*Be advised, this article takes a conservative approach to the topic of human sexuality.*
“As long as you are happy does it matter who you fall in love with?”
“Love Knows No Limits.”
“My generation believes that all love is created equal.”
Meme quotes really tug at the heart don’t they? How can you argue with love?
Let’s step back. For thousands of years, the Western world lived under simple, if not always adhered to, parameters for sexuality and marriage. In the last 30 years, the culture’s position – both in popular opinion and now with the stamp of government approval – has shifted significantly. Our students are growing up in a society that not only accepts but encourages sexual experience with whoever you might be attracted to as long as you are “ready” and “safe.” Additionally, many well-intentioned Christians propose ways to reconcile God’s word with non-traditional sexual expression. So how do we help our students, some of whom are personally struggling in this area, to navigate these issues within the guideline of Scripture?
From the conversations I have had, one common theme seems to be a desire for balance.
A 20-something recently told me that she doesn’t like attending the church of her youth because the pastor is too one sided. She has friends who identify as part of the LGBT community, and all she perceives from him is judgment. Her gut response is to tune him out entirely – and sadly, he is losing her.
How do we as Christians live in the tension between grace and law?
Like the memes all say, it really does come back to love – the greatest commandments – love God and love others (your neighbors and your enemies). As the Church, we need to do better at both.
Loving God doesn’t mean we live in angry judgment over others; loving others doesn’t mean we set aside the goodness of God’s direction and stamp everything as permissible.
And let’s not forget that God has something to say to each and every one of us when it comes to issues of sex and sexuality, no matter how we label ourselves. God’s instruction for holy living is difficult no matter how you identify.
Sex and romance have become twin idols in our culture. We behave as if a deep, committed (and of course sexual) relationship with another human being is the pinnacle of a fulfilled life. The implication makes me cringe. Are we telling God that He is not enough?
There are a number of great resources that are available in regard to this very sensitive issue, and it is important to listen, listen, listen to people who are living personally in the tension. As a start, try: “Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son’s Journey to God. A Broken Mother’s Search for Hope,” by Christopher and Angela Yuan, and “Messy Grace: How a Pastor with Gay Parents Learned to Love Others Without Sacrificing Conviction,” by Caleb Kaltenbach.
Also check out www.livingout.org for some insights from individuals who identify as “same sex attracted,” but are choosing to live under God’s restrictions for sexual behavior.
The balancing act of love is difficult. We need to affirm our students as they extend compassion and understanding while still upholding God’s guidelines for holiness. “Love Knows No Limits;” that’s one we can agree with.
NTS Foundations Teacher
© 2016, Never The Same