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Homosexuality in the Bible

Original Publication Date
February 13, 2016
Updated
Jan 9, 2023 3:31 AM
Tags
LeviticusSexual ImoralitySexual AssaultRelationshipsLawCommandmentsLove
Bible References
Genesis 19; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10; Romans 1:25-27
Status
Done
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Table of Contents
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This page was originally posted on my Blogger version of the blog on February 13, 2016 The content below has a few minor tweaks for clarity, additional references, and some updated information.
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Disclaimer: the topic of sexual orientation is a delicate one. In this post we will be discussing if the Bible does or does not condemn homosexuality. The burden of this discussion is that many people consider their sexual orientation to be part of their identity. As a black person, I understand that specific traumas and experiences lead to this—wounds and deep hurts that make it hard to have certain conversations. In my podcast episode
🎙️
Why I Miss the Segregated Church
, I talk about how my blackness cannot be removed from my relationship with God and I imagine there are many in the LGBTQ+ community who feel similarly. As such, I want to start this post off with a few disclaimers:
  1. This post is was born from research conducted while reading through the chapters of Leviticus 18 and Leviticus 20; it is not a singling out of homosexuality
  2. This post is not a judgement, nor the end all be all of the discussion; it is simply a summary of the research I have done and what I feel YHWH has spoken.
  3. If this topic directly touches you, and you profess to worship the Most High God, my suggestion would be to pray before continuing. That prayer should be to hear His voice clearly and to surrender to His Will. As you read, listen for His voice because only He can convict, condemn, or set free.
  4. Please know that whether we get to the end of this post and agree or disagree, I still love and respect you and if we were to meet in person, would treat you as such. While I am called to honesty, to faithfulness to YHWH’s Word, to study, and to live by the standard He has set, I am also called to love. True love means loving people where they are for who they are. True love understand that every person is irreplaceable and priceless.

Introduction

People are often lead away from God by their sin because no one wants to be told they are in the wrong, especially about something they enjoy. I have seen many cases where a friend tells a friend they are in a bad relationship and that person becomes angry because that's not what they want to hear. They want their friend to be supportive and be happy for them, but that doesn't make the friend's assertion false.

We are that way with God. We don't like to think of ourselves as sinners or our actions as "evil," and we like to think that we know right from wrong, good and bad. Most people are trying to be what they think is a good person. With those we think are doing wrong, many of them believe they are doing right (if they thought it was wrong they wouldn't do it).

Since the Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage (and probably a bit before then) the major debate between Christians has been on homosexuality: is it or is it not a sin? There are those who would have you believe it is the worst sin in the Bible, ignoring the fact that if you break one commandment you break them all (i.e. there is no "worst" sin). At the other extreme, others would have ordained ministers performing the ceremony and declaring that it is not sin.

Caring About the Verdict

For a long time, it was an issue most of us (re: heterosexual people) didn't care about. We didn't have to think about wether we thought it was right or wrong because no one was really talking about it and it didn’t affect us. Despite having a few openly gay classmates (and a few classmates that we knew were gay, but we didn’t know were gay), I don’t remember my childhood church ever discussing the matter. Topics on sex were limited to premarital sex, pregnancy, and STDs.

Even today, after the supreme court ruling, an abundance of homosexual relationships in the media, celebrities (friend, families, and coworkers, as well) coming out, I still haven’t actually had a church I attend take a stance or mention homosexuality. I’m not ignorant enough to believe this is the norm however. Less than a mile from the church I grew up in, another church split over the issue when the adult child of one the members came out as gay. I do not know the details (honestly, I don’t think I want to—I know enough to know there was a lot of ungodly behavior), but at the end of it some stayed and others formed a new church down the street. It is the second split at that church in my lifetime. My grandfather’s church has actually collapsed over the debate. The decision made by the pastor led to the entire church being unrecognized by the larger Methodist Church, who took back the building they were meeting in.

Meanwhile, almost half of LGBT+ youth have contemplated suicide.[17] Homicide and hate crimes against members of the LGBT+ community are rampant. In 2016 there was the shooting at Pulse in Orlando, FL and in November 2022, there was a shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, CO. Between the two of these heinous attacks, 54 people have been killed, 70 have been physically wounded, and countless others have been emotionally scarred.[24][25]

As complicated and messy as it can get, we have to have the conversation.

The Word of God vs. the World

I'm dividing this post into two parts: the question of whether homosexuality is actually a sin and the treatment of people who have embraced homosexuality. Before you read these sections I would like to point out some major things:

First and foremost, no sin (minus the unpardonable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit/the Mark of the Beast) is better or worse. Many of God's chosen people committed sins (e.g., David was an adulterous murderer) and each of us is a sinner. This post and conversation is not about shaming anyone or pointing fingers; we have all fallen short and I have my own sins to atone for.

Second, in the section where I discuss if homosexuality is a sin, I am breaking the relevant passages down based on studying the word and what I feel God has revealed to me. Conviction of sin is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit, not me. I am sharing the research I found when I tried to answer these questions (the Bible says "come let us reason" in Isaiah 1:18). If you are struggling with this question, take everything to the Father in prayer with a surrendered heart. At the end of the day, your responsibility is to follow the convictions given from God. Finally, I promise, even if we disagree on what the Word says about this matter, I still love you and will try my best that my actions and words convey that love in a manner that is both respectful to you and genuine to what I believe.

Is it a Sin?

That brings me to the question of the sin itself. We answer to the Father in Heaven; if God says its a sin, it's a sin and if God says it isn't a sin, then it's not. The following 6 verses are the verses usually discussed when deciding what God said about homosexuality:

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. 6 And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, 7 And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.
If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; 9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

It seems fairly obvious what God's stance on homosexuality is, but there are those who have come up with rebuttals to why they think these passages are not what they seem. Knowing that verses are often taken out of context—prime examples being “slaves obey your master” and “wives submit to your husbands”—and that since the early church lies have crept in to pervert the truth, it is reasonable to think there is something we have missed. That is why I took the time to dig deeper in to the context and history of these verses.

Now, if you have read my post "God's Voice" you know that I'm about to say, we have to be careful because the devil quotes scripture too, and he is ready to make you to see God's Word in a context that allows you to do what you want to do, regardless of what God wants. We can't look at these scriptures with the hope of proving our stance (regardless of what side of the fence you stand upon); we are to read what God says with an open mind and come to the same conclusion as God. So, let's talk about these verses and the arguments against them to see what God really meant.[4]

Genesis 19

Genesis 19 is the first mentioning of homosexuality—sort of—in the Bible and occurs in the story surrounding Sodom and Gomorrah. Sodom (the namesake of sodomy) and Gomorrah probably rank the highest in giving homosexuality a bad reputation. Most people tell the story such that the emphasis is on people's sin of homosexuality, which leads to their ultimate destruction. Those negating the common stance that Genesis 19 condemns homosexuality suggest that Ezekiel 16:49 is more truthful of the people's crime. They go on to argue that the exchange in Genesis 19:5-6, which is clearly a reference to homosexual behavior, is actually misinterpreted; that it is not their homosexuality but the aspect of gang rape that is being condemned. Is this true?

I can agree that homosexuality was not the only sin running rampant in Sodom and Gomorrah. Like today, it was merely one of many condemned actions that were taking place and accepted in the city. However, I think the idea that the gang rape is the crime being highlighted in Genesis 19:5-6 is false. Here's why I believe this is a faulty interpretation:

  • Men approach Lot's house calling for Lot to send out the angels (who are disguised as men) so that they "may know" them. We all agree that "may know" is a euphemism for sex. However, asking for people to appear for the explicit purpose of sex is not the same as rape. What we see is a desire expressed, but it can't be considered an attempt at rape until they begin trying to barge into Lot's house and take the men. Lot condemns their action as wicked before this, which implies that merely asking for sex from the men is problematic.
  • Further, Lot doesn't simply shoo them away nor does he accuse them of rape or condemn rape. When Dinah is raped in Genesis 34, her brothers are so enraged they slaughter an entire city, why wouldn't Lot speak out against rape if that was the crime at hand. Lot's response would have been "they don't want to have sex with you, go away" if his concern was rape, but he doesn't mention rape or how the angels feel about the situation at all. Lot simply condemns the behavior—of which all we've been told is that they asked for the men to come out for sexual purposes—as wicked.
  • After condemning the behavior as wicked, Lot's "solution" is to given the men his virgin daughters (I'll discuss this issue and all that goes with it in my post on Lot's character). If the act condemned is rape, how is it ok to rape two virgin girls but not ok to rape two virgin (because angels still loyal to YHWH don't have sex anyway) men? Lot pleads with them, suggesting they can do whatever they want with his daughters and he reasons that it is better for them to do these things to the daughters than the visiting men.
  • The issue is clearly specific to the men wanting the angels who are disguised as men. A more logical argument would be that the sin was in wanting having sex with angels, but even then, Lot never identifies the men as angels and the men in question had no way of knowing their true identity until they were being punished. If their angelic nature was the problem, Lot's response would have been "they are not men, but angels; you can't know them." Their status as angels is irrelevant in the conversation until they begin smiting people, which means it wasn't the source of the problem.
  • Further, if you continue reading Ezekiel 16:49-50, God continues the list of actions that brought His wrath upon Sodom, in which He states they "committed abomination before [Him]." Homosexuality is listed as an abomination throughout other passages in the Bible.

Another source suggests the encounter has nothing to do with sex at all.[11] This person suggests that "know" didn't actually mean sex and that the people wanted to kick the foreigners out of town (kind of like Donald Trump wants to get rid of immigrants). This person suggests Lot was poking fun at the mob by offering up his daughters. I don't think the tone of the passage supports this interpretation, though I think the logic is less faulty than the one made above. Also the Hebrew word translated to "know" is the same word used earlier to say Adam "knew" his wife and she conceived. Thus, it's highly probable that know does means sex.

Yet another source tries to claim that since all the men of the city were there it couldn't be homosexuality because surely everyone wasn't homosexual. This is also a faulty premise. The source doesn't consider that some of the men could have been bisexual. Further, in comparing the ancient city of Sodom to the modern city of Los Angeles, the author neglects that this may have been the only place in the ancient near east were one could openly engage in this kind of behavior and not be killed. It may have been an exclusive gay community (perhaps a large scale gay club). This author also ignores the fact that just because others were there doesn't mean they all wanted to have a go with the men. Some may have come along for a show of force, others to be nosy (lets face it, if you saw a large group of men closing in on one person's house, you'd be curious as to what was up too), and some may have begrudged Lot. In

and
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Numbers
we learn that God doesn't take kindly to people watching sin and allowing it to continue. Some of the men may have been punished for homosexuality, while others may have been punished for not standing with Lot; remember after Lot said their behavior was wicked, no one said "yeah, guys, let's go home."

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Note that there is a very similar story in Judges 19; the major difference in Judges 19 is that there are no angels to save the day. This passage doesn’t usually come up in these discussions; probably because most people aren’t familiar with it. Like Sodom and Gomorrah, there is certainly a larger point being made. However if we assume the Bible does not condemn homosexuality, the passage would still lead the reader to believe that a man raping a man is worst than a man raping a woman.

Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13

These two passages are the most outright and explicit declarations of homosexuality being condemned. You can't misinterpret "do not lie with a man the way you lie with a woman." Most people do not try to argue that these don’t say what we think they say; instead they argue it is no longer valid. This is where people start to dig out everything in Leviticus to prove that if these things are acceptable, so too, is homosexuality. Are they right? Is this an out-dated and invalid command?

Out-Dated?

In a separate post, I discuss Old Testament Law & Today, because people seem to be greatly confused about the laws laid out in the Old Testament and how they effect us today. Many argue that we are not bound by the law anymore because Christ "did away" with the law. For this reason many Christians eat unclean foods such as pork or shellfish, engage in premarital sex, and file for divorce for reasons other than adultery. Yet, if you ask a Christian if the 10 Commandments are still valid they will likely say yes. This is the point where Christians get accused of picking and choosing. I've seen many suggest (in sarcasm) that women be stoned for premarital sex if we're going back to the old laws. Some also cite Hebrews 8:13 to confirm that these laws don't apply, but this isn't exactly true.

Jesus did not destroy the law; He fulfilled it.[2]

What does that mean? The law was not just a set of rules for the people to follow, it served as a marker/identifier of sin (without a law there is no sin, because sin is disobeying the law) and explained how to atone for shortcomings. What Jesus did on the cross was atone for our sins. He didn't die on the cross so that you could lie, cheat, steal, and have sex with any and everyone you meet. God does not change,[10] what He despised during Moses' day, He still despises. That is why Jesus said "if you love Me you will keep My commandments."[13]

The difference in the new covenant is not that the law has disappeared (how would sin exist for there to be a sinful world in need of judgement if there was no law?), but that instead of offering our best goat or needing to stone someone for a particular sin, Jesus' blood covers that sin. Thus based on Leviticus 20, we aren’t to put homosexuals to death as they do in some countries, because Jesus fulfilled their debt with His blood. The action is still a sin and the people can only be forgiven if they accept Jesus and repent. (Yes, that means the other actions listed there as also being sinful such as eating pork, and premarital sex are also and equally wrong.)

I went into great detail on explaining the above point in a previous post, but since we’re discussing Hebrews 8, I will briefly cover it. Some argue that this verse calls the "old covenant" and "old law" obsolete. In this chapter, God talks about the new covenant (which Jesus ushered in). He speaks of the law that is written in our hearts and says the old covenant is ready to vanish. God says that this new covenant is not "according to" the old, but is in the hearts and minds of His people. Does that mean He scrapped the old covenant and changed all the laws? Well if He did, that would make God a liar and the entire Bible would fall apart.

For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. Malachi 3:6 KJV
God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

Since God does not lie, and God does not change, if God thought the act of homosexuality was wrong during Moses' day, He still thinks it is wrong. Notice that while God may have only let people eat flesh after the flood, He never talks about it before the flood. This was not a change for God, but a change for man (likely because of the damage the flood caused to the Earth's vegetation). So what is God talking about in Hebrews 8?

The covenant is not the law. The Israelites end of the covenant was that they would keep the feasts and perform the sacrifices due to their inability to keep the law. Yes, the law was part of the covenant in that it outlined what behavior they were to strive for, but the law itself was not the covenant. The old covenant was the bloodshed; God would stay with them and redeem them from their sins if they sacrificed blood when they broke the law. The new covenant is that we will accept Jesus as our Savior, and when we repent from breaking the law, His blood will cover our sacrifice. The old covenant of sacrifice started to vanish after Jesus came and completely vanished after the Temple was destroyed. God says He will put the law (notice He never says He will change the law) in our hearts and minds because after accepting Jesus we are able to receive the Holy Spirit. The Israelites could not approach God, they had to go through the priests (who may or may not be corrupt). Their law came from the priests, but we get the law directly from God. We can approach (through Jesus) and ask for clarification of the scripture. Instead of keeping His words in a Temple that only the chosen can enter, our body becomes the Temple and we are worthy to carry His law with us at all times.

Interestingly actor Sir Ian Mckellen, who portrays Gandalf in Lord of the Rings and Magneto in X-Men, admits to ripping the page with this verse on it out of hotel Bibles—I'm not sure he realizes that simply ripping the page out doesn't change God's Word or that there are multiple verses condemning the lifestyle.[3]

Misinterpreted?

I have seen at least one person (a friend of mine from high school) argue that the translation is faulty. This criticism comes from the fact that in Leviticus 20:13 KJV, two different words are used for man in the phrase “man shall not lie with man.” The first occurrence is translated from the word אִישׁ which, according to Strong’s, means a man or male person.[18] The second instance is translated from the word זָכָר which also means male but can be translated as child as well. זָכָר is the word used in Genesis 1:27 to describe the creation of male (and female). It is translated as child in Genesis 17:12, in talking about the circumcision of male children on the eighth day, but it is also used when asking the grown men like Shechem to be circumcised in Genesis 34:22.[19]

If we take the stance that this word should actually be child, our two verses in Leviticus would read something closer to “thou shalt not lie with a boy as with womankind..” and “If a man also lie with a boy as he lies with a woman…” That would make these passages closer to a condemnation of pedophilia.

Unfortunately that leaves a plot hole… While זָכָר can mean child, it always references a male child. These verses would be condemning pedophilia between a grown man and a young boy, but it wouldn’t necessarily condemn the act between a grown man and a young girl or a grown woman and a young boy. That opens another can of worms, doesn’t it?

As much as I would love to jump on this bandwagon and say it’s a mistranslation, I can’t get around the fact that in each verse the act is explicitly contrasted to sex with a woman. If the verse simply read “man shall not lie with man,” it would seem more likely that “man shall not lie with a boy” was the intended translation and meant to be a gender neutral statement on pedophilia. As it stands, however, the accepted sexual behavior is still defined as between a man and a woman. Other wise we would have “man shall not lie with a boy as with an adult.”

1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10

1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10 lists "them that defile themselves with mankind" in the KJV or "homosexuals" in the NASB, as people who are not righteous and will not inherit the kingdom of God (effeminate men are listed in 1 Corinthians 6:9 as well). What is the argument here? People argue that this verse is actually incorrectly translated or misinterpreted. They suggest that these verses are actually talking about people outside of committed, monogamous relationships. The Greek text for 1 Timothy uses the word ἀρσενοκοίταις and 1 Corinthians uses ἀρσενοκοῖται which is translated to "defile themselves with mankind" or "homosexual." μαλακοὶ is translated to effeminate.[12] Strong's translates ἀρσενοκοῖται to mean a male engaging in sexual behavior with a male and μαλακοὶ to mean soft or effeminate.[14][15] This suggests that the translation is spot on.

The main argument people have is that the word is “made up”—it’s a compound word that is only used these two times in the Bible. In both verses, the context is clear that it is meant to be some sort of sin that is separate from idolatry, fornication, adultery, and being effeminate. To get a better understanding of what was likely meant, we have to look at the two words that make up the compound word Paul is using: ἄρρην and κοίτη.

🔠 Word Used
📗 Translations that use this Word
#️⃣ Percent of translations
homosexual
NLT, ESV, Berean Standard Bible, NKJV, NASB, Amplified Bible, HCSB, CEV, ISV, NET Bible, WEB
51.8%
homosexual perverts
GNT
3.7%
men who have sex with men
NIV, CSB, New Heart English Bible
11.1%
fornicators
Douay-Rheims Bible, Weymouth New Testament
7.4%
abusers of themselves with mankind
KJV, ASV, Aramaic Bible in Plain English
11.1%
sodomites
Literal Standard Version, NAB, NRSV, YLT
14.8%

κοίτη has a few possible meanings, all related to a bed or lying down. Strong’s definition defines it by implication to mean male sperm.[21] ἄρρην on the other hand simply means man (it is the word used in Romans 1:27).[22]

From this we can gather that Paul was alluding to some sort of sexual act. Think about the following:

  1. For Paul to use this word, he must have expected his readers to understand what was being conveyed
  2. Both words are inherently male literally translating to something like “man lying down” or “man male sperm”
  3. Process of elimination
    1. Since Paul is talking about sin, he can’t be talking about sex between a man and wife because we’ve been told numerous times in the Bible that this expected behavior
    2. Paul has already mentioned adultery, so this is not about sex outside of marriage
    3. Paul has already mentioned fornication, so this is not about prostitution[23]

Objectively, the sexual sins I believe this leaves as possibilities: men having sex with men, men watching men have sex (like porn), masturbation, and rape. The two words don’t have any definitions or connotations that deal with force, however, which makes rape an unlikely meaning. Similarly, nothing in the two words suggests watching or looking upon for us to make that connection. That leaves men having sex with men and masturbation. Of the two, there are more verses in the Bible (specifically the Old Testament, which is what the recipients of Paul’s letter would have had) about men having sex with men than about masturbation. In the context of the other verses in the Bible, it seems more likely that Paul was referencing homosexuality. Nonetheless, I concede that it is impossible to know what Paul actually intended the word to mean.

Of the 27 translations that came back on Bible Hub for comparison of 1 Corinthians 6:9, over half of the verses were translated to explicitly say homosexual or men having sex with men.[20]

Romans 1:26-27

Lastly, we have Romans 1:26-27:

26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

Critics argues that this verse is actually referring to homosexuality between grown men and young boys sometimes through prostitution and as an act of adultery. Once again, the main issue with this argument is that even in the original Greek, the contrast is woman. The issue isn’t just men with men, where we could argue for centuries about whether it should be men with men or men with boys; the issue is that these men “[left] the nature use of the woman” and “burned in their lust toward one another.” We know Paul knows the word for wife, he uses it elsewhere, so this isn’t a reference to adultery per sé—in that case he might have said husbands leaving the natural use of their wife. Not only are they leaving the women (wife or not), they have lust toward one another, this suggests that we aren’t talking about men leaving women for boys, but that the attraction is mutual between grown men.[16]

Summary

From this we can conclude (perhaps unfortunately) that these passages do in fact condemn homosexuality as a sin.

Dealing in Love not Hate

Now that we have addressed that, the topic that needs addressing is treating people who feel and/or choose otherwise with love. As I mentioned before, just because a person commits a sin does not make them irredeemable. The fact that the church treats this particular sin as though it is somehow worse than the sins everybody else commits is not ok. Abuse, harassment, hate, etc. are neither appropriate nor condoned by the Word. With that being said, there are in fact two groups to discus: those who profess Christianity vs those who do not.

Quite simply put, if a person is not a believer, there is not reason to hold them to Biblical standards. Yes, you and I may believe that this standard is something God has set for all mankind, but they don't, and it certainly isn't the starting place for understanding God's love. As mentioned earlier, it is the Holy Spirit's job to convict. As a believer I think there are far more important aspects of building a relationship with the Father that I would be focused on planting seeds for than bothering them about who they like or are sleeping with.

On the other side, when someone is a believer, there is an expectation that they are following the teachings of the Most High and the Messiah. One of the biggest issues with Christianity is that there are so many people claiming the faith that don't follow the basic tenants of the faith. This not only confuses people on the outside, but also turns people against God because of the shame we bring upon ourselves. Thus, this is a conversation that would, and probably should come up between two people who profess Christianity but have opposing views. On the issue of sin, God tells us in Matthew 18 how to confront someone who has sinned.

15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

Notice that God doesn't say spit on, picket, harass, bully, or beat said sinner. If a friend confided in you that they smoked crack over the weekend, you would likely tell them that was an unsafe practice and express disapproval of said action. If they continued this path, you would likely inform another mutual friend to discuss the issue with the person. Lastly, you would bring the issue to a person of greater authority (such as the person's family). If the situation became worse, you might have to distance yourself from that person. I believe this is how God expects us to handle all sins (notice I said all sins there). If a friend confides in you that they are struggling with homosexuality, I believe you are to share the truth of the Word with them. If they are defiant that they will not obey God, I think God expects you to place that person in a position of less influence in your life.

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This type of separation occurs naturally and is not specific to homosexuality by any means. I have friends who I went to parties with in college that continue in the party lifestyle and are still in to heavy drinking. We are not as close because our interests don’t align. I don’t think less of them and we still talk occasionally, but I’m not the first person they call because in good times they want to go the club and I don’t.

I do want to caveat here, though, I think there is a major difference in someone who agrees something is sin but continues to do that thing, and someone who does not believe it is sin. I am talking about someone who is knowingly in rebellion against God. That being said, I still don't think this means you can't speak to or spend time with the person—they are still the same friend you’ve always known and loved. However, I think it will definitely change the relationship. Naturally, if you disagree with a behavior that someone considers part of their identity, it will put a wedge in your friendship; they may feel offended and hurt by your stance. Regardless, they should be treated like the human beings they are and any effort to maintain the friendship should be explored as they are in fact the same person they've always been. I see friends of mine that are in the LGBT+ community the same way I see friends from different religions, or friends who have sex before marriage (which is almost everyone). Everything I loved about them before, I still love. God is love. Who is going to turn back to God when His followers are spewing out hate? I believe God wants us to stand firm, but that doesn't mean treating people inhumanely or forgetting the things we love about people.

References and Footnotes

  1. Thomas Nelson Publishers. KJV Study Bible. pg. 1998
  2. Matthew 5:17
  3. Miller, Leslie. "Why gay actor Ian McKellen rips pages out of Bibles". USA Today. November 2009
  4. Simon, Erica W. "There are 6 Scriptures about homosexuality in the Bible. Here's what they really say". Up Worthy. June 2014
  5. The Joe Walsh Program. "Hillary Clinton Says Religious Beliefs About Abortion Have to be Changed". YouTube. April 2015
  6. Examiner. "Obama: Americans need to shift religious views to accept gay marriage". Las Vegas SunTimes. June 2015
  7. The Joe Walsh Program. "Hillary Clinton Says Religious Beliefs About Abortion Have to be Changed". YouTube. April 2015
  8. NicholasPOGM. "Obama demands Christians Deny Jesus!". YouTube. June 2015
  9. "Obama tells Americans to Deny Jesus and Overcome their Religious Views". JewsNews. July 2015
  10. Malachai 3:6 KJV
  11. "How are we to take the fact that Lot offered his daughters for rape?". Biblical Hermeneutics.
  12. German Bible Society. "Greek New Testament". Academic Bible. 2016
  13. John 14:15.
  14. Strong’s G3120. malakos". Bible Hub; visited 2016
  15. Strong’s G733. arsenokoites". Bible Hub; visited 2016
  16. Keathley, Hampton, IV. "The Authorship of Second Peter". Bible.org. June 2004
  17. Rina Torchinsky. “Nearly half of LGBTQ youth seriously considered suicide, survey finds”. NPR. March 5, 2022
  18. Strong’s H376. אִישׁ“. Blue Letter Bible; visited November 2022
  19. Strong’s H2145. זָכָר“. Blue Letter Bible; visited November 2022
  20. 1 Corinthians 6:9”. Bible Hub.com; visited November 2022
  21. Strong’s G2845. κοίτη“. Blue Letter Bible; visited November 2022
  22. Strong’s G730. ἄρρην“. Blue Letter Bible; visited November 2022
  23. Strong’s G4205. πόρνος“. Blue Letter Bible; visited November 2022
  24. Orlando Nightclub Shooting”. Wikipedia; visited November 2022
  25. Kevin Shalvey, Julia Jacobo, Aaron Katersky, Josh Margolin, and Emily Shapiro. Colorado LGBTQ club shooting: Suspect used legally purchased assault-style rifle”. ABC News. November 21, 2022

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