Does God Love Homosexuals?
It is virtually impossible these days to watch the news, surf the Net, or get on Facebook and Twitter without hearing something about homosexuality. Presently, in Alabama, there is major row about same-sex marriage, and the Supreme Court is slated to rule on the subject in the coming months. It is often the case that those who call themselves Christians say mean-spirited, hateful things about homosexuals. And it is often the case that homosexuals falsely accuse all Christians who oppose homosexuality of being homophobes.
How can we engage this subject and offer a reasonable approach to both sides of the issue? First, we must insist that Christians should behave in a way that represents the spirit of Christ. Simply because a person calls himself or herself a Christian does not mean that his/her views actually represent Christ and His teachings in the New Testament. Second, just because a person is offended by a statement does not mean the statement is mean-spirited or hateful.
With these ideas in mind, it would be helpful to establish a foundational truth from the Bible. God is love and He wants everyone to be saved. Any person who has read through the Bible understands that one of its greatest themes is love. The Bible also explains that God showed His love to us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:6-8 states:
For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
In one of the most well-known “love” verses in the Bible, Jesus said: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). God’s love for the lost world was shown before the lost believed in Jesus. John further explained this situation when he wrote: “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). From these verses it is clear that God loves lost sinners, and proved that love by sending Jesus. God loves all people, even though people are sinners.
God’s love for sinners extends to all types of sins. God loves murderers. God loves thieves. God loves hypocrites. God loves those who are apathetic to His Word. God loves child abusers. God loves those who curse. God loves self-righteous people. God loves you, and He loves me. Now, when we look to the Bible, we can see that homosexuality is a sin. There is only one relationship in which God approves of sexual activity and that is between one man and one woman in a committed, covenant marriage (see Butt, 2012). If the idea that homosexuality is a sin comes across as offensive, there is simply nothing a Christian can say or do to change that.
In light of the fact that homosexuality is a sin, what is God’s attitude toward those who practice it? The answer to that was shown in Jesus’ death on the cross. Sin breaks God’s heart, because He loves all humans that He created (John 3:16). God wants all people to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4), and He insists that sinners, for their own sake, need to turn away from their sins and come to Him (Acts 2:38). God loves those who practice homosexuality just as much as He loves those who misrepresent His teaching with mean-spirited, hateful language.
In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, we read a list of terms that describe sinful behavior that will keep people from being saved. Idolatry is on the list, as well as drunkenness and thievery. In addition, various sexual sins are listed, including those who engage in sex before marriage, those who have sex with people who are not their spouses, and those who practice homosexuality. All of these actions are sinful. At the end of the section, in verse 11, Paul explained to the Corinthians that they used to be involved in those practices. He wrote: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” The Corinthians admitted they were sinning, changed their sinful ways, and turned to the God Who loves them and died for them. God requires this repentance from everyone.
In light of the fact that God loves all sinners, including those who practice homosexuality, it is clear that Christians should have the same attitude as God. Christians who are following the example of their Lord Jesus Christ love homosexuals and want what is the very best for them. Loving Christians point out that homosexuality is a sin— not to be homophobic or mean-spirited— but because each and every soul is important. They do not want anyone to be lost. If homosexuality is a sin, and a person will be lost if he or she does not repent, then the only loving course of action is to kindly and gently explain this fact in the hopes that those who are sinning will repent and get to live forever in heaven with their God and Creator.
So, when we ask the very relevant question, “Does God love homosexuals?” we need to understand it is virtually the same question as “Does God love hypocrites?” or “Does God love those who look at pornography?” or “Does God love those who are mean-spirited?” The answer is a resounding, “Yes.” And God put an exclamation point on His answer in the form of Jesus dying on the cross to save the sinners that He loves, as long as they will repent and turn to Him.
Butt, Kyle (2012), “‘Jesus Didn’t Condemn Homosexuality,’” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1627&topic=36.