I have quite a few friends who are gay. Often, as I scroll through social media, I will stop to read something one of them has posted.
I cringe when they re-post and comment on a Christian article condemning homosexuality. My frustration is not over declaring homosexuality is a sin. That is a biblical statement upon which the church must not compromise.
The reason I cringe is because of how many Christians declare the message. Have we forgotten that corrupting talk is also a sin (Eph. 4:29)? There is a difference between using judgment (honestly declaring truth), and being judgmental (putting down others).
My gay friends are quick to point out the unchristian attitude in which the articles are often written. I cringe because they are usually right.
The sin of others does not justify the sin of taunting, belittling, or berating sinners. Instead, it betrays the cross of Christ in which Christ endured such afflictions upon himself for the sake of sinners.
In Genesis 1, the Bible explains that God created man and woman in His image (Gen. 1:26). Being created in the image of God places humans in a special position to reflect God’s glory in a way that the rest of creation is unable.
In Genesis 3:6-7, the first couple rebelled against their Creator and the image of God, in which they had been created, was marred. Likewise, all humans following the first couple have been born into sin. We can understand from this that:
- All humans are made in the image of God.
- The image of God in all humans has been marred and is in need of redemption.
Keeping this in mind, as believers, we have no hesitancy speaking of our newborn and unborn babies as “made in the image of God.” And we love to remind one another that we are created in the image of God for a purpose and therefore we have a responsibility to honor God with our lives.
Unfortunately, we are slow to extend the sentiment to certain people living in certain sins. We are quick to condemn people involved in gay and lesbian activity. We feel justified in putting down those who have fallen prey to drug abuse or drunkenness. We don’t think twice about belittling the hardened criminals locked away in our penitentiaries.
In the midst of this, we ignore the fact that they too are created in the image of God. Like the men surrounding the woman caught in adultery, we are eager to cast the first stone –ignoring our own sin. The stones we cast today bear words such as “degenerates,” “animals,” and “freaks.” Of course, we are the ones holding the stones. What does that make us?
We would never let anyone talk about our own children that way. Have we forgotten that we all sin and fall short of the glory of God? What is the difference? Is it that we believe some people have hope of changing while others are beyond hope? Or have we taken upon ourselves the role of declaring some sins unforgiveable. If that’s the case, I find it strange that the unforgivable sins always seem to take place outside our own churches.
It seems to me that we as believers need to remember that everyone –not just ‘our own’- are made in the image of God. And just as Christ has redeemed the marred image of God by conforming us to His image, so too, He can restore God’s image in “the vilest offender who truly believes.”
It is difficult to verbally assault and socially neglect a group of people while simultaneously focusing on the fact that they are created in God’s image. That is not to say that we neglect our responsibility to be honest about their sin and its consequences. However, the way in which we address the issues determines whether or not we reflect God’s glory and honor the image of God in which they have been created.
If we truly love our neighbor as ourselves; if we honestly want to see sinners come to Christ; if we really believe “God so loved the world,” then we must respect the dignity of every human created in the image of God. And, if we really care about God’s glory, we will carefully give thought to how to communicate the gospel with respect and care modeled after Christ. Otherwise, we betray the gospel, dishonor God, and disrespect His creation.