It is a biblical truism that what the world affirms is usually what the Bible rejects, and what the Bible affirms is usually what the world rejects. Thus the world will usually get things wrong big time when it comes to biblical truth. It will turn biblical values on their head, and seek to push lies as truth, and hate as love.
This becomes especially clear when it comes to sharing the gospel with non-Christians. The most loving thing that can ever be done is for the Christian to share the good news of the gospel with non-Christians. It is out of great love for sinners that Jesus died on the cross, and our job is to share that message with everyone.
But of course sinners – which we all are – are not open to God’s truth. They reject, they hate it, and they seek to suppress it. That is the clear teaching of the New Testament. As Jesus said, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed” (John 3:19-20).
Or as Paul wrote in Romans 1:18-19: “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.”
But by God’s grace some sinners do respond and are wondrously forgiven, set free and transformed. That is the story of us believers, and that is a story we dare not keep to ourselves. Even if they hate what we have to share, we must share nonetheless.
Indeed, our love in sharing truth with non-believers will often be seen as hate. This is true with all non-believers, including our homosexual friends. They hate the gospel and hate us for sharing it, because it means they have to acknowledge that what they are doing is wrong, and they need to repent of it and turn from it.
As John Piper has put it: “We must not be intimidated here. The world is going to say the opposite of what is true here. They are going to say that warning people who practice homosexuality about final judgment is hateful. It is not hateful. Hate does not want people to be saved. Hate does not want people to join the family. Hate wants to destroy. And sin does destroy. If homosexual practice (and greed and idolatry and reviling and drunkenness) leads to exclusion from the kingdom of God [1 Corinthians 6:9] — as the word of God says it does — then love warns. Love pleads. Love comes alongside and does all it can to help a person live — forever.”
Quite right. Any sinner heading to a lost eternity needs to hear the truth of the gospel. That is the most loving thing we can do for them. Remaining silent about their sinful condition and their path to a Christless eternity is not loving, but hateful.
Matt Barber has just written about all this in “An open letter to homosexuals”. He begins this way: “I write this not to professional homosexuals. That is to say, not to members of the well-funded, politically powerful homosexual activist lobby. They will mock and reject my words outright. They will twist and misrepresent what I say to further their own socio-political agenda. That’s fine. It’s to be expected. It merits little more than a yawn and an eye roll.
“Instead, I write this to my fellow travelers in life – average, ordinary people, male and female, young and old – who happen to call themselves ‘gay.’ I write this out of obedience to God. It is my hope and prayer that you will consider what I have to say and take it at face value. My intentions are pure and my motives upright. If I can plant the seed of truth in just one person, and that seed begins to sprout, then I consider this letter a success. I pray that you are that person.
“What I write may offend you. It may even infuriate you. But I hope it makes you think. Know this: Your friends have lied to you. Christians do not hate you. We love you intensely. We love you because of who you are, not because of what you do or because of who you think you are. Still, to love someone and to lie to them is to hate them – especially when that lie inevitably leads to a tragic and hopeless end.
“If you have a loved one, blindfolded and running full speed toward cliff’s edge, do you not yell, stop! Would you not run after them, even tackling them if need be to prevent them from plummeting to certain death? What would we think of the person who said: ‘Keep running; all is well.’ All is not well, and you know it. On this path, ‘it’ decidedly does not ‘get better.’ It only gets worse. You will fall and you will die – perhaps not physical death, straight away – but certainly, an emotional and spiritual death.”
He continues, “Although homosexuality is not the only sexual sin, it is, indeed, sin. Scripture is unequivocal on this fact throughout both the Old and New Testaments. But this reality is manifest beyond the pages of Scripture. Unnatural behaviors beget natural consequences. So-called ‘homophobia’ is not responsible for the fact that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-in-five ‘gay’ men and adolescents in major cities across America have been infected – through bad behavior – with HIV/AIDS. Sin is responsible.
“In almost every category – disease, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, and suicide – those who call themselves ‘gay’ live and die with consequences that have nothing gay, in the true sense of the word, about them. Is this you? Be honest. At least be honest with yourself….
“I know from which I speak. I am no better than you. I, too, once lived a lifestyle of sexual sin. Not homosexual sin, but sexual sin nonetheless. As a young man I did not treat God’s daughters as He intended and, instead, engaged in a lifestyle of selfish womanizing and fornication. The wages of sin in my life was death – spiritual and emotional death. I was on your same path.
“But by His grace, I was offered and accepted ‘the free gift of God.’ I, instead, was saved and given ‘eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ Do I still struggle with sin? Of course. Every day. We all do. We are fallen. We are sinners. Still, Christ’s gift to me was forgiveness, redemption and life everlasting. My friend, that gift is available to you as well. Snatch it up. Please….
“The truth is that you have immeasurable value. You are a beautiful, unique, priceless human being. The very Creator of the universe, in the person of Jesus Christ, took such an interest in you that He meticulously wove you together in your mother’s womb. He loves you with a love that no human can fully grasp. Still, this is true not because of your so-called ‘sexual orientation,’ but, rather, in spite of it.
“You are valuable and worthy of love because God created you in His image. If you define your identity based upon sexual temptations and behaviors your Creator has called sin – an ‘abomination’ – then you are not fulfilling the purpose for which He created you. In so doing, you have become the sum total of your sins. You are in rebellion against God and you know it. He made you to know it.
“Yes, the activists tell you to take ‘pride’ in your ‘sexual orientation,’ but you don’t feel pride. You feel ashamed, and so you try, in vain, to numb the shame with more of the very behavior that causes it. You will never fill the void you feel with drugs, alcohol or more sexual acting-out. These things only expand your emptiness. Christ alone can fill the void. And He will.”
I too was delivered from a wretched life of sin, degradation and various addictions. It is a good thing that people loved me enough to share the gospel with me, even though at the time I hated what they had to say. I rejected their wise words of love and forgiveness.
Finally, by His grace, I did see the light, and Christ has miraculously transformed my life. I know he can do that for others as well. So that is why I do what I do – that is my motivation for continuing in this work. Despite all the abuse, hate mail and death threats, I will gladly keep holding hope out to everyone, be they homosexual or not. For that is what we all need – the hope of the gospel.