The March 11th 2002 issue of Christianity Today(CT) contains a very poignant testimony by a homosexual Christian man. Remaining anonymous, he writes about his daily battle against his homosexual desires, “a battle that comes at considerable psychological cost to [him] and [his] family.” He is married and is committed to remaining faithful to his wife and his two sons. However he also writes about his anger at having to fight his battle for faithfulness alone and without the support of friends or of a caring Christian community. He concludes his essay with the following observation:
“I am not trying to argue in favour of my homosexuality, but to simply acknowledge the reality of my condition. I am broken, and I acknowledge my homosexuality as a manifestation of this brokenness. But I do not believe that I am any more broken than the person who sits in the pew next to me. The greedy, the liars, the drunkards, and the single yet sexually active heterosexuals—they all share in equal portion with me in this brokenness. Sin is sin, and grace is grace. We are all sinners and we all—whether heterosexual or homosexual—are offered the same grace.”
In my own pilgrimage, I too have observed that the church community is quite selective as to what sins it wants to highlight for condemnation. Sexual sins and marital failure are particularly singled out for special attention.
It is important to note that the author of the CT article does not try to excuse homosexual behaviour. He is just wondering why homosexuals have been singled out to be the target of vehement anger in some quarters of the church. After all didn’t James tell us “whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it”? (James 2:10 ESV)
Paul for example, considers greed idolatry. (Colossians 3:5) I have yet to see anyone disqualified from leadership on account of greed. But I have seen my fair share of greedy leaders.
What is the issue here? I am not on a campaign to lessen the church’s commitment to God’s holiness. On the contrary I want to take God’s holiness with utmost seriousness. Which is why I believe that if we are all truly conscious of the demands of God’s holiness, we will all find ourselves more obsessed with our own moral failures than the failures of others. Against the benchmark of God’s holiness we all fall short, we are all “broken”. Both the greedy and the homosexual fall on the same side of the holiness divide. Only if we start with this premise can we begin to understand the dynamics of grace. If we understand how much each of us have been forgiven we can never take a moral high ground over another human being, much less highlight some specific sins for special condemnation.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23 ESV)
We know what we must do. We must hate sin and love the sinner. This seems a very difficult task. It ought not to be. After all we already have so much practice doing it. Isn’t that how we are able to live with ourselves?
Let us call sin sin. But let us also understand that we are all sinners saved by the same grace. There are enough stone throwers out there already.
Indeed one product of globalization is the increase in the spirit of competition. There is no room for grace in a world where everyone is competing with everyone else. How will the world know about the God of grace? Only if the church continues to manifest the” immeasurable riches of his grace”. (Ephesians 2:7 ESV)
Brothers and sisters let us love one another.