All human beings are sinners. Some of us have been saved by the grace of God. Despite this, we all still sin. When we reach heaven some day it will be easy to not sin. For now, however, the struggle continues.
Since we are all sinners, it seems that we would show compassion to other people struggling with sin. We do this, but not equally. While the church (the body of Christ) in general sympathizes with some sin struggles, it doesn't with others. Sins are not treated equally. Sexual sins are seen as the worst. Homosexuality in particular is viewed as a sort of "king of all sins." Why is this?
(I'd like to clarify something for a moment. I'm not suggesting that homosexual behavior is acceptable. It is in fact sinful. In this post I'm not talking about people who have fully embraced the homosexual lifestyle. Instead, I'm specifically talking about folks who struggle with homosexual temptations and may even engage in homosexual behavior from time to time. These people are struggling with it, fighting against, but occasionally give in to temptation.)
I believe we fail to show compassion to those struggling with homosexuality because most of us have never faced that kind of temptation.
We like to say that we are against homosexuality because the bible condemns it. However, let's be honest for a moment. We speak harshly against homosexuality because we are grossed out by it. It just seems yucky to us. Therefore, we show little compassion toward people who struggle with it.
Let's take a different example. What about bitterness? Ephesians 4:31 says, "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice." How do we treat those who tend to be bitter? We show them all sorts of grace. We rarely speak out against it. Why? The reason is that almost all of us are tempted toward bitterness about something in our lives. We understand the temptation. It doesn't seem so vile to us because we fall prey to the same sin.
As we think about how to respond to those with homosexual temptations, we must be truthful with ourselves. We have a problem. That problem is lack of compassion. We must speak the truth in love. Our tendency is to speak about homosexuality with no love whatsoever. Who set us up as judge and jury? God is the judge.
Let's first take the plank out of our own eyes. Only then can we speak both truthfully and lovingly. We ought to treat sins the same, and respond to them as led by scripture. Homosexuality is a sin, but so is bitterness. Do we condemn the one but give the other a free pass? Ironically, bitterness may actually do more damage to the church than homosexuality.
We must be careful not to lump together those who are struggling with homosexual feelings with those who embrace the homosexual lifestyle. Both groups need the grace of God. Both need to repent. However, there is a significant difference.
To sum up, let's not let our own gross out tendencies determine how we respond to sin. Let's speak truthfully and compassionately to those struggling with homosexuality. Let's show them the love of Christ. Only through him will they overcome this temptation.