Close to My Heart

A very dear friend of mine, Jeb, is getting married in September and has asked me to be the wedding photographer. I’m SO EXCITED, and was so honored that he would ask me to play such an important role in his special day. I was blessed to meet his fiance this past fall, and what a great pair. They are loving, respectful, and make each other laugh. You will never meet a more gracious and well-matched couple.

I also just found out that my one of my best friends, Chris, is getting ready to move in with his significant other. This is a HUGE step for him in the relationship department, and I couldn’t be happier. He is so happy and excited at the prospect of settling down, and I am so proud of the amazing and strong man he has become over the years we’ve known each other.

And both Jeb and Chris are gay.

I realize that it’s unusual (but thankfully not unheard of) for a Christian to come out in support of gay marriage, gay rights, and even just gay friends. Hear me out.

I don’t claim to be an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but please allow me to share what God’s placed on my heart.

Many who oppose gay marriage, and homosexual relationships in general, look first to Leviticus in the Old Testament. Leviticus 18:22 says, “Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.” This is only one example. There are other places in the Old and New Testaments where homosexuality is decried as a sin. For example: Genesis 18 & 19Romans 1:26-27 , 1 Timothy 1:10 , Jude 1:7 , 1 Corinthians 6:8-11.

Seems clear enough. To practice homosexuality is a sin. But so is greed, envy, murder, deceit, malice, gossiping, slandering, arrogance, disobedience of parents (Romans 1:29-32), false worship, swearing, stealing, adultery, lying, coveting others’ possessions, not observing the Sabbath (Exodus 20:1-21), being rebellious, breaking the law, kidnapping, lying, being profane (1 Timothy 1:9-10), fornication, idolatry, adultery, thieving, drunkenness, swindling or deception (1 Corinthians 6: 9-11), anger, filthiness, wickedness (James 1:19-21), showing favoritism, judging others (James 2: 1-13), lying, gluttony, laziness (Titus 1:12-13), boasting, knowing what is right but choosing not to do it (James 4:16-17), hate (1 John 2:9-11) … I think you get a clear picture here.

Homosexuality is not a category by itself … It is a sin, just as all of the above and more. It is no better, and it is no worse.

And we are all guilty of something (and therefore guilty of all, according to Matthew 5:21-28 and James 2:10-13).

If we weren’t, there would be no need for a Savior. The good news is this: Colossians 2:13-14 says “When you were dead in your sins … God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.”

The gospel (good news) messages as well as passages on love, forgiveness, and acceptance of each other’s shortcomings are much easier to find in God’s Word than passages condemning or even referencing homosexuality. My Bible is a New American Standard translation, and in the concordance (glossary), there are 22 entries on forgiving and forgiveness, 43 entries on love and lovingkindness, and two entries on homosexuality. Two.

I think it’s safe to say that we should be focused more on loving and forgiving than homosexuality. And that’s straight from the Word.

Don’t judge someone for his/her sins. Christ himself said: “Do not judge, so that you will not be judged. … Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. … In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law of the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:1-12)

Love each other. Lift each other up, despite all our flaws and sins. The goal is not to stop sinning (impossible – that’s why we need Christ) … It’s to love each other anyway.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.” Colossians 3:12-15

Some of these issues may still seem cloudy to some, but not to me. So let me be clear. I love my husband. To share my life with someone has brought indescribable joy and depth to my life. It’s something I wish for all my friends … For all humanity. Some find that connection with people of the same gender, and some find it with people of the opposite gender. It’s not my place to deny anyone the chance to experience love. Gay relationships and gay marriages do not threaten my marriage and my relationship with my husband, just as my marriage does not threaten theirs. The existence of homosexuality does not make me less of a person, nor a less secure Christian. My friends who are homosexuals are not lesser people, and have the same gift of the grace of God extended and available to them.

God has blessed me with the friendships of both of these wonderful men. I am not ashamed of them. I love both of them just as they are, with all I’ve got (and I believe, so does God). My life is better – richer – because they are a part of my story.

Maybe that makes me a bad Christian. Maybe it makes me a stronger one.

That’s for God to decide.

“‘A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.'”
John 13:34

Chris (R) and his boyfriend, Evan.                   Jeb (L) and his fiance, Dave.

Ed. Note: For anyone interested in additional reading on this topic, here’s a great piece.

Thanks for reading!

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6 thoughts on “Close to My Heart

  1. Thank you so much for this wonderful article. I went to college with Jeb and have some amazing memories with him! He is truely a loving soul and I am so glad that he finally found his soul mate and will be able to proclaim his vows of marriage to the man he loves. I believe that LOVE is a gift from GOD and if we (society) spent more time loving instead of judging our world would be a much better place! Thanks again for your article. I have shared it on my FB page 🙂

  2. This is a great read and a different way to think about the issue. The only thing I still see is that all of the sins that you describe are more of a impulse or they happen, but they are hopefully not a way of life. I have many gay friends and I want them all to be happy and I would never judge them since I believe that its not my place to judge, but to say its biblical I still see it as a stretch.

    • Hi Ryan- Thanks for the feedback! Not sure if I’d say it’s Biblical … but after my study it’s impossible to say with certainty that it’s not either. 🙂 Glad it made you at least think about a different angle, and thanks for reading!

  3. Wow stef! Good for you! So few Christians would be so open and honest about their feelings. I completely agree with you. What is that saying? “Hate the sin, but love the sinner.” Who are we to judge? That is not our place. I don’t see how gay marriage and gay relationships threaten the institution of marriage. How does anyone else’s relationships affect our own, unless we choose to make it so? Love you lots!

    • Thanks for the encouragement! This was a tough study for me, and even tougher to decide to post it publicly because it is such a touchy issue. But at the end of the day I guess that’s exactly why I decided it was important to post. That and the fact that I love these boys to pieces and wanted to stand up with them. Love you, girl, and thanks for reading!

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