This week, an article by AE member Dr John Pike, who has been inspried by reading the personal accounts on our Stories Page. He are his reflections …
On these pages you will find many testimonies from people who have suffered much heartache as a result of their sexual orientation. Their accounts are honest, direct and deeply moving. They are often tragic accounts of how Holy Scripture has been used incorrectly against individuals who have no control over this aspect of their being. God, in his infinite wisdom, has created them as our companions and they are deeply loved by Him.
You will also find excellent studies of what scripture has to say about this, setting the texts in context, both of the times and of their precise position in the Bible story. As Christians, we should study the Bible carefully and prayerfully and ask God to reveal himself to us. It is for each individual to respond with their own understanding and in their own conscience. But however hard we study scripture, our understanding will only ever be partial.
As well as being fully God, Jesus was also fully Human. When people suffered, he grieved, he wept, he cured them, he forgave them, he met them where they were and showed them love. As humans, I believe it is our Christian calling to respond to our fellow human beings as Jesus did.
St Paul tells us:
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
In these beautiful verses I think we find the key to how we should approach our brothers and sisters with a different sexual orientation, given that our understanding of all things is only partial.
Jesus commanded us to love one another, to love our neighbours as ourselves, to forgive one another, and to treat one another as we would want to be treated ourselves.
I am a heterosexual and married man. I am also an evangelical Christian who, after studying what scripture has to say about this, thinks we must also respond as human beings, with love, like Jesus, to all men, whatever their creed, colour, religion, sexual orientation or particular sins. We are all sinners and none of us would be saved were it not for his one time perfect sacrifice.
Below you will find literature from outside the Bible that has come to mind as I formed my personal view on this issue.
Prayer of St Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”
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