Former NBA All-Star and Miami Heat guard Tim Hardaway made some waves yesterday on a radio show when he announced his disposition towards homosexuals:
“You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known,”
Hardaway’s comment was immediately attributed to the extreme end of society where the homophobic, right wing, bigots sit. And from the vantage point of the world, this is also where conservative, Bible believing Christians sit as well.
Should Christians be echoing these words?
Absolutely not. First of all the word “hate” is used. The Scriptures would teach us that God sees hate the same as murder (1 Jn. 3.15). For a Christian to hate anyone is wrong. We may hate sin, but we must not be serial killers in our hearts because people do not know Christ.
And frankly, it is the power of Christ that draws people out of all sorts of lifestyles. I think this is the point of a passage such as 1 Cor. 6 where Paul has just listed a laundry list of sins (homosexuality and fornication included) and then says this:
1 Corinthians 6:11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
Most Christians were sexual sinners before conversion; some were homosexuals, others were heterosexual. Fornication in mind or body is heinous in God’s sight, and you don’t get moral righteousness credited if it with someone of the opposite sex.
How Should Christians view homosexuals?
This really is quite simple to answer but difficult to apply. We are to view homosexuals as image bearers of God. The image is perverted and distorted, yes, but it is still there. And the glory of the Creator is to be restored through the evangelization of the image bearer that Christ might radically transform them into a position such as 1 Corinthians 6.11 notes.
While the lifestyle and the outward perversion might be uncomfortable and unsettling, the image of God is still there and it commends itself to you for love.
What Should Christians do with homosexuals?
Lovingly evangelize. Each year some friends and I go down to the city of Omaha’s annual gay pride parade (they call it something different, but I can’t remember). We go there to show love to this community. The love is not expressed in the endorsement of their lifestyle but in the giving of the gospel to them (here are the tracts). Where else can you have all of Omaha’s gay community gathered together?
It is unsettling however, to see many religious groups down there shouting with signs and megaphones at all of the gay people. Nobody listens to them, they just get mocked and laughed at. In fact, last year I was talking to a group of people about the gospel when they said that they could not hear me over the guy yelling behind me (he was draped in a cardboard sign). I had to go and ask the guy to hit the mute button for a minute that I might tell the people about Jesus. He actually was upset that I was not yelling at people. This is regrettable.
Our message is not a message of conversion to heterosexuality, for most heterosexuals are going to hell, but rather a message of conversion to Christianity, which will bring the sanctified sexual behavior in accordance with God’s will.
I do not want to stand with Tim Hardaway and others who verbally express murder in their hearts. Instead I want to see all people as image bearers of God who need to be confronted, not by me, but by Jesus, and graciously shown the beauty of restoration in the gospel. We do all of this with a mindset as characterized by Titus 3.3:
For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.