Yesterday, I spoke to you about how we should and should not talk about abortion and the sanctity of human life. I noted that sometimes we Christians demonize our opponents instead of loving them. We often forget that, apart from the grace of God, we might well be on the other side of the issue.
This is especially true when it comes to the issue of human sexuality. To understand why, we must first remember that, for the Christian, truth is a person: Jesus Christ. We see the world and our place in it in light of the person and work of Jesus.
So we should never forget that just as Jesus was the incarnation of God’s love, mercy, and compassion for us, we are called to model these for our neighbor.
Now this doesn’t mean that we should shy from calling sin by its name — on the contrary, sometimes this is exactly what loving our neighbor requires. But we should do this in sorrow rather than in anger and never out of a sense of condemnation — because we know that since none of us is without sin, none of us gets to cast the first stone.
So, when we address a hot-button issue like same-sex attraction or same-sex marriage, we should always keep in mind our own struggles and brokenness when it comes to sexuality.
If you are blessed not to have struggled in this area, then recall your struggles in other areas. If you can’t think of any, well, you might want to think about the sin of pride. I’m just saying.
We also need to avoid the mistake that some of our opponents make: treating sex as merely physical. As Christians know, sex is intended to serve a unitive purpose — it’s supposed to be the physical expression of the spiritual union between husband and wife. As the Bible puts it, “the two become one flesh.”
It may come as a surprise to many of us, but many people in same-sex relationships are seeking the same thing. The problem is that they can’t achieve what they are seeking, because they are seeking it in what Catholic moral theology calls a “disordered” manner. Likewise, many advocates of same-sex marriage aren’t out to subvert marriage, at least not consciously. They’re pursuing the goods of marriage, all be it, in a disordered fashion.
Thus when we rightly say that the Christian response to same-sex attraction is chastity, we must remember that chastity is difficult enough for heterosexual Christians — who at least have the hope of expressing their sexuality in marriage.
The same is true with same-sex marriage. As God said in Genesis 2, “it is not good for man to be alone.” We were designed for the deep kind of physical and spiritual connection that comes through marriage. So even while we insist that that kind of connection is only available between a man and a woman, we must empathize with and grieve for those who cannot achieve it.
If we can’t, then we should consider keeping our mouths shut. Because if we forget to offer love and support along with the truth, we aren’t much better than the Scribes and Pharisees, whom Jesus rebuked for placing heavy loads on people’s shoulders while not lifting a finger to move them.
The world doesn’t need more Pharisees, it needs people who speak the truth in love — love that never forgets Who is the Truth.
Chuck Colson's daily BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends via radio, interactive media and print.
Publication date: April 18, 2012