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As I write this article I’m flying over the beautiful plains of the western United States. One of the flight attendants appears and has mannerisms that make me wonder if he’s homosexual. It’s not my first time encountering someone who I knew or thought might be homosexual. In fact in my life I’ve worked with and been friends with several men who have struggled with this. Sometimes I’ve wondered if God hasn’t had some purpose in my knowing these men. While thinking on these things, I thought of a different angle I’d like to share in this article.

I think we all realize the Church has a responsibility to cry aloud, spare not and tell people of their sins; our society embraces sin more and more every day. With the subject of gay marriage so much a part of our national discourse, it’s right for us to take a stand against it in our preaching. We know that God created the institution of marriage to be between one man and one woman, and we should stand up for godly values whenever we have the opportunity. God is against gay marriage, and so should we be.

However, in addition for standing up for godly values, I’d like to ask you to consider another Christian responsibility: how to love and help other sinners, no matter what sin they may struggle with. Believe it or not, we have men and women in the Church who struggle with homosexuality. I’ve talked to multiple men in our Church who struggle with this challenge. I also recently heard of a young man who committed suicide who attended the United Church of God. He was also struggling with homosexuality. How incredibly sad it is whenever anyone feels they can’t go on living. You also can’t help but wonder in those situations if it could have been avoided if the person would have gotten the right kind of help.

We’ve all heard the saying “hate the sin, but love the sinner.” We shouldn’t look down upon people struggling with sin, as if from a position of self-righteousness. Jesus died to atone for the sins of everybody—ours included (Romans 5:8 Romans 5:8But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
American King James Version×
; compare Matthew 9:12-13 Matthew 9:12-13 12 But when Jesus heard that, he said to them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 13 But go you and learn what that means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
American King James Version×
). Just as our friends and brethren in the Church support us as we strive to overcome, so it should be in the Church for those who struggle with homosexuality. We should give the same love and support for them that we would give to someone struggling with something like alcohol addiction. The Church should be a place where everyone can discuss their challenges without being looked down upon. We should do whatever we can to support anyone who shares their struggles with us. If someone shares that they struggle with homosexual feelings, you might be inclined to avoid them, as you may even fear they are having feelings for you. But pushing them away is the last thing that they need or that God wants you to do. Know that they didn’t choose to be attracted to people of the same sex. Research shows that same-sex attraction typically develops very early in childhood development (see “Hope for Homosexuals ,” The Good News , Sept.-Oct. 2003).

Those who struggle with same-sex attraction need to feel welcome in our Church if God is calling them. We can let them share with us, we can pray for them, we can befriend them, and we can let them know that we don’t condemn them or look down on them.

Without condoning any sin, let’s make sure we don’t have a double standard in this area. We don’t avoid or shun people struggling with sins involving the opposite sex like pornography and lust. Neither do we condone it. We give each other help and support. Some homosexual men even ask others to be accountability partners with them to mutually share their struggles and to hold each other accountable to God’s commands.

We should have the same standard for those struggling with homosexuality as well. We can love, support, encourage, pray for, and befriend those struggling with homosexuality as well. And yes, we can do this without condoning homosexual activity.

If someone does have the courage to share their struggles with you, will you stand up and take on the challenge to help them? I hope the answer is yes.

I hope that our congregations will become a place where more people will feel comfortable sharing their struggles with one another. The apostle James said that we should be willing to “confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed” (James 5:16 James 5:16Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
American King James Version×
, King James Version). We are not a Church full of perfect people. In fact, it’s just the opposite, isn’t it? Let’s help each other in our individual walks with God, to encourage one another and be there for one another, no matter what challenges anyone shares with us. Along with standing up for godly values, this too is our Christian responsibility.

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    Comments

  • Norbert Z
    You’re right about having double standards and most people not only abhor them but also would hate to have one of their own. People need to understand that it is just as good to be a single Christian and that marriage is not somehow spiritually superior to that. In fact being married too, also has a possible spiritual weakness. “But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry.” 1 Corinthians 7:8 1 Corinthians 7:8I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.
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    ,9
  • Jojog
    Amazing and great article. We all tend to forget that we each have our own struggles, including the struggle to love each other into wholeness. Thanks for providing this food for thought. Be Forever Blessed. Jojog
  • Sheila Preston
    Thank you, a very helpful article showing a godly way to deal with this sensitive area
  • Jacqueline Galdames
    When you say struggle with sin, is it mentally or physically? I defend this stand if, like all of us, struggle with sin but we do not practice it. I suppose this person has repented and now he is not practicing the sin.We should not support homosexuals who practice the sin while struggling with it at the same time. If they have changed and do not want to commit again the sin I’m willing to help, though I think it is a personal struggle not to be shared. Greetings.
  • humberto
    Obviously a repentant homosexual can be in church, but if he keeps doing his sin, the Bible is clear, whatever they say the authorities in the church, we must first defend the truth of God. 1Co 5:9 I have written you a letter, not to associate with immoral people; 1Co 5:10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 1Co 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company with anyone named a brother if he be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or a thief; with such an one no not to eat. 1Co 5:12 For what have I to judge those outside? Do not ye judge them that are within? 1Co 5:13 For those who are outside, God judges. [Therefore] Expel the wicked man from among you. Humberto
  • DAVID-JOHN
    I note that the responses to this excellent article seem to indicate we can only offer support and love if the sinner has repented and indeed they have offered scripture to back up their stance on the matter. But if someone has repented and overcome their struggles then our support is not needed. Paul who is quoted here said he would sin not but his body was weak. Our role is not to judge too harshly but to educate, to strengthen, to support when a sinner, and we are all sinners, requires our help. Often our help will take the form of support and acceptance of the person but not of the sin. This is a delicate matter to express but a very much needed attribute of nurturing within the confines of the Church Of God. Thank you for the original article.

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