Harry Potter and the Secrets of Dumbledore
If you've been keeping up with all things Harry lately, you undoubtedly heard the 'news' that the beloved by millions wizard Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore is in fact gay. The announcement came from the mouth of the author herself, when she answered a planted question from a fan about whether or not Dumbledore ever finds 'true love'. Rowling replied that Dumbledore is gay and was once in love with a rival wizard named Gellert Grindelwald.
I think my response to that question might have been something like - "No, he didn't find true love, because - y'know, he's DEAD!"
(Oops, maybe I should have put something about a spoiler warning there - sorry - mea culpa.)
According to news reports, the audience at Carnegie Hall both gasped and applauded at this revelation. You might say there was a rainbow of responses - not only from them, but across the 'net and beyond. Everything from 'go gay pride!' to 'Rowling and her evil agenda' has been declared and discussed so much you almost wish you could wave a magic wand and make it all go away.
But evidently it isn't, at least not the subject of homosexuality anyway. There are gay/lesbian clubs in schools, scientists searching for the 'gay gene', and the word 'homophobe' has worked its way into common use. This is why Christians need to approach this 'in your face' cultural component with a perfect balance of love and truth.
How? Well I certainly wouldn't claim to have all the answers, but I know a Book that actually does. So rather than passing judgment and making decisions on our own about how believers in Jesus Christ should approach the subject of homosexuality, let's make sure we get the facts from the right place:
Fact #1 - Homosexual behavior runs contrary to God's design for sexuality, and is therefore a sin.
Did I just claim that the temptation to engage in homosexual behavior is a sin? Nope. Have I characterized homosexual behavior as a 'worse' sin than say, premarital sex or adultery? Nope and nope again. And why not? Because the Bible doesn't do that either. See if you agree:
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders (1 Corinthians 6:9).
In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion1. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. (Jude 1:7)
That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved. (Romans 1:26-27)
Notice that all these passages from the Bible reference homosexual behavior as something that keeps people from inheriting the Kingdom of God, is also something that draws God's judgment, and is ultimately a result of God abandoning people to their own evil desires. I don't know about you, but it kinda tough to take these passages seriously and maintain that homosexual behavior is 'normal' and 'acceptable'.
At the same time, though, these passages list homosexual behavior on the same starting lineup of sins as any other kind of sexual activity that is outside of God's design - which leads to fact #2:
Fact #2 - God's design for sexuality comes from His desire for us to enjoy life.
Maybe somewhere along the line you were told that God doesn't want anyone to sin because he's a cosmic kill joy and he doesn't want anyone to enjoy life. The truth is actually the opposite. The universe is set up with rules that are set to keep us from messing up our lives. So rather than God's laws being seen as 'don't play on the swing set', it should be more like' hot stove - do not touch!'
The good news is that since God invented sex in the first place, He included an amazing plan for it. It is the most powerful connection known to humanity, which is why it's reserved for a man and woman in the permanent relationship called marriage. The fire that fuels the passion between a married couple is the same fire that damages and destroys people who ignite it outside of marriage or with a person of the same gender.
So God's commands against homosexual behavior and all other sexual immorality flow out of a Parent's desire for His kids to not get hurt. And should you doubt that sinful sexual acts hurt people, you're either in denial or you are giving more credit to the media than the words of God.
So the next time we get a breaking news story about some fictional character who is officially 'outed', remember that believers need to do more than just gasp or applaud. Get your Bibles off the shelf or out of the closet and be prepared to speak the truth in love through the power of the Holy Spirit...because there's no magic trick to doing that!
Head: What you need to know about this truth
Homosexual behavior runs contrary to God's design for sexuality, and is therefore a sin. God's design for sexuality comes from His desire for us to enjoy life.
Heart: What you need to feel about this truth
Fairly or unfairly, Christians haven't exactly earned a reputation with the homosexual community that portrays the whole 'judge not' concept. Remember that a person's sexuality is not the neon sign that determines his/her worth and value, and homosexual sin is just as evil in God's sight as 'friends with benefits'. Let's do what we can to change this perception by speaking the truth in love instead of pointing the finger in judgment.
Hands: What you need to do about this truth
Worry more about the sexual sin in your own life than the Dumbledore/Tinky Winky/Bert and Ernie conspiracy theories that hit the media every few years. That's why 1 Peter 4:17 says this - 'For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God.' If God's own people can't consistently follow God's design for sexuality, how can we expect those who don't know Him to even take us seriously?
Also...if you have friends who are homosexual and you feel God is leading you to talk about Jesus with them, check out this great article for tips on how to approach them.
1Note: The word for 'perversion' here is literally 'strange flesh' - which most Bible scholars interpret as homosexual activity.