Dealing with Sexual Sin
By Skip Heitzig
Homosexuality is one of the top issues facing the church today, yet you don't hear many sermons preached about it. Frankly, it's a difficult subject. In the Gospels, you won't read about Jesus encountering a homosexual, but you do find Him dealing with a woman who was involved in the sexual sin of adultery. If you're not familiar with the story, read John 8:2-11.
I want to briefly point out two characteristics of Jesus in this encounter. First, He was candid with this woman. In verse 11, He told her to "go and sin no more," implying that her behavior—adultery—was sinful. In the same way, one of the most loving things you can do is to tell people the truth about sin. When it comes to homosexuality, the Bible teaches that it is sin and that it's contrary to God's plan for humanity. I realize saying that makes me "intolerant" in the minds of the majority of people, but when God has spoken on an issue, I believe that trumps all else.
Notice that when Jesus said to "go and sin no more," He was talking about her practice, not her preference. It's one thing to have a preference or an orientation; it's another thing to practice it. This woman preferred a man outside her marriage, and when she gave in to that urge, then it became sinful. But a sexual orientation does not have to define you when a spiritual orientation can.Jesus came to remove the debt of sin from all people, no matter their sin (see 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
Second, Jesus was compassionate with this woman. "When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, 'Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?' She said, 'No one, Lord.' And Jesus said to her, 'Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more'" (John 8:10-11).
The implication in His command is faith and repentance. And in case you're wondering, calling someone woman was actually a term of respect in those days. Jesus was giving this woman back her dignity that had been lost in this whole fiasco. He called her sin what is was, but He did it with compassion.
In closing, here's a quick acronym for how to LOVE people who are struggling with homosexuality, another sexual sin, or any sin, for that matter:
Listen. Don't give advice before you've heard their story.
Offer support. Let them know that you're there for them and will pray with them through the tough issues. If they make any movement, especially toward the cross, offer support.
Voice God's truth. At some point, you need to share what the Bible says about the issue, "speaking the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15).
Esteem. Every single person deserves respect for one simple reason: they have been created in the image of God.
I pray that our love for people, no matter their sin, will be as radical as the gospel itself. Let's work to make the church a refuge for struggling people rather than a museum for perfect people.
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God calls us to be light-bearers in a dark world. Explore First John with Lenya Heitzig's Live Brilliantly Bible study and discover what it means to walk in the light of God's love, so you can bring light to even the darkest places.