What is love and how do we accept ourselves for who we are

I just finished listening to another debate between one  who advocates for a biblical or orthodox view of relationships and one  who advocates LBGT as also being just another God given orientation which  you can listen  to here.  http://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Saturday/Unbelievable/Episodes/Unbelievable-Does-Scripture-forbid-same-sex-relationships-Robert-Gagnon-vs-Jayne-Ozanne#

I have  to admit I am no expert on relationships. Most of my knowledge of relationships is only by way of observation having very little personal experience of my own. I have been single most of my adult life. I have no real experience of what an intimate committed relationship is like because I have never been married. It is only in the past few years  that I have had any kind of romantic adult relationship although  they were short lived. For the most part  the complexities of romance and relationships on that level escape me, most of what I know is theoretical.

That being said I do think it is part of God’s design  that a man and a woman  should not be alone, that God designed us with an innate desire to find a mate and settle down with His blessing. Of course that doesn’t happen  for all of us and for some reason only known  to God  that desire isn’t fulfilled for every man or woman. At least if we look at the biblical narrative from its beginning  to end there is an overwhelming emphasis on relationships both between God and humanity and then men and women with each other. I don’t see anywhere in scripture where this includes same sex relationships.

As I listened  to the radio podcast above two things became very clear  to me.God has a very clear mandate as  to what  the bible says about human relationships and on the other hand what people seem  to think relationships are about whether that means a committed sexual relationship between a man and a woman or for the LBGT communities belief on the subject.

Robert Gagnon represented the argument that God and the bible does not support same sex relationships while Jayne Ozanne argued that God and the bible does include and even endorse them. Robert Gagnon presented a very clear rational argument against and Jayne Ozanne presented a fairly emotive argument bereft of any real scriptural evidence.

In fact Ozanne’s argument besides the lack of material in the very same emotive argument I referred  to in my previous  two blogs. Ozanne spent much of her time arguing from her experience and how  she felt God had led her  to her present position in life. She then passionately stated how  her ministry had opened up doors  to the LBGT community  to find acceptance within her church community and that through the Holy Spirit’s leading she has come  to terms with her sexuality and God’s love  for her.

To Ozanne’s mind the message of Jesus confirmed her lifestyle and that  the story of love as she saw it presented in the bible was that  so long as  two people love and commit to each other, God doesn’t discriminate regarding sexual orientation; so long as it is between  two consenting adults.

So what is the problem with Ozanne’s argument? Others could probably express  this much better  than I can however  Ozanne is trying  to define love based on orientation not design. Secondly we are not defined by our sexual orientation. Orientation may be something we  do, but it is not  who we are, it is simply one facet albeit a preference. Clearly I do not accept the argument  that orientation is  by design. Others argue that sexual orientation may be determined very early on in life and this may be true but that doesn’t make it right or God honoring.

One thing that is absent in nearly all  the dialogue I have listened  to in the argument for same sex orientation is the concept of sin or  the sin nature. Robert Gagnon didn’t refer  to this explicitly but  he did reference Romans 1:26-27 that says:  Rom 1:26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, Rom 1:27 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.

The point here being that  this kind of passion was unnatural, it was sinful and that it is against  God’s design. Further  to this if anyone tries  to argue that in Paul’s day they had no concept of same sex relationships or what homosexuality was, they are simply ignorant of the facts. One only has  to look at Grecian history to see how prevalent it became. Both Roman and Jewish societies were well aware of this practice.

Ozanne’s final barb was  her reference  to the plight of young LBGT people. As sad as suicide is and as sad it it may seem  that these young people are marginalized by society and their families that  does not make  the practice acceptable or right in God’s eyes. To use their plight as a way of holding the church to blackmail in saying  that we are  partly  to blame and that if we would only accept them for  who they are, would somehow stop the high rate of suicide does not mean we should accept what they do. In fact what they are really asking  for is indiscriminate acceptance. They are not only asking us to ignore what they are  doing they are also asking God  to do the same.

Their version of love is not  the selfless love of Christ who died on the cross  for sinners. They think Jesus only meant by His life and actions that God loves and accepts all people as they are without requiring any change of heart or actions. There is no mention of repenting from sin, turning away from self to selflessness and practicing holiness. Their version of God’s love is noncritical, nonjudgmental non-changing and all embracing. The love  they are wanting dictates  that they don’t have  to do anything. In other words  it is empty and requires no sacrifice, but it requires all true believers to simply ignore what  they do and accept them unequivocally. This is because  they believe God already has and will.

It amounts to self justification nothing more. Their whole take on God is through self reference and by personal feelings and experience. It isn’t based  in what  the bible tells us about  who we are. When we look at what the bible says about us objectively it is very discriminating if not prejudicial. The bible tells  us that unless we repent of our sins we are under judgement,This judgement is judicial, it tells  us why we are under judgement but it also tells us how  to escape that judgement. Many believe that repentance simply means a change of mind….. No! repentance means to turn away from; in this case it means turning away from sin and  go towards  the cross of Christ  to seek forgiveness and justification  through what Christ has done on our behalf  to turn aside the wrath of the Father for our rebellion.

Accepting  who we are means admitting I am unworthy that nothing I do will make me right before God. It means that I have no goodness of my own that can redeem me in God’s eyes. True love is receiving  the very thing we don’t deserve which is the amazing forgiveness that God offers through His Son Jesus Christ  this is what grace is; it is not something we can earn it is something we receive.

Once we truly receive God’s grace God then begins  to change us and mold us into His image. We will become aware  of things in our lives that are not honoring to God. We will become uncomfortable and even horrified by some thing we have done  or are still doing, God will chip away at our conscience refining it, while at other times it will hit us hard and we  will feel like we just got hit with a baseball bat. This is called sanctification, this is God’s refining process. We will battle  with our sin all our lives some of it we  will grow  to hate and despise while other parts of it we will struggle  to let  go that battle  wont end in this lifetime.

For Jayne Ozanne and for many other in the LBGT movement  you hear nothing of coming  to terms with their orientation as sin that needs  to be repented of. All I heard  her say  was how she learned  to embrace her orientation and how she believed  that it was God that brought her  to this place. How blind can one be  not  to see  that all God has  done is brought her and many like  her to the place where He has given them over to their lust? Ozanne spent about 10 minutes trying  to refute Gagnon’s reference  to Romans 1:26-27 when ironically she is blinded  to the fact  that  it refers  to her in this context. Ozanne argued for embracing sin, not doing battle with it and submitting it to the cross.

One may struggle with sexual orientation for the rest of their life however for those who recognize it as sin and seek forgiveness from God, these are the very ones who have seen who they really are. These will not try  to insist we just welcome them without change, they will seek ways to battle it out and ask  for assistance and prayer in their struggle.

Love is not merely acceptance, although that is part of it. Love is telling the truth and saying I don’t hate you, but what  you’re doing simply isn’t right. It means in this context saying I cannot accept you as a brother or sister in Christ if you openly endorse homosexuality and refuse  to change. In terms of what the bible says  to be a true follower of Christ  you have repent of this sin. We conform  to what God wants not hold everyone including God  to ransom and insist we include  you.

Rom 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
Rom 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Rom 12:3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.

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