Mark Alan Williams
Seven Guidelines For Discussing Gay Marriage
Recently a friend messaged me on Facebook with this question: “What are your thoughts on how we [Christians] should address homosexuality, or ANY sin that becomes completely acceptable and is seen as a part of someone’s character rather than something they “do”? Are there other examples of something like this? It’s been troubling me greatly.”
This discussion makes me think!
There are two questions here.
The first question is how should Christians address controversial issues like homosexuality?
The Bible gives a clear distinction regarding different approaches for those who profess faith in Christ and those who do not.
For Christians, we must lovingly hold them accountable for violating God’s Word (see Matthew 18:15-18; 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15; Galatians 6:1, etc.).
For non-Christians, our approach should be different.
Here are seven guidelines for discussing gay marriage for those not committed to Christ and Scripture:
1. Don’t focus on individual sins, focus on the message of salvation.
Yes, people must repent. But the point of repentance is first for salvation, then addressing one’s own specific sins. (Study in John 4:1-26 how Jesus dealt with the Samaritan woman.)
2. Pray first and always.
Changing hearts is a work of God, not our efforts or brilliance. Therefore, prayer is our first and most effective tool.
3. If asked what the Bible says, tell the truth.
Jesus was honest about the truth and would not fudge on issues. Don’t kowtow to political correctness. When sharing with Christians, share what the Bible says and how we must conform to it. (Click HERE for my post on what the Bible says about homosexuality.) With unbelievers, it might be better to share how every practice that is prohibited by God is because it is ultimately harmful to us.
4. Emphasize the positive.
It is unfortunate that Christians are often known for what we are against, and seen as judgmental holier-than-thou kill-joys. Thus many think the Christian faith is just a bunch of prohibitions that seem to all boil down to a dull life with no fun. The fact is that God created sex and He made it an enjoyable gift to us. He could have created another way to propagate the race, but he chose sex—certainly one of His greatest inventions!
5. Don’t beat unbelievers over the head with the Bible.
If discussing ethical issues with unbelievers, (for example: “Why do Christians oppose gay marriage?”) it is usually better to debate from logic rather than Scripture. As believers, the statement “because the Bible says so” should mean everything. But to an unbeliever, “because the Bible says so” means little or nothing, and might even be cause to despise believers and the Scriptures. Help people become Christians before expecting them to live a biblical Christian lifestyle.
6. Be humble, remembering your own temptations, struggles and sins.
Gay marriage is a hot topic and because of all the debate it may seem to be the only sin Christians care about. In fact, it is only one of many practices God prohibits, many of which Christians themselves practice and conveniently overlook (including pride, prejudice, lust, gossip, anger, sloth, greed, envy, idolatry, hatred, drunkenness, gluttony, lying, etc.)! Remember that “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).
7. Love always.
For the unsaved, this means sincerely loving despite sins, in hope that the person will come to faith. Jesus was a friend of sinners. He was accused of being a reprobate by religious leaders because He was fraternizing with sinners (see Luke 7:34 and Luke 15:1-2). A loving approach will help us maintain winsomeness despite disagreements. Remember, Jesus instructed “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35 ESV).
The second question my friend asked is how should Christians respond to the argument that being homosexual is not something people choose, it is inborn and therefore we must accept it and sanction gay marriage?
My answer to this question is that every temptation to sin is inborn (James 1:13-14). People simply have different areas of temptation and struggle.
Single people are tempted to have sex before marriage, but that doesn’t mean they should, just because it is a powerful inborn desire, even if it is “acceptable” in today’s environment.Married people are tempted to lust after someone other than their spouse, but that doesn’t mean they should indulge in lust, even if we live in a pornography and lust approving society.Scripture clearly teaches that we should not use God’s name in vain—it’s one of the 10 commandments. However, society accepts and often even encourages people to swear using God’s name in vain.
Gay marriage is today’s hot-button issue. Tomorrow the issue will be different. God’s Word and the principles from it will never change! Follow the biblical principles above and although you might not win the arguments, at least you will have done the right thing biblically; pleased Jesus and hopefully helped draw people to Him.
Questions: What have you learned in debating gay marriage? What are your concerns and fears in talking about this subject? Please leave a comment below.