Love is Love — Why So Much Hate?

This is another post in my celebration of my local pride week, and a continuation of my exploration into how the Bible discusses (and, frankly, doesn’t discuss) homosexuality.

And again, I provide the disclaimer that my views are my own and I don’t claim that they represent opinions of any community, LGBTQ+ or otherwise.

In my last related post, I talked with a pastor who believes homosexuality is a sin.

While we had a great, cordial conversation, I just can’t understand how a group of people who claims to spread the message of love can be so hateful.

I know the message is that they hate homosexuality out of love, but that just doesn’t add up to me.

It’s not love to condemn or judge someone. It’s love to accept them.

As I’ve had conversations with those of the “homosexuality is a sin” viewpoint, I get the same handful of verses thrown at me (more on that in another post). Well, two can play at that game.

1 John 4:16: And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”

Not God is love, unless you’re gay. Wait, that’s not what it says.

Matthew 7:1-3: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. ‘Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?’”

I’ve more commonly heard this as “Judge not, lest ye be judged,” which sounds way cooler.

Jeremiah 31:3: “The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”

Everlasting love, y’all.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

I’m honestly just Googling random verses that prove my point. Anyone can do it. I do get the appeal, it’s kind of fun. It’s like playing with stats until you get them to say what you want them to say…not that I’ve ever done that.

I joke and snark, but in all honesty, I just want us all to get along. Can’t we live in peace and be kind to one another?

 

7 Deadly Sins & 7 Virtues

Speaking of sin, that seems to be the ultimate divider of how someone feels about homosexuality. If they see it as a sin, their interpretations reflect that. And vice versa if they don’t see it as a sin.

Christianity has the seven deadly sins:

  • Lust
  • Gluttony
  • Greed
  • Sloth
  • Wrath
  • Envy
  • Pride

I don’t see homosexuality on there. I mean, I guess pride is on there, but come on. I feel like that’s not what God meant.

(Hi, I’ve been waiting to make that joke for WEEKS.)

Homosexuality is often filed under the lust category, but discussions in the Bible around lust focus on adultery, rape, fornication before marriage, and bestiality.

On the other hand, the seven virtues (each of which correlates with a sin) are:

  • Chastity (Lust)
  • Temperance (Gluttony)
  • Charity (Greed)
  • Diligence (Sloth)
  • Patience (Wrath)
  • Kindness (Envy)
  • Humility (Pride)

I’d like to see more kindness and humility from those who are against homosexuality for religious reasons.

Why can’t we focus on living by the positives aspects of the teachings of the Bible rather than the condemnation? Let’s nail down those virtues before we move to condemning others’ sins.

Most of my religious upbringing was centered around love, kindness, forgiveness, and treating others well. It wasn’t focused on scare tactics and judging others for their sins. I attribute this (and I see it solely as a positive) to my wonderful mother.

 

The Fiery Pits of Hell

Story time!

When I was in high school, and several years into my skepticism around religion, we had a guest pastor in church. By guest pastor, I mean he was brought in to give the sermon for one week and one week only.

What topic do you think he decided to tackle as a guest preacher? Homosexuality.

I don’t recall the details of the sermon because I was enraged. I do recall him saying something along the lines of, “all homosexuals will burn in the fiery pits of hell.”

Granted, this sermon took place in a church in rural, conservative, podunk Iowa, so the message actually resonated with most of the audience.

Not me. I got up and walked out.

And sadly, that’s the not the last time I heard about the fiery pits of hell.

 

One Post Left

My third and final post on the topic of homosexuality and the Bible will dive into research on the Bible verses Christians use to condemn homosexuality and the different interpretations of each. Then I’ll be back on my regular daily reading schedule.

Until then, listen to Ellen: Be kind to one another.

(Trigger warning: suicide.)

 


This post is brought to you by Gay Rainbow Sisters…because it’s too perfect. I have a few of their bracelets, and it’s where I go when I need anything in rainbow colors. Here are some of my favorites:

                     

About Megan Horn

I'm spending portions of the next 365 days reading the Bible. And document my thoughts as I work through the Holy Book.

6 thoughts on “Love is Love — Why So Much Hate?

  1. See I definitely got the sense at times during the video that you were really holding back a little. I get it of course. You don’t want to go the route that they do.

    1. Correct. I wanted to stay cordial and controlled. And I’m much better at responding in writing than by talking, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t stick my foot in my mouth.

  2. Also just because you seem a perfectionist when it comes to your writing, and not because I’m THAT person.

    “And again, I provide the disclaimer that my views are my own and I don’t claim that they represent opinions of any community, LGBTQ+ or otherwise. Likewise,”

  3. Warning: overwhelming wall of text ahead…

    It’s not love to condemn or judge someone. It’s love to accept them.

    Yes and no.

    Yes, we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves. It is the second greatest commandment.
    If someone is dumping antifreeze down a public storm drain, is it ethical of us to not warn them about the dangers and hazards of doing so?
    Are we called to just accept someone’s behavior, no matter what? I do not believe the Bible teaches this. I can see nowhere in the Scriptures where Christ “accepted” the habitual sins of another.

    1 John 4:16: “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”

    True enough. Several good examples that exhibit this verse are the Adulterous Woman in John 8 as well as the Samaritan woman at the well.
    In both cases, Jesus treats the sinner with love. But likewise, He does not ignore their sins…

    John 8:11 – She said, “No one, Lord”. And Jesus said, I do not condemn you either. Go. From now on sin no more.

    This can be more properly translated as “leave your life of sin.”

    John 4:17-18 – The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.”

    In both of these cases, Jesus acknowledges the individual’s sins and shows his obvious disapproval. He does not ignore the sin to spare the individuals feelings or worry about offending them.

    Matthew 7:1-3: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. ‘Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?’”

    This refers to rash, harsh criticism and unjust judgment, as well as hypocritical self-righteousness.

    This does mean that we cannot discern sin from righteousness, nor that we cannot form a personal opinion of someone – say a potential friend or someone of who we may possibly do business with.

    Simply, it means that by the measure that we judge someone, we will also be judged by the same measure. Don’t be rash, don’t react with hatred towards another, don’t rush to judgment, and don’t judge someone if you happen to suffer from the same sin.

    In other words, truly from the heart – hate the sin, love the sinner. And no, you cannot love the sinner if you do not teach them about their sin.

    Jeremiah 31:3: “The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”

    In context, God is talking through Jeremiah to the Israelites of the time. It is in reference to the apostate nation of Israel in vs. 30:24.
    It is not a verse that is intended to be taken in isolation to all.

    1 Corinthians 13:4-7: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

    Yes, love is all these things. And yes, we all often fall short of these commands .

    But also notice my bolded verse. Don’t delight in evil (sin), but rejoice in truth (and righteousness).

    Hate the sin, love the sinner.

    I’m honestly just Googling random verses that prove my point. Anyone can do it. I do get the appeal, it’s kind of fun. It’s like playing with stats until you get them to say what you want them to say…not that I’ve ever done that.

    Regardless, it doesn’t make it right – Christian or non-Christian. That, and it doesn’t help bolster one’s argument. Rather, it often does the opposite.

    Speaking of sin, that seems to be the ultimate divider of how someone feels about homosexuality. If they see it as a sin, their interpretations reflect that. And vice versa if they don’t see it as a sin.

    Christianity has the seven deadly sins:

    The “seven deadly sins” are not contained in the Bible, nor are they biblical, but are from later tradition. They were from the fourth-century monk Evagrius Ponticus. These are about as biblical as purgatory.

    Homosexuality is often filed under the lust category, but discussions in the Bible around lust focus on adultery, rape, fornication before marriage, and bestiality.

    Actually, homosexual acts are filed under the category of sexual immorality. Lust is not really the right definition for this.

    Lust can be right or wrong, depending on context. For instance, if I have lust (strong sexual desire) for my wife, can this be considered immoral?
    On the other hand, if I have lust for another who is not my spouse, a child, or animals, then this is a wrong, immoral desire.
    Respectfully, the Bible also files homosexuality under this category.

    Scripturally speaking, God considers any sexual act outside of marriage to be sexually immoral. God also defines marriage as between male and female only.

    I’d like to see more kindness and humility from those who are against homosexuality for religious reasons.

    On this we can certainly agree. I know many who claim to be Christian who act otherwise in these areas. I admit to having to need work in these areas as well, no doubt.

    I am a work in progress. So are all other Christians. But that is no excuse, and you do bring up a strong valid point on this issue.

    Why can’t we focus on living by the positives aspects of the teachings of the Bible rather than the condemnation? Let’s nail down those virtues before we move to condemning others’ sins.

    I can agree on that to a point. However, when non-Christians insist on the church changing the biblical definitions of sin, then we have a problem.

    The church of the past has already abrogated much of its authority when it decided to water down and/or accept divorce, adultery, premarital relations, and many other sinful behaviors that have become acceptable by secular society. These were wrong. And so is determining that homosexual acts are not a sin, but now righteous.

    My stance is this: we all possess a sinful nature, and often times struggle with certain habits. For instance, mine are anger/impatience, severe pride, porn addiction, cigarettes, and probably quite a few others. Most of these I have generally overcome through years of discipline and restraint. But I still struggle with all of them, and sometimes even fail. I also struggle with ADHD and moderate depression.

    Of all of these sins, I strive to acknowledge them as such and do my best to turn away from them. Many of these sins are a part of my core being from childhood. Some of them I even enjoyed and miss very much. Such is the lust of the flesh, as the Bible defines it.
    But all the same, it would be utterly ridiculous of me to argue that any of them are right and acceptable in Gods eyes.

    Rather, I need to acknowledge them sincerely, ask for His help (and others as needed), and never give up trying to overcome them. And the church needs to act the same towards others who struggle with their own sinful habits. Almost all are more than willing to.

    The problem comes when those people would rather embrace these sins as acceptable, and force the church to do the same, or risk being “politically incorrect”. That the church needs to embrace humanistic social norms rather than biblical commands.

    And I will certainly agree that some churches have behaved in an un-Christlike manner towards different sins. Many act as if homosexuality is somehow more “sinful” than adultery and divorce. I disagree. It is hypocritical. A sin is a sin.

    On the other hand, I understand and endorse churches who draw the line at keeping to the Biblical definition of sin rather than what society deems acceptable. And right now, there are a great many secular individuals and groups who are calling for the church to further water down biblical standards in favor of ratings and polls. As such, these groups are every bit as much inflaming the issue in society today as the church is.

    “Tolerance” goes both ways.

    I am all in favor of people being given the choice to disagree with God and biblical teachings. If they don’t like it, don’t go to church.

    Most of my religious upbringing was centered around love, kindness, forgiveness, and treating others well. It wasn’t focused on scare tactics and judging others for their sins. I attribute this (and I see it solely as a positive) to my wonderful mother.

    I couldn’t agree more. People should not be condemning of others, and Christians should love all, even their enemies. Again, we are a work in progress. And you bring up very valid instruction that I will focus to further embrace and act upon.

    But please understand: there are at times a fine line between loving others and being protective of biblical truth. And that line is at times hard to see for even the most practiced of Christians.
    All of those feelings of anger that you write about feeling – we often feel the same in reaction to secular attacks on the Bible. And as a result, we don’t respond correctly sometimes. That’s no excuse, but it is a reality.

    What topic do you think he decided to tackle as a guest preacher? Homosexuality.

    I don’t recall the details of the sermon because I was enraged. I do recall him saying something along the lines of, “all homosexuals will burn in the fiery pits of hell.”

    Megan, I do sincerely apologize for the damage that overzealous Christians inflict on others. Many of them mean well, but go forth and put more gas on the fire rather than presenting the truth in love.
    But nevertheless, please don’t let their words and actions reflect badly on God, the Bible, and Christianity in general. For every bad apple, there are many good to choose from.

    Think of it this way: would you like me to judge you based on other progressive liberals who have, lets just say, presented a less than desirable image of their ideology? Or would you like us to judge you as an individual, and the philosophy on its own definition?

    On the other hand, I thought that Pastor Sam was very cordial, genuine, patient, and polite in your interview with him despite your mutual disagreements. Certainly a high bar in which we should all seek to attain. Or overmore, seek to be more like Christ. I’m working on it…

    In other words, take heart – we aren’t all self-righteous assholes 😉

    My third and final post on the topic of homosexuality and the Bible will dive into research on the Bible verses Christians use to condemn homosexuality and the different interpretations of each. Then I’ll be back on my regular daily reading schedule.

    I look forward to it. Have a good day!

    PS – I really hope the HTML tags work…or this post is going to be a complete mess LOL!

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