The following post is the 5th of a 5 part series of posts on “Frequently Asked Questions About Homosexuality?” In this 5th post I will be answering the question “How Did Jesus Treat People With Sexual Sin?” If you would like to see the other questions addressed in this series of posts, then just click the links below:
I originally wrote the content of these posts when I was asked to address these questions at a summer youth camp. The intended purpose of these posts are to help Christians who already have a firm conviction about the authority of Scripture. I want them to better understand what the Bible teaches about homosexuality. So my hope is that these truths will help instruct Christians who want to share the gospel with the homosexuals they know.
How Did Jesus Treat People With Sexual Sin?
As I finish out this series of posts on homosexuality I want to finish by looking at the life of Jesus. It often seems like many people in the church today are confused about who Jesus is and what he was like. So in this final post I want to share 3 lessons I have learned about the life of Jesus that have impacted the way I think about loving homosexuals.
Lesson # 1 – Jesus Would Spend Time With Homosexuals
I love how in Luke 5:27-32 the religious leaders are grumbling about the way Jesus spent his time with the people they thought were “terrible sinners.” It makes me think that in today’s day Jesus would have often tried to spend time with homosexuals.
“After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything, he rose and followed him. And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
How can you try to intentionally reach out to homosexuals?
How can you be more like Christ in the way you spend your time?
Are you only spending time with other Christians?
Lesson # 2 – Jesus Forgives Homosexuals
One of my favorite stories about Jesus is the way he interacts with this “woman of the city.” She was probably a prostitute or something like that, but she has been broken and humbled by her sin. This story makes me think that if Jesus were around in our day he would be offering grace and mercy to many homosexuals.
“One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.” “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:36-50)
I also think we can learn from this story that Jesus was not afraid to say that something was a sin or that someone was a sinner. This woman needed forgiveness because Jesus said she sinned “much.” Jesus does not avoid this reality and use some politically correct term. He called people sinners and this woman sinned a lot! She was known in her town for her sins. She was identified by them. Yet, once she encountered the boundless love and mercy of Christ she fell to the ground with uncontrollable tears.
I pray that the church today learns to be full of grace and truth as we interact with homosexuals. I pray that we do not back down from telling someone they are sinner. I pray that we would only do so because we long for them to experience the amazing love and forgiveness of Christ. I pray that we would not think we are better than homosexuals and God would protect us from looking down on them.
Lesson # 3 – Jesus Offended People
One of the things I often ask people is whether or not they even have a category in their mind about all the times Jesus was righteously angry, stern, and offensive to others. For example, read this passage in Matthew 15:10-12:
“And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”
As I read this story in Matthew 15 it makes we wonder how many people today who think they like Jesus’ teachings, but would really be offended by them if they actually knew what they were. Is your view of Jesus too much of “nice guy” that you have no room in your mind for a Jesus who stood for truth and graciously loved people?
Jesus was especially angry at times with the religious leaders who were teaching lies about God and his word. At one point in Matthew 23 Jesus basically says “damn you teachers” 8 times because of some of the terrible ways they were teaching and leading God’s people. It just makes me wonder what Jesus might have to say to the priests or pastors today who are waving rainbow flags above their churches and telling homosexuals that God is not calling them to repent of their sins.
Jesus is not predictable. People regularly seemed to be surprised by his lavish mercy and grace to terrible sinners. Yet, at the same time people seemed to be surprised at how stern and harsh he would be with others. I think we should learn from Christ’s example of being full of both grace and truth.
In sum, I think we all need to work hard at personally getting to know the homosexuals around us. We need to learn what they think and why they believe the things they do. We need to protect ourselves from assuming they are all the same and are all practicing homosexuality for the same reasons. We need to realize that some will be broken and hurting. We need to realize that others will be obstinate toward God and his word. We need to respond to each person individually and pray God gives us the wisdom to be full of grace and truth like Christ.