Lest You Also Be Tempted

[Note:  The following is an article I wrote originally for Anchor Magazine, in support of those who struggle against the horrible burden of Same Sex Attraction, to show my support for those brethren of mine who struggle with that sin, an issue I have discussed elsewhere [1] [2].]

Introduction

It is common in statements made about homosexuality by opponents of the gay agenda for there to be a moral fervor against homosexuality. This moral fervor that is lacking about such issues as adultery, fornication, and other biblically condemned sexual sins seems focused on the issue of homosexuality. Some might wonder why this is the case, and ponder over the moral hypocrisy of such messages that demonize one type of sin while turning a blind eye to other, related, sins. In this article I will endeavor to show four verses that will provide the basis for a better attitude towards sexual sins like homosexuality that can provide a balanced and fair approach to how one can hate a sin but love a sinner. That principle is found in Galatians 6:1-5.

Galatians 6:1-5 And Its Application to Same-Sex Attraction Disorder

Paul states in Galatians 6:1-5 the following concerning how to deal with someone who has a known sin: “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load.” Let us now look at these verses and determine how they are applicable to the situation of homosexuality.

First, there is the recognition that homosexuality, if the desires are acted upon, is a sin. Even the lust for men is a sin. Without this recognition it is impossible for restoration, for repentance depends first on a recognition of what we are doing wrong. We have to turn from our sinful ways before we can follow Christ and do what is right. Presumably all of the people reading this (myself included) recognize that within us all are wicked lusts and that we desire to change. Therefore we can now turn on to further details.

Second, and this is an important point, the attitude taken by the “spiritual” (that is, those who are morally upright in this regard) towards the sinner is one of compassion. In the case of SSAD, this has not always been the case. Some leaders of the church, and some pastors, used gay- bashing as a way to gain moral capital with their brethren. Many people are even now afraid to admit that they struggle with this problem for fear of the repercussions. Instead of a self-righteous attitude towards sinners, we should all be gentle to those who have the faith to confess their sins to a brother in the faith.

Third, the reason for compassion is given. The compassionate attitude comes from a humble reflection on the fact that we could be tempted and could fall in the same sort of sin that our brother or sister has fallen into. Most people, sadly, do not consider this when thinking of homosexuality. It is, to most people, not difficult to imagine how we could lie, how we could steal, how we could fornicate, how we could commit adultery, how we could lust, given various temptations and situations. However, most people simply cannot recognize how they could be tempted to sin by homosexuality. Since they cannot visualize what circumstances could have led them to have the same desires, they cannot have compassion on those who suffer from such problems. If we are to change the smug attitudes people have towards SSAD, we must educate them on the causes of the problem so that they can imagine what life would be like if their own lives had been different during their childhood. If people can imagine how they could have struggled with homosexuality themselves, then they can relate to someone who actually does suffer with it.

Fourth, Paul states that helping out brethren with their burdens fulfills the law of Christ. Few, if any, of those who struggle with homosexuality will doubt that it is a burden. We are exhorted by Christ to love others as ourselves and to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Most of us would not wish to be abused or ridiculed or humiliated, and yet people forget this when it comes to homosexuality. If we are truly obeying God’s law and truly have the love that God would desire us to have, we would be able to help out our fellow brethren who are struggling against any sin. At least we should have compassion knowing that we too are sinners with our own sins that we struggle with as well.

Fifth, Paul states that those who think they are something when they are not deceive themselves. This applies to the case of homosexuality, for those who cannot see how they could fall into such a sin deceive themselves and lack self-knowledge. Homosexuality is not a choice, and therefore all of us should recognize that are no better or no worse for the problems we struggle with, but rather for how we struggle with them. This recognition is how we show ourselves to be “spiritual.”

Sixth, Paul states that each person should examine his own work to see if he is following the example of Christ. We should rejoice if we are following God’s way. We know, from Hebrews 4:15, that Christ was tempted in all things and yet did not sin. We can take heart that we have a high priest in heaven who sympathizes with us and is compassionate. Our leaders here on earth should be the same. For as Paul says elsewhere, if we break any part of the law we suffer the penalty of the law. God judges sin alike with the penalty of death, and Christ died to take away the penalty for all of our sins. By reflecting on our own lives, we can better understand the lives of others.

Seventh, Paul states that everyone should bear their own load. The goal of understanding and compassion is that we should all walk our Christian life in a godly manner. All of us have areas that we struggle with more than others. As sons and daughters of God in a wicked world there is no lack of ways in which we can fall into trespasses. Eventually, with the help of our leaders and our fellow brethren, we can become more complete and more mature Christians. In time, hopefully all of us can bear our own burdens, but until that time we should help others bear theirs, no matter what it may be.

Conclusion

I hope that these five verses have provided an example of the way to deal with the issue of homosexuality. If we confess to someone our sins and difficulties, we should expect a compassionate response, if that brother or minister is truly converted. Likewise, if someone confesses to us their sins, we should act compassionately towards them. It is difficult to confess our sins to others because of the difficulty we have trusting that the other person will respond in a loving and Christian manner. This is especially true in the case of homosexuality. However, confessing our sins is a Christian test. It is a test for the person confessing, because it involves a recognition of one’s own sinful human nature and a desire to be restored to innocence. It is also a test for the person we confess to, because if they react in a manner that is not consistent with the compassion and love preached by Christ and the apostles, then they truly are not spiritual either. Therefore, let us speak like Paul: “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.”

[1] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/a-modest-proposal-for-the-development-of-focused-education-programs-in-the-united-church-of-god/

[2] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/and-so-were-some-of-you-1-corinthians-6-9-11-focused-education-and-the-proclamation-of-the-gospel/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Christianity, Church of God, Musings and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Lest You Also Be Tempted

  1. Pingback: Harder Than We Could Endure | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: Group Projects | Edge Induced Cohesion

  3. Pingback: Book Review: Dwelling In The Land | Edge Induced Cohesion

  4. Pingback: Love Bears All Things | Edge Induced Cohesion

  5. Pingback: Book Review: Beyond The Shades Of Gray | Edge Induced Cohesion

  6. Pingback: Book Review: Out | Edge Induced Cohesion

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s