Monday, July 14, 2014

The Real Homophobia

by Pastor Paul Wolff

The Flight to Egypt
Homophobia is often portrayed as being one of the greatest ills in our society. At least, that is what the homosexual lobby and their sympathizing friends in the media would like you to believe. The fiction of homophobia is that all who are opposed to homosexual practice are somehow fearful of homosexuality.

Our neighbors who promote the idea of homophobia would also like you to to ignore the fact that those whom they call “fearful” are the people who are not afraid to speak out publicly about the inherent immorality of all kinds of sexual perversions. Outspoken opponents of homosexual practice are the some of the least fearful people around, but they are the ones who are called homophobic. What is going on?

It would seem that homophobia is, in fact, something that is greatly desired by those promoting acceptance of homosexual lifestyles and practice. If you oppose the homosexual lobby in even the smallest way you are bullied into submission by being called “homophobic” or “bigoted” or other such things until you are afraid to speak out against these people. This is what the homosexual lobby wants. The more that people are fearful of speaking out against the normalization of homosexuality, then the more the homosexuals are free to do whatever they want without having to answer for their actions.

What is the homosexual lobby most afraid of? Jesus gives us the answer in John 3:19-20, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” This is the real homophobia: homosexuals are afraid their actions will be exposed as evil.

Day Six of Creation
This should come as no surprise to anyone. We all have fear that our favorite sins will be exposed. Adam and Eve also had this same fear which they dealt with by first covering themselves with fig leaves, then running away from God in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were naïve about how to deal with the guilt of their sin, because it was all new to them. But we deal with sin every day of our lives from our conception, and we can become quite accomplished at hiding our guilt, especially if we are not frequent with repentance.

Homosexuals fear that if they were forced to admit that homosexuality was wrong, then they would have to give up the one thing which gives them great pleasure. Don’t misunderstand me, they all know it is wrong, everyone knows homosexuality is wrong, but those who promote homosexuality have a great aversion to admitting that it is sinful. Sexual sins are specially difficult to overcome because sexuality is so closely tied to our self-image that when we get caught up in these sins we easily come to believe that our sin is synonymous with who we are, and we fear that we would cease to exist without it. Saint Paul acknowledges this in 1 Corinthians 6:18, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” Note that this applies to all sexual sins, not just same-sex desires.

Those of us who are not particularly burdened with great sinful desires for intimacy with people of our same gender find it hard to understand the attraction to this sin, but sinful desires are common to us all. It helps to understand how temptation works. The devil cannot force us to sin, but can only tempt us to sin. He does this by making sin seem desirable to us. Once we desire to sin we do it on our own without any further help from anyone else. It would seem that this would be an impossible task – to make the thing which would destroy us an object of our desire, but the devil is quite accomplished at this. What makes the devil’s job easier is our sinful nature, which takes great pleasure in all kinds of sin. By our nature we all want to sin. We enjoy sinning, and we cooperate with those who seek to destroy us. It really is disgusting when you think about how much pleasure we get from sin, but that is the reality of our sinful nature. It doesn’t matter what the sin is, it could be coveting persons, coveting possessions, lying, stealing, adultery, murder, dishonoring father and mother, desecrating the Sabbath day, blasphemy, or even idolatry; our sinful flesh takes pleasure in all these wicked things. (Exodus 20:1-17 and Matthew 15:19)

Though other sinners may not want us to call them to repentance over their sin, and we, too, may not want to confront other sinners with their sin, we cannot keep silent. Just as you would not keep silent if your beloved child was about to do something foolish which would bring great physical harm to himself, so we must speak out to warn our neighbors about the great harm they are bringing upon themselves, in body and soul, through sexual sins.

Christians need to remember that we are no better than anyone else, even unbelieving homosexuals. If we are honest we must say with Saint Paul, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25) We can be kind and compassionate (Ephesians 4:32) about the problem of sin and guilt because we deal with it every day, too.

Creation and the Fall of Man
Window from Holy Cross Lutheran Church
Detroit, Michigan
It is a terrible thing to have your life defined by your sin. Sin always leads to death (Romans 6:23). But Christ’s redemption sets us free from sin and gives us life. “We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Romans 6:2-4)

Because Christ has set us free from the guilt and punishment for our sin we are truly free from the fear that if we struggle against our sin that we will have no pleasure in life. It is true that Christians still struggle against sin and temptation. It is not easy for anyone to say “no” to the pleasures of our sinful flesh. However, because Christ Jesus has given us eternal life and has freed us from the slavery to our sinful desires we know that whatever we may suffer temporally in our struggles against sin will be more than made up by the blessings of Christ, both now and eternally. Yes, we may suffer for fighting against temptation, but that suffering is only temporary, and we can find joy in Christ, even in the midst of our struggles because the God who rules the universe has redeemed us from our sin and has adopted us as His beloved children through Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:22-27)

The world may hate you for telling them the truth. They may say you are homophobic, hateful, hypocritical, bigoted, prudish, and maybe much worse things. Yet, you should feel free to speak the truth of God’s Word in love to your neighbors. If they don’t hear that what they are doing is deadly then they may never know because they are enjoying their wickedness too much. Then if they don’t hear that there is forgiveness in Christ for even the worst sinner then they may prefer to risk the consequences of their sinful pleasures rather than endure the pains of self-denial for some unknown benefit. Yet, we must speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). For those who receive Christ’s forgiveness are freed from the bondage and terrors of sin and death. Also, in Christ, even the agonies of repentance are trivial compared to the eternal pleasure of life in paradise with our Savior, Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:18-21)

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