Passing Judgement

Quite some time ago, a reader named Alex Haiken asked me to review his blog and keep an open mind regarding what the Bible has to say on homosexuality.  Alex had done some extraordinary exegesis, but I failed to find the logical trail from the interpretation to his conclusions.  Alex concluded that since homosexual acts were only discussed as part of pagan rituals, and gay people are not participating in the rituals of the past, present day gay relations are not against Biblical teachings.  The Bible clearly states  “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman.  It is an abomination.” (Lev.18:22, NKJV)  But let us not stop our discussion with this statement.

When it comes to the topic of homosexuality, or any sin for that matter, what is the role of a Christian?  Certainly, if we are discussing the topic and asked what the Bible says, we should quote Leviticus 18:22.  But what if we know someone who is gay, and they don’t ask our opinion, or what the Bible says?  What if they don’t believe in sin?  What does Jesus ask us to do?

Jesus told His disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35, NKJV)  Jesus did not say love everyone, but sinners.  In fact, Paul clarifies this a bit in his letter to the Corinthians “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this?” (1 Cor 5:1-2, NIV)  Paul was a bit upset.  Even the pagans were upset, no one does what these “Christians” are doing!

But wait, how many times have we heard ““Judge not, and you shall not be judged.” (Luke 6:37, NKJV)  It seems that Paul is judging the offender.  In fact, he states that he is, “For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit.  As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this.” (1 Cor 5:3, NIV)

Confused?  Paul clears up the confusion when he goes on to say, “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters.  In that case you would have to leave this world.  But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler.  Do not even eat with such people.”  (1Cor 5:9-11, NIV)

So let’s see.  Basically, if we were to stay away from all sinners we would have to leave this world.  Since we are here, and we are all sinners, Paul further defines his statements.  Stay away from “brothers or sisters” (fellow Christians) who claim to be disciples of Jesus but live in open rebellion to Him.  But what about those who are not Christians?  What is our role there?

Paul continues, “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?  Are you not to judge those inside?  God will judge those outside.  Expel the wicked person from among you.” (1 Cor 5:12-13, NIV)

Our responsibility is to be a disciple of Christ.  As a disciple, we are known by our love for each other.  Our actions should point others to Christ.  We should be loving and helping our fellow disciples to adhere to the Biblical principles we have agreed to adhere to.  If a fellow disciple should decide to live in open rebellion and will not repent, then they should be cast out as Paul stated above.  But for those outside the church… they have not agreed to live by Biblical principles, and we should not be attempting to make them adhere to them.

Granted, we are called to be the salt and the light, and to go forward making disciples.  But let us not do this by condemning others, but by bringing Jesus to them.  If they cannot see Jesus when they look at us, maybe we should be examining ourselves closer.

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