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Dear Compass Check: Answering Some of Your Questions About Homosexuality

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Dear Compass Check

Answering Some of Your Questions About Homosexuality

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Has anyone ever asked you how you feel about homosexuality? Eventually you’ll likely be forced to address the issue or even defend your position on it. Like many of us, perhaps you’ve already had to do so. This might leave you with a surplus of difficult and emotionally-charged questions but a shortage of answers. Together, let’s examine some of your most common questions regarding homosexuality. 

Q: A few of the students in my classes are gay or lesbian, as is one of my managers at work. How should I interact with them on a regular basis?

As a teen in the Church of God, you are called now—but this is not the case for everyone. God has not yet blessed everyone with the understanding of His expectations for them as explained in Scripture. The result is that many people are blind to the wrongness of their actions and can’t see any need to change (2 Corinthians 4:4 2 Corinthians 4:4In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine to them.
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), but we are thankful their eyes will be opened when Jesus returns (Micah 4:1-2 Micah 4:1-2 [1] But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow to it. [2] And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
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).

You probably already interact with a fair number of people who unknowingly break a variety of God’s laws. They might go to church on Sunday, eat unclean meats, celebrate Christmas and Easter, or do other things that we understand are unbiblical. In 1 Corinthians 5:9-10 1 Corinthians 5:9-10 [9] I wrote to you in an letter not to company with fornicators: [10] Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortionists, or with idolaters; for then must you needs go out of the world.
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the apostle Paul says: “I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world” (emphasis added). Christ’s remarks in John 17:14-19 John 17:14-19 [14] I have given them your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. [15] I pray not that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil. [16] They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. [17] Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth. [18] As you have sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. [19] And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
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place us squarely in “this world.” We have to live in a society that is contrary to God and interact on a daily basis with those who do not live by God’s standards. Still, we must stand out and be a “light” by following His Word (Matthew 5:14-16 Matthew 5:14-16 [14] You are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. [15] Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light to all that are in the house. [16] Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
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).

We can apply this instruction by not condemning people who do not yet understand all that God requires of us. However, the Bible is also clear in saying that we should not become too close and comfortable with sin, or with those who live in an ungodly manner (Psalms 1:1 Psalms 1:1Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.
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). In living by God’s Word ourselves we have a unique opportunity to be a godly example in the life of someone who otherwise may never have contact with God’s Church again in this lifetime. We recommend interacting with gay and lesbian individuals with the same discretion and concern for your own purity as you do with anyone else whom God has not yet called to salvation.

Q: One of my closest friends from school came out as gay a few days ago. How should I respond to him? Can we still be friends?

If this person is very close to you, he probably already knows your beliefs regarding homosexual lifestyles. If not, it’s possible that your friendship is not as close as you may have thought. In any case, now that he has chosen a new lifestyle your differing beliefs and standards will become more obvious. While loving the person as a friend, you cannot approve of his actions.

Depending on the situation, in the normal, daily routine of school, you may or may not have to treat him any differently now than you did before. You will still have the opportunity to be friends and have a positive influence—but make sure that it does not pull you toward such lifestyles too. Many people are engaged in all kinds of sinful activities, and we pray you have not let yourself become involved in any of them.

As a result of your friend coming out, you may find that your friendship will decline regardless of what you do. This is because of your differing value systems. In many cases, once a person chooses an active gay lifestyle he or she becomes intolerant of those who will not accept that lifestyle as valid, and your friend may choose to spend time with people who share those standards rather than your own.

Q: I don’t know what to say when people ask me about homosexuality. I want to share my beliefs and answer their question, but I also don’t want to offend or hurt them. What’s the best way to do this?

Let’s see how God advises us to discuss our beliefs with those whom God has not yet called to salvation. You might be familiar with 1 Peter 3:15 1 Peter 3:15But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
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which reminds us to respond to others “with meekness and fear.” “Meekness” means that we should answer with humility, not arrogance or condescension. “Fear” refers to the fact that we need to show respect and concern for those we answer. While we should answer without attacking them, we may still explain that the Bible does not support their beliefs. Further, we should strive to “become all things to all men” by accurately communicating at a level others can easily understand (1 Corinthians 9:19-23 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 [19] For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant to all, that I might gain the more. [20] And to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; [21] To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. [22] To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. [23] And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.
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). Read and carefully consider Paul’s response to the Athenians’ inquiries in Acts 17:16-34 Acts 17:16-34 [16] Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. [17] Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him. [18] Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seems to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached to them Jesus, and the resurrection. [19] And they took him, and brought him to Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof you speak, is? [20] For you bring certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. [21] (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.) [22] Then Paul stood in the middle of Mars' hill, and said, You men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are too superstitious. [23] For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore you ignorantly worship, him declare I to you. [24] God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwells not in temples made with hands; [25] Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he gives to all life, and breath, and all things; [26] And has made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; [27] That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: [28] For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. [29] For as much then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like to gold, or silver, or stone, graven by are and man's device. [30] And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men every where to repent: [31] Because he has appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he has ordained; whereof he has given assurance to all men, in that he has raised him from the dead. [32] And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear you again of this matter. [33] So Paul departed from among them. [34] However, certain men joined to him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
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. He completely nails all three of these guidelines and provides an example we can all emulate.

You might start by explaining that you believe in God’s clear teaching on a wide range of matters, and that the Bible does not allow for much of what is commonly acceptable today—including extramarital and premarital sex, homosexuality, getting drunk, doing drugs, envy and extortion (common examples as listed in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 [9] Know you 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 extortionists, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
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). Make it clear that while you may disagree with people’s choices, you strive to treat everyone with fairness, respect and compassion (Luke 6:31 Luke 6:31And as you would that men should do to you, do you also to them likewise.
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, 1 Peter 2:17 1 Peter 2:17Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
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). Finally, be sure to pray about these conversations. Ask God to give you conviction along with wisdom and the best words to say to cause others to have open, understanding ears.

Q: At lunch recently week some of my classmates asked me about gay marriage, so I shared my beliefs. They made fun of me and haven’t talked to me since then. What do I do next?

“If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” (Romans 12:18 Romans 12:18If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men.
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). God tells us we need to pursue peace with everyone, which personal experience shows is very hard to do. If your classmates are making fun of you, you can’t do so back to them. If your coworkers are lying about you, it means you can’t lie about them. Rely on God to help you through this challenge. The key is to remember to do everything in your power. You can’t control their actions, but you can influence them by always being open to peace. There’s a great chance that they’ll start talking to you again once they see that you are really a great person with whom they just happen to disagree. Remember, Jesus promised blessings for those who are persecuted for righteousness sake (Matthew 5:10 Matthew 5:10Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
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).

To conclude, let’s consider Romans 12:21 Romans 12:21Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
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: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Don’t let cruel, negative people get to you, but pray to God and strive to be your best. The obstacles may seem insurmountable at the time, but when you see it through to the end, you will be more rooted in your faith and have stronger character than ever before.

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