Since the brutal attack in Orlando that took place recently we are rightly hearing much about it on the radio, the internet and television (even though my wife and I have, in the last few days, gotten rid of our cable to save money and in obedience to the Lord to use our time more efficiently, and we are still working on the latter). Because we no longer have TV service, we are not as exposed to it as others are and we once were. I began to be somewhat convicted because I was not as moved with compassion as many others are. This did not sit well with me in my spirit. So I began to ask the Lord God about the state of my heart in regard to this. Am I becoming desensitized? Since I am to be like You, Lord, in caring for and reaching the lost, why is my compassion not running high right now? If I am not properly moved by this, what does that say about me as I am hoping to soon become pastor of a small church? Is this a shepherd’s heart, even though they are not part of my flock?
As I get honest and vulnerable before my Father in Heaven and begin this dialogue with Him in my own life I want to graciously, yet boldly and truthfully, explore a side of all this that few will want to think about, much less verbalize. On the media side of this, someone on Christian radio said something about “innocent victims.” First of all, we are not innocent- none of us. We do not come out of the womb innocent (Psalm 51:5), nor are we innocent any time after that (Romans 3:10-12, 23). So in the Lord’s eyes it is not His wish that any should perish eternally, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). In this case in Florida, it truly is a very sad and sobering event that we should all let be a catalyst to examine our own hearts and souls before our merciful God so that we are not eternally lost in the tormenting flames of the reality called Hell.
I heard a man on TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network) a couple of days ago comment on the horrific incident in sorrowful words- which are certainly appropriate- but saying nothing about the sin involved in all of this; a Christian man. Most assuredly, it is a very difficult thing to mention at a time like this that affects so many people. And it is, I can tell you, certainly a temptation to only speak kind and comforting words in a time of tragedy and in such a feeling-friendly, anti-offense climate our nation has begotten today. So there has to be a sensitive balance (not compromise) between grace and compassion versus sin and accountability. Though the way in which they met their eternal end is extremely rattling, and most of us would prefer to die in our sleep with no pain or suffering, that doesn’t change the fact that their everlasting fate is now sealed.
Now, with no undue harm intended and no overly blunt or insensitive words chosen without care and necessity (whether they are perceived that way or not), we mustn’t overlook or ignore the elephant in the (news) room. That pachyderm is the locale at which this took place, the chosen lifestyles of the people who frequented that establishment (including the gunman, from what we have since found out), and that the covert or overt activities of those individuals there or elsewhere are sinful. To be sure, all mankind is sinful short of the transforming power and blood-bought grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ unto salvation and eternal life. But for most, if not all, that grace was not sought or accepted for whatever reason. And the sovereign, just and perfect Father’s position towards this particular sin is not cloudy, nor is it open to misinterpretation -though several denominations who once understood this are now deceived and splitting over this very ancient issue.
What about Abraham, Lot, Sodom and Gomorrah? Given how this awful happening is a recent, fresh occurrence, how would this same prevalent attitude play itself out today if a whole city of known (and perhaps even celebrated, prideful) sinners was to be destroyed? Would the lives of the sinners that God saw fit to eliminate be mourned much more so because of the sheer numbers involved? Would anyone in the world see God’s side of it all? Did God allow one to happen and not the other? Has He changed His mind or character or position concerning the sin of homosexuality? We know that Jesus and the Father are one (John 5:18, John 10:30). We know that Jesus is “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8) so that His mind does not- nor does it need to- change (James 1:18). He has created us all (Genesis 1:27), every one of us. He has a unique plan and individual purpose for each of our lives (Jeremiah 29:11-13). He doesn’t play favorites and is impartial (Acts 10:34) and He is righteously intolerant of sin (all throughout the Word of God, the Holy Bible). Sin is the opposite of holiness and it is what separates us from our Almighty Creator (Isaiah 59:2).
Since we are conceived and born in sin, we are destined to be out of His presence forever and that is why we need, and God has provided for us in love, a Savior- Jesus Christ! HE and HE ALONE paid our sin wages of death (Romans 6:23) and it is by grace and through faith in, and obedience to, Him that we receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life at all. He is the only way God has provided for our redemption (John 14:6, Acts 4:11-12). Although all and any sin is on equal footing as far as our guilt versus God’s righteousness is concerned, consequences on earth are proportional to the degree of wickedness in the Lord’s eyes. For example, if one person steals a dollar and another person murders a baby, His justice is meted out differently in each case. In the same way, sexual sin- whether heterosexual or homosexual- is particularly heinous to Him. How do we know this? Take a look at admonitions and rebukes found and clearly stated in the Word of God in phrases such as “Flee sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18), “Abstain from sexual immorality” (1 Thessalonians 4:3), or even Revelation 21:8 which states emphatically that the “sexually immoral” are among “murderers…sorcerers…and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” And the capstone, perhaps, of all this is that our perfect heavenly Father explains that “every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body” and “the body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord [His purposes] and the Lord for the body” (1 Corinthians 6:18,13).
Yet the Lord God calls homosexuality, in particular, an “abomination” (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13), “detestable” (same verses, different translations) as well as “perversion,” “dishonoring passions” and “shameful acts” (Romans 1:26-27). And He uses straightforward descriptions such as “contrary to nature” and “gave up natural relations” to leave no doubt as to the severity of the sin, His righteous position on it, and it is an extremely weighty matter that should never be tolerated or accepted as moral in any way or at any time. Why? For one reason, the Creator’s wisdom and knowledge are perfect and anything that runs counter to that is effectually saying that His ways are not perfect and that we know more and better than He does, and so we do whatever we want. This is wrong and foolish and dangerous. We mention this and also call more attention to it because, in today’s world, many with this mindset and in this “community” of participants and activists PUSH for, force and legislate acceptance through the media (news), the educational system (see Mark 9:42!!!), the entertainment industry (music, movies and TV) and various, if not most, world governments; this deserves condemnation, not submission or accolades.
While true and committed Christians do not, in any way, find anything “positive” in this shocking event, we might actually be more saddened than most being fully aware of their now unchangeable and eternal state before the King. The grace offered them during their lifetimes was neglected, procrastinated or rejected outright. If nothing else, what has transpired should lead everyone- straight and gay- to search their own hearts, not by comparing our sinfulness in relevance to others but by using the only true and right measuring stick…Almighty God’s righteousness (found in His Word). Seek Him in fear and awe with all of your heart and He will be found by you. He has revealed Himself and His ways to us through the Bible. And He is willing to reconcile you to Himself!