One of the responses I got to my recent post was from a fellow Christian on Google+, who was interested to know why I think God says no to homosexual sex even in the context of a lifelong relationship.
I didn’t attempt to answer it there, and I’m not going to attempt to answer it here. This question is not a new one, I’m sure plenty of words have already been spilled onto the screen in discussing the different points of view on this issue, so I don’t see much point in me going in depth into what plenty of people have already said. I don’t feel I have anything new to say, anything of unique value to bring into this ongoing debate.
And what I think doesn’t really matter.
In the context of what is or isn’t okay in God’s eyes, it doesn’t matter what I think or what your parents think or your friends or your pastor or your rabbi or your mentor or whoever – what matters is what God thinks, because it’s to him we will each have to give account on the day of judgement.
I remember years ago, when I had gone away on retreat and I was wrestling with a different issue also to do with human sexuality, and I had a chat with this very wise lady who was one of the people in charge at the retreat house. I asked her what she reckons God thinks about sex. Thankfully, she had the wisdom not to answer me but instead, to point me in the right direction so that I could figure it out for myself – she sent me away to read Scripture and to keep my mind open to what God might show me. I had come into a relationship with God but still had lots of preconceptions from before – I needed to put those to the side and let God be God in this area too.
She could have sat there and told me what she had learned over the years, she had been a lecturer at a theological college so no doubt she could have easily lectured me… and I respected her, so I would probably have taken her words seriously. But what would I have done when I faced the next challenge or temptation? Could I have stood up to it just on the basis of “Maggie said…”? No, in order to be able to make tough choices and resist appealing stuff that the world around me says is okay, I needed much stronger weapons than that. I needed to know that it’s not just Maggie who says that, I needed to know that it’s God who showed me that this is how he sees things.
Of course none of us can have 101% certainty that we hear God right and understand him perfectly. Of course there is room for error. I trust God will deal graciously with my errors. And I know that the sacrifice of Jesus atones for all my sins.
But it troubles me sometimes that we get focused on what some human being says (not that this is what was going on when this guy asked me that question – it’s just where my rambling thoughts took me from there) instead of what God says.
I was going to say: obviously this is relevant only to people who believe in God. But then I thought: no, it isn’t. Non-believers also sometimes get into the “how dare Christians say it’s not okay to do X” when actually it’s not about us saying it, we’re just passing on what [we believe] God says. But it troubles me more when I see Christians talk like that, putting human beings on a pedestal, letting someone else do the thinking and praying and then passively accepting that person’s pronouncements. Of course that’s reasonable if you’re, say, three years old. But I was talking once with a lady in her forties who has been a Christian for over 20 years and when we got onto the subject of whether or not it’s okay to marry someone who has been divorced, I was stunned to find that her concern was about going with what her parents think and she seemed totally uninterested in getting into what Jesus actually meant by what he said about it.
If you’re a born again Christian then you have direct access to God, you can talk to him and ask him to help you understand things, you don’t have to rely on other people to spoon-feed you. (And if you haven’t put your faith in Jesus for your salvation, then I’m sorry to say this but I believe you will be in trouble on the day of judgement no matter what you do or don’t do in bed. And again – this isn’t about what I say but about what [I believe] God says. It’s not me who gets to decide about these issues. Personally, if it was up to me to decide who goes to heaven and who doesn’t – well, obviously I’d want all my friends and my family there, and my nice neighbours but not that really annoying one… but guess what, if that really annoying one has put her faith in Jesus, she’s in. It’s not about how nice you are or how many old ladies you help across the road.)
Okay, this was a very meandering kind of rambling post – starting from a question put to me which I’m not answering and ending with faith in Jesus being the only way to salvation, but my main point was this: don’t get too focused on what a human being says, check things out for yourself. You will, one day, stand before God and have to give account for the way you lived your life – before God, not before your friends or your pastor or your parents or your favourite blogger or whoever. Don’t worry about what any of us think, worry about what God thinks. He’s the guy in charge.