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NFL’s Michael Sam and Our Response as Christians

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I’m sure your newsfeed was flooded with recent articles and photos displaying the infamous Michael Sam kiss during the 2014 NFL draft. Sam had his detractors, but those in the ever-tolerant NFL weren’t having any of it. Players were fined for tweeting about their dissatisfaction over what they called “indecent images for viewers of young ages.” Sam also had many supporters — including the White House.

Recently I heard the radio announcer say, “If you are intolerant enough to be against homosexuality, you are now in the minority. If you don’t like it, get over it — because it’s happening.”

Clarification. When you say “majority,” are you referring to the 52% who would make same-sex marriages legal today? If I were the announcer, I would be hesitant to make such a bold statement about the “majority of Americans,” or perhaps be a little more intellectually honest and say “slim” majority. The issue is still hotly debated, and Americans are nowhere near reaching a consensus on it.

A Gallup poll of Americans’ views on homosexual relations, in summary, said this:

“Substantial numbers of Americans continue to say – as they have for the past quarter century — that homosexual relations should be neither acceptable nor legal. There have been some changes in these attitudes, but not enough to signal wholesale shift in societal norms.”

I’m not naïve; I realize that public opinion is slowly swaying towards the acceptance of gay marriage. But we must recognize that despite what the majority, or should I say slight majority may think, there is a biblical answer to this question. Whether we should show love to homosexuals has never been a question, but there is a fine line because accepting and promoting their sin is also not an option.

So, how do we as Christians respond to this cultural shift?

First, the Bible clearly states that homosexuality is against God’s moral design for man. Make no mistake; Scripture specifically states that having same-sex relations is a sin (See Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 6, and 1 Timothy 1). Not only are there Biblical issues, there are dire health implications as well. According to current studies, the increase in STDs and AIDS among the homosexual community is alarming at best. Gallup recognized that during the 1980s Reagan Administration and the increase in public awareness of AIDS, a much smaller amount of Americans, around 33%, supported legalization of “gay marriage.” Why are we now ignoring these health concerns?

Second, we need to rid our vocabulary of the term “intolerant” when referring to traditional marriage supporters. For many, the protection of marriage is a religious conviction. In America, we have the liberty to choose our religious beliefs; however, we do not have the liberty to force our opinions on others. The government telling Americans what they should believe about the institution of marriage could also be termed intolerant, couldn’t it?

While we disagree with homosexuality on a Biblical basis, we also follow the Scriptural mandate to love all people without showing partiality. Passages such as James 2 show us that we should acknowledge when a brother or sister is sinning and point out that their actions are ungodly; however, we all stumble over various sins and should not show judgment by ranking sins differently.

The bad news: we each struggle with personal sins — for some that includes homosexuality. For others it’s pride, lust, greed, envy … the list goes on and on. None of us gets to choose what we’re tempted by; we only get to choose how we react to those temptations. At some point, we’ve all broken God’s moral law and each sin area has the same punishment — death.

The good news is that God didn’t hang us out to dry. His Son, Jesus, died for every one of those specific sins we committed in order to make us guilt free in God’s eyes. No matter what “scale” we as humans weigh them on, all sin is detestable to God. The only difference between my sins and Michael Sam’s? His are on a much larger public display.

Therefore, my answer to how we should respond is to use the cliché but accurate statement: hate the sin; love the sinner, and continue to fight for Biblical truth.