Is Homosexuality a Sin? Only Because it Misses the Mark

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, March 20, 2014 0 comments

I had a very telling experience earlier today. As lead pastor of a small congregation, I’m the one who gets called to go and visit those who are even loosely associated with our church body when they are in a hospital or nursing home. Today, I was visiting a younger man who is in a nursing home and rehabilitation center for at least the next month. His mother has been by his side every time I’ve been there and today, her cousin came by as I was preparing to leave. This man was probably in his seventies and as soon as he heard that I was their pastor, he began to share about his ministry experience. I only talked to him for less than ten minutes, but because of his forwardness I heard a lot of judgments and opinions in that very short time. He said he was a deacon at his church and asked me if I had talked to the man in the nursing home “about his soul” yet. I said I had and the elderly gentleman went on to talk about how “God doesn’t like sin”. Eventually, he brought up homosexuality and said he didn’t understand how many can say they are born homosexuals because “God don’t make no junk”. When I quickly responded that I do not consider homosexuals or anyone “junk” and that I don’t believe God does either, the man was suddenly nodding his head in agreement. It seemed to me that his hurtful and strong condemnation of homosexuals was only because it was what he thought I would want to hear.

This experience was just the latest reminder to me of just how divided Christians are on the issue of homosexuality. Many speak words of condemnation almost because they’ve been falsely taught that is how Christians “should” address sin. In response to that condemnation or simply to justify their own sins, many other believers have declared that homosexuality is not a sin. I’ve heard some people declare recently that simply calling homosexuality “sin” is “hateful”, “condemning”, or “judgmental”. I’m not sure how we got to that point. I get that there are those out there who call themselves “believers” who express condemnation toward other sinners. The man I referenced above would be one such man, whether he knows it or not. But that should not mean that expressing truth from a Biblical worldview gets treated the same as someone referring to another human being created in God’s image as “junk”.

Because of the strong feelings brought on by this discussion no matter what belief you have, I feel it’s important to explain what we mean when we call ANYTHING “sin”. Too often, we try to determine what is and is not sin based on what other people say. That defeats the whole purpose of the meaning of the word! In the Old Testament, there are three different words for “sin”, with some different variations of those words, according to William Mounce. One of those words is a verb that actually means “to miss the mark”. You can find it in Judges 20:16, where the writer says there were “seven hundred chosen men who were left-handed, each of whom could sling a stone at a hair and not MISS” (caps mine). The same exact word is used more figuratively in Joshua 7:11, where God says that “Israel has SINNED; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep” (caps mine). When you or I sin, it’s like we have a target placed in front of us and we miss it completely. Once you take that shot and miss, you can’t undo it. It’s done. All you can do is take another shot!

So, why is this important for understanding homosexuality as sin? First of all, if you do not believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, it’s pointless to try to understand what is and is not sin. If you have no relationship with Jesus, there’s no reason to try to please him or to follow him as the way, the truth, and the life. So it has to start there and once you’ve chosen to follow him, his Holy Spirit “will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). If you do believe in him and follow him, the Holy Spirit is still your guide! One of the primary ways in which he guides us is through his Word. At the very beginning of Genesis, God specifically unites a man and a woman as “one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). In Romans 1:26-27, Paul refers to homosexual relations as “unnatural” and “indecent”. These words sound hurtful and maybe even hateful and probably stir those emotions in many of us, but the point I believe Paul is trying to make is that they are MISSING the mark God had set before them. He’s not condemning any one sinner more than another. In fact, he goes on to list more than twenty additional ways that human beings miss God’s mark in the following five verses. Just to be clear that he doesn’t condemn one sinner over another, Paul sets the record straight in the very first verse after he lists all the sins. “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things” (Romans 2:1). Wow!

Friends, we all miss God’s mark for us. We can’t rely on how we “feel” because we didn’t create ourselves. God created us and that is why he gets to set our target. Our target is doing his will because that is the best and most abundant life we can possibly have. If you struggle with feelings of homosexual attraction, that is not from God. But that doesn’t make you a horrible person. It certainly doesn’t condemn you. That feeling is something the devil is trying to use to pull you away from your target the same way he tries to use my feelings of anger, lust, or pride to pull me away from God’s will. When I have those feelings, I MUST surrender them to Christ, the only One who can set me free from their entrapment. I don’t always surrender them. I miss the mark. But even then, my choice to surrender to God or not is in whether I repent and move forward. I love the way the Apostle John puts it. “If we claim to be without sin (meaning we try to say our actions or feelings are within God’s will and plan for us), we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9 [addition mine]). That’s God’s promise to ALL of you, including anyone who has had homosexual feelings or even committed homosexual acts. You are no worse than me and you are certainly not “junk” in God’s eyes or in mine. He wants to put you back on target just like he does every day with me!