Hate the sin and not the sinner

CarterLast week former President Jimmy Carter made a few statements regarding gay marriage.  “I think Jesus would encourage any love affair if it was honest and sincere and was not damaging to anyone else, and I don’t see that gay marriage damages anyone else…I believe Jesus would approve gay marriage,” he said. “That’s just my own personal opinion.

Because it is his opinion, he is certainly entitled to it.  However, I am of the opinion that our former President missed an opportunity to really inform about the love of Christ and exactly how God our Father loves His children.  As Christians we are taught to hate the sin and not the sinner.  This is thankfully the way God sees it.  We are all sinners in one way or another, and though God hates our sin, He nonetheless loves us without discrimination.  Jesus’ mission includes lessons to not judge nor exclude, but to love the sinner, as He loves us, knowing that it is by this unconditional love we are all ultimately brought into God’s grace.

Now, the bible is very clear that homosexuality is a sin, and among the 613 commandments of the Old Testament.  And unlike, man-made laws which come in and out of fashion, God’s laws are eternal.   There are several versus that leave no doubt from what I can tell.

Leviticus 18:22, “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”1

Leviticus 20:13, “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltness is upon them.”

And St. Paul does spend some time on the matter in his letters to the early Christian churches:

 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10  nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

Romans 1:26-28, “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. 28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.”

So this is where Mr. Carter veers from the path of righteousness in my opinion.  As a Jew and rabbi (and Son of God), Jesus certainly would be very familiar with the OT teachings on the matter.  And although there is no doubt that Jesus loves and would forgive those that practice homosexuality, like any other sinner, including those that nailed Him to the cross, He would not condone the act.  Jesus is always quick to remind us of our sin, but equally so in His forgiveness and desire for reconciliation.  By basically telling the gay community that it is OK by Jesus, in his opinion, for gays to marry, Mr. Carter does more harm than good.  First, he propagates the activity and uses his notoriety to endorse the sinful behavior.  Secondly, he further impairs the view of the gay community that does not see anything wrong in this type of conduct.  So our gay brothers and sisters see no harm, do not see the need to repent, and actually condemn those that may not agree with their ‘choice’.  This is the really bad part – for it moves them farther away from where they need to be – in God’s presence.  They remain lost, as do all sinners that fail to acknowledge their sins and fail to ask for forgiveness.

God had an opportunity to create the world and mankind in any way that He chose.  After all He is God, the Creator.  He chose to create both a man and a woman.  He could have easily created a single sex race capable of procreation, but through His infinite wisdom He knew that the complimentary characteristics and co-dependency of the two sexes was critical in fulfilling each of us.  He knows exactly what it takes for us to become truly fulfilled as human creatures and gay relationship is not it.  Just like adulterous relationship is not it, or prideful acts of arrogance is not it, nor is lying, cheating or stealing.

I am disappointed in Mr. Carter, as an influential celebrity, but more so as a Christian.  Any opportunity to promote the teachings of Christ is one of our obligations.  To express the joy and love of Christ to each and every other person regardless of their personal choices is a requirement.  We must love as God loves us – unconditionally.  However, we can certainly do this without the need to justify or in Mr. Carter’s case, support the sinner in their sin.