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The heart of the matter

Homosexuality | Homosexuals and the rest of us sinners are who we are, and that is the problem

Issue: "Surviving Syria," June 1, 2013

In a single week in March, Sen. Rob Portman, social analyst Charles Murray, and writer Jonah Goldberg—conservatives all—said that same-sex “marriage” is all but certain, and America will have to adjust. For Portman it’s personal, for Murray it’s practical, for Goldberg it’s logical, and each in his own way made a plausible case. The fact is, brothers and sisters, where this issue is concerned our backs are to the wall.

So-called gay rights (for lack of a better term) is the third great civil-rights movement of the last 60 years, and the most vexed. Here’s why: Racism challenged society, feminism challenged the family, but sexual identity challenges our very being. “Male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27), but what does that even mean? “Mere” homosexuality has morphed into LGBTQ, not an identity but a range of identities with unfixed borders.

A young man I’ve known from an early age was raised in a Bible-believing church among peers who casually mocked “fags.” He knew he was different and prayed earnestly through his teen years that God would change him. God didn’t change him, and eventually he gave up the struggle and accepted himself. “This is who I am,” he says.  

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Christopher Yuan, son of high-achieving Chinese immigrant parents, faced the same dilemma and the same conclusion: His identity was inseparable from his sexuality, and by his early twenties he knew he couldn’t change it. He was and would always be gay.

That’s the heart of the problem—of all problems. “This is who I am” unwittingly bares the human soul. Sin is not primarily a matter of what we do but of who we are. We are liars, idolaters, adulterers, hypocrites, perverts. That is why we lie (to ourselves especially), worship the creature rather than the Creator, stray from our true lover, pretend righteousness we don’t have, and misuse God’s gifts to our own selfish ends. But most of those sins can be hidden, even within the church. The homosexual’s peculiar burden is that his sin can’t be hidden.

Therefore, says the world, it must be accepted. Our nation is dedicated to the pursuit of happiness, and how is happiness possible if you can’t be who you are (as long as it hurts no one else)? The rejection that used to be the homosexual’s lot has shifted, so quickly we’re taken aback. It’s okay to be gay; what’s not okay is to deny someone’s identity. In other words, the burden gays used to bear is now squarely on the Bible-believing church.  

Some Christians say that abortion is a far greater threat to society than same-sex “marriage” because millions of souls have been lost to abortion, in comparison to a relative handful of homosexual spouses. But if abortion is a greater threat to society, same-sex “marriage” is poison to the church, a direct hit to her prophetic role and biblical authority. To claim that God has absolute right over what we do with our bodies is a very tough sell, and always has been. When church and culture were roughly on the same track, it wasn’t so apparent. Now it’s not only apparent but glaring, all the more as the church remains true to her Lord and His Word.

But with God, nothing is hopeless. In his memoir, Out of a Far Country, Christopher Yuan describes how he became a Christian while serving time for drug-dealing. He confessed his orientation to a chaplain who reassured him that, “actually the Bible doesn’t condemn homosexuality.” Christopher eagerly pored over the book the chaplain gave him, comparing its arguments to what the Bible said. Reluctantly, he had to conclude that traditional teaching was right and the gay-justifying revisions were wrong. What then?

Liberation came when he realized God was not calling him to be straight, but to be holy. “My identity was not ‘gay’ or ‘homosexual’ or even ‘heterosexual,’ for that matter. But my identity as a child of the living God must be in Jesus Christ alone.” Jesus is at the center, where He belongs. God give us courage to keep Him there.

Janie B. Cheaney
Janie B. Cheaney

Janie lives in Missouri, is a columnist for WORLD, writes novels for young adults, and is the author of the Wordsmith creative writing series. She also reviews books at Follow Janie on Twitter @jbcheaney.


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