuality very much existed, and it wasn’t considered amoral. Nor among Native Americans in this land, pre-Christianity. They called us the “Two Spirits” and we were/are revered as those with a rare ability to traverse two realms and understand reality from the male and female perspective. How we’ve been viewed over time wasn’t always sinful – it was very much culturally and socially contextual.

      I guess that we just want a whole lot of what everyone else gets to have. Sometimes that’s a whole lot of nothing as we go about our daily lives. We want friendship, we want to be encouraged to build a lifetime of love and fidelity with a partner (if that’s in the cards for us), and above all the ability to worship and be loved by one infinitely greater than any of us, without strings attached. To be set apart or to be given special treatment is the last thing that we want. I would probably argue the idea of “special distinction” has been our scourge from the beginning.

      The nuance may be hard to understand, but there are really two distinctions.

      – Calling us sinful is correct, in the idea that all of us have to overcome a bevy of sins that distance us from the light of our Lord. The ACTS of sin that any human being may commit distances us away from the essence of God. Man’s free will is at the root of this. Institutions and society deem many of what are or aren’t considered sinful, willful acts over time, as mores change.

      – Caling gays sinful because homosexuality itself is thought to be a sin is where the ruckus occurs. The safe stance for many denominations – de rigeur it seems – is to say that it’s OK for us to be accepted so long as we don’t “act on that sin.” We look at each other and say “what sin?” Here, as is represented so well in this posting, is where we are relegated to the back seat. We are sentence to a lifetime spent alone, of forced celibacy. We never, however, stop being homosexual. Similarly, someone who is heterosexual is never considered to be abstaining from the “sinful act” if they’re alone in life and “don’t act on it.”

      Where the disconnect in understanding occurs is in the struggle to understand that neither heterosexuality nor homosexuality is a sin, in and of itself. They’re who and what you are.

      There wasn’t a time in our lives that we woke up and said “hey, being gay would be something I want to try out.” You know from day one, that you’re different from the norm (often however, you don’t know what it is). We get that you all who are heterosexual and engaged in this discussion didn’t choose your orientation either, and I would hope that we, as those predisposed to our own gender, wouldn’t call your orientation a sin upon which you shouldn’t act if the tables were turned.

      It’s discouraging much of the time. I’m not sure how deep a level of understanding there can be by those who don’t walk in our shoes. I don’t know if I’ve muddied the discussion. I view these discussions through the lensesof my experience these past 49 years. I’ve witnessed the suffering of too many who have built lives together, over decades, turned away because they “weren’t family” with no rights of visitation of their soulmates when it was their time to be called home to God. I look at these comments through the lenses that have watched friends lose their homes when taxes were imposed on gains incurred on the houses in which they lived for decades together. Taxes that they couldn’t afford to pay.

      Worst of all, I read these comments through the lenses through which I saw the AIDS epidemic play out. I was raised in Southern California and moved to San Francisco in the 80s and 90s. I was there from the beginning, when it was a death sentence and called a “gay disease”, and viewed as retribution for “our sin” by God. I believe that I was angriest at God at this lowest point in life, and wanted nothing to do with any idea that he existed at that point. Too many good and loving people who I knew were dying, and were being told that God was killing the right people. As when someone passes someone one the street who hasn’t eaten for days because they’re “just too lazy to work and aren’t getting a dime from me”, a blind eye was turned away from those who were dying the most miserable death you could imagine. The brothers and sisters in Christ (though they would never call themselves that, or would never want that association) were often in the gay community, or cared enough to put that aside, and ministered to their dying friends, neighbors, etc. Much of what we know about preventive measures around HIV – what the heterosexual as well as gay community employ to this day to prevent this disease from taking hold – came from groups like ACT UP in New York and San Francisco. Those were grassroots organizations that stepped in and addressed the needs of the desperate. Those, to me, were witnesses to the true heart of God, and to whom I would spend my life aspiring to follow as role models in what it truly means to love.

      This is straying from the topic of being engaged in Christ as a gay man, and I can hear myself veering into the same sex marriage/rights realm. Which is not at all where I want to go with this. I can’t reiterate strongly enough that, like groups throughout history who have been segmented from the population and from their God in some way, special anything is the last thing that a person like me would ever want. “Special treatment” means hiding who I am to strangers. It forces one to walk through life on a tightrope, wondering who is or isn’t ok with who we are. And it forces us, as Micah has intimated, into the shadows when we dare to worship and love our God unconditionally, as He made us, as an equal in the body of Christ.

      The best that “We” might hope for – and it will take a long time to get to this place, and to get beyond going around in circles with the “is it a sin, is it nature, just don’t act on it, etc.” discussions, is to come to a place of mutual understanding and respect. Perhaps one step on our side is for me, as a gay man, to just step up to the plate, and to simply live the witness of Christ by example, and not to argue or belabor talking points. There’s much other work to be done. We honor God and each other in the way that we take care of one another from a place of unconditional love. Jesus commanded nothing less, and nothing more than for humanity to love one’s God and one’s neighbor. All of the other commandments fall into place when these are honored,

      As I think about it, and as I said before, whether I’m accepted as a Brother in Christ, or even completely understood, isn’t something that I can force on anyone. Yes, it hurts to be put into another box, as it hurts to be rejected by one’s biological family (as many like me are). But my challenge is to continue to love and to keep the door open to my family in Christ – without condition – and to hope that someday they’ll come to understand and accept me/us as I am.

      Sorry, I have a tendency to ramble… Thanks again Micah, and to everyone, for indulging this, and for the dialogue.

      • http://www.cliffymania.com/ Cliff Richardson

        Kenny, what I was getting at with my references to Roman and Greek cultures was that homosexuality has been around and was a full part of the community. This was because Micah makes the assertion that the homosexual community is different now. I assert that it isn’t. Micah’s other assertion is that homosexuals are the most mistreated group in the church. I do not believe this is true, but rather anecdotal. I could ask several other “groups” and they would assert that they are the most mistreated.

        As to the other stuff, let’s put everything aside and just cut to the quick – what is the good news of Jesus Christ?

        • Kenny Pierce

          Hi Cliff,

          The good news – the risen Son of God, who “had our backs” in sacrificing himself for the sins of man, and in his resurrection, opening our path to spending eternity in the light of heart of our Father. (I took some rhetorical liberties there)

          My father, raised a Kentucky Baptist, would often say that if you took nothing else from Scripture, it all boiled down to John 3:16. That was drilled into us as kids, and I suppose that it’s why my focus is on the 2 great commandments laid down by Christ. If the word “hate” is anywhere to be found – even in words – then my hackles go up and it’s hard for me to see God in it.

          The truth and good news is born of the greatest love that a man, God incarnate, could display for others. To love us enough to sacrifice himself, and to walk in the light of love beforehand, despite knowing d***ed well what was in the cards for him. This, I think, is the true heart of God.

          The good news. We’re all unified, washed, and welcomed to the table by the One who matters, on that front. Thank you for reminding me of that. And hopefully others “Like Me” – or others who feel shut out, for whatever reason – will read this and your comments, and feel called and welcome to the brotherhood and sisterhood at God’s table as well.

          *Peace*

          • http://www.cliffymania.com/ Cliff Richardson

            Okay, I’ll go with the rhetorical liberties :) If you will indulge me: How do we know what sin is? And with regard to the 2 greatest commandments; how do we learn how to love God with all of our heart, soul, strength, and mind? How do we learn how to love our neighbors as ourselves?

          • Kenny Pierce

            I’m laughing to myself, because the first thing that popped into my head when I wanted to go on a mental rollercoaster ride in responding was ocham’s razor (or “KISS – Keep it Simple Stupid”).

            1) I don’t know if there is a “correct” answer. I don’t think that there’s a list that’s revised annually by committee (though we did have list of venal vs. mortal sins in cathecism in Catholic school). I sense what sin is by what is or isn’t present. It all goes back to whether something is or isn’t loving. “You will know them by their fruits” – Matthew 7:16, the context is usually recognizing false prophets, but it has always been a barometer for me to recognize when you’re in the presence of the essence of God, or goodness.

            2) Ohhh, I hope that I’m not being graded. As with most other things in life, we (or I) learn by doing. Loving God (to me) involves the same thing that growing in love for anyone else demands. Commitment, discussion, sometimes anger, sometimes a lot of being a crybaby.. sometimes not wanting to take out the garbage. I guess, again, that you sometimes realize how much you love someone when you think that they’re gone. And then you ache for them. I suppose that’s true in a relationship with God. For me, when I was searching all of those years to fill that void, I was aching. And it just took a conversation as I was driving home one night. No bowing of the head or getting on my knees. Just talking to my Father. Angry at first, then feeling a lot of baggage leave me. I guess that that’s how I try to grow in my love for my Bigger Dad (as I call him)

            Loving your neighbor. Again, I want to say by doing what feels like a loving act to another. I don’t think it’s more complicated than that. Asking yourself if what you’re about to do is a) kind or b) loving. Especially if someone is in need. And sometimes if they seem perfectly fine.

            This popped into my head. I was at a drive through the other night and it was in a dark area. Someone approached the car, and my first instinct was to roll up the window and waive him off. Knee jerk reaction. Then I thought it through – or rather, something nagged at me to reconsider what I’d just done. No thinking “is he using this money for drugs” or “god he’s lazy.” I got to the window and called back as he was walking away to come to the window. I asked if he had eaten. He was clearly mentally ill, and was hungry, so I had him order along with what I was getting. He was too out of it to thank me, and I didn’t expect that.

            Perhaps a weak example, but I guess that that felt like a loving act, and those kinds of things are sort of primers that help me to learn to love my neighbor (or at least build that instinct in me).

            I’m not sure how theologically sound (or not) the above was. Great questions, and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

          • http://www.cliffymania.com/ Cliff Richardson

            It was very kind of you to buy that guy some food. Well done. :)

            I like to keep things simple as well, so my answer to all three questions is the same: what does God reveal to us in His word? With regard to what sin is I hear Paul’s words, “I would not have known sin but by the law [of God].” Romans 7:7. Then as far as the 2 greatest commandments again, I look at the whole Word of God. If it becomes about my feelings and what feels right I find that I can get way off track because my feelings are way to malleable, especially since I’m a sinner. God and his Word are unchanging and provide a solid foundation on which to build. Otherwise, what it felt right to be promiscuous and all the women I was with felt the same way? I would think it’s okay if I went by feelings, but God’s Word tells me something different.

          • Kenny Pierce

            Thanks! I didn’t see anyone in need tonight so I feel a little shortchanged in my giving this evening. :-) My loft is undergoing renos and I’m eating out a lot these days.

            Touché, to your comments. I read a lot (probably a dangerous thing) and follow a number of theologians. I’m also open to other creeds and perspectives. I didn’t know, for example, and should have given their Abrahamic base, that Muslims, hold in esteem Christ (though as a prophet) and honor the virgin birth. This came from becoming close friends with a coworker, from whom I learned much about what Jihad meant (before it was corrupted into its current connotation). It traditionally means a sort of spiritual retreat, and an attempt to find oneness with God. That they call God Allah and we Yahweh, or God, doesn’t negate that we’re honoring the same entity, in different ways. Is our creed preferable? That the Christ as The Way damnes them to a distance from God, for all eternity? Or does Christ choose, based on how the heart of God is employed in this world – by Jews, Muslims, and even by Atheists (Pope Francis went there recently and was reigned back in by The Establishment), who enters the kingdom. Whosoever believeth in him. I believeth that it his God’s job to judge, the Spirit’s job to guide, and mine to love. In the book of Job (the first book written down, though not chronologically the first in the Bible), Satan is called the great accuser. God help me if I’ve assumed the role of accuser in this world, and have gotten it all horribly, horribly wrong. I could string a litany of examples throughout history where that precedent has been set, in the name of the unchanging word of God.

            I would argue that the heart of God in his word, as written, in its time, is unchanging. I don’t think that He has ever been anything but the essence of love. Those who translated the texts from Aramaic and Greek to Latin, and then to English, 1,500 years after the texts were written, in the King James Version had the presence of mind to acknowledge where their understanding might have been vague in the inner margins – and that’s just where they were cognizant of the vagaries. 1,500 years after the death of Christ. That puts the text upon which current scripture is based in the period just following Chaucer. I would defy anyone to make it through something like the Canterbury Tales, read in Middle English – the language of the time, and try to take it at face value in modern lenses. Or to look at any work by Shakespeare in the language of the Elizabethan era which succeeded it.

            We’re only 1/3 of that 1500 years away from the KJV. If our language, and word connotations, has changed to the extent that it has in 500 years, then what would it have done going back in time threefold, translated from several other languages? I speak 4 languages, and I know well what gets lost in translation between them. As an example, the word for “Love” in Greek, the original language of the text, has three forms of expression, all of which are used in the Old and New Testaments, for the one word that was expressed 1 and 1/2 millenia after they were written.

            So is his word unchanging? Is our understanding of the laws? Or their application and context? I don’t know.

            Because the Bible (depending on whether the Apocrypha is included or not) is at a minimum a collection of 66 books – a sort of compendium, each addressing a different need and time. And it does inform God’s will for mankind. His laws, as you say. But the question is whether or not that will changes. Did God stop speaking, or does he still speak, and are we listening?

            I heed the words of Peter Gomes (the late Professor of Divinity at Harvard and Baptist Preacher) who said that he took the business of interpreting the word very seriously, and prayed that he do no harm with it. That the spirit would guide him to what is really being said, and not to impose those prejudices that he might have onto the word. Because he could do great mischief, and harm in the process. He warned his students that if the words leapt off of the page and felt easy, then he there was probably something askew, because the Bible is such a difficult and opaque work.

            I also mentioned (I’m not sure if it’s here or on his Facebook posting of this blog post) a sermon that really got to me, and I am pretty sure that the message from that particular piece was a major driver in this article. It was called “Don’t Stand Up for Jesus” (a pejorative title), by Pastor Jonathan Martin at Renovatus, an apostolic church in Charlotte, North Carolina. That particular sermon included the “cast the first stone” tale, but the underlying message was that we adhere so stringently to the word and the law – which are true – as did the Pharisees in their day, that the heart of God is forgotten.

            All of this might seem a mushy and blasphemous. But Peter’s vision in Acts 10 underscores the idea for me. The law to that point was clear (as it was with the adulteress in the paragraph above), and Peter refused to oppose Levitical law. But God’s heart had changed, and desired something new. This is one of my biggest scriptural indicators that one need be very careful in ignoring where the Holy Spirit guides us. As careful as one must be in following the voice of darkness, as you say. To me, the barometer, as Christ instructed, is to look for the good fruit borne by one’s works. By these woud he be known. Anyways, back to God’s final say (on the heretofore unclean Gentiles – I think this is so cool):

            (And a voice came again a second time to him: “Those things which God has purified you shall not make impure.” 16This happened three times and the garment was taken up to Heaven.)

            More babble… I hear your point about the need to frame a code of morality. And in the case of promiscuity, lascivious actions, and such (not something reserved for heterosexuals), I would expect that the Holy Spirit would steer me to the path that result in the fruit from the good tree, as Christ intimated. Is this act kind, and is it loving? I go back to that, and I don’t think it an ambiguous gauge at all.

            I’m going to sit with your points a bit – they’ve caused me to think a fair bit (hence my tome here). Fundamentally, I don’t think that the net result, why we take the time to read these blogs and to engage in discussion, puts us too far apart. Indeed, it feels amazing to be engaged. As a human being and not sitting in the shadows. Thank you for that.

          • http://www.cliffymania.com/ Cliff Richardson

            Kenny,

            Sorry for my delay and thank you for well thought out comments. I’m not trying to boast, I just want to let you know that I read a lot to and am familiar with the things you mention. Just so you know we’re on the same page regarding what’s been written and what not. I don’t necessarily agree, but I know what you’re talking about. :)

            I wonder if you would indulge me in something else. I’m a Christian and a pastor (bi-vocational, meaning I preach for free), and I believe that God’s Word is unchanging (see John 5:46-47 for an example), but must be understood as a whole. In short, the dietary laws, like you mention, were done away with, but the moral law was kept. The moral law is upheld throughout the New Testament. I take seriously that I am just as much a sinner as any one else so I do not and will not say, “Because you do [fill in the sin] you are worse sinner than me.” However, I do believe that we (Christians) are to hold each other accountable and point out sin with gentleness and respect with an intent to restore, not separate. I also believe that we need to spread the gospel for the lost to hear. Also, the dead sea scrolls and the near constant finds of new testament fragments have shown that many modern translations like the ESV, RSV, NASB, and NKJV are the same Bible that Jesus read, and the apostles wrote. Yes, some words are lost in translation, but thankfully we have many resources to show us the context of the Greek and Hebrew to clarify that.

            With that in mind and based on what you wrote that you are “open to other creeds” and in general I get the sense that you believe that there are many ways to God provided it’s a “loving” way. If that’s the case and you don’t believe what the Christian church has taught for 2,000 years, why not just stop calling yourself a Christian and be something else? Why not start a new “religion”? I understand you may have some sentimental draw to Christianity, but if you disagree with what’s been taught and if you don’t believe the Bible is true as it is, and if you think any path of love will do, why try to change the church? Why not just step outside the church and become something different?

            On another point, if we are all just trying to find out who God is and we can essentially design God based on our experience than how do we know our experience is true? What if my experience is that God is a warlord and if he’s given me great success in destroying my enemies than it must be true.

            Isn’t it also possible that God and Satan have been fighting for millenia and the only reason you believe God is love and Satan is the accuser is because God won their fight and wrote the history? Maybe God is taking the credit for Satan’s love to get us on his side to finally defeat Satan and then love will be no more. If it’s all based on individual experience isn’t that equally possible?

            As my wife often tells me, if God is telling the Christians one thing, the Jews another, the Muslims another, and the Hindus something entirely different than he must be one schizophrenic monster. You even implied that promiscuity and lascivious behavior is wrong, but who are you to say that it is? Under what framework can you make that judgment if God and the moral standard are all a matter of context and experience?

            Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not attacking you with these questions, I’m just trying to make a case. I appreciate the thoughtful conversation as well. Thank you!

          • RPT34

            muslims do not worship the Lord Jesus Christ or the Father. I ask you please to read further on the subject so that you know the truth that muslims are being deceived.

          • Michael Cordima

            The Law (Ten Commandments) were given so we would know sin. As we focus on Christ and are given God’s Holy Spirit we no longer need the law because we simply do not fall into sin (as often) and the Spirit of God convicts us. “If you know it is wrong for you, it is sin” Said Paul, but you should be in line with God’s will, plan and desires before applying this verse. It means if you are following God faithfully and you know you did something that He would not want you to do in your walk with Him it is sin. Homosexuality definitely does NOT follow His purpose or plan in any way other than just another sin to be overcome through the power of the Holy Spirit so that God might be glorified through a testimony of how one overcame the needs of the flesh with His help.

          • Michael Cordima

            Then fear God and walk away from your sin as many true Christians do every day (though like all you may sometimes fail it is the devotion to God in your heart that is important, not the devotion to your flesh to disobey God, this is why we need the Holy Spirit to help us. We cannot do it on our own).

  • rikd57

    This is very good and thought provoking. I would suggest three things here… 1) in the example from Jesus, there is a difference between a single momentary act and a lifestyle. In a different situation, Jesus addresses a lady with a sinful lifestyle. In the case of the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus addressed her sin AND she allowed Him to change her life. Repentance was a part of this. (2) I view homosexuality as any other addictive, entrapping sin. My father was an alcoholic. He was my father, I loved him, but he was overtaken with a destructive habit. I was only 6 when he died. I ran into an old friend a couple of years ago who was overtaken by gambling in a destructive way. There are many things that can become destructive that are not on our tradtitional “sin” lists. When I was in college, I was addicted to basketball in a destructive way. In each case, corrective action must be implemented. (3) There are different levels of involvement. Some only experiment with certain acts while others are are totally committed to a lifestyle. Some are confused by societal mores, some become addicted to behavioral malady. It takes time and personal involvement to help people who are overtaken in sin. Each case is different. At the end of time, the God Who loves will be the same God Who commits souls to eternal judgment. Ours is not so much to condemn as to rescue and participate in the “ministry of reconciliation.”

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      I’m glad you enjoyed reading this. I’d point out that people rarely fall neatly into categories of “momentary act” and “lifestyle.” I think it’s important to keep that in mind.

    • Morgan

      Please stop referring to sexual orientation as a “lifestyle.”

      • Peter

        It’s not the orientation, it’s the action of sex outside of marriage. It’s the exact same as heterosexual sex outside of marriage.

        • John (not McCain)

          Not for married gay people it isn’t.

          • guest

            Marriage as defined many times in the bible is between one man and one woman. And what did God say in the beginning when he created Adam? He said it is not good for man to live alone and gave him a woman, even though Adam had God. A man together with a woman is an image on earth created by God of something heavenly. Marriage is not defined by our society but by the scriptures. Otherwise, who’s to say we couldn’t start allowing people to marry animals?

          • Meredith

            I’m reminded of Micah’s post on predestination where he says that if God is such a monster to pick people for Heaven regardless of their acceptance of Christ and good works, he doesn’t want that God. I feel the same about a God who created same-sex loving humans and then commanded them to be lonely all their lives while others around them are allowed to have partners. I don’t want to worship such a cruel God. I cannot believe that the loving presence I experience during prayer could be so heartless. If so, he’s no different than humans, and I think one thing we can all agree on as Christians is that He is more loving than we could ever be.

          • Micael Cordima

            I am an attractive Christian man who has been single (despite many prayers) for over 13 years now since I was saved and a former atheist. I don’t want to be single, never have but my singleness has allowed me to travel the world and do ministry and see real miracles. looking back, I wouldn’t trade that for anything. The NEXT kingdom is the one we should be looking toward for our reward. To look at this one for it is humanism plain and simple.

          • Keaton Killick

            I’m not sure I correctly understand your point of view. I would just say it’s ok to be human. It is how we learn and grow and love and share. To live this life just for the reward in the next is very very sad to me. It reminds me of those terrorist who blow themselves up, killing others for what? Those 72 virgins. I’m certainly not judging you for your choice to serve and enrich the lives of others. I suggesting you need not be a sacrifice of your own dreams in the process.

          • smarti1809

            God did not create sinful acts. He did not create homosexuality or fornication or murder or theft. He created humans. Humans chose to sin and sin was introduced into the world as a curse. This curse affects all of us, and it causes some individuals to have homosexual thoughts and attractions. But my God has given us power over sin. Even if you think of homosexuality as a biological disorder, you can relate it to alcoholism. Though you may have the trait for becoming an alcoholic, you do not have to act on those desires. God is the strength to overcome any affliction, and he will provide a way of escape. He’s no a man that he should like, so every word in his inerrant scripture is valid, including the parts where he condemns homosexuality, in the old and NEW testament.

          • visitor

            Marriage is defined all sorts of ways in the Bible. How many wives (that’s “wives”, not concubines) did Solomon have?

          • Danie Bello

            Marriage predates the existence of Christianity or even Judaism. You should learn a thing or two about History and Antiquity there was actually people and other religions and civilizations before God or Jesus were ever even spoken of and they got married and had many different definitions of what marriage meant to them.

          • smarti1809

            I think you got your facts wrong. If you believe in God as the one and only God, then marriage would have been created by Him. And the first marriage was between Adam and Eve. It may not be a “Traditional” marriage like nowadays with a license and a ceremony, but God joined them together as one.

          • Keaton Killick

            Marriage is between a man and a woman. That doesn’t preclude it being between a man and a man or a woman or a woman. This is not about animals. What a ridiculous comparison. This is about being human. Being the best each person can. Sharing a life, loving others, being family and being compassionate. …..much more powerful than being ignorant, being judgmental, pretending to speak for God and creating stereotypes that lead to hate.

          • Renee L. Ten Eyck

            do your research:

            “But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his. So whenever he went in
            to his brother’s wife he would waste the semen on the ground, so as not to give
            offspring to his brother. And what he did was wicked in the sight of the Lord,
            and he put him to death also.” Genesis 38:9-10

            The interpretation here is that sex and having children outside of marriage
            is ok, but Onan is breaking some biblical law by wasting his semen… what
            American is ok with this today?

            You cannot pick and choose which scriptures to obey.

            Lets see-Oh yes, POLYGAMY as being normal and promoted in biblical times:

            Abraham: 3 Wives – Sarah, Hagar and Keturah http://catholic-resources.org/

            Jacob, the father of all the Twelve Tribes of Israel was married to FOUR women: Rachel and Leah; in addition, each of these two of Jacob’s wives had a maidservant, each also considered a wife of Jacob, who birthed many of those tribes.

            Abram and Sarai are childless but want children. Attempt: Hagar becomes second wife.

            Lamech has two wives~

            In addition, historically, marriage was NOT a religious matter-it was a CIVIL CONTRACT. It was not until less than the last 100 years in the US that people started marrying for love, AND marriage did not become a matter of religion, even in Christian cultures, until much later. In more recent history, Western European marriages started out as a business contract to establish hereditary lines. According to the book The History of Human Marriage, in the early Christian era, marriage was considered a private matter not regulated by the church or the sate. In fact, the church didn’t fully take over the business of marriage until 1563 at the Council of Trent.

            In the SECULAR COUNTRY of the United States, marriage is a civil right and two consenting adults should be allowed to enter into the institution if they so choose.

            Unlike some religious definitions, civil definitions of marriage do not usually mention childbearing, sexual relations, living arrangements,or religious belief/observance.

            When clergy or congregations marry couples it is a religious rite, not a civil ceremony, though the government may recognize it. Clergy and congregations choose whom they marry. They are not compelled or required to accept the state’s definition of marriage. Some religious institutions are more restrictive than the state, rejecting interfaith marriages or remarriages after divorce. In the U.S., a marriage is only legal with the signing of a marriage license.

          • Heather Smith

            I am so completely sick of this moronic argument “well, if we let those darned evil gays marry, the next thing you know someone’s gunna want to marry a sheep or a toaster”….really?? What a ridiculous reach to make….because, of course, a loving, respectful, consensual relationship between two intelligent, adult humans is exactly like a man and his sheep or a woman with her toaster. Fool.

          • PaulC

            I do have a lovely toaster.

          • Heather Smith

            lol dork. My tattoo artist and I were discussing this one day and his response was “all I’d really want to know is how he’d have relations with the toaster…is it turned on? is it plugged in? That’s what I want to know”

          • singingsoprano

            Wanna come up with that verse? And an example of a traditional 1-man to 1 wife marriage raising biological children?

    • Keaton Killick

      ” I view homosexuality as any other addictive, entrapping sin.” Your view is very judgmental and condescending to think you as an heterosexual have any idea what homosexuality is or isn’t. May I suggest it is no different than the feelings you have. Is the sexual side of your life also sinful. Get a life. Walk in another man’s shoes before your prejudice spouts.

      • SurferMom2

        It’s not about judgmental, it’s truth! Accepting that someone is openly gay and proud of it is no different than me proudly prancing around with my stolen ring (though shall not steal) or flaunting my lover in front of my husband (though shall not commit adultery). The difference is that society has taken a “PC” viewpoint and and have become accepting and “too cool” to be viewed as rigid. Guess what? I have walked in your shoes..I have felt attracted to the same sex and after several years I knew I was living in sin and had to get out. My life has been so fulfilling since I chose His ways…the narrow way. Is it hard? HELL YES! But worth it? My husband and three beautiful children are my blessings!

    • Greg

      rikd57, That’s a very condescending point of view. I think you’ve completely missed Micah’s point. Since so many here are afraid to say it, I will, homosexuality is not a sin, there’s nothing to repent for, and for those who think there is something wrong with it, you’re simply expressing a cancer deep in your soul.

    • LC

      This is SO well said. The example of the woman at the well is right on. Thank you.

    • Jeremy Adkison

      That is so, entirely, offensive.

  • St. Anger

    I don’t believe in love the sinner, hate the sin either, at least not in such a large sense. I don’t believe gay homosexuals are my brothers at all. I believe they are followers of Satan, or brothers in Satan, not brothers in Christ. They may be your brethren, but they sure as hell ain’t mine. I don’t believe they deserve or want my love, and I am rather loathe to give it to them.

  • Ann

    beautifully said!

  • Lulu

    This is so beautiful and deeply full of truth. Thank you.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/ Steve Martin

    God loves the sinner (all of us) and hates the sin (all of them).

    We are ALL born liars. That doesn’t make it right, or good.

  • JClyde

    Thank you so much for this. I always feel so beat down and bruised by people who say they hate my sin as if I (or any of us) could ever truly separate myself from my sin. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      I’m so glad you saw it. Much love to you.

  • Kenny Pierce

    Thanks for your reply, Pastor Cliff. I wish you peace.

    – Kenny

  • Bishop Randy Duncan

    Reconciling Pentecostals International is a home for disenfranchised GLBT persons and family members of GLBT persons. We’ve all been hurt by the very people we respected and loved. We were basically forced out of the church we served in if we weren’t “delivered” from our “sinful desires.” But, no longer do we argue with the Creator for the way we were made. We are God’s gay children. We are NOT a mistake. And, there IS room at the table for us. Unfortunately, we’ve had to start our own churches and fellowships. However, we needed a safe place of worship where Jesus would be the central figure where we didn’t have to dodge bullets of condemnation anymore. We still believe in the Almighty God and know He loves us. We still believe in morality and integrity. The “rules” are the same. However, we no longer accept that we are the sinners that must change. The Bible is very clear that WHOSOEVER may come and drink from the well of salvation freely. All are welcome at our churches. We welcome those that have a ministry calling upon their lives but have no where to use it. We still serve Jesus Christ with our whole hearts and lives. Please know there is a place for you or yours. http://www.rpifellowship.com or http://www.newlifeconnectpoint.com
    Bishop Randy Duncan

    • Kenny Pierce

      Thank you so much, Bishop Duncan, for offering an affirming and safe place for us to worship. It’s especially important to those younger LGBTQ folks who are struggling with the coming out process in addition to having to dodge the barbs of faith thrown at them, to have somewhere to turn. If you have sermons online, I’d love to hear (since I don’t – as many don’t – live near your locale in Indiana to attend worship in person).

      Online sermons have become my safe space in my home, and I draw much strength from them, and from blogged articles such as these. There are other affirming congregations. I’ve enjoyed the Disciples of Christ (Douglass Blvd Street Church in Louisville, KY), many UCC congregations, Episcopalian and of course MCC. One very innovative congregation in the Church of God tradition is Renovatus, out of Charlotte, NC. I love what they have to say, but have yet to hear their stance on this one (the “hate the sin” part). I pray that we aren’t cast aside as not worthy of sitting at the table as equals with the misfits, AS WE WERE CREATED. I really love Pastor Martin’s focus in his ministry on the heart of God.

      There is also http://www.gaychurch.org/ which maintains (among articles and resources) a directory of affirming and safe local congregation across North America and abroad.

      I would also encourage any LGBTQ individual reading this, and feeling disenfranchised by negative comments to to take a look at all of the positives. And also the positive “one ups” or agreements relative to all those who have disagreed (strongly or with some hesitation) with Micah’s amazing work here. He put himself on the line with this one – remember that. And know that there are so many other Christian bloggers doing exactly the same. In almost every case, I’ve watched them struggle with this from a place of “something doesn’t feel right” to ultimately finding peace (or at least a desire to engage more deeply) with this issue.

      It’s hard not to focus on the negatives when reading comments made by others, and to want to write off religion – yet again. To feel mired and beaten down by them. But look carefully – there are so many here who believe in you. As you are. As Our Father created you. Focus on those who extend an open hand, without strings attached. And for those who don’t, pray for the grace to love them as a child of God as well – which they are. And to wish them peace in the path that they are called to follow. They may disagree in this realm, and we may be hurt in the process, but there are instances where we might be unknowingly doing the same to others. Fundamentally, however, we’re all seeking unity in the Body of Christ.

      Remember that it is far harder to stand as one who loves even those who see you as an abomination than to throw the stone as an accuser. Let your actions and your heart be a witness to the the heart of God, and to your love of your fellow man. Time will heal these divisions, and history will very likely view this time as yet another in a series of similarly contentious periods. History is littered with what mainstream religion now now views as horrifying stances, but which were then accepted periods where scripture was used to beat down those like us. This is nothing new, and dates back to the Samaritans, Gentiles, etc. DO NOT believe that this is the nature and heart of our Father. There are many (I daresay more) loving folks of faith who have your backs than those who don’t.

      Hold your head high with dignity, and love as Jesus commanded. All else will fall into place.

      Peace.

    • joyrailrad

      Could you explain Romans 1:24–27. What does “due penalty for their error” in that passage mean? You also state, that “we no longer accept that we are the sinners that must change.” What does it mean to repent? (to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life.) Does Paul (Romans 6:1-2) say we are to continue in sin? In verse 24, “God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity” … Are we created pure or impure? Christ demanded change and knew what an individual was not willing to give up…and they often walked away sad. Christ demands change, but the body does not change instantly. The spirit is made new, but it is through the Word of God that our mind must be renewed so that our bodies (behaviors…lusts…desires) may begin to change through the power of the Holy Spirit living within us. Philippians 4:8 tells us what our thoughts are to be on. One is whatsoever things are “pure.” Micah Murray may not want to tell you this, but I love you too much not to share what God has revealed to me. The decision is still yours to decide whether I am speaking the truth or not. Just as God respects your decision, so must I do the same.

      • Keaton Killick

        “but I love you too much not to share what God has revealed to me”…… I hope your not telling us you speak for God…the mighty prophet speaks…behold the prophet. Arrogance I would suggest. To think that a lesser man than you just might also speak to God. And God just might tell someone gay that they are a creation of god and that it is very human and Godly to love and to share and to care and to have family just like a heterosexual person. I love you too much also to ask you to not judge another who might just also speak to God.

        • joyrailroad

          I guess you missed this…”The decision is still yours to decide whether I am speaking the truth or not.” What does scripture say concerning how to determine if a prophet is from God or not? I will make it easy so you don’t even have to look that up and tell you…I’m not a prophet. You are judging me as well, but I don’t care…for I see it more as communication and learning…getting clarity on what others believe. When I have questions about His word…I ask Him. My post that you responded to, had questions about scripture and yet you avoided them. You also provided no scripture to back up your statements. Are you someone who might just speak to God or are you someone who does speak to God? God does speak to me through His word convicting me of my sin. I will share that with others…and leave the rest up to God. If you believe I am not telling you the truth…you simply have nothing to worry about…for the triune God is the ultimate judge.

          • Heather Smith

            So joy, are you telling me that if I take this issue to prayer – thoughtfully and openheartedly – and God tells me that you are simply a small-minded, hateful bigot amongst the ranks of hate mongers and bible bashers who are too lazy and/or ignorant to do some research on their own and simply make foolish, hateful proclamations “from God” (yet have simply been passed down from generation to generation with no desire to learn further) that I should hunt you down and bludgeon you with that message because, as a Christian, it’s my God-given duty to correct your hateful behaviour?

            “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

            “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there MALE or FEMALE, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”

            “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

            “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

            “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

            For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

      • Allen Brooks

        Well stated joyrailrad. Psalms 81:12; Titus 2:12; James 1:14-15; 1 Peter 2:11, 4:3; 2 Peter 3:3; 1 John 2:16-17; Jude 16; Romans 1:24-27; and 1 Timothy 1:9-10, are words that were not written by me. They are words taken from God’s Word. Reading Genesis, chapters 18-20 will reveal to anyone how God views homosexuality……My heart goes out to (and my prayers go up for) those who are caught up in such behaviors. God allows human beings to experience pleasures while they are living upon earth; however, He places certain restrictions and conditions upon how and which pleasures may be engaged therein. Homosexuality is not on His list of acceptable behaviors. Regardless of how or why one becomes involved in this life-style, it is nevertheless unacceptable to God. Why? I can’t answer that question. We are not to question or rationalize God’s Word; but, simply to obey the same. The worldly view today is: “if it feels good do it;” however, this is not supported by God’s Word, and if you truly desire to please God in your daily life-you will be obedient to His Word! It was not meant for mankind to fully understand why God places restrictions upon the activities of one’s life. We are simply to obey Him! If you choose to view the world through worldly eyes, then you may justify and rationalize your way into accepting such a life-style…. It is difficult to gain an understanding into God’s Word unless one reads His Word often. To follow the ways and teachings of God’s Word, one must view the world as God views the same. We are able to view the world as God views it by staying in His Word on a daily basis. We are to meditate upon His Word, and allow His Word to ‘transform us’ into His image. Doing this will grant anyone deliverance from any stronghold that Satan may have in one’s life…. Some may state that people are born as homosexuals, and because of predispositions we inherit from our ancestors, there may be some truth to such a statement. Nevertheless, once we gain knowledge of the truth contained within God’s Word, we thereafter must assume responsibility for our future actions. There “is” great power contained within God’s Word, and if you will accept His Word as truth, and believe and desire to please God, you ‘will’ be delivered from such a stronghold. The decision is yours to make, choose wisely-your eternal life depends upon your decision. Reading and meditating upon God’s Word, then allowing His Word to Lord over one’s life, is the only way to truly know the truth-which will set you free!

      • Jeremy

        @joyrailrad…
        “The spirit is made new, but it is through the Word of God that our mind
        must be renewed so that our bodies (behaviors…lusts…desires) may
        begin to change through the power of the Holy Spirit living within us.”

        If what you suggest is true and you are interpreting this passage correctly… and if Paul is in fact correct… THEN…

        Where are all the testimonials from the people who have been changed into heterosexuals??? As has been noted several times in these comments… they don’t exist. Sincere efforts like those made by Exodus International to help people make the kind of change that you (and supposedly Paul and Jesus) suggest simple DON’T and DIDN’T WORK.

        Considering the intense persecution same sex attraction has piled on it, I can’t think of a more motivated seeker of sincere transformation than someone desperately wanting to be straight. So it can’t be an issue of enough effort, commitment or sincerity to change.

        Why then are sincere, bible believing Christians not able to have Christ change their inward desires??? And despite their best efforts to change their behavior or even to abstain for a while… they still have internal desires of same sex attraction???

        If you have interpreted Paul correctly shouldn’t there be overwhelming evidence that MOST people who want to change into heterosexuals CAN and DO? The overwhelming vast majority should be those who experience this amazing change… i’d say 90% should sometime during their life.

        Shouldn’t the exception be someone who isn’t “transformed” into a hetero rather than someone who is???

        • Diana

          I used to be gay. Now I live a very fulfilled life, raise three beautiful children with my wonderful husband. The inner desires if my heart ARE changed. My desire is for God, and not solely based on carnal desire.
          So please don’t say it never happens, it happens plenty. However, I will say that the reason people don’t talk much about it is because they are terrified they may lose friends, etc. and the Christian community needs to be better about that surely. I really like this post. People are people, God transforms us in many many ways, sometimes though we continue to have habitual sin that lasts a lifetime. God is faithful to forgive.
          Repentance us healthy. We ALL need to do it. God is good, always, no matter what.

      • Dave Leblanc

        Paul is addressing lust and he is mentioning in a laundry list of improper behaviors that distance one from God. It’s important also to realize that in that society that most homosexual relationships of that age were not exclusive, but often related to temple worship or pederasty. In fact, the Romans and Greeks were obsessed with pederasty. A man was considered more desirable if his penis more resembled a 12-year old boy. This was what Paul was condemning. Also, the female side of this behavior was often associated with pagan temple worship and prostitution. Of top of all this, Romans 1 was a construct as a set up for the next chapter speaking of the fallen nature of all humanity and how no one has the right to judge another based on their actions.

  • Zachary Metzler

    So some love is still less than others? I appreciate your nuanced view, but isn’t “the greatest of these…love”? I sometimes wonder about this particular viewpoint and whether it is actually acceptable or just a cop out. For me, it’s reminiscent of the “separate, but equal” policy. It sounds progressive and forward thinking, but feels like just more of the same. I actually would like to hear your thoughts on this; I’m not just trolling you.

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      I’m not sure what you’re asking here.

      • Zachary Metzler

        Sorry. What I mean is that it seems that, for you, homosexuality is still a sin, just not to be seen as worse than any other.

        • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

          I know and respect people who have really studied what the Scriptures say and have come to different conclusions. However, even those convinced that God only ordains sex to be shared in a committed, heterosexual marriage can learn to be more loving to our gay brothers and sisters. That’s my main point here. Discussing sinful or non-sinful expressions of homosexual orientation is beyond the scope of this post, my scholarly ability, and my desire to be embroiled in internet debate at this point.

          • Tom

            I take the opposite angle to Zachary. My guess is that whoever coined the phrase “love the sinner, hate the sin”, intended that the emphasis would lie in the first component of the phrase. IE that they were saying that sin is a behaviour rather than a person, and that the Christian response should be to reject the former rather than the latter. I sense that you perceive the phrase to convey a different meaning though – one that reinforces the idea that homosexuals are sinners, and that unfairly portrays homosexuals as fundamentally sinful in a way that others are not fundamentally sinful. Good point.

            But if you discard “love the sinner, hate the sin” you are discarding a two-part statement:
            1. That Christians should love those who commit the sin.
            2. That sinful behaviour should be condemned.
            The broader message in your post is that you are not in fact discarding point #1. IE you indicate you want to love all. So it seems that you are rejecting point #2.

            Another commenter here discouraged use of the term “gay lifestyle”, so I will avoid it and will be up front. Is gay sex the only sin that you will no longer condemn? If it is the only one you will no longer condemn, then why are you singling it out?

  • Zachary Metzler

    So some love is still less than others? I appreciate your nuanced view, but isn’t “the greatest of these…love”? I sometimes wonder about this particular viewpoint and whether it is actually acceptable or just a cop out. For me, it’s reminiscent of the “separate, but equal” policy. It sounds progressive and forward thinking, but feels like just more of the same. I actually would like to hear your thoughts on this; I’m not just trolling you.

  • Christine

    I think that this is what I needed to read this week. Thank you for sharing your perspective!

  • Jer

    I am a Christ follower whom does not beat around the bush about my faith. Homosexuality is WRONG, says the Bible which are words spoken from God. To all the believers in God that think God does accept homosexuality, read 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 18-20.

    • Craggs

      Hi I’m new here. I would like to say I’m sorry that Jer’s comment was not received with the same amount of respect as other comments. He’s a bit brash for sure but I don’t think he’s proof texting here. We are all sinners, we have that in common. I struggle with my sins, but I do count them as sins. I don’t want to commit them but I commit them anyway. Homosexuality isn’t one of my sins. But can I call homosexuality a sin in this forum without having to have a reply that needs to be removed?

      • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

        Here’s the thing – Instead of reading the post and engaging with the content of it, Jer decided to use this space as a platform to blare his interpretation of the Bible. The problem with Jer’s comment is not his belief, but his insensitive tone and the fact that his comment pretty much misses the point of this entire blog post.

        • Craggs

          Yes well, I guess I’d have to admit he wasn’t speaking with compassion. But look, here’s something. I want lust to be out of my life. I also feel guilty if I drink too much alcohol. All these things are going to pass away one day I know, but I’d like to give them up now. I don’t want lust in my life, or any desire-over-reason. What should I do if I wake up one day with a desire for a same sex sexual relationship? Should I embrace that desire and go with it? And let’s forget the church community at the moment. What does God want me to do? Does God want me to wake up and say “all is well”, or does he want me to look in the mirror and say, “something’s wrong, I need help”, You see, I count homosexuality as sin. One of many. We all struggle, and we always will. But I get the impression (though I’ve not read through enough comments yet) that some, or perhaps many Homosexual people are making a claim that homosexuality is not sinful. I’ll commit myself to some more reading. I must say, this is probably the first time that I’ve engaged in this kind of conversation before, and I reckon it’s a good thing to be doing.

          • coljos

            As a Christian, God continually brings to light sins in our life that he would like us to remove. You bring up a few in your post. There may be sins in our life that sit under the surface for a long time, and at the right time the Holy Spirit convicts us of this sin, and with his help we can overcome it. This is sanctification. Sometimes the sin the Holy Spirit has us working on is not the most obvious sin to the outside world. Many times we can more effectively see destructive sins with people in our lives that can speak truth, but very rarely is this done by someone that is not a very close friend and fellow believer. The truth is anytime we point out the sins in another’s life who hasn’t asked our opinion we become the accuser, and bring judgement. Anytime we “love the sinner”, we should leave our accusatory judgments aside and actually love the person. God says in Romans the he will be the judge, so maybe we should let him be the judge.

          • Craggs

            Ok Coljos, I haven’t meant to be accusatory, and I’m sorry if I’m giving unwanted opinions.

          • Tom

            You two raise a good point. In the balance between loving sinners and pointing out their sins, the latter one tends to have more negative emotional impact than the former has positive impact. In other words, if you are going to point out someone’s sin, then to balance it out with love, you need to throw in a very large amount of love into the mix.

            But this does not mean that Christians should never discuss the definition of sin, or assess sin or criticise sin. Some Christians shrink in the face of this issue, ultimately deciding not to weigh into to it, and claiming that it’s not their place to judge. But it seems to me that in terms of what is permitted in Christian community, Christians are actually required to judge. 1 Corinthians chapter 5 indicates that sincere Christians should not associate with those who call themselves Christians but who are seriously corrupted by sin, specifically those in sexual sin (note this does not apply to associating with non-Christians). And in Revelation chapter 2, the indication is that Christians are required to not tolerate teachers who lead others into sexual sin. Christians are supposed to “judge correctly” (John 7:24) and to encourage other Christians to be holy (Gal 6:1-5, James 5:19-20, Titus 1:13) rather than ignoring the sin. Christians are not supposed to judge non-christians though (1 Cor 5:12).

          • Craggs

            Thanks Tom, I find your comment encouraging, and yes, I reckon we should ‘weigh in’ with love and respect. And for those of us who are ignorant and narrow minded, hopefully we’ll learn along the way.

          • RPT34

            Hi Craggs!

            We aren’t ignorant and narrow minded. Hold on to what you believe about the Bible; you are right! The most loving thing we can do for homosexuals, adulterers, etc. is to tell them that they need to repent.

          • Craggs

            Hi RPT34

            I think part of the argument was about non practising homosexuals, who have no need to repent as they haven’t sinned if they’re not practising. One point being made was that they still consider themselves homosexuals. That’s how they identify themselves. But on a deeper level, we all need to repent, not of what we do, but what we are. I’m not a sinner because I sin. I sin because I am a sinner.

          • Jeff

            Tom, there are a few flaws in the verses you quoted. In 1 Cor 5, he is specifically calling out the church for allowing the man who slept with his father’s wife. True, this might be considered Christians sexual sin, but in NO WAY suggests any same-sex relationship. In Revelation 2, it is so filled with symbolism and allegory, that I am surprised anyone can pull out something meaningingfull. However, in this passage, specific charges against specific churches are being asserted. My assumption is that you are talking about the address to the church of Thyatira and following the leader named Jezebel who has led the people there into committing adultery — again, very different from homosexuality, but still a sexual sin. Jesus, in John 7:24, speaks about those calling him out for “working” on the Sabbath and says to “judge” on important things, which probably has an entirely different meaning than the context to which we are speaking about judgement here and has NOTHING to do with sexual sin or homosexuality. And 1 Cor 5:12 speaks to church discipline for believers, not any kind of carte blanche judgement. When you talk about church discipline, it is meant to help the church with members and believers only.

            PLEASE quit taking scripture out of context to fit your point, which is not something you alone are guilty of! I get tired of people taking specific lines of scripture to fit a point — like theirs is the ONLY way a line of scripture can be interpreted. If you give the same verses of scripture to 30 different pastors, they will give you 30 different sermons on it. This is the beauty of the Bible — that depending on your context and experience and your OWN faith, the Bible is deeply revealing and personally meaningful. My interpretation of any given lines is also personal.
            So if I choose to start in on those who imbibe alcohol (and I can find as many passages that relate to alcohol as I can find those that mention sexual immorality — Proverbs 23:20-21, Romans 13:13, 1 Cor 5:11, 1 Cor 6:9-10, Gal 6:19-21 — just to name a few) does that mean that we should start ranting and raving against those who choose to go to bars or frequent liquor stores? Should I hold signs and protest at AA meetings because “those people” are abominations to God? Is this my own personal agenda against a group of people that really are “choosing” to sin, because none of us are born to become alcoholics. And how many people that drink would dismiss me as silly and judgemental for behaving this way?

            We can choose adultery if you would rather keep the conversation to sexual sin. According to the Bible, anyone divorced and remarried is committing adultery. That’s about half the nation at this point. Should we protest and picket at divorce court for those abominations?

            How is this any different from the judgement of what YOU consider sexual sin? WE ALL SIN. The point Micah was trying to make is that when we start calling out others for their sin, we are forgetting they are no different from us.

          • Tom

            Thanks Jeff. Yes, you are right that 1 Cor. 5, Rev. 2, John 7:24 do not imply same-sex relationships. Sorry, I didnt mean to imply that those verses refer to same-sex relationships. Although my post did refer to homosexual relationships, my post and my reference to those verses was more about the concept of Christian judgement in general.

            “should [we] start ranting and raving against those who choose to go to bars or frequent liquor stores? Should I hold signs and protest at AA meetings because those people are abominations to God?” No, I would not advocate doing that. And neither do I advocate doing that to homosexuals. I dont think those verses advocate doing that in response to the sin of others, no matter what the sin is. There is a difference between turning a blind eye to the sin of other Christians, and to responding Biblically to the sin of other Christians, and to the extremes of going all ‘Westboro’, so to speak.

            Im not so sure that Micah was advocating against calling out others for their sin, in general. I think he was saying that it’s unjust and unloving to treat homosexuals as ‘sinners’ or outsiders, while treating those who engage in other sins as being “one of us”.

            If you have a read of my post again, and maybe even Micah’s post, Id be interested in your feedback if you read it with new eyes, so to speak. I suspect the three of us agree on more than you initially thought. I certainly agree that we are all sinners.

          • Tom

            omgosh. I wrote a detailed reply but it’s vanished. Ugh. Ok – take 2…

            Sorry I did not mean to imply that 1 Cor. 5, Rev. 2, John 7:24 were passages about same-sex relationships. Perhaps read my post again. Those references were to illustrate the question of whether a Christian should judge other Christians, especially for sexual sin in general. So I dont think I was taking those scriptures out of context?

            You ask “should [we] start ranting and raving against those who choose to go to bars or frequent liquor stores? Should I hold signs and protest at AA meetings because those people are abominations to God?” No, I dont think Christians are called to necessarily rant and rave or picket. There is a difference between turning a blind eye to sin, and responding Biblically to sin, and there is a difference between that and going all Westboro.

          • Tiffani

            Hey Craggs. I think it would be very beneficial to you to remember to draw the distinction between orientation and behavior here. When you say “homosexuality is a sin”, you’re failing to do that. Orientation is not something that a person can change, be they straight or gay or bi. Behavior is what we have control over, and what we can label as sinful in the case of homosexual behavior. But a gay person who never acts on same-sex attraction is still a gay person, and that’s not something they can change about themselves, behavior notwithstanding.

          • Craggs

            Yes Tiffani, I do appreciate what you are saying, and I do agree with you. But look, if you don’t mind me pondering here: This seems to be where homosexuality differs from other ‘behaviours’ (please indulge me here)
            If I was a thief, who is not stealing any more, am I still a thief?
            No. But yes, if I steal, and only when I steal.
            If I am gay, who is not acting on that impulse any more, am I still gay? Does the same apply?

            The desire to steal may still be there. but I’m not a thief unless I steal. Is it the same as far as God is concerned with someone who is gay?

            Sexual desire is far stronger though than the desire to steal. Maybe it was no wonder that the Apostle Paul said, “Flee sexual immorality”.

            I don’t think God cares how many times a person indulges in a sexual pleasure that’s outside of the hetrosexual man-woman marriage relationship, if that person gets up and says, this is not what I really want for me.

            Ok, I’m hitting the post button

          • Meredith

            Sexual orientation is not a choice. Yes, you’re still gay if you choose celibacy, because if you had a relationship, it would be same-sex. Now, consider this: as a Christian, you have committed to loving your neighbor, right? So part of that neighborly love, that “agape” we all strive for, is the compassion and respect we give others by listening and believing their truth. I will pray that your understanding of the way sexual orientation works will be expanded.

          • Michael Cordima

            Any action made in life is a choice. Stop making up your own truth please. Everything is a choice or you do not believe in free will or chastity. I am a lustful man, but I have not had sex in 13 years because of God’s grace and His Holy Spirit (despite many opportunities that the enemy sent to me). Don’t believe in lies that lead us into bondage of the flesh. Believe and put your focus onto Christ and all of these things will go away. You will become a new person, a spiritual person, not concerned with fleshy things and “rights” to do whatever you want to do in the sight of God. Jesus was NOT a minister of sin (any sin) according to Paul.

          • Danie Bello

            Not trying to be rude here but I could be 100 years old and never have touched a man in my life, had sex with many women, got married to a woman and had children and yet if in my mind I am attracted to men and not women I would still be considered absolutely 100% gay.

          • SurferMom2

            Actually Danie you can label yourself whatever you want. I have sinful tendencies like everyone else has. Having a sexual tendency towards the same sex is no different than wanting to have that drink for an alcoholic or getting another peak into that porn flick for the sex addict. We are born of sin and want to sin. By brining your tendencies to the light you are expressing you need help! I too struggled with feelings towards women, and lived in it like it was the greatest time of my life. But I was deeply convicted over time and I was at a very low point of my life towards that period of my life. It took some time to realize that God truly had some amazing plans for me and I had to be the one to make the changes, to start my relationship with Him by just reading a few verses, attending some church, being loved by people who were going to accepting to me no matter where I came from. Once you surrender your life and let God take you through HIS plan and stop living your own, I promise you it will be worthwhile.

          • Heather Smith

            And Danie, I lived that miserable life (not to 100, but to 38 and it was hard enough). I never touched a woman, I was married to a man and had two beautiful kids, but in my heart of hearts, I knew I was a lesbian.

          • Michael Cordima

            I have seen God change sexual orientation three times now during ministry. What you believe is a lie.

          • Catholic teen musician

            You see tiffani, orientation is changeable, and that is a fact, thousands of people have converted from Gay or Bi to be heterosexual. What is not a fact is that you are born gay, or that you cannot change it.

          • Danie Bello

            You forget to note the failure rate of those conversions is EXTREMELY high and many result in severe depression, self destructive behavior, severe mental trauma, and in many cases SUICIDE. And let me assure you those who do successfully “convert” are living a LIE as they are simply going back into the closet.

          • Dave Dornbush

            Actually that isn’t true. There are some who ‘claim’ to be converted, but are merely living as a heterosexual. Kind of like putting on a mask to not only other people but yourself as well. Many of those that ‘claim’ to be ‘delivered’ have made a living out of it by giving seminars and being paid to give their ‘testimony’. The vast majority though will tell you that they are still gay, because it is unchangeable, they have simply chosen to masquerade (lie) as a heterosexual. And there is much, much research, scientific and historical, to support that your sexual orientation is an epigenetic occurrence. The only thing that ‘ex-gay’ therapy has really brought overwhelmingly to LGBT and their families is heartache and despair as so many end up either taking their own lives or attempting it.

          • Heather Smith

            Anyone can “convert” in the manner that they now sleep with people of the opposite sex. This in NO way makes them straight; the 38 years I spent as “straight” we a sham. I can say to you with complete confidence that the vast majority of those “converts” are now living a miserable existence, having clandestine affairs or are on the brink of suicide. Changing the person with whom you are having sex/relations has absolutely NOTHING to do with your natural-born, God-given orientation.

          • Meredith

            You asked: “What should I do if I wake up one day with a desire for a same sex sexual relationship?” You won’t, because people are born with a sexual orientation, whether straight, gay, bi, or asexual. It simply does not work the way you think it does.

          • Craggs

            Ok Meredith so you’re saying that being homosexual is a result of nature and not nurture. So one isn’t a sinner for being homosexual. But they are if they indulge in a homosexual act? Is that how you see it? Also, are there some people who are homosexual as a result of nurture?

          • SurferMom2

            Yep, you’re right! we are all born to sin but we also need to understand that we have a choice in those feelings. Just because it feels good does not mean it’s meant for you to act on it.

          • Danie Bello

            How many people have to say this for people to finally get it through their thick skulls, loving someone or being sexuality attracted to someone who happens to be of the same sex is no more of a choice than it is for you of the opposite sex. And you see, I don’t care if you count it as sin because there’s this wonderful thing in is country called separation of church and state where your “personal religious beliefs” do not and should not impact how I live my life as a consensual adult in a loving relationship.

          • SurferMom2

            I’m so glad you said that Danie because you’re right…there should be separate of state and religion. And since Marriage is an act God created that was created for Man and a woman it should not be allowed in the church (religion). I know I’m starting to sound like a complete hater, I get that. What I’m tired of is that our society keeps making exceptions to things that are clearly WRONG and we have all sorts of enabling activities that condones this LIFESTYLE.. yes it’s a lifestyle, a choice, you choose to sleep with the same sex. Just take it as it is! Don’t sugar coat it! Love it NOT a feeling..it’s an ACT! I would have more respect for someone who was gay and said, “I want to change…that is what Jesus did for the prostitute. He saw her and said go and stop sinning” He did not say…I love you and will support your prostitution. NO!

            1 Corinthians 13:4-8

            4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

            Did you read the part of “It does not delight in Evil? How about it does not BOAST or is self seeking? Christians are SCREAMING STOP because we love you too much!! That is why we are angry…a righteous anger because we don’t want you to delight in evil anymore! You will make your bed and lay in it but when judgment day comes and God asks, why did you not turn from your evil ways just as he will ask me, you cannot say you were not warned. Go in peace. I truly pray for healing in your heart and I do pray my heart will soften as well.

          • Heather Smith

            Craggs you’re one of the first people who has stated that they believe homosexuality is a sin that hasn’t immediately made me angry ;) I was brought up in a very loving, Christian home where I was taught that homosexuality was a sin, therefor, when I realized that I, myself was one of those dreaded entities, I beat myself up with trying to fix it, trying to change it, trying to pray it away (because obviously, if it’s sin, you change the behaviour). I married a man, had two wonderful children and lived a painful, empty existence. I took it as “gospel” that it was a sin, that I’d suffer if I gave in to that particular sin. Then, somewhere along the line, I started studying. What if it wasn’t a sin? What if the teeny, tiny handful of verses that had condemned me for years were being misinterpreted (or worse yet, perverted – whether out of actual concern or blatantly ignoring)? Years of study helped enlighten me to the fact that there is not one set, solid belief on this issue. There are many people (far more educated and intelligent than myself) who believe that the gay bashing verses are not what they appear – that they are, in fact, condemning pedophilia, rape, temple prostitution, etc. Please do continue to read and make the decision based on what you believe in your heart to be right – not what you may have heard from the pulpit for most of your life. Thank you for staying somewhat open minded and taking on this challenge. I admire you for that.

          • Craggs

            Point taken Heather in everything you said. Doesn’t change me at the moment, but it doesn’t need too either. You may be right, or you may be wrong. We each have to live with our own conscience, and you sound like you’re on good ground as far as that goes. Thanks for your comment

        • RPT34

          Micah, why did you delete my comment? I didn’t say anything in hate; you say that you want this space to be safe for homosexuals, but this space should be free for Christians.

      • RPT34

        Craggs,

        I agree with what you said. Christ calls us to be bold; He did not stone the woman in adultery but did tell her to go and sin no more.

  • http://bethmorey.blogspot.com/ Beth

    Yes. Yes!!!

  • Tim M

    “I am a sinner.

    But before I was a sinner, I was created in the image of God. While sin has twisted and smudged that image, it can’t erase it. Sin, my sin, is so terrible that it killed Jesus. But it doesn’t define me any longer. I am a new creation.”

    Because it doesn’t define you any longer, I think that you are no longer “a sinner,” even though you still commit sin. I think the identity category of “sinner” for the Christian has been replaced with maybe “co-heir with Christ,” or something else redemptively biblical, hehe

  • Sue Long

    If you’ve only been saying love the sinner hate the sin about gays then yes, you have been in the wrong – personally I try to love everyone no matter their sin of choice. Everyone is born a sinner and everyone needs to accept Christ if they are going to be cleansed of their sin. I think the only reason some people feel this is only directed at homosexuals is because a large part of the homosexual community is on prominent display in so many arenas of life right now, so it is going to be addressed more so than other areas of sin. Abortion is a sin also and I feel we need to love the sinner in that respect as well. Admittedly I am far from perfect and have a hard time loving the abortion providers (I think because I feel they know what they are doing is wrong – not an excuse, just an observation) but my heart goes out to all the women that have had or are considering having an abortion. So many of them are deceived into thinking there’s nothing wrong with it, “it’s just a blob of tissue”. And they are in an emotionally hard place, easily manipulated. So I say love them, even though we hate the sin in their case as well…this is just one other example. How are people going to come to Christ if they don’t even know they need a savior?

  • Sue Long

    1 Corinthians
    5:11

  • http://www.jesusreligionphilosophy.com/ John Hundley

    Thanks for that. I have had a little bit different experience. I am still a sinner, “one who sins,” and am also a trusting follower of Jesus. People struggle with all kinds of things. I do too. So I love the people around me, because I am really no better in the eyes of God than they. We are all created on the same level of amazing-ness to God. And I do recognize that, while holding “conservative” views on morality in love and grace and justice and peace, I am growing in my love for God, and growing in my love for my neighbor, whatever his or her opinion or particular struggle.

    Perhaps most people don’t identify with this because they do not have deep conversations with very many people. Most of us have no idea what the people around us are struggling with. Unless of course the person’s main self-identity is his or her sexual life, and not his or being a follower of the Way of Jesus. Believe me, as one who talks deeply with a lot of people from all sorts of walks of life, everybody struggles with stuff. Big time.

    So I can say that I really actually do love the sinner, no matter who he or she is, and I really do see the misstep, no matter what it is, and see it as causing the eating away of my friend’s peace and love and joy and self-control. I do those things too, but I identify myself, first and foremost, as one loved by God. And can look all of my brothers and sisters in the eye and say, you are one loved by God.

  • Alena Belleque

    This was a moving post. I have a (sincere, lest it need be said) question: How do we follow Christ’s example in that He did say “go and sin no more” to those in sin, while simultaneously loving them in real and active ways? How do we do that today? How do we point people back to Jesus, without adopting either self-righteousness or an attitude of “anything goes”? Where and how does accountability come into the picture?

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      I think “How do we love people in real and active ways?” should be the starting point for much of Christian living, because loving your neighbor is the Second Greatest Commandment as well as the sum of the law and the prophets.

      The answer to that, I think, is simpler and more holistic than we often imagine. How do we love sinners? The same way we love anyone: Spend time with them. Care about the things they care about. Celebrate their joys and mourn their losses with them. Eat with them. Drink with them. Help them. Let them help you. Watch Netflix together. Pray together. Be friends.

      Doing all that with the love of Jesus flowing through you WILL point people back to Jesus. There seems to be this disclaimer in the church that the most loving thing you can do is warn people that they’re in sin. But without the context of relationship, that warning probably isn’t going to do much good. To me, that disclaimer seems to be an excuse, because it’s easier to say “your sex life is sinful” and call that love than it is to actually do the work of developing loving friendships with people.

      I’m not really afraid that we’re in much risk of adopting an attitude of “anything goes”. But I don’t think accountability should be the starting point of relationships. Trust is earned.

      • Alena Belleque

        Thank you for your reply!

        Relationship is absolutely key to anything we do outside of our own persons. And I totally agree that without relationship, there can be no accountability, and words of concern are likely to fall on deaf and possibly (probably?) hostile ears.

        Maybe a better question is this…

        How do we form relationships with people who, because of their experience with or expectations of Christians, may not be open to just…friendship? Who insist on discussing our differing beliefs, etc? Who can’t…just be friends?

        I have relationships in my life that I value, people that I love dearly, who won’t speak to me because I can’t say to them, “I don’t think there’s anything morally wrong with sexuality that is outside of a heterosexual marriage relationship.”

        Does how you approach this differ whether you are talking about someone who is or is not a fellow Christian?

        • JClyde

          I have to say that this is a truly tricky situation (one that I have found myself in with my brother and sometimes my dad). The reality is, no one should FORCE you to change your view by giving you an ultimatum. The reality is that most evangelicals would probably have the same issue when a Mormon or a Jewish person asked the same question. Its tricky to be in a relationship with someone who demands compliance with their viewpoint. For me I had to learn (and I am still learning) that I can disagree and still love and be loved. I suggest letting your friend (or potential friend) know that your thoughts on the subject are not central to your friendship with them and that your faith is important to you. For me, it clicked when I saw how much compassion and respect my family had for me an my partner REGARDLESS of their views. The truth is that it is hard to feel “safe” with someone when you think that they are judging who you are at all times. You have to let your friend know that you don’t base your relationship with them around these kind of issues. The greatest thing my brother ever said to me was, “you know something, I struggle with what I believe sometimes because its not quite as simple as I used to think it was, but it doesn’t make me love you any less”. Be blessed.

          • Alena Belleque

            Thank you so much for sharing your perspective and experience! The main people that come to mind when I think of this are two of my younger siblings. One of them came out as gay six years ago, and every single time we speak or see each other, he insists on discussing it from every angle possible, and won’t rest until once again I explain my belief. I always ALWAYS tell him that I love him regardless of my beliefs, that my beliefs would never ever be reason for me to be unkind or in his business, and that he is always welcome here, etc. But it doesn’t seem to make a difference. And this past Christmas, he flat out told me that unless I would validate his sexuality I am a toxic influence in his life, and refuses to even speak to me anymore. My other sibling came out a year ago as transgender and gay, and went on the offensive right off the bat, refusing to talk to me at all, and is incredibly hostile toward me for the simple virtue of me being a Christian. I just…I don’t know what to do. I love my siblings, and I want very much to just be their sister, but they won’t let me, because of my faith, even though I don’t preach at them, or offer unsolicited opinions or advice. *sad*

          • JClyde

            Oh my goodness that, to me, seems unfair of them (no disrespect to them of course). But I will admit that I go through it myself with my family. Like another example…I’m getting married in 2014 and my dad is a pastor. He married both my brothers and my cousins and pretty much any stranger who pays him to officiate but he has (through my mom) asked that I not ask him to officiate. Now I 100% support his convictions but I can’t pretend it doesnt sting. And as a result the relationship has this extra component of complicated feelings in the mix. Same with my brother. I find myself trying to get him to tell me one way or the other just because I think I personify all the hatred I feel towards me from the church into these people who I know and love and I feel like I can confront the “Boogie Man” by using my family as a surrogate. I try not to but it seems to creep into my heart naturally. Give your siblings time. Its not fair to force you to change your belief in an instant but if you continue to show love to them (as Jesus would), they will come around (although six years is a long time). Sometimes you have to love people even when they are unkind to you and nothing can be more Christ-like than that. Be blessed.

          • Alena Belleque

            That’s basically what I’ve been thinking. There’s really nothing I can do to make them see my heart, so I am trying to just…turn the other cheek, I guess. It’s hard from 2/3 of the way across the country, as I feel like they won’t ever see these aren’t just words, as they don’t actually see me in person (until this Christmas, one came to see me yearly, but I haven’t seen the other in…four years, about).

            I’m sorry that your family dynamic hurts you, sometimes. I’m glad that you are aware of that so easy tendency to vilify, and fight against it. I know it’s hard. I have things in my history that tend to attract judgement, and it can be very hard to respond as Christ would, and not from my wounded emotions. Relationships are the best and the worst, aren’t they?

            Thank you for chatting with me. It helps to gain a little perspective, and to simply talk about these things with someone else, sometimes. May you be blessed, as well ♥

          • big hair

            JClyde,

            Just wanted to drop a quick note about your comment “I can’t pretend it didn’t sting”. My crazy,bi-polar,judgmental, dysfunctional family are all God fearing Christians and we love each other. At times we don’t speak to each other for a short time because of being offending. So at times we “sting” each other. It happens. People sting each other no matter who they are. Keep loving your father as it sounds like you do.

      • RPT34

        Micah, my comment was important. I ask you please to reinstate that comment because I was telling the truth. Please stop heavily censoring my comments.

        • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

          You weren’t saying anything that everyone here hasn’t already heard a hundred times. As I mentioned, I will continue to delete – at my discretion – any comments that distract from the topic of the post or make this place feel unsafe for my readers.

          • RPT34

            Please reconsider; many people lurk and might just have found this website. My post in response was very relevant because this person began the topic.

  • blue57

    Micah,

    I love your love and compassion for others. You sense how some Christians treat homosexuals is spot on, and the Holy Spirit is nudging your heart about this. I think though a look at the phrase you don’t like is important. “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” I think the phrase was coined to address that as Christians, we are called to love others unconditionally which includes with love and not counting sins against people (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). The second part of the phrase “hate the sin” refers to the fact that God truly hates sin, and we should hate sin. We are not above God on that. You don’t have to use the phrase, but I wanted to show that the phrase isn’t the enemy. It is how people say it. In other words, what are their heart’s intentions? If we are truly called to love others then we shouldn’t count their sins against them or condemn them. But, Jesus does calls us to repent our sins which means to acknowledge to God that our sin is wrong. Repentance means having a turn of heart, a 180. So, every single person must repent of their sin which is outlined in the New Testament as sin which includes adultery, stealing, gossiping, coveting other’s possessions, murdering, homosexual actions, deceit, greed, drunkenness, etc. We all must repent of our sin. When we do, we are forgiven by Jesus Christ. I must add that homosexuals should not be seen as the “sinners” of the hour. They are people, and everyone should treat them as people.

  • http://www.newbyathome.blogspot.com/ Catie

    Hi. I read this post a few days ago and since then have been chewing on it. :) This may seem extremely daft of me, but I wonder if you could just be REALLY clear on what it is you’re saying? Are you saying that you love everyone no matter what, but you still don’t agree with sin (homosexuality, in this case), or are you saying that you love everyone and you’ve decided that homosexuality isn’t a sin?

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      What I’m saying here isn’t about whether or not I think homosexuality is a sin. My whole point is that sin shouldn’t determine love. The debate about what is sin is not what I want in this space right now.

      • Marcia Coan

        You are so right, Micah. We shouldn’t debate about what sin is because that isn’t what Jesus said we should do. We aren’t supposed to judge anyone, simple message, end of story. If we hope to be, strive to be part of HIS kingdom on earth, our focus should be what is in our heart and what comes out of our mouth. I believe Jesus wanted that to be LOVE and forgiveness for everyone.

      • Ariel

        Your article is beautiful. Thank you! For some reason though, it seems to support the phrase “love the sinner, hate the sin”.

        • N8

          “Love the person, hate the sin.”

          • Paul

            How about just loving the person and letting God worry about the sin?

          • Joe Z

            Because the Bible does tell us to hate sin.

            “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. – Romans 12″

            And it holds true to the sin within ourselves. We wouldn’t see the need for Christ and His grace, if we aren’t convicted by our own state of desolation caused by our sinful nature.

            A new man in Christ, must learn to put off the old continually, and abhor sin. But I point out, we can never “reach” a state of being sinless. Christ’s grace, has given us a new identity, because we are sinful. There will be no need for Christ otherwise.

            Jesus Himself said that no man is without sin.

            I agree with the author’s point that the phrase, “Love the sinner, hate the sin” is a very condescending, judgmental way of approaching ANYONE.

            It’s condemning one’s person-hood, by actively/solely identifying him/her as “sinner”, as if to distance ourselves from “them”. As if to say, “I am not as ‘sinful’ as them. Thus I will extend love to them, in spite of how sinful they are.”

            The truth is, I am a sinner just as much anyone else is. There is no greater sin than another.

            The Bible talks about anyone hating another, as the equivalent of a murderer/liar. Today from a secular point of view, we condemn murder in absolution, even calling for “justice” by committing even more bloodshed through the penalty of death. But a lie isn’t met with such extremity in secular terms.

            But the truth is, in comparison to the Father’s holiness, ALL have fallen short. Liars, murderers, etc.

            But the grace that exists in Christ has restored us, and called us to “go and sin no more.”

            And we shouldn’t be afraid to DISCERN, and EVALUATE the sin that exists — in ourselves especially — with the same love, grace and kindness, as Jesus did.

            There is a different between judging someone, and discernment. Judging is to condemn, to take a position of authority, and nonacceptance.

            Discernment is to be able to evaluate what is good from what is wrong, without seeing the need to condemn, or alienate.

            When Jesus healed, or like the above, restored redemption to the woman who was dragged out to be tried, he addressed her sin, by saying “Go and sin no more.”

            Note He did not pretend that her sin was non-existent.

            It was not out of judgement, but discernment of the things that she was being condemned for, by other sinners.

            This encounter was to emphasize that no man who wanted to stone the woman, was without sin. All had fallen short of His holiness, thus not one could make a judgment, from the position of authority they deluded themselves into thinking they had attained.

          • Cat Marcuri

            Furthermore, the law stated that BOTH parties to adultery were to be punished by death. Why was only the WOMAN brought before Jesus? More to the point, you are to judge your OWN sin, NOT OTHERS’ SINS. You don’t have the right to judge. End of statement. YOU DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO JUDGE OTHERS. And that is probably the biggest message of that story right there. YOU DO NOT HAVE THAT RIGHT. So quit judging, and go worry about your OWN souls, leave others to do the same.

          • Mic

            Actually, Christians have the duty to lovingly confront our brothers and sister in Christ on their sin. Christians should not judge those who are not under the same law.
            In Andy Stanley’s words, “judge the believen, not the heathen.”

      • LC

        I think you are missing the point that while Jesus did eat with sinners and see them as people with names, etc…he never condoned their sinful behavior. He was engaging them in a winsome way so that they would repent. People who think Jesus’ main message on earth was “Love thy neighbor” are so missing the point and it grieves me. Christ’s main purpose wasn’t even to teach or heal. It was to die a substitutionary death for those tax collectors, prostitutes, etc so that He would be glorified and they could have freedom from their sins.

        • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

          Jesus didn’t come primarily to satisfy God though substituionary death. He came to reveal God, and to inaugurate the Kingdom in which Love is the law.

          • LC

            If you can’t see the main point of Jesus life on earth, I’m not sure there is anything more I can say to you. As I said before, love doesn’t condone sin. It exposes it with kindness so that true repentance, forgiveness and healing can take place.

          • http://www.facebook.com/ronlh Ron L. Harmon

            I agree L C.

          • Randy Miller

            Surely atonement is as important, at least, as revealing God? What would be the point of being shown the Kingdom, if we were still out of reach of it?

        • http://www.facebook.com/ronlh Ron L. Harmon

          Amen L C.

          • Cat Marcuri

            I think you’re all agreeing with L.C. simply because that’s what you WANT Jesus to have meant. In reality, you’re trying to become Israelites, and will reject the teachings of Christ (you know, the guy who Christianity was named for) in order to push your own hates and fears. Jesus TOLD you not to judge, yet here you are, judging. Shame on you for abusing the teachings of a man of love and hope and acceptance. Do what HE said, and quit worrying about how Paul sold the faith to the Gentiles, and how the Jewish God demanded that his people lived. If you’re going to be a follower of Christ, then FOLLOW HIM! Where did he tell you to demean others, do your best to make them feel bad about themselves, then beat them over the head with what YOU think they should do? The ultimate judgment will be GOD’S, not YOURS. So MYOB, and make sure YOU are measuring up to the standards set by Jesus Christ. Let others make their own decision, because your rulings are NOT impartial. Shame on you all.

          • Clint Deleshaw

            God will not be the judge, Jesus will. Read the Bible again.

          • Justin

            John 10:30

            “I and the Father are one”. God will be the Judge.

      • Jeremy Adkison

        Ehhh, as the gay person I have to go -_-, still believing someone’s basic dignity is counterfeit, and against a creator god’s design when we were clearly designed this way, can never translate as love. It is intrinsically a part of the very belief system that causes all the harm that you are responding to. There’s no inbetween, not where I stand.

    • Jake Harris

      Catie, here is what I got out of Micah’s article, which was very thought-provoking and informative by the way: everyone is loved by God. By definition, we should love everyone as God does, regardless of sexual orientation. The people who are gay/lesbian choose to follow God, even if those that discriminate against them see them as sinners. However, whether it is a sin or not isn’t the point. You still make a pact with God on living by his teachings. I will use myself as an example: I am not gay; however, I choose a lifestyle that is slightly out of line with my religion. I simply choose my own path, even if I know that the teachings of my church are true. Whether the choices I make are wrong or not, that isn’t the point. I still live a life loving God and believing his teachings. I will defend my religion if it takes on criticism. I pray, I communicate, and I still follow many other commandments God gives out. Some call out scripture at me: “No man can serve two masters”. But is it me trying to serve two masters, really? I live my life the way I am happy with, while keeping an open love for my religion. The way I see it, is that I am living a life in devotion to God, but in my own way. Someone who is gay does the same thing. The the standards I live, I should have the same fate as someone who is gay. Is it a sin? Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. Personally, I don’t see a difference when it comes to the definition of a person. Being gay isn’t the defining portion of a person. To me, what defines a person is how much good you have done in your life; regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or your favorite tea in China. I have made peace with God regarding my lifestyle. I accept any punishments I might have in the next life. Why is that someone else’s problem? Why do people need to associate me as a sinner when I just might have a better grasp on our religion than they do? I argue the same can be applied to anyone who is gay. I may not be very comfortable around the topic, but I never turn a blind eye to someone who is in need of help. When you really want to help someone, you tend to forget those kinds of things and you focus more on the definition of that person. Not the characterization.

  • big hair

    Micha, I believe that this saying is for haters who can not separate the sin from the sinner. We are all sinners and I don’t believe “love the sinner; hate the sin” is saying that we are better. Like you said we are sinners…all of us. This is simply just a guide line/reminder for Christians not to hate someone because they struggle with a sin that is different from the sin you or I struggle with. I do not believe this was meant to sound condescending but rather to get Christians back in line with the word of God.

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      Perhaps it wasn’t meant to sound condescending, but it does sound condescending and unloving to those we’re claiming to love. Having realized that, we need to choose whether we’re going to keep saying it our change our ways of speaking and thinking to reflect the love we intend.

    • Jordan Petersen

      Yes, we are all sinners big hair, but labeling someones sexuality as a sin is different than someone who sins by stealing, because unlike stealing, sexuality isn’t a choice. Therefore you label the gay person as a sinner and they have no way of changing that. So in their eyes they will forever be a sinner and then a horrible and self-destructive mindset begins which can lead many gays and lesbians to take their lives.

  • ithinktoomuch

    This post went into my bookmarks. Thank you so much for writing this piece of pure gold.

  • Cali

    This is beautifully put, but my thoughts are that you won’t be able to stop thinking of them as a “sinner” until you stop seeing it as a “sin.” It’s more than just a desire for sex, it’s about wanting and needing human connection at that level. I don’t see how that could possibly be a sin. And if it is, then I disagree completely with whoever or whatever says it is.

    • Heather Smith

      Well said Cali – and something that has long been on my mind. It’s great if someone wants to “love” us regardless of our sin but the real victory will be when they realize that our love isn’t a sin that they have to overlook.

    • I love Lucy

      Thank you, Cali! The author made several great points, but he still seems to equate homosexuality with sin, and as long as it is viewed this way, LGBTQ people will continue to feel ‘othered’ and excluded from the church. It’s strange that he seems to affirm that people are born gay, but still
      views being gay as a sin. I don’t think you can have it both ways. As a non-heterosexual person myself, I finished this article feeling like, ‘well, that was lovely, but I still feel a bit condemned.’ As Heather said, true separation from the ‘love the sinner/hate the sin’ mentality will only occur when when we reject (loudly and openly) the classification of homosexuality as a sin entirely.

    • singingsoprano

      Well, I’m not sure about that. At some point we make decisions about how we live our lives that people may or may not agree with, may or may not consider sin. For example, I divorced my first husband, and then married a divorced man–who happens to be Hindu. I have been known to drink a glass of wine. There are many who consider my life sinful. Their prerogative, really.

      I still expect them to treat me respectfully, and love me as a person (even one who loves a non-believer). I even expect them to treat my beloved with respect and kindness (even if they think we both might be on the quick path to hell, toasting each other along the way). Much in the same way, they may believe that people who live together and have children together are “living in sin”, they are still expected to behave decently towards them, their significant others and their children. Most do. I don’t know. I know that it’s not about “choices” but it is so very much about how we talk to each other, treat each other. Whether any of it’s a sin or not? God’s problem. Not mine.

      I know I need his mercy, for my own character issues, my own nature, my own pride. If His grace is sufficient for me, it’s sufficient for you. He’ll work on me until I die, I’m sure he’ll work on the things he’s concerned about in you.

      As it stands, I’m not fluent in Greek or Hebrew, and I wasn’t there to hear the voice of the Almighty as things were being “inspired”, so I’ll take what I can wrap my head around, and trust he’ll take care of the rest.

    • lorimav

      So perhaps when a married man and woman married to a different man feel a desire to connect on a human level, then that isn’t a sin either?

    • sheila

      then you disagree with God because he is the one that said it

  • Michael Cordima

    Why do Christians these days treat this issue with kid gloves? Homosexuals sin just like the rest of us, yes, but they are SO focused on their sin and their right to do it that they not only disobey the Bible, they have gone beyond their original design and intended purpose as they were created in the pursuit of “pleasure”. The worst part about articles like this is that they imply that chastity is not an option for anyone, yet we are all meant to be more like Christ at the same time. This is MADNESS, not logic, not theology and certainly not spirituality of any kind which leads us AWAY from the flesh and its desires in marriage or out of it. Or what I like to call the perverted gospel.

  • Michael R Packham

    Most of the people in my congregation don’t know I’m gay. I wouldn’t hesitate to answer “yes” if anyone asked, but I really don’t think it matters much. I’m first a Son of God, second a servant of God to his children. Being gay is just a small part of what I am. Most of them don’t know I do watercolor or make my own yogurt. But they DO know that I greet them with a smile and a handshake every Sunday, that I’m quick to respond when there are needs. Would they think differently of me if they knew those details of my life? Watercolor? No. Yogurt? No. Gay? I’d like to think not. The few that do know have even been more inclusive and loving to me.

    Your essay is powerful. It teaches us all to look past others’ appearances, actions, weaknesses, and trials and just see the child of God. Then we can work together to strengthen each other in our faith.

  • Guest

    Perhaps the problem with this all is referring to homosexuality as a “sin” at all. Even if everyone stopped referring to LGBT people as “sinners” doesn’t mean that they’d be any more welcome into Christianity without depriving themselves of their unchosen romantic attractions and striving in vain to become straight.

  • Kamis Dewey

    I love that the scriptures say, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” and not “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” Thank you for reaffirming that … it is our job to love and serve others. Not punish, not judge. That is God’s job. Leave it to Him.

  • Jordan Petersen

    THANK YOU. As a gay person, I’d get this from church goers all the time and since sexuality cannot be separated from the self I felt like I was being condemned and my spirit ached and I felt distrust and hurt towards the church. I felt like they could never understand me when they said that.

    Thanks for getting it.

    • I love Lucy

      Thank you, Jordan, I completely agree. I too have spent a great deal of time praying, reflecting, and self-examining. In the end God helped me to understand and accept myself, but not only that, He filled me with the sense that He wants me to be happy and find someone to share my life with. Doing so will not be living a life of sin. I love what you said about our desires being a gift from God that should not be hidden or wasted out of shame and fear; we too are God’s creation, and to be ashamed of or disgusted by that is to say God made a mistake when creating us.

      • CogDis

        Are you guys in jeopardy of losing your LDS membership?

  • Truth.

    The whole idea of “hate the sin, love the sinner” was to start the process of gay and lesbian tolerance. Don’t take something that was meant to do good and tear it down. While I agree with you, I still don’t find it hard to say it when I have to remind friends that gay people are still people just like us. I will continue to use this phrase; whether it be with gay people or with rapists.

  • Shaed Greenwood

    The problem with “love the sinner, hate the sin” rhetoric is that calling a person’s capacity for romantic love “sin” is messed up. The problem is that you are referring to a fundamentally important god-given part of someone a sinful thing that needs condemning, not that you are treating that part of someone as too significant.

    You are treating it as too insignificant if you think you can hate that part of a person and love that person at the same time.

  • nvfostermom

    As a mother of a gay son, I am so grateful for individuals such as yourself who don’t hide behind “religion” and are truly trying to be Christlike. Thank you

  • Jodi

    Micah, Soooo close! Keep trying. Why am I still a sinner?

  • Paul Teevan

    If Homosexuality is a sin how can someone born gay has never been able to “repent” into a hetrosexual? How come all those gay camps failed to convert even 1 person, and the process for “turning someone straight” merely deals pyschogical damage?

    I mean if Homosexuality is simply people defying God, then why doesn’t it seem to function like other sins?

    And I think their are greater ills and sins we should be tackling.

    Also if this was a big thing on Jesus’s agenda, why did he never talk about it?

    He seems to be more concerned with unfair distrabution of wealth and people living only for money, but for some reason people don’t talk about this with the same fevor.

    • Dave Dornbush

      But those camps sure produced a lot of suicides and destroyed lives in attempts to repair something that does not, cannot, be repaired. Being told that one ‘didn’t pray hard enough’ or ‘have enough faith’ is the worst thing to LGBT people. There are those that ‘claim’ they have ‘converted’. They have not. Many are making money on their ‘stories’. But most are honest that while they may be living as a heterosexual, they are miserable, unhappy and depressed because it is not changeable.

    • Ransom Backus

      We are all born into sin. But first of all, science hasn’t proven that people are explicitly “born gay” it is still in the realm of theory and is more of a complex issue. But I will put it in its proper context. homosexuality is what is known to the psychiatric world as a paraphilia. It is no different than being aroused by bondage, S&M, feet, being eaten alive, dressed like a baby…etc….no one fully knows what causes paraphilias. A paraphilia is similar to a fetish and is defined as something that causes sexual arousal not related to human reproduction. That being said, I have good reason to believe that paraphilias are environmental and can even go down to a chemical level. What makes Homosexuality different than any other paraphilia is it changes the dynamic as to who can marry who. The Bible speaks against the act itself (the Bible never speaks against desire, as we as Christians know that desire is merely temptation. It isn’t a sin to be tempted. Ted Bundy’s sin wasn’t being tempted to commit necrophilia and rape, but to act on it.) In the end, “being born that way” isn’t an excuse. Christ calls us to be born again, as in we are transformed into an entirely new creature and a new being.
      Now: why did Jesus never talk about it? I have 2 possible answers. The first being that just because something wasn’t recorded in the Bible doesn’t mean it didn’t happen or wasn’t said. The gospels provide us a brief snapshot of Jesus’ life and is much like a collection of newspaper clippings in a scrapbook. so just because the Gospels don’t record him discussing it doesn’t mean He didn’t. the gospels weren’t written to dictate another form of the law, but to tell us who Jesus is and what He came to do, which was to redeem mankind unto himself.
      2nd Answer: It may have never needed to be discussed. Jesus’ dissertations were railing against the corruption and where the people actually went astray. The people already knew that homosexuality was a sin and it may have never been an issue. Their society’s dealings with it may have been acceptable in the eyes of God and it was kind of moot,.

      • rodgerfox1

        learn to google instead of relying on what other homophobes tell you.

        • Ransom Backus

          For starters, “homophobe” is an inaccurate word. the suffix “phobe” (from phobos or phobia) suggests fear. Those who believe homosexuality is wrong aren’t afraid of anything, it is simply a belief or a point of view. It is the same thing as believing that homosexuality is perfectly acceptable. I am not afraid of anyone, unless they threaten me with violence or a lawsuit or something.
          Also, I really don’t need to rely on what other people tell me. I have a brain I can think, I DID use google and I found some interesting articles written by doctors about the subject. YOU should use google and look up the term “paraphilia” as it relates to homosexuality. There is much unbiased work out there on the subject. Unless of course you wish me to google pro-gay biased sites instead?
          Finally, I draw my conclusions based on what I learned, as well as personal reflection and study of the Bible. I have my own mind, my own reasoning and intelligence and I am a big boy so I don’t need people to tell me what to think or believe. I prayed and asked God all about this topic and He taught me. Of course people don’t like what the lessons were, but that’s ok. I can accept you for where you are and I understand that you won’t change your mind. what your crowd needs to understand is that tolerance is a two way street. While you believe homosexuality is perfectly ok, you need to be tolerant of the fact that not everyone believes just like you. You need to be tolerant of what other people believe who are different than you.

          • Jeremy Adkison

            Krishna is the only true manifestation of God, in his ultimate form. Repent! Bhaja Govindam!

          • Grant W Barry

            Your
            statements are hetero-sexist, and not in line with modern psychology.

          • ufb

            My religious teachings tell me that anyone with dark skin was born that way because of sins in their past life and were sent back by god to be tortured. You believe blacks are good people and that’s perfectly ok, but you should be tolerant of the fact that there are many white supremacists out there that don’t believe just like you. I know that white is pure race and you need to be tolerant of that.

          • James Gregory

            I actually agree with your comment on tolerance being a two-way street. However, it is worth noting that there aren’t people actively writing laws against your love. There aren’t people beating you to death for it. Your youth aren’t being bullied and made to feel worthless enough that suicide seems a relief.
            Perhaps we should all look at what we call “tolerance”.

          • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

            Youths do not kill themselves due to bullying. They kill themselves due to nihilism.

          • James Gregory

            & I’m sure that bullying in no way plays into those feelings of despair, right?

          • Nickolas

            To go further people here are guilty of creating a false idol. Do not be
            deceived Jesus will bring on discriminating judgement. You are using
            the love of God to excuse bad behavior. To use their own example notice
            how Jesus says now go and sin no more. To knowingly sin, to celebrate
            it, and give in without fighting it isn’t repentance it is rebellion.
            The very sin built on pride that made Lucifer himself fall. You should
            also know that it is a pathology similar to any addiction and was only
            changed by definition by corrupt means of someone with the same
            affliction himself. There is no evidence that anyone is born that way
            and there is no gay gene to say otherwise. This is a very sad place for
            this guy to be in caught between the love of his brother and God but he
            is trying to justify his acceptance in his mind as people do when trying
            to sin without guilt. He should know that in comparison he should hate
            all and love God. He makes good points in other places. We do not
            disagree or correct out of hate but out of love as we are commanded. Who
            loves someone more the person taking the needle from an addict or the
            person giving it to them. That is all you have to ask. The addict will
            respond with anger but when they see how much you loved them and if they
            get their life together they will be more happy and hate those who
            enabled them. There is a lot of misinformation in the comments I have
            read be careful of perverting the gospel. You danger yourself. Those of sexual immorality sin against their own bodies. This is why it’s different than other sins. Repent doesn’t mean give in. Being gay as it is wrongly called doesn’t mean have one sin for your life. They are different and multiple sins each time it is done. You have to fight each battle. Do you love the sin more than you love God? That is what you have to ask yourself. This is no different than any other sin that one is addicted to. Whether over drinking, lusting, or any other. God bless you all.

          • DJG

            Actually, homosexuality is not listed as a paraphilia. It is no longer a diagnosable condition. Not sure where you’re getting this info from, but it’s completely outdated.

        • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

          The way progressives, such as yourself, freely toss around that wearisome term makes me homonauseous!

      • Cat Marcuri

        Actually, the world of psychology does not agree with you. The world of psychology (the REAL world of psychology, not the quacks you see on Faux News) understands that ten percent of humans are born gay. It is absolutely normal. What is abnormal is the idea that you should have the right to condemn others. YOU are not GOD. YOU don’t get to make that call. For all YOU know, God will welcome every gay person into Heaven with open arms, because people like YOU made them suffer their hell here on earth. If you believe that you have the RIGHT to judge others, then you have fallen far short of the grace of God, and deserve to be harshly judged yourself. Shame on you!

        • Dude

          Approximately 2-3% of the population are considered gay. It is nowhere near 10%. Whether they are “born gay” is still up for debate.

        • Tucker Walden

          John 3:3-8

          Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You

          Romans 1:26-28 ESV

          For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done must be born again.’

      • Kay

        Wait, so now we have to live by umspoken rules that may or may not have been discussed by Jesus? I’m sorry, but that is ridiculous. And to say that it wasn’t an issue at the time, is an irrelevant comment as well, to any believer of God. If it was something to be discussed, whether it was an issue back then or not, I’m pretty sure God would have covered all of his bases.

    • Joe Schmo

      There HAVE been people converted from homosexual to heterosexual, there is no proof that anyone is BORN gay, and although Jesus himself did not talk specifically about homosexuality, many others did including Paul (1 Corinthians 6:9). I understand your frustration, but The Bible does state it’s a sin, and as a Christian I believe this. I may not KNOW why some people are gay, even some who try desperately to NOT be through the Christian faith, but I am not one to argue with The Bible.

      • rodgerfox1

        Learn to google.

        • Ransom Backus

          Google isn’t the answer bro. You can find ANYTHING to support any view on the internet. Googling in and of itself won’t solve the problem. I can find (on Google) a website that supports everything I believe and think as can you. So what you really mean is, find the websites that support YOUR opinion on Google.

          • Jeremy Adkison

            Actually, I disagree- and I think the learn to google jab is about actual evidence vs. random talk.

            No, no one has been turned straight from gay- any genuine academic study, not based or funded by a social conservative interest group, has said that, even while studying mixed-orientation “marriages”, is is very apparent that they are changing behaviors but that their core sexuality is still intact and unchanged. In fact, if you go out and look at the testimonials of most of the public gay antigays, even the “married” ones, they still say their gay, and make it a big qualifier that they were NOT changed.

            So, actually, yes, learn to google. You clearly don’t know anything about this culture, and the particular subculture you think you are defending.

          • Ransom Backus

            Is it possible for Christ to change the identity of any sinner at all? Or are we forever doomed to be slaves of our bodies, hormones…etc…?

          • Jeremy Adkison

            I’m not a slave to anything, my emotions or my intimacy. My falling in love with someone isn’t anything like what you describe- that’s your judgement, not the reality of the world for people like me.

          • Juju

            So I’ve known people who thought they were gay after being straight, then go back to being straight. Would you call that experimentation, or bi-sexual? And if someone is bi are they really attracted to the same and opposite sex or is it what they feel at the time of for convenience? – Just curious on your thoughts.

          • Jeremy Adkison

            Sexuality isn’t a fixed binary, necessarily. Now, I think the truth is that for most people it is- they go either one way or the other. But, sometimes circumstances change, sometimes people deliberately experiment- I know gay and straight folks who have done that- figure themselves out, and and then move on. As for bisexuals, I’m not one, so I can’t really speak for them entirely. But, they swear up and down that they genuinely are physically attracted to both genders- so why should I tell them their lying, because I can’t interpret that experience? Well, that’s goofy- straight people can’t understand my experience as a gay man, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

            See what I mean? <_^

          • Chill.

            I actually know someone who, through coming to faith in the one true living God, and her personal study of the Bible, turned from almost 20 years of living a lesbian lifestyle. No, she is not “straight” now. She still struggles with overcoming her feelings. But she no longer acts on her sin. So to say that “no one” has turned is a little arrogant and misguided.

          • Geezum

            Um, are you really that ignorant? She “has not turned.” What else do you have to say? Vegans at times eat burgers. Blacks marry whites (I can justify that because my better half’s skin color is opposite of mine). So, someone not acting on their “sin” at this precise period is exempt from judgment/persecution/speculation is exempt in the eyes of the Almighty, or just yourself? I thought I had heard it all until now….

          • Jeremy Adkison

            That is the definition of not changing. It’s just self-internalized shame and deprecation.

            She’ll be a lesbian, and ‘fighting herself’ until the day the lights go out. It’s a miserable existence, the idea that we have to buy our salvation with that is downright offensive and violent to a person’s soul and dignity.

          • Jordan Petersen

            Okay, learn to google scholar. There, you will find scientific evidence and proof- all peer reviewed, that shows that sexuality definitely isn’t a choice.

        • Nezzie

          Learn to read your bible. Leviticus to start.

          • Andrew David Cox

            Leviticus is actually flawed scripture to use in application of anti-gay arguments. As are most of the scriptures that people cite against same-sex relationships. People tend to accept very obscure passing references to same-sex behavior in the Bible as clear condemnation of homosexuality. The people who wrote the Bible were not aware of sexual orientation. To paraphrase Jay Michaelson, “to say the Bible forbids homosexuality is as absurd as saying it forbids the internet.” The Bible condemns loving, committed homosexual relationships no more than it does Google. In other words, it doesn’t.

          • Andrew David Cox

            The main point of this article though is that whether or not it is a sin, we as followers of Christ, are called to to love without regard to sin. Unfortunately, I think people will spend the better part of the rest of history debating this topic and will forget that the bottom line is to love regardless of what you believe about any of the “particulars.”

          • Cat Marcuri

            Andrew, very well said, sir! Exactly!

          • Clint Deleshaw

            wrong

          • Jeremy Adkison

            Leviticus was a priestly document written by Levites, for Levites, the setting of the animal sacrifice at the movable tent structure was a way to show priests how to do sacrifices in the Temple. It wasn’t meant for the masses, wouldn’t have been read by the masses, and very possibly may have had class specific provisions that applied only to Levites.

            No, not the best book to take literally.

          • Cat Marcuri

            Learn that you’re not a Jew, you’re supposed to be a Christian. Jesus broke those commandments, in order to administer the love of God. Shouldn’t you learn to do the same? As for “reading the Bible” which of the over 600 Commandments in the Bible do you actually follow? If you break EVEN ONE, you are not obeying the commandments of God, and you are a sinner. And that means you don’t get to judge other sinners. End of statement.

          • Derrick

            Matthew 5:17

    • anonymous

      Homosexuality is not a sin. Engaging in homosexual behavior is. True people are born gay, and it takes them years to realize that, but it does not justify acting in a way that is contrary to the laws of God.
      Many children are born drug addicts, but just because that is in their genetic make-up does not justify them doing drugs.
      Everyone has their own cross to bear. Realizing that this life is not the end, and that our life continues far far far beyond the, helps us to realize that it is worth every effort to stay clean, and get where we are trying to go. Even if that means I will never experience sex.
      To be clear…I am gay.

  • shaysh

    I’m glad I found this post today. Lately I’ve been really struggling with the ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ practice, specifically as it applies to the homosexual community. Since I do believe that it is a sin, I wasn’t quite sure how I should behave. However, after thinking over your post, I think I understand better what you are trying to say. Putting the label of ‘sinner’ on an individual will always shape my behavior towards that person. I may not say anything offensive or behave in overtly exclusive ways, but there will be a block of some sort in the way I show love to that person. This is definitely something that I need to grow in. Thanks again for your post.

  • Fred Durst

    Clearly, all of you are so afraid of death, that you’re willing to worship a man who was murdered 2000 years ago. Even worse, you misinterpret his teachings, and justify hate and bigotry in the name of a false idol. All because of your own fears and insecurities. If you find comfort in religion, then that’s fine, I’m not one to tell you what not to be religious, but just keep it in mind that you can’t expect others to See the world the way you do.

  • Danie Bello

    I’m not Christian, not anymore anyway. My whole family is Christian though and I really appreciated the open mindedness of this post and the critical scientific thought of who Jesus was and what he truly stood for and I think this will bring a lot more peace to my family who struggle with accepting homosexuality.

  • Ben

    I appreciate the heart behind this article. It’s great. However I suggest the following so that you can better understand people who DO use the phrase “hate the sin, love the sinner”:

    You’re misunderstanding what they mean. The term “sinner” does not mean “someone who sins all the time”. Nor is it an identity. It is simply an indication of someone who is in the moment sinning, or struggles with a certain sin issue. It’s a highly specific thing, something that applies to everyone at some point, and no one at all times. Even someone who is “gay all the time”, may not be a sinner in terms of anger, hatred, etc.

    So just as your heart behind not using that phrase is great, so are the hearts of many who do use it. They are not passing or labeling judgement. They are saying, “people sin, love them in spite of it.” Has the phrase been used to pass judgement? Yes, yes it has. But that is a perversion of the phrase, not the actual intent. The principle behind “love the sinner, hate the sin” is, in reality, beautiful.

    So while I respect your reasons for not choosing to think that way, I just ask that you not be judgmental of those who do, because in this article, you are being judgmental, though I imagine it is unintentional.

    Thanks for a good piece as we work through these real social issues and struggle to find proper ways of addressing them and interacting with them.

    Ben

  • Wade

    Great post. I have thought similar things on this topic. But I hadn’t thought of some of the things you said. You likened Christians view on gays as a conquest. That struck me as very true. I guess people really like to feel like they’re right. So, it does become a conquest to put the gays in their place; to desire that that gays feel like sinners. I suppose that would make a lot of Christians feel somehow justified; better than another group.
    Anyway, great post.

  • Rory

    1Cor. 5:9-13 I wrote to you in my letter to have no company with sexual sinners; yet not at all meaning with the sexual sinners of this world, or with the covetous and extortioners, or with idolaters; for then you would have to leave the world. But as it is, I wrote to you not to associate with anyone who is called a brother who is a sexual sinner, or covetous, or an idolater, or a slanderer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner. Don’t even eat with such a person. For what have I to do with also judging those who are outside? Don’t you judge those who are within? But those who are outside, God judges. “Put away the wicked man from among yourselves.”

  • Lynne

    This is the problem in my opinion, “my gay Christian brother”. Right there is a label. No one calls me “my obese Christian sister”. Yes, my sin is often gluttony, but that isn’t who I am. I would never think to differentiate by race either, “my white Christian brother”. Just stop it already. Some people struggle with pornography, others gambling, some smoking, drugs, eating disorders, and so on, but that isn’t who they are. Someone who is struggling with same sex attraction is just that; someone struggling.

    • Dave Dornbush

      Gluttony is a choice however. Pornography, alcohol, gambling, smoking,drugs, etc. Those are choices. Being left-handed, black, asian, a particular gender or transgender, brown hair, blue eyes. These are NOT choices. Being gay is not an addiction, nor it is a choice any more than being straight. There is much research, both scientific and historical (non-biblical history) that supports this. When someone says “My gay Christian brother” it is a respect that we have not been afforded by most evangelical heterosexuals. So I actually thank Micah for saying that.

      • Heather Smith

        Dave, there is also a growing school of thought that the first type of eunuch (natural eunuchs) described by Jesus in the bible is actually a homosexual. I think you can safely take the “non-biblical history” part out of your post and still be entirely correct in your statement. :)

      • singingsoprano

        actually, there is some evidence that some aspects of obesity are also pre-wired. Nonetheless, whether someone is struggling or not, labeling people is almost always an effort to dehumanize in order to justify maltreatment. It doesn’t belong in the church.

  • Guest

    Micah, I like a lot of what you write in this post. A Christian’s identity is no longer “sinner” because sin no longer has dominion over them. A Christian’s identity is “new creation”. And I’m glad about the fact that God broke you over seeing your brother (biologically and spiritually!) primarily as a sinner. It’s definitely a conviction I have to a much lesser extent than you, and I could probably use more.

    However, one red flag I see that I hope readers (and yourself) don’t get trapped by is that he can now keep living a homosexual lifestyle. If the Christian life is a tree, the fruit it bears needs to match the root that is in Christ, so to speak. And the “new creation” identity necessarily only belongs to those whose fruit matches the root. For those who are not new creations, unfortunately their identity still is “sinner”.

    I didn’t necessarily pick up any cues that you are falling trap to that red flag, but those just my thoughts. I have a couple gay friends who are Christians, and (from their own words) it is not an easy sin to turn away from, to say the least. Prayers for the both you, for sure.

  • David

    Micah, I like a lot of what you write in this post. A Christian’s identity is no longer “sinner” because sin no longer has dominion over them. A Christian’s identity is “new creation”. And I’m glad about the fact that God broke you over seeing your brother (biologically and spiritually!) primarily as a sinner. It’s definitely a conviction I have to a much lesser extent than you, and I could probably use more.

    However, one red flag I see that I hope readers (and yourself) don’t get trapped by is that he can now keep living a homosexual lifestyle. If the Christian life is a tree, the fruit it bears needs to match the root that is in Christ, so to speak. And the “new creation” identity necessarily only belongs to those whose fruit matches the root. For those who are not new creations, unfortunately their identity still is “sinner”.

    I didn’t necessarily pick up any cues that you are falling trap to that red flag, but those just my thoughts. I have a couple gay friends who are Christians, and (from their own words) it is not an easy sin to turn away from, to say the least. My prayers go up for the both you, for sure.

  • Amber

    I feel that by saying “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” Jesus was more humane than those that condemned the woman. but to say that she should not sin anymore at all, is an unrealistic command, We humans are not always rational and will be prone to making mistakes, even if we know something to be wrong, situations can lead people to ‘sin’ despite their intention to do good.

    the commandments are more like guidelines written in a different era. what constitutes a sin has been prone to change under different leaders. We are growing, becoming more conscious, more open to a variety of things. but there are forces that do not like this change, they try to stop it, are scared, how come? look at nature, god is endless variety. your brother follows his heart, and he should. its a much better compass as any book.

    Now perhaps you feel like its not rational from a biological point of view for a man to be with a man, as they could not have kids, but have you seen how many humans populate earth these days? perhaps having some people be homosexual is a way of god to prevent overpopulation? his ways are inscrutable. ;)

    “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”
    “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”
    “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”

  • Amber

    I used ctrl-v to copy Jesus’ words, but they did not show while I was editing.. now its there 3x at the end of my post… interesting.., very interesting.

  • Francine Anderson

    Heaven – l’m so proud you made a great great leap in love and acceptance for gay people and for all those labeled other.

    Here’s another great leap off a high cliff to contemplate. Maybe there is no sin only error. I am not saying that LGBT people are making an error which I truly don’t believe. My LGBT friends are thoughtful insightful people who have struggled with self acceptance and society views and I think are rather less subject to error than those making mass negative assumptions about anyone they see as different. No I see substituting error for sin as a less harsh way of confronting the mistakes of each of us without all the shame that is such a barrier to change. Remember we hide our sins and shame but we work on correcting our errors.
    So loving you, Aunt Francine

  • barbara

    Jesus had to die because of sin. Sin is sin. Sometimes the greatest act of love for someone is to confront their sin, as Jesus did with the woman caught in adultery. Sin decays, damages and demeans us as well as separating us from our Holy Savior, placing us in bondage. If we truly love someone, we want them to be free from the practice of sin. It is not easy to confront the people we love: our brothers and sisters in Christ, but it is our duty out of a heart of gratefulness and thanksgiving for what God has done for us. If no one had confronted me in regards to my sin, I would be lost today, but I am a redeemed, restored and righteous person, through the blood of Christ, due to a repentant heart. God’s love inspires me to love my fellow man because of His love of me, whether they are in my church or in the world. My love for others means I desire them to be with me in eternity. Sin separates. We must love the sinner but hate the sin, no matter what the sin is.

    • lorimav

      Exactly.

  • Danie Bello

    I love how a lot of Christians reference the bible itself as your source of proof. I should write a book saying my cat is God and created the earth and its kitten died for our sins and heterosexuality is an abomination outside of procreation according to one of it’s deciple cats who actually never met or spoke to Cat God or it’s innocent sacrificed kitten and decided to put it’s own words on what Cat God thinks and then reference the book itself as my source of proof. Give it a few thousand years and I should have millions of devout believers.

    • Dave Dornbush

      You forgot the Roman CATholic Church and cat crusades. All that didn’t catvert had all 9 nine lives taken away brutally. I do see your point.

    • lorimav

      So, if you do not reference either the bible or the Church, then what is your point of reference? We learn about Christ through those sources. How then is one a Christian? Sounds to me like, you then become your own god and should call yourself a “Danien” or a “Belloean” or some such thing.

  • Doug W. Koehler

    Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum means “With love for mankind and hatred of sins.” This does not come from the Bible but from St. Augustine.

    It does not refer to one specific sin but to us all. In fact we are called to look first at ourselves when reciting these words. Hate the sinner. I hate the sin in me because GOD HATES SIN!!! In fact if we just had a speck of sin upon us while the rest of us was perfect, we still could not enter into His Kingdom. This is why Christ came for us, “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly.” And we are called to repent of our sins, every sin. If we truly love God through Christ then we will stand with him in our hatred of anything that is rebellious against him. I hate my sinful flesh and I know my good works are like filthy rags to my Lord, but I also know that because of Christ’s washing of me and his call in me, moving me to repent, I am loved by Him. He loves me not by what I do, but by what He did for me.

    Now, in addressing your heart felt commentary, there are those who do not repent of their sins. Whoever “those” people are they are rebelling against God and His love. In fact all of us mess up in this area. Sometimes we make God out to be who we want Him to be. We then are putting God in a box and saying, “My God will love me for who I am”. No! If God loved us for who we are then he would never have sent His Son to suffer and bleed for us on the Cross. Some might say, “well Jesus loves us for who we are” and again God’s Word says no to that as well. Jesus came to change us. Remember after He forgave the prostitute he said, “Go and sin no more”, Jesus never said, “keep sinning and take my Grace for granted.”

    I personally believe that we should love God’s people, love all sinners and not pick and choose which ones we should love and which ones we should chastise. But that does not mean that in our love we are saying, “go and sin some more” rather it is in Christ’s love we pray they will (we will) see their/our actions as sinful, our thoughts as sinful and turn to the Lord with repentant hearts.

    “Lord, I confess to you that I am by nature sinful and unclean. I have sinned against thee by thought, word and deed for what I have done and for what I have left undone. I have not loved you with my whole heart, and I have not loved my neighbor like I love myself.. I justly deserve your eternal punishment, but I am deeply sorry for my sins and I deeply repent of them, I pray to you by Your boundless mercy that you would forgive me.” This prayer is a sample of how we are to approach God and those who delight in their sins will have a hard time praying this before Him. Still we love, we are called to have the same patience and mercy as the Lord. However in the end, there will be those who Jesus says, ” I know you” and others He will say, “depart from me I never knew you.” So our greatest act of love is not to say “live and let live” but to point out what God detests as well as His desire for us to repent and lean on the work of Christ.

    Please remember Christ’s Words and not the worlds words when He said, “Go and sin no more”. Remember Paul called himself “Chief of sinners”, because he did not see other’s sins greater than his own. That is what we Christians are called to do as well. Yet that does not hinder our calling to point out God’s Word and our rebellious nature. Blessings to you.

    While sinners are pursuing evil purposes, and indulging their pride, their souls are hastening to destruction. That which turns men from sin, saves them from hell. What a mercy it is to be under the restraints of an awakened conscience! (Job 33:19-28)

    D

    • Jeff

      Doug, your post was deep and full of meaning. But can I just pick on one part that threw me off? You said “GOD HATES…” and none of the rest mattered to me. My God is love, which is the opposite of hate, in my opinion, so my God is incapable of hate. Hate means that you have fallen away from God and are in a cold, dark place. If you are open to God and have Him in your heart, you are incapable of hate. To hate is human, but stands away from the divine. To suggest that “GOD HATES SIN” which is mentioned in the Bible in a very JEWISH CONTEXT, is to limit our view of all that God can be. I argued with a pastor over the idea of “God hating sin” and I just cannot wrap my head around it. So maybe it is how you see God and personify Him. My God is all-loving. Done. To hate is to turn away from God, but something God is incapable of doing. This is my opinion, but it is why I struggled with your post.

      • lorimav

        I don’t know. I recall Jesus throwing the money lenders out of the temple and Him having some not so nice things to say about the Pharisees. I think that He wants us to draw closer to Him and does not appreciate what separates us from Him. If I hate the sins of the Nazis or of Ivan the Terrible, or of some mass murderer, why can I not assume that God does not hate those sins either?

      • realitycheck

        We like to put God in a box when we hear that “God is Love”… yes he has perfect LOVE, and MERCY, and JUSTICE, and RIGHTEOUSNESS, and yes… according to His word He is capable of hate:

        Prov 6:16-19
        16 There are six things the LORD hates—
        no, seven things he detests:
        17 haughty eyes,
        a lying tongue,
        hands that kill the innocent,
        18 a heart that plots evil,
        feet that race to do wrong,
        19 a false witness who pours out lies,
        a person who sows discord in a family.

  • barbs

    Good morning fellow christain, my advice on that subject is we have to walk in the spirit
    for that kind of love, sinner, some of them can be so hateful toward us, i work with people
    that talk about me and truly hates me because of christ in me, they try to get me in trouble on my job, they dont like my company or like to be around me some of them.
    but i ask the lord to help me love them , and he said only in the spirit could you lover them
    becaue of my flesh, its impossile, because they do some many things to hurt you.
    they get mad because you love Jesus and they see the life style you live, you do not run with them any more, and curse and do the things they do, they see you have cahnged, and you alwaystalking about Jesus.
    they see you reading your bible, and praying over your food when you eat.
    this convicts the sinner, and rage comes out. i love them in the spirit, no matter what they do to me, i treat them kindley. i remeber what father God said, what reward do you get
    if you love those who only love you, be ye perfect like your father in heaven.
    and talk about sinners, some people in the church do not like you and they talk about you like a dog, and call themselve your brothers and sister. just this sunday i shaked a sister hand in church an she gav me a dirty mean look. and she wasa singer on the praise team. so its not just the sinner, we all need to learn how to lov each other.
    we are not to judge people that Jesus job, at the end he will do that.
    some people are hard to get along with.and some will never love you because of their
    hearts.love is a willing action unconditional. it takes much prayer asking Jesus to change your heart toward the ungly, he will do it in spending time with him, he will change your heart. being with him,changes you. repenting and humblying yourself
    changes you. your heart.
    have a great day

  • Fred durst

    Christianity is so Gaaaay….faggots

  • David

    I’m glad God could say he hates sin and loves the sinner. If he didn’t love the sinner, he would have never sent His Son whilst we were still yet sinners? Why would he say he loves this sinful world so much he sent His Son?

    I think you fail to see through your brother’s faults simply because in today’s sosciety being “gay” is worn on the sleeve. Do you know how many people you see today that don’t wear their sin on thier sleve? The pastor’s wife in an adultery, the father addicted to pornagraphy, the constant liar, and my favorite, the thief. Especially the one in the bible on the cross next to jesus. A sinner through his entire life up until moments before his death. And you know what? He still meet’s Jesus and is saved.

    I hope you find forgiveness and reconsiliation.

  • David

    I spoke way too soon… please forgive me. Not reading all the way through, it sounds as if you are saying the opposite of what you are saying. That’s awesome actually when you put it THAT way!

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      Thanks David! I appreciate you taking the time to read.

  • Whats The Truth?

    Some new thoughts on sexual sin? Not a chance.

    First, I don’t mind being challenged in theological views of sin/sinners. There are some good comments. But let’s at least be fair and balanced with love…..and truth.

    This post reminds me of the Corinthians who gloried in the fact that they accepted a person in their midst who was actively involved in a sexual relationship with his mother-in-law or step mother. Are we conveniently forgetting Paul’s terse and angry Biblical response to that sin? What about James who writes “adulterers and adulteresses, friendship with the world is enmity with God?”

    Did Jesus define sin? Did Paul define sin? Both did. Didn’t Paul call the Corinthians by their former sins “such were some of you.” Don’t be deceived and conveniently forget or not address those passages. Jesus (and John too) are the perfect balance of grace and truth. Jesus chooses people to change them. We better know the Scripture or we will be deceived, for the Scripture points to the One who gives eternal life- Jesus.

    The problem comes in self-righteousness, yes. But also on the side of sin wanting acceptance for the sin, but refusing or not desiring to change. The self-righteous Pharisee in Luke 18 who thanked God he wasnt a sinner and prayed to God about all he did for God and looked down on the sinner standing next to him, was definitely in the wrong. Yet the sinner responded appropriately, not even lifting his eyes to heaven he said, “God forgive me for I am a sinner.” Had he not confessed his sin, he would have been in the same boat as the self-righteous Pharisee.
    Let’s think and feel, not just feel.

  • AprilJean

    My understanding of the above article is that you believe one can be a Christian and a homsexual at the same time correct? From what Bible do you read? We come to God as sinners and He cleanses us. No where in my Bible am I instructed to continue in my sin. If I am interpreting your writing correctly you are encouraging people to continue in what God considers to be an abomination. This makes you a false teacher or whatever it is you claim to be.

  • Jon Neubauer

    I always open posts like this holding my breath, with a million questions going through my mind. Will I regret even reading this? Is this another one of those “you’re going straight to hell, but I’ll still claim to love you so I can preach” posts? Has the author actually thought about what he’s getting ready to say here, and how people hear that? Am I going to get the same thing here I got from my pastor when I decided I had to be honest in life, and told him I was gay, only to be told never to come back?

    I came across this blog a few weeks ago, and have thoroughly enjoyed reading just about every post. This one was no exception.

    I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, I know that’s not realistic. And I expect to be constantly thrown a whole lot of “theology” because that’s what Christians seem to be good at doing. So to come across a post like this – a post that allows me to struggle with figuring out all that “theology” without sending me straight to hell – that means a lot.

    So, thank you Micah, sincerely, thank you.
    ~ a Christian. who happens to be gay.

    • Cat Marcuri

      Jon, I refuse to accept that the real Jesus would condemn you. The phony “Jesus Idol” that they’ve set up for the purpose of hate might, but the founding father of the faith of Christianity would NOT. I am so terribly sorry to hear that your pastor has turned his back on Christ and has chosen instead to be what we call “neoJew” or pseudo-Israelite. Jesus would NEVER have rejected you and turned you away. For someone to claim to be a Christian AND a minister, and to abysmally fail to act as Christ commanded is the absolute epitome of hypocrisy. I am so sorry this happened to you, and I hope you have found a church where they actually follow the teachings of Christ instead! Have a happy life, and understand that a LOT of us disagree with that pastor and his ilk, and accept you just as you are.

      • Guest

        Cat you are 100% correct in your
        summation of modern psychology and the professional scientific view of homosexuality as a naturally occurring variant in human beings. There are unfortunate outliers in the profession who cling to outdated ideas in order to support bigotry and discriminatory practices, however all the major professional organizations in the field agree that there is nothing pathological about homosexual attractions. (I am a fully licensed qualified mental health practitioner.)

  • Jeff

    One of my struggles is to identify sin, or even sinful behavior. If your sexual orientation is who you were born to be, then how can it be a choice and therefore how can it be a sin? If I believe in an omniscient (all knowing) and omnipotent (all powerful) God, then how could he make any of His creations other than what he wanted? Is the platypus a mistake or just very different from any other animal? If God did not want homosexuality to exist or if, as some suggest, He hates sin and homosexuality is a sin, then wouldn’t God just will it out of existence? This issue that tears humanity apart exists for a reason. But why must we insist that it is a sin? Because it is different from what we consider “natural?”

    I think a great divide opens up in both camps on this issue depending on how you see it. Conservative minds think that “homosexuality” means the act or behavior, that people choose to be immoral this way, that they are perverted because it goes against what they perceive as natural, and that all homosexuals are indulgent. Then you have the other side that believe homosexuality should be defined as someone loving another person that is of the same gender. We fight over what is sinful because of our views of the term. If we all considered it an act of loving someone of the same sex, the Bible would be hard pressed to tell me that loving another person is a sin. If we see it as an immoral and indulgent sex act, then it is easy to see it as a “choice” someone might make.

    Maybe we need to start with a basic, common definition and go from there. If we all step off in our own directions, we might not even be shooting at the same target!

  • http://myjourney-struggler.blogspot.com/ Marcus

    great blog post… I wasn’t sure what you were trying to say at first, but after re-reading it and reading the comments, I get it. I personally struggle with this issue, and have lost more battles than I have won with it. I wish the church did better with it. I wish I could stand up and ask for prayer for that issue, but the church isn’t a safe place for people struggling with same-sex attractions, whether they are giving in, or not. Thanks for posting this, well done

  • Katie

    This is a lengthy reply, but I’m going through some things at the moment. Surely some people might judge me, but I deserve it, and I already judge myself. I have been involved for a few years in a “friends with benefits” situation, with a man who had a girlfriend, who is now his wife, and mother of his child. Throughout the years of this situation, I would always get upset at signs that he was looking for other women to hook up with, and we’d even argue about it. This led me to even looking at his Facebook inbox, and his phone, so I know for sure this was the situation. Despite the irony and hypocrisy, I always wanted him to be faithful to his wife, (I know my actions indicated otherwise), and I could never understand why he was always after other women. We became good friends over the years, and we even work together. However, even today, any sign that he is cheating or looking, makes me wonder if this man is worth me caring about him. If he’s worth the friendship and support. And today, I told him as much. He says a true friend doesn’t concern themselves with what someone does in their private life, even if it’s wrong. On the one hand, I don’t want him to feel unloved, I don’t want him to feel like his friend thinks he is unworthy of love and support. On the other hand, this is eating me up. I can’t grasp why he is doing all this. Why he is cheating on the woman who cares about him so much, just because he enjoys sex (his words). And it’s eating me up. I don’t know if I should cut him out of my life, and at some point, get over him, and this disapproval and hatred that’s eating me up. Or if I should stay, be his friend, not regard him as a “sinner”, but see that we are the same, and love him as a brother, and pray for him. Can someone please help me? This has been eating me up for far too long. Thank you.

    • lorimav

      Katie This man is a narcissist or possibly even a sociopath. He cares little for you, his wife, or his child. He is so deep into sin that he is basically functioning without a conscience. What he is doing is extremely sinful and what you are doing is wrong as well. That said, although my sins may be different from yours, I too am a sinner. All of us sin. Nevertheless, adultery and fornication are extremely serious sins. Adultery destroys marriages. We are talking serious stuff. Adultery destroys families, and causes much sadness for the spouses and misery and pain for innocent children as well. Most of the poverty in this country is single women raising children. Many of the men that fill our prisons come from broken homes with father’s that were virtually absent. Divorce is not fun for anyone and children do suffer.

      Yes, by all means cut him out of your life! No, do not stop regarding him as a sinner! He is deep into serious sin and playing carelessly with three other lives: yours, his wife’s, and his child’s and perhaps many other women’s lives, and their spouses’ lives and their children’s lives. Perhaps he is even playing with your mind so much that you cannot see clearly as to what is sin and what isn’t so much that you refer to him as a “sinner” in quotation marks. Not only is this man a sinner. He is a louse! Yes, God loves him too, but there is no way that He approves of his behavior nor of the sexual relationship that you are having with him outside of marriage. Find yourself a good loving faithful man that truly cares about you. A good man should love only you and be willing to lay his life down for you. Marry such a man and stay faithful to him.

      The most loving thing that you can do for this man right now, is to desist your sexual relationship with him, and let him know on to uncertain terms that what he is doing is wrong. If you do not know how to articulate it please see some clear thinking clergy man who can help you see this and explain it. You must not be part of his sin and the break up of his family. When you have intercourse with this man you hurt him, his wife, and his child. It is not a beautiful loving holy thing that it was meant to be outside of a true marriage. He will probably continue adultery because he is probably a narcissist or sociopath, but you will no longer responsible for the break up of his family and you put yourself in a position to find a good man who will truly love you. A good man does not need to take you for “a test drive” either. “True love waits.” The commandments were written for us. They are Gods laws that are provided to us to enable us to be more happy and content than we would otherwise be. Pray, my sister, for strength. I wish you well and will pray for you.

  • Scout Finch

    I so appreciate this. I have experienced this in Christian relatives, who say they love me, despite thinking I’m a despicable, worthless person and an offense to God (because I’m gay). That doesn’t feel like love. This does. Thank-you. :)

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      I’m so glad.

  • Brian

    It’s misleading to say that you’re no longer saying “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” Because at the end of the day, man is wrought by sin and it is part of our identity. It’s difficult to separate man from sin because we haven’t been perfected at the day of Christ. Until the trumpets sound and Christ returns, we’re all sinners – bar none.

    I disagreed with majority of your post because it’s seriously poor doctrine. Jesus hung out with sinners because it was the reason Jesus was sent to be among men. Jesus is, paradoxically, both judgment and mercy. By hanging with sinners, it showed that Jesus (thereby God) was a friend to sinners. But that doesn’t mean that Jesus didn’t act like they were sinners. Why else would he go and be so blatant about them believing in him? It would be contrary and contradictory to the nature of God to not see us as sinners because sin is challenging God’s authority. You have a big heart, but your doctrine is poor.

    As for Magdalen, keep in mind that Christ is both judge and mercy. He didn’t stop the crowd because he didn’t view Mary Magdalen as a sinner. It’s not like he looked at her and said “these people label her as a sinner, and I don’t.” He stopped them because he wanted to exercise grace and mercy towards her. She knew what she did was wrong and she knew the repercussions of her actions. In fact, the crowd wasn’t in the wrong to stone her. However, what Christ was teaching wasn’t that you can’t judge your fellow man, but that mercy is even sweeter when you contrast it with judgment. He saw her sin and in literal terms said “I’ve forgiven you, your sin deserved punishment and the wrath of God will be poured on me on the cross, but go and sin no more.” He saved her from a death she deserved but, still, he bore the wrath of her death. Again, there would be no point to this if Jesus didn’t see her sin.

    You have a big heart bud, but you have terrible doctrine. I agree that gays get mistreated in church. If a guy cheats on his wife with a woman, we poo-poo it but we don’t nearly treat as harshly as we do homosexuals. But that’s why we must be above reproach and love the sinner because Jesus loved the sinner. He hated sin, so he bore the wrath of God to save us – not just from our sin, but from God’s wrath. At the end of the day, Jesus is more interested in healing the sexually broken – whether they are pornographers, adulterers, or homosexuals. He is interested in seeing men and women healed and returned to his fold to be made complete. That is how you can love the sinner; show them that God, in their brokenness, spared not his Son for our benefit.

  • Greg Diercks

    My partner’s brother, a “good Christian,” just announced to the family that he’s going to start an ex-gay ministry. He needs to read this post.

    • Liza

      ex-gay ministry…as in reparation therapy type stuff?

      • Greg Diercks

        Yes.

  • roninbear

    It’s extremely painful to me, after all of the time, research, and scientheat people can still define homosexuality as a lifestyle choice and not as simple genetic biology. Homosexuality is natural, it occurs nature. Animals have been proven to be homosexual in the wild, and when plenty of opposite sex mattress are available. Homosexuality is not usual, as the survival of the species depends upon procreation, but it is entirely natural. Those of you during in judgment of people who happened to be born different: When did you choose to be straight? Every homosexual I know has known they were different since they were small, too young, in fact, for sexual behavior to be an issue. Religion is not an excuse to ignore science, and I will stay in topic rather than up item after item I’m the bible has been disproved by science over and over. What I will say is this: I cannot find a place in the bible where Jesus himself defined marriage. Paul was a Pharisee and his attitudes toward showed it. The bible is not to be taken literally I’m every single word, and even if it was, you legalists choose only the ones you to enforce anyway. Even as I write this in support of my notwithstanding and sisters, the so-called Christian right American continues to attempt to brutally cut assistance for the poor and underprivileged because they think that God helps that help themselves our some such claptrap. Did Jesus ever refuse food to the hungry? Did he ever refuse healing to the sick? We need to be aware of what ‘the least of these’ means. Judge not.. judging dim is not your job, it’s God’s job, and get this: he doesn’t your help with it.

    • Liza

      Truth! My 16 year old daughter came out a few years ago. She told me she knew she was attracted to females when she was 5 years old. It is fact that attraction starts at a young age. It’s natural.

  • pastorchick

    Thank you, Micah for articulating the Gospel so well. One comment said that “love exposes sin”. No it doesn’t. It can’t. Never has. Never will. The only part of scripture (Bible) that can expose sin is the LAW. It does it every time. The law drives back to God as it points out time an again we do not have the capacity for perfection. This law applies to every single person everywhere everyday. The Law kills us. The GOSPEL, the promise of God in Christ Jesus–who is Jesus–, is our hope and strength. We are free to serve our neighbors and proclaim to each one the only “label” that matters–Child of God. The son has set us free. We are free indeed. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Go in freedom and peace and serve the Lord. Thanks be to God.

    • Liza

      All I meant by what I said is that we don’t need human beings telling us that we are sinners…in a judgmental kind of way… and that true freedom from the bonds of sins is to feel completely accepted by God. A lot of churches don’t help this happen because they use a lot of shame, guilt and “sin sermons” as their way of trying to supposedly get people closer to God. None of that is successful at anything except making people feel like they are not good enough. Love the sinner hate the sin only leaves people feeling one way…like a sinner.

      • pastorchick

        Amen and amen! My response was prompted by the lie that says “love exposes sin” and this confuses law and gospel. I can’t remember the name of the man who posted the comment. I agree with you, Liza. I get labeled a lot of things being a woman (teaching men! of the horror) and also being a Lutheran (a liberal theologian–whatever that really means) In the end, the only label that matters to me is “Child of God”. The only ‘call’ that I have is to proclaim the Gospel which frees to a world that clings to law, with which we kill others. And the point is that we all have sin and fall short of the glory of God (law) and sin doesn’t have the last word–Jesus does (gospel). This is the Good News. (also good news is that couples of the same sex can now be legally married under the law in my state. Woo hoo!) Peace in and out…

  • Renee L. Ten Eyck

    Beautifully stated. I’m not a Christian any longer, for many reasons, but I grew up with a grandmother who resonated Jesus. And I’ve long thought this about any group that is outcast and the group that is doing the hate-mongering, the outcasting. But I couldn’t find a way to put those thoughts into words. Thanks!

  • Brian

    Thank you for your thoughts Micah. I just came across your site this evening. Your experience of faith, its unravelling and rebirth echo mine in many ways. I am a gay Christian. I walked away from it all in my mid-twenties, just so tired of being told I’m a sinner, that I’m bad, that I have been “given up” by God. Over a long journey, God found me again when I was re-introduced to Mark 16:36. In that cry of “why? Why have you forsaken me?” I heard my cry. In this story of His historic experience of abandonment by God, He got it, He understood me, where I was. Forsaken, broken, exhausted, battered, bruised and left for dead He understood my cry. God found me not in my perfection, but in my absolute darkest experience… that of the experience of being abandoned utterly and completely. This Jesus, the crucified one, if at no other moment in all of history, at THIS moment He understood me. From that point onward, every statement of belief, every act of faith had to answer to this experience on Golgotha. If it couldn’t stand in the crucible that is the cross, it couldn’t be called Christian for me. Life then got messy because I learned that if God takes me honestly where I am, then I have to treat myself honestly, and I have to treat you honestly, and I have to treat the homeless man who is always at the corner begging for money honestly. What I have found is that faith isn’t a creed, rather it is a biography, a beautiful story always unfolding in each of our lives. Grace and peace to you and your family on your fascinating journey. May it be filled with beautiful and honest stories of living life fearlessly and ‘messily’.

  • lorimav

    Micah Be careful. Yes, we should not be looking at the speck in our brother’s eye while we ignore the plank in our own but the above article seems to imply that we can just ignore sin. This is dangerous. As they say “He loves us just the way we are, but He loves us too much to leaves us the way we are.” Don’t forget “Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches
    men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does
    them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Please don’t teach that sin is okay. We need God. We need a Savior.

  • Nick Chotta

    I think that this post accurately describes a stereotypical “christian” view of homosexuality. But the issue of the day isn’t about love or hate. It’s about what is sin and what is not sin. Conservative Christians believe that two men who marry fall short of God’s glory (sin) for marriage. The bible is full of examples where Sex outside of one man and one woman joined in marriage falls short. The gay rights lobby doesnt call out seeking to be loved and accepted by Christians. Rather it seeks to force Christians to change their views away from biblical teachings about sin. I will continue to love the sinner(S) and hate the sin(S).

  • lorimav

    Micah, I was following along agreeing until I came across this comment: “Our us vs. them narrative leaves little space for those who didn’t choose to be gay but
    did choose to follow Jesus” Please come out clearly and tell us whether or not you believe homosexual acts (not purely same sex attraction) are sinful or not? From the looks of the comments below many have understood that you are saying homosexual acts are not sinful.

    When you say :” What’s amazing about Jesus is that when he hung out with sinners, he didn’t act like they were sinners.” I would agree but I hope you are not forgetting that he preached morality, He told people not to divorce and not to even look at women lustfully, for example. Jesus loved sinners so much and with a genuine love that they began to value themselves as much as he valued them such that they had a desire to repent of sin. When they saw Jesus they saw the Father and wanted to be with HIm. Jesus said to be holy like His heavenly Father was holy. These sinners turned their lives around and became truly holy and were able to go to far away places, preach the gospel and were martyred. There was real power in Jesus’ love. He gave real power to be able to conquer sin. These people often fell short but they turned their lives around completely.

    The question should be why do sinners feel that they have no power to change. There is that grace available to all.

    Micah Yes, we must not be Pharisees seeing ourselves without sin, but others as sinners. We need firstly to concern ourselves with our own sin and to root it out but it is dangerous to come close to implying that sin is not sin and that we don’t need to repent and call on His name to help us. Be careful: ” Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

    Homosexuals reading your article will find acceptance of themselves, yes, this is needed. There is often to much cruelness, coldness, separation from people with same sex attraction. However, please do not suggest that homosexual acts are not sinful. Just as God created one man for one woman and adultery is devastating to society. When people do not partake in the sins of fornication and adultery, they have zero STDs, much less divorce, happier children, etc. etc. When people do not participate in homosexual sins, they will have fewer dangerous STDs, a longer life, a far healthier colon, less suicide, more dignity, and a chance to live in true peace. Be careful what you write. God designed sexuality within the context of a true marriage between one man and one woman and those that do not follow this will not achieve true peace.

  • WolfmanMike

    Very good post. :) I agree.

    I think the folks who look down on certain “sins” (as “they” define them) don’t really know what sin is. In Romans and Corinthians Paul identifies sin as a /noun/ not a verb. It is not something we /do/ it is something we are born with. I think of it as a terminal disease. And we’re all infected. All of us. We’re all in the same boat. So it seems to me the height of folly to point fingers at someone else as a “sinner” as if we’re not also afflicted with the disease of Adam. But, Jesus didn’t come to treat the symptoms, He came to heal the root problem, which is not something we have done, but, which was done to us in Adam.

    The good news is that God shut /all/ up under sin that He might show mercy to /all/. It is finished! The debt is paid in full, not in part. For all of us. The wall of separation is gone and God is satisfied with His Son’s sacrifice. We (all of us) have peace with God.

  • reality

    what about the fornicating christians, murdering christians, lying christians, abusive christians? Jesus would say the same… go and sin no more… as in do not do it anymore. i was born with a sin nature… meaning ‘I was born that way’… that does not give me license to continue sinning. instead, with jesus, i am empowered to stop and be changed. why is it different with homosexuality?

  • matthew

    I am a heterosexual, Christ follower, sinful man. I struggle with greed. I want things. Things make me feel good. It’s greed. The Scriptures tell me it’s greed. I hate that sin in my life. I’m comfortable with others hating that sin in my life. While it is a habitual sin, that sin is not my identity. My identity is being a child of God. If someone tells me they hate how I get greedy but they love me my response would be I understand. Pray for my freedom. Perhaps if I was offended by someone hating my greed it would signify greed had become my identity and greed has blinded me from the plain truth of the Scriptures.

  • Moi

    We all sin. I don’t want others to ignore my sin and let me continue to live in it. If I am stealing from my job and people know it, I don’t want them to let it slide just because we all have sin. If I am living with a man who is not my husband as if he is, I want people to call me out on this because I am not honoring or glorifying Christ when I continuously and purposely sin.

  • FredrikR3

    I do not agree with this. It was some gays that formed the term “gay community” as, indeed the term gay. In order to excuse a behaviour they wanted to have an identity as gay. Thus it was that kind of persons that made the “us and them” distinction. I am a sinner.

  • Jeremy Adkison

    May we go forward into a world where no one has to choose between love and their religion. #BORNTHISWAY O/ W00T!

  • Jeremy Adkison

    So- you are a gay affirming Christian, now? You don’t find anything wrong with same-gender relationships, and don’t believe they are sinful? Or are you doing the thing where you hold the antigay view but try and find someway to move beyond it?

    ;)

  • Samantha C

    I loved every moment of reading this. My brother is bisexual. I have cringed every time I have heard my Christian friends say ( I am also Christian) ” Love the sinner, hate the sin. ” I was brought up to believe that god loves love. And if someone is giving their heart to another in true love, how can god hate that. With wars raging all over the world , we should celebrate any kind of love. I believe that is more god like than Loving the sinner and hating the sin.

  • Diana Conrad

    You, my brother, are an inspiration and more of what we need in this world. I consider myself a child of God and we are all brothers and sisters and connected. We have lived too long in fear and need to learn to be more “Christ” like which equates to love. Amen to you.

  • sheila

    I’m confused there is a couple of assumptions in here that I don’t feel is right. the definition of a Christian is someone who loses their identity to follow Christ. to say that homosexuality is not a choice would make God out to be a cruel God. it is a choice, it is called sin nature. the woman caught in adultery Christ was lovingt to her but like you said he said go and sin no more. you cannot be a true save believer in Christ if you’re practicing sin.

  • Nezzie

    If we as sinners get into Gods word, and we strive to not sin, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins, but we can’t live in sin and never walk away from it and expect to be in heaven. Being saved isn’t the end of it, repenting isn’t the end of it. Jesus repeatedly said, go and sin no more after he forgave someone. And regardless of what anyone says, not only is it a sin, but an abomination in the eyes of God. Does he love gays less? NO. But he gives us the free will to sin or not. And he also lets us live eternally with the consequences of our sin. Is being gay different from our sins? Absolutely. But if we walk with him, we will keep his word in our heart and turn from our sins. Without the turning away from sin, there is no salvation. For any of sum no matter how we sin.

    • Nezzie

      I’m so sorry , I meant absolutely NOT. There are not different sins, just forgiven and unforgiven and God can not look upon sin, and sin won’t enter heaven. It’s all in the Bible. Just seek Him and you will find Him.

  • KBH

    what if we view sin as something that is actually harmful to people? Which according to scripture it is. If it is, then love demands that we can’t have a nonchalant attitude toward sin in others any more than we could have a nonchalant attitude toward cancer in a friend. And that’s not just one sin, but any sin (pride, lust, greed, wrath)
    If there is something that hurts someone I must care and I hope they will care enough for me to help me.
    The fact that I have the same cancer shouldn’t mean that I care less about yours. As if “Your cancer is your business, and my cancer is my business ….”
    What if people who battle with sin on this side of heaven, help each other in the battle to grow and become more like Christ. (is that even a goal anymore?)

    Christ paid a terrible price because he cared about the sin in us, he not only wanted to deliver us from the penalty of sin, but the pollution of sin in our lives, and eventually the presence of sin in the hereafter.

    • DisentAgain

      From my understanding, the teachings of Jesus specifically tell you to not judge sin in others at all. They explicitly say that judgement is not yours to make. Perhaps I misread it.

      • KBH

        Actually, Jesus says a few verses after “judge not” that we should first remove the plank from your own eye, so that we can see clearly to help your brother. So we are to help our brother after we have examined ourselves. We are not to leave him in his sin. Nor should they leave us in ours.

        Also. Luke 17:3, “If another believer sins, rebuke him; then if he repents, forgive him.”

        Also Matthew 18 (from Jesus) talks about the difficult but important redemptive work of helping people with their sin.

        Matthew 18 gives you a really balanced picture of Christ. It starts with the seriousness of sin and ends with the seriousness of forgiveness.

        One of Paul’s beef’s with the Corinthians church was that they were tolerating notorious sin in their midst. Probably abusing the concept of ‘love’ to justify not helping their brother caught in sin. Which probably explains 1 Corinthians 13:6.

        If someone is entangled in barbed wire, its a compassionate thing to try to help them. It is no less compassionate to help someone who is entangled in sin. Sometimes the first step is helping them see that it is sin.

        Bonhoeffer said it well, “Nothing can be more cruel than the leniency which abandons others to their sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than the severe reprimand which calls another … back from the path of sin.”

        • DisentAgain

          Mathew 18 is about justice and forgiveness *within the church* – not judgement of sin broadly. He also explicitly states unlimited forgiveness for sinners. To use those passages as justification for judgmental behavior for anyone is to ignore the rest of the new testament, and the entire christian premise.

          Bonhoeffer was likewise discussing chastising intra-church member sin, not applying that template to everyone. He was also wrong. Judgment of individual sin is not yours to make, and unlimited forgiveness is clearly mandated.

          • KBH

            um … but the majority of conversation on this comment thread is about professing Christians who sin. So Matthew 18 and Luke 17, the bonhoeffer quote are completely valid.

            As for ignoring the NT, I’m trying to get people beyond the sound bite “judge not”. I have actually brought other passages to the discussion and not just my opinion.

            it would still be interesting to see you interact with my initial question about the harmfulness of sin. Is sin harmful? If it is, can we be so high and mighty about love and at the same time say, “your sin is your business”

            Also like you to interact by analogy of someone entangled in barbed wire and someone entangled in sin.

            lastly, I find it more than a little amusing that people are very comfortable identifying the sin of “judgmentalism” in others while at the same time defending the idea that you shouldn’t judge other people for their sins.

          • DisentAgain

            Touche on the “judgmental about being judgmental” thing – guilty as charged. I’m also intolerant of intolerance. Color me a hypocrite if you must, but these are the lines I draw.

            Your question regarding sin implies that you are capable of knowing what a sin is. Sin is not monolithic, or always easily identifiable. There are many types, and gradients. Sin is, ultimately in Christianity, between you and God. Unless direct harm of others is obviously involved there is nothing to indicate a perceived sin is real, or even sinful. You could be wrong, mistaken, misguided… That’s why it’s not ours to judge.

            Your barbed wire analogy is just as flawed. It implies that sin is obvious, and obviously harmful. That is clearly not always the case. Again, that’s why it’s left to divine judgement, and not the fallibility of man.

            Lastly, even if we take your Mathew reading at face value – it still ignores the unlimited forgiveness mandated therein.

            -“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

            Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times…”-

  • Jen K.

    This………this is beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Sincere, spoken from the heart, and grounded in faith. I love everything about this post.

  • M Diaz

    “Our us vs. them narrative leaves little space for those who didn’t choose to be gay but did choose to follow Jesus”

    and we have jesus to thank for the teachings of tribalism…matthew 10:34-36 says it all

    which actually makes jesus look like a hypocrite in light of matthew 5

    in response to this sort of this mentality, i invite you to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMksBM_kWcU

  • http://www.ExtremeBusinessMakeovers.com/ Thom Scott

    LOVE the post! The only thing I would add is that I don’t believe the Love the Sin, Hate the Sinner condescension is reserved just for gays. In the heavily “churched” world, it’s actually used quite frequently to talk about those whose sins fall outside of the “acceptable” ones that we tend to wink at. Those who are outwardly addicted to alcohol or drugs would be an example. Too many of our congregations are filled with those whose big public confession would be “I’ve been struggling with envy” or other such “safe” and largely universal sin (read “minor” in their eyes) – yet they would keep hidden the core sins that entangle and enslave them. It is sad for those who they outwardly condescend to and attempt to define entirely by their sin. It is equally sad for them – for that judgement that they have in their hearts keeps them from ever bringing their darkness to light – where our Savior can deliver them from it! (I believe that is what the Bible refers to when it talks about not judging, lest we be judged. I don’t believe that is merely referring to the judgement of an Almighty God, but the hell of self-judgement that comes from knowing the brokenness in yourself when you judge the brokenness of another).

  • Ignorance is amiss

    Why does it seem the “go and sin no more” aspect of Jesus’ words in that situation go unnoticed or fail to be applied?

    Jesus also stated “why do you call me, ” Lord, Lord”, and do not do the things which I say?

    The expectation of a true relationship with Christ is the turning away from sins once they are made known to you. Why do many believers try to pretend this is not the case?

  • Sherry Hill Trewhitt

    This really spoke to me, someone who sins, someone who judged. Past tense, no more judging for me. My father always said, my righteousness is as filthy rags. Thank you for helping me open my eyes. We are soooo twisted by the media that I think we are forgetting God’s words. Best plan of action, less internet, more MEAT! <3

  • Hoggie

    I agree with the heart of this article. Those who are outside of Christ should not be looked down upon as people who should live up to the same standards as Christians. That’s asking dead people to live. Scripture is clear that before Christ, we were dead in our trespasses.

    However, Paul is very, VERY adamant about calling sin out within the body of Christ. People who have no knowledge of the love of Christ have no reason to turn from sin. Scripture says that it’s his KINDNESS that leads us to repentance. However, those of us who are in Christ have no excuse to continue in sin. Just as anyone would call out a member of their church if they discovered they were stealing money or cheating on their spouse, Christians should call out other Christians they find to be in sin.

    I do believe people are born gay, just like people are born womanizers, or born thieves. We are all born with a sin struggle. For some, it’s homosexual urges. For me, it was heterosexual lust. It happens to all of us. I don’t have an issue with that argument at all. I have an issue with people using that argument to justify choosing a homosexual lifestyle. I can tell you several people who would not be okay with me justifying a porn habit with the fact that it just feels natural, namely, my wife and the church I’m employed at.

    The “it just feels natural” argument is the biggest load of crap I’ve ever heard, to be blatantly honest. It feels natural for men to desire to sleep with beautiful women. That doesn’t mean they should go sleep with any beautiful woman they see. We’ve turned sex into a god in our culture. That’s the bottom line. Everything is about sex. Sex is how companies advertise. Sex is how people identify themselves. There is much more to life than sex.

    The bottom line is that Jesus, as loving and gracious as he is, still calls us to repent and turn from our sin. One thing we seem to love to leave out of the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery was that Jesus, after showing her love and grace, implores her to go and sin no more. Sin is what destroyed the perfect union we had with God in the garden. Anyone who clings to it is choosing death over life. Why would you not fight with all love to overcome it?

    We are not to judge those who are outside of Christ. Those who are in Christ, however, is another story.

  • Randy

    Go and sin NO MORE…yes he saw them as whole and capable of not making the same bad choice…loving someone sometimes means speaking the truth and trying to help them..not embracing acts that hurt them and society.

  • Robert

    you miss the word of Jesus : “go and sin no more”.
    If you love your gay brother you should say it, “sin no more, brother”.

    Yes, we all are sinners, but we must work hard to be holy. If we fail, we must confess to a Catholic priest, as Jesus said :

    “Whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven, whose sins you shall retain they are
    retained” (Jn 20:19-23).

  • John O’Neill

    Thank you for the insightful words that I’ve been trying to come up with for so long.

  • Rebecca Erwin

    Thank you for putting words to the hole in my heart. Every time my Mom said this to me about my friends, a sinking sick feeling would brush my soul.

  • daughter

    It’s interesting that the author quotes Jesus as saying “Go and sin no more.” Jesus doesn’t say to keep on sinning. He loves us anyway and forgives, but he expects us to discontinue our sinful behavior.

  • JustThinkingOutLoud

    Where is my thought process flawed? This brother is breaking God’s moral law, the 7th commandment. If I replaced the 7th commandment with the 6th commandment and followed this writers logic, would everyone be accepting of his brother and never address this sin?

  • smitty

    We’re all sinners….you sinner. Homosexuality is a sin, but so is swearing, lying and many of the things we do daily, which offend God. “Love the sinner, hate the sin” is to remind us to see the people as people, not as what they do. Disagree with their actions, but don’t let it define them as who they are. My brother is gay, but he’s months brother. He’s my brother. I don’t encourage him to do what he does, but I love him anyways.

    What you wrote is exactly what the phrase means. I’m glad you have figured out what it means.

  • http://Www.theirishatheist.wordpress.com/ The Irish Atheist

    Too little.

    Too late.

  • Straighttalk

    While I decry the fact that many criminalize gay people as “the others,”I find it biblically unsound to paint Jesus as one who failed to disapprove of the outcast’s lifestyles or sins. What was the outcome of Jesus coming into contact with a dishonest and greedy man like Zaccheus? Or what happened when Jesus let a prostitute wash his feet with her tears and wipe them with her hair? What was the point of the story where Jesus conversed with the Samaritan woman? All these stories point to a change in these people’s life as a result of coming to know Jesus: forgiveness of sin and repentance. Jesus came to heal those who acknowledged they needed a doctor, not to exhonorate the self-righteous. These gospel stories have nothing to do with the reproach today’s LGBT agenda hurls at Christians. LGBT’s are not asking Christians to be Christ-like or agents of forgiveness of sin and repentance or knowing God as savior and proclaim the free gift of eternal life. When we propose a rhetoric that aims at correcting the “love the sinner hate the sin,” we also risk to prostitute the gospel by preaching a tolerance that flies in the face of who God is and what He is about.

  • John Cooper

    I guess the question remains is homosexuality a sin or not? I agree with what is written about our true identity in Christ, that we are all children of God born in HIs image. That is not the issue of our day as much as whether or not we believe homosexuality is sinful. That is what almost no one wants to discuss. If it is, then as children living into our true identity in Christ, we are to strive within God’s grace to place God’s ways above our own sinful desires and repent of our sins.

  • Chuck Fisher

    Embrace the sin. GLAAD is calling with absolution.

  • Brian Hinkel

    Jesus didn’t hate the sin, he didn’t hate at all. Love is light, hate dwells in the darkness. Jesus is the light and the love. Nothing more. He was what we should be collectively. With or without “God” or any other devine being. We are squandering our potential as a collective and we’re using religion, race, and politics to perpetuate it. Jesus would be disappointed in all of us, not just “Christians.” In fact, he would have been against another organized religion in his name all together…

  • Stephanie Redding Pfeiffer

    <3

  • mrkoolkat

    Love the article. However, let’s go one better. Sin does not exist. Sin is a botched concept of imperfect humanity doled out by those whose inferiority complexes stopped them from accomplishing anything resembling success in life. There is simply error, at times, but not “sin”.

  • thesteelknight

    One day God made man in his image, soon after and everyday since, man has tried to recreate God in his image. Jesus condemed sinners all the time, they were just called pharasees. But the cheats and the prostitues he loved. Why? Could it be that a prostitue never said, well i do it and i think its okay so God must agree. Could it be that the sinners in the bible were men and women who really didnt know God, or know better? could it be that the so called “holy men” of the day then, were not practicing love, or compasion, or even obediance, but still judged everyone? Jesus wants and will excuse a sinners sin. Where sin abounds that much more Grace will abound. But God cannot contradict himself. While he will excuse, and save and die for the sinner, he would never and can never extend grace to the sin. Sin is not a morally wrong action, it is an action, thought, a perspective or paradigm that is contrary to God or his ways. To justify sin to accept sin and make it not a sin, is not only arrogance on an unconscionable level, but a vain attempt by man to proudly judge God and his ways as less civilized or superior. I can not accept that. I can not accept that i know better, or that i in my sin am a better judge of what sin is than my God. Gays, straight, bi’s, chinese, african, whites, brothers and sisters, humans i can accept. I can love them imperfectly, through a perfect God. I can serve them in love and call them friend. But i will not trade my tolerance and compasion, for acceptance and approval. The day i do that is the day i say to God that my ways are just, not his, that my way is right, not his. That is the day i commit the real original sin, the sin of pride, that I can do it better than God. They say the greatest trick the devil ever pulled, was convincing the world that he didn’t exist. Well the devil isnt a one trick pony. My bet is that his second greatest trick will be him decieving the world to believe that real sin is only something that offends man.

  • anonymous

    I will say, as a person in ministry there are parts of this post that I agree with. That being said, I think there are some missing contexts that should be addressed. Before I continue let it be known that I have many friends who are homosexual and I love them like family and they are aware and respect my stance in regards to the subject just as I respect theirs.

    What we have to realize is that, like what has been stated above, we are all sinners are more importantly we are all sexually broken. Since we are all sinners, myself and all of the people sitting in the pews in church have been and at times are still labeled by our sins from those in our cultural surroundings. As Murray stated, because of the work that Jesus did (and I will say continues to do) I have been redeemed from the sin and and no longer defined by it. The apostle Paul described himself as being the “foremost of sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15).

    Again, I must preface this and can not stress enough that this post it NOT about my views as whether it is right or wrong to be homosexual or be in the company of homosexuals because it is not my place to judge. My issue is that in the reference that Murray made to the Pharisees rebuking Christ for eating and drinking with sinners. Yes this happened, however in Jesus’ response of the three parables (the lost sheep, coin, and prodigal son) two of them (sheep and coin) ended with Jesus saying that there is a need for repentance which means literally to turn one-hundred and eighty degrees and walk away, in this context toward Christ. Again, this is for all people since we are all sexually broken. For the reference to the woman caught in adultery, Murray focused on Jesus saying “neither do I condemn you” but there is that par of “go and sin no more” that we have to consider.

    Like Murray, I say I am a sinner but my sin doesn’t define my identity. However, I can utilize the aspects of life that I went through as a “sinner” in order to relate to and be with other people in their walks toward Christ. I can now define myself as being a Christian which means being “little Christ’s”. When I say “love the sinner, have the sin”, I am not labeling that person(s) as BEING sin but noticing that there is a part of them that I can relate to, regardless of what their sexual orientation, race, habits, past, present or general being is since we are all broken and equal in the eyes of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who when there is confession and repentance absolves us of all unrighteousness due to the work that He did for us on the cross.

  • Rachel

    Very well written, and powerful. I detest the “love the sin/hate the sinner” mindset. It’s a polite lie we tell ourselves to mask the truth that we are, as you so eloquently put it, obsessing over the “otherness” of someone else. And when the obsession is as overwhelming, as vitriolic, as the obsession with homosexuality often is to the evangelical community, love is very far from the scenario. “Love” might be a nicer word to apply than “hate”, but it’s further from the truth of most evangelical feelings toward gays. Pretending it’s not only okay, but actually righteous, only makes things words: it adds a veneer of godliness to a malicious mindset.

  • someone

    So why did Jesus ever say, “Go, and sin no more”? If we encourage sinful life and allow people to walk in sin without a challenge to grow, then we willfully walk into spiritual death by embracing a sinful life.

    The real purpose of this blog is simply to say that sin is no longer something to ashamed of and that we should never point out or judge anyone on any sin. On the surface this seems peaceful, but in reality this will lead to a world of people who go their own way without any sort of a compass on spirituality other than “humanity” or whatever else scientists will call it next.

  • Bran

    I appreciate this article very much. I was raised christian. I came out early as a child. I learned to hate christians pretty early for their superior hypocritical attitude and ugly hateful words. ( around age 10) But in an interesting twist I never learned to hate god or have walked away from my path with him. I talk to him every day, and I know he hears me and answers. Though once again many “christians” told me it was impossible that he would listen to someone like me. It’s really lovely to hear and see people like you exist. It makes it a bit easier to remember that I need to love rather than hate right back. Hate is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

  • Nate Nate

    Enough with the scientific stuff, its simple. We are on this earth to procreate, produce a family, that is the intention. Some heterosexuals cant have babies, thats just the way it is. and there are loving gay couples that would love to adopt, which is perfectly fine. But it will always be seen as different because they have to rely on a heterosexual relationship, or a surrogate for their family, that is the difference and will always be the only difference, gays will always have to rely upon a heterosexual relationship to have a family. Unless artificial insemination is done, but again its artificial, and males can not do it without extreme measures, it will always be different from original intention. That is why it will always be a controversial subject. It is manipulation to succeed that way. Sorry I love you anyway

  • Melissa

    I agree, but it’s not just “the gays” who get this phrase constantly thrown in their faces – as a single mom (never married), I had A LOT of people say that to me. But it was a great article, thanks for writing it.

  • cellojim

    “I love you, but I hate your filthy, disgusting religion.” Doesn’t that make you feel loved and respected? All warm and fuzzy?

  • Pauline

    I really liked this blog, but I must say it still begs the question: how should the church approach those who have a homosexual bent? I loved your point that Jesus didn’t make his motto “eating and drinking with prostitutes and tax collectors”, and that when he hung out with these people he didn’t treat them like they were sinners. But I would point out that the people Jesus hung out with also didn’t remain in their lifestyles (at least that is how it seemed). Extortionist tax collector Zacheus, returned the money he swindled, Jesus didn’t just “hang out” with prostitutes, he changed them, drove out demons from them, forgave them, but challenged them to live a different life. What does that look like in the church today? I agree that those who call themselves “homosexuals” are far more than their sexual orientation. But I also believe that homosexuality is a sin, and therefore is ultimately destructive. You aren’t going to say “hate the sin, love the sinner” anymore. That’s great. But what are you going to do? How do you think Jesus would have treated homosexuals? I don’t think he would have hated them, screamed damnation at them, but I also don’t think he would have just “hung out” with them.

  • LoveHim

    I normally don’t respond to posts like this because I’ve never felt convicted enough. But I just want to know if there is anyone out there like me? People who see valid points on either side of the argument and are genuinely confused? I once had a gay friend break down crying to me about how he’s done being friends with people who say “love the sinner, hate the sin”. And as much as I wanted to feel for him, I found myself getting very angry. I realized in that moment that it didn’t matter that I had NEVER treated my friend any differently than anyone else. If I so much as expressed feelings regarding homosexuality being a sin, I was written off in his book. Another gay friend of mine de-friended me from Facebook because I dared to suggest that we show love and kindness to the people of chic-fil-a who truly believe they are doing Gods work. At the end of the day, most Christians are just trying to obey God. Who are any of us to pass judgement one way or another. I for one, do not hate gay people at all. If it were up to me, the bible would not condemn homosexuality. Fact is that reading through the bible makes it difficult to walk away with a positive interpretation of homosexuality, and most Christians would rather err on the side of caution than possibly support something sinful.

    I’m very confused on this issue and I just think that continuing to call people out for trying to live a righteous life is only leading to more division. We should express very thing through love

  • Tucker Walden

    I will say this, there is a point where we must choose to sin. Some may get mad at me for saying this but homosexuality(HS) is right up there with lying, murder, stealing, and adultery. Why? Because all sin is equal. All the other sins we consider temptations and we discourage the church from partaking. Why not do so to gay christians? If we are supposed to resist temptations, why should HS be any different?

  • Ham Boner

    The main reason that homisexuality is focused on rather than other sins like lying, adultery, stealing, etc us because when people commit those sins they dont think it is OK. They know those are sins, aren’t proud of committing them, ask for forgiveness and try not commit them again even though they are aware that it is in their nature to want to do them again and sometimes will. THAT is the difference between homosexuality and other sins.

  • betty

    why does everything have to turn into a GAY issue?? Love the sinner hate the sin has nothing to do with GAY it’s all the sins.