Can We Stop Saying “Love The Sinner; Hate The Sin” To Gay People!
Only a gay person understands how incredibly hard it is sometimes to share with certain people that they are gay. Many, because of their understanding of the Bible, will respond with some version of “I love you; I hate your sin.” But, one is hard pressed to find anywhere in the Bible where this is a recommended strategy in relationships regardless if the Bible clearly condemns a behavior or not. You cannot value someone and condemn them at the same time. What is heard is I don’t love you. It is impossible to not feel personally attacked when such words are uttered.
For whatever reason we treat gay people differently than other issues that one may be personally convicted is wrong. Many refer to Paul’s list of sins to call out homosexuality but they fail to call out the greedy and slanderers (I Cor. 6: 9-10). Unless you are homeless chances are you have been greedy more than once this week. How is it not greedy to keep more than you need and make sure those struck by natural disasters or other tragedies have the rest? We seldom take risks to express our concerns to an individual; instead, we talk to someone else behind their back. So when I see you, remind me to say “I love you, but I hate your behaviors.”
I am convinced the Bible is silent on monogamous same sex relationships. When homosexuality is discussed in the Bible, it was not consensual and it was not monogamous. Such relationships were purely for self-gratification reasons. Keep in mind not everyone who shares something about themselves personally is asking what you think the Bible says. So, keep those thoughts to yourself. If one wants to know what God feels about their relationship, they can engage with God personally. We clearly don’t agree on what the Bible says about many issues in life, or there would not be so many denominations with so many differing creeds.
Please don’t insult others by comparing homosexuality to anything else such as pedophilia or bestiality. Friends are coming to us about themselves or their children and they are speaking about consensual, adult relationships. Do I think it is okay if three women marry four men? I will get back to you when I am really confronted with that. Typically, we are talking to individual human beings that are sharing something deeply personally.
Do we tell a drug abuser that we love them but hate their behaviors? First of all, you don’t tell anyone coming for help with their addiction that you love them but hate their behavior. You simply say I love you and let’s do this together. When someone is overweight, which is a lot of us, do we say I love you but I hate your behaviors. Most of us overweight will admit we make some choices in being overweight. Most gay people will tell you this is not a choice they have. This is who they are.
So, what do we stand for if we just love people? When people are involved in uncommitted sexual relationships and I am asked, I don’t say I love you but hate your behaviors. If they want I have a conversation about whether their actions will end up hurting them or others in the future. I do believe in the importance of committed, monogamous relationships. That is why adultery is wrong. That is why it is selfish to be involved in more than one sexual relationship especially if the other persons are unaware. I have no problem taking a stand against behaviors that are harming others and are basically selfish. I do though try to remember I am involved in such behaviors daily. So, if one shares and is seeking your support, just say you love them.