Pastor's Corner: Are you born that way or not?By John Crotts
Faith Bible Church
The popular singer Lady Gaga struck a chord with many with her song “Born This Way.”
The lyrics celebrate being yourself and loving the way that God made you. They include matters of race, economic levels and even handicaps. With these, all Christians can agree that God truly has made us who we are and placed us within our various circumstances.
Lady Gaga, however, does not stop with those categories. She also includes sexual orientation. Just like God has made some Lebanese, he has equally made others lesbians, according to the song. Don’t fight against such things, she says, celebrate them as gifts from God, whatever anyone else thinks.
We know about God and his ways from the Bible, which is his revelation of himself. Although this song captures the spirit of our age and has sold a bunch of CDs, does the message of this song match the message of the Word of God?
This is an especially important issue to think about biblically in light of our President’s recent support of same-sex marriage, which he claimed to come from his Christian beliefs.
In this article, I want to express what the the Bible teaches about these matters. I recognize that homosexuality is an issue that hits many people personally. Part of the appeal of the Lady Gaga song is helping people overcome extreme prejudice against them just because they may be different others.
My goal is not to be provocative, but helpful in aligning our thinking to the Lord’s.
It is important to begin by distinguishing between inclinations, temptations, orientations, and the actual actions that follow those desires. God created mankind male and female. He created sex to be enjoyed lots within marriage. He built in our desires and passions for sex.
It was all very good, until Eve and then Adam ate the forbidden fruit, plunging themselves, their offspring – even down to us – and the whole world order into sin.
Theologians call this the Original Sin and the Fall of humanity and the world into sin. Ever since that fateful day, nothing in the world has been completely right. In fact, it won’t be until Jesus returns and ultimately sets up the new heaven and the new earth.
There is, however, still good in the world because of God’s common grace to us all. Marriages still happen, and sex is still fun. But sin affects us all down to the core of our being. We regularly take God’s good things and turn them into gods and mess them up.
Most men and women are oriented towards the other gender sexually. But because of the effects of the Fall, we take those good desires for sex and distort them. Instead of a guy getting married to a lady and fully enjoying great sex lives together as God designed in his wise commandments, people want more.
Some people have desires to have sex with other women beyond their wives. TV shows and books celebrating polygamy have appeared on certain cable channels. In fact, it is hard to find any primetime shows that don’t have people having sex with people they are not married to. We also hear of horrible stories of people having sex with children.
But to return to my initial point, we must distinguish between the tempting desires and the actual actions. The desire to have sex is from God. It has been affected my the Fall. Now people aim those good desires at the wrong objects. Initial desires turn into sinful lusts. Lusts want to turn fantasies into realities.
God says sex is great, but it only goes within marriage. Therefore, for anyone to honor God, he or she must never carry out their tempting desires beyond the boundaries that God has established.
The Reformer Martin Luther made the helpful distinction between temptation and sin when he quipped that you can’t help the birds flying over your head, but you can keep them from building nests in your hair. This reminds us that even dwelling on lustful thoughts is like committing the deed in our hearts before the Lord (Matthew 5:27, 28).
Is it possible that some people are born with same-sex attraction? In other words, have we been around even young boys and girls who act more like the other gender? And have we known some people who seem attracted sexually to people of their same gender more than the opposite one? I think so.
But that acknowledged, does that change the boundaries of sex that God established? Should people with sexual desires towards people of the same sex celebrate it like Lady Gaga suggests? No. The Bible is clear that all sex is for a man and a woman married to one another. Following through with same-sex activities and all heterosexual sexual activities outside of marriage are always sinful (Romans 1:26, 27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; I Timothy 1:8-11).
It is not a sin to have initial desires. But it is a sin to dwell on them in lustful ways. And it is a sin to follow through with sexual actions beyond the boundaries of the Bible. It is just as sinful for a man to follow through with his orientation to have sex with a woman he is not married to as it is for a person of the same sex to follow through with their inclinations.
I know the Bible’s teachings make life hard. I deal with a lot of men that struggle with lusting after other women. That is hard. Certainly, fighting against same-sex attraction is hard, too. But God’s plan is always right and best.
It is good to fight to do what God says is right, however we may feel. It is also good to love, respect and help each other – whatever our personal struggles may be in these matters.
Sometimes it strikes people as unfair that we are hit with the effects of Adam’s sin, that we didn’t do. Paul actually discusses that in Romans 5. The punchline is that because we do sin, we need the benefits of Jesus’ cross that we also didn’t actually do either. Just like we are all negatively impacted by Adam’s sin, those in Christ are positively impacted by his cross.
We can receive the blessing of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection and have all of our sins forgiven by repenting of our sins and believing on Jesus. If you’ve sinned sexually by giving in to your lusts for someone of the opposite sex or the same sex, turn to Jesus Christ for grace and forgiveness.
Just like he forgave prostitutes and adulterers in Bible times, he can and will forgive you today.