In my previous article on the issues of homosexuality and Christianity, (as found here), I defined same-sex attraction as being limited to experiencing sexual arousal from the same sex, while homosexuality is when one is attracted to the same sex and also actively pursues a lifestyle of homosexuality. In that post, we looked at the Bible to answer two questions: can homosexuals be saved and if so, what does it look like. We looked at Matthew 12:31-32 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 to see that God does in fact save and has been saving homosexuals for centuries. We discussed that a Christian with a homosexual past should live their lives to be holy and glorify God in the their bodies, just like any other Christian. This does not mean that they will not struggle with SSA anymore or will be married. God has simply called them to be godly, which is purity, not heterosexuality.

There is another issue at hand that must be addressed, and it’s not with homosexuals, but rather with the church. How should Christians in the church treat homosexuals and Christians with a homosexual past? More and more homosexuals are receiving faith and “coming out” of their active homosexual life, forsaking and rejecting it. People like Jackie Hill Perry, Ed Shaw, Wesley Hill, Michael Glatze, and others are leaving their homosexual identity in the past to be united into a new identity in Jesus Christ by grace through faith. Homosexuality will not go away in our world, thus the church needs to understand how to biblically respond to people who identify as gay or lesbian and how to treat homosexuals who become Christians.

Homosexuality is a whole-personed active response to sexual desires – meaning one’s cognitive thoughts, affective desires, and volitional choices made every day are directly affected by one’s attraction to the same sex. This is not a simple issue, rather a deeply complicated one that is firmly rooted in the heart of the individual. Many Christians simplify homosexuality to a choice that must be avoided, however most homosexuals do not have a time where they “chose” to be attracted to the same sex – it usually is no more of a choice than heterosexuals choosing to be attracted to the opposite sex; it just happens. Christians must understand this if they are going to treat people who identify as homosexual in a biblical way.

So, what is the biblical way to treat homosexuals? The same way God wants us to treat heterosexuals who have not repented of their sin and followed Jesus – with compassion, humility, and grace, (Col. 4:1-5). We do not treat them exclusively to the extent of their sin. We cannot make homosexuality every topic of our conversations with gays and lesbians. The main problem of homosexuality is the same as an unbelieving heterosexual: they have rebelled against God and Jesus Christ – their homosexuality, among many other sins, is just an expression of that rebellion and rejection, (Romans 3:9-18), [1].

So, how do Christians show biblical compassion to homosexuals? The answer is directly related to their main problem in life – their rebellion of God and Jesus Christ. Christians need to understand this and identify with their need for God, instead of their homosexuality. This is not to say that Christians should never talk to gays and lesbians about their homosexuality, but rather a Christian’s priority in talking with homosexuals should be their need for Christ and not their gay lifestyle, [2].

Lastly, how should the church treat Christians with a homosexual past? Just like any other member of their church with a heterosexual past and present. Sin is a “powerful and effectual indwelling principle, inclining and pressing unto action agreeable and suitable unto it’s own [evil] nature,”[3] causing many SSA Christians to still struggle with unwanted sexual desires for the same sex, but the same principle goes for Christians who were sexually loose before their faith, or drug addicts, alcoholics, or any other sinner who sinned before salvation. No Christian will ever be above sin in this life – so don’t treat SSA Christians based on their attractions, for they have been changed and recreated: “anyone who is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old has gone and the new has come,” (2 Cor. 5:17). Instead, you should treat them as newly regenerated brothers whose sins were washed away by the forgiving blood of Jesus Christ – just like you! – for that is what they are, [4].

[2] Ibid.

[3] Owen, John, Kelly M. Kapic, and Justin Taylor. Overcoming Sin & Temptation. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books, 2006.

[4] For further reading on how the church should respond to Christians with same-sex attraction, read Ed Shaw’s Same-Sex Attraction and the Church.