The mass murders that recently took place in Orlando have created an interesting quagmire for many people. In a previous article I wrote about the political implications the events have for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and other Democrats who see both Muslims and Gays as a necessary political bloc. In this article I would like to address the ethical conundrum that many Christians seem to be struggling with as a result of the shooting. On one hand, they clearly condemn the murderous act carried out by Omar Mateen as he snuffed out the lives of 49 people (and maybe more). On the other hand, there is a clear danger of being so sympathetic toward the homosexual community that one runs the risk of embracing a sexually immoral “movement.” What is the Biblical response? How can a Christian respond in love while not endorsing or embracing sin? These are some questions I hope to address in this article.
I probably don’t need to waste a lot of time condemning Mateen’s act because it is almost universally condemned by those with any moral foundation at all. While Biblical Christians must stand strong against the lies of the homosexual lifestyle and agenda; we must also proclaim without reservation that violence against them is completely deplorable. Christians are often accused of “hate speech” for not embracing homosexuality and for calling it a sin. But we Christians don’t call it a sin. GOD calls it a sin, and we believe Him. We whole-heartedly accept His right to declare to us what is right and what is wrong. And by His grace, we joyously submit to Him. Furthermore, as those who have been “born again” by the Spirit of God, we long for holiness in ourselves and hope for God’s grace to be extended to others. We dare not encourage the homosexual in their sin, lest they perish. But we dare not rejoice when one is so viciously attacked either. As Christians our desire should be to see the homosexual turn from their sin in repentance and submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, by faith. Ironically, this is also our hope for the Muslim.
The truth is, both Muslims and Gays openly reject Jesus Christ. Islam sees him as a mere prophet, but not the Son of God and only savior that He Himself claimed to be (see John 14:6) And homosexuals who claim Christianity have embraced a lifestyle that the Bible says is impossible for a true Christian to live in (see 1 Corinthians 6:9). This is not to pick on either group. The Muslim would agree with my above statement that describes them, while the so-called “gay Christian” would take issue with my “judging them.” But once again, it’s God’s judgement that we follow and adhere to.
The fact is that many phony Christians exist who claim Christianity, yet deny it by their life. This deceptive spiritual cancer infects much more than just homosexuals. Many heterosexuals are clearly enslaved to sin, yet claim salvation through Christ. In the last day, when the Lord judges all of us, the true believers will be separated from the false ones. And God’s opinion will be the only one that counts.
So how do Christians respond to the Orlando massacre? By weeping over the horrendous effects of sin. The homosexuals who died, did not die as martyrs. They were immersed in a sinful lifestyle at an establishment that was devoted to catering to such depravity. They may have been struck down because they were hated. But they were not struck down because they were righteous. This was a vile and violent murder. But it was not a martyrdom. The gay community and the media will try and turn this into a “martyrdom” but the Christians of the world should not assist them in it. This is not a time for Christians to wave rainbow flags as a sign of solidarity. Rather it is a time for Christians to mourn the effects of sin and face the cold, stark reality that a lot of people died in Orlando who were not ready to face the eternity that they now dwell in. Christians should feel horrible for the gay community. But they should have felt horrible for the gay community before the shooting happened. Homosexuals are enslaved to sin. And they need Divine deliverance. A Divine deliverance that the Bible says is quite possible.
When the Apostle Paul wrote the Corinthian church, he laid out clearly the type of people who WILL NOT inherit the kingdom of God: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NASB) Paul’s words could not be more clear. And notice, that his list is not limited to homosexuals. Nevertheless, let it be known that a “gay Christian” is an oxymoron. Such a person does not exist. But “ex-gay Christians” DO exist. I KNOW this because Paul goes on to tell us so. The rest of the passage reads: “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11) According to this passage, some of the Christians in the church of Corinth were former homosexuals. But they didn’t STAY homosexuals. Paul didn’t come preaching the gospel in such a way that he encouraged them to continue in their sin. Rather he called them to turn from it and come to Christ. And by the grace of God, some of them did! He says they were “washed…. sanctified….and justified.” This means they were forgiven of their sin and they were made holy (that is what sanctified means). They no longer walked in darkness, but rather they walked in spiritual light. They no longer lived as homosexuals, they turned from it in repentance. What was needed in first century Corinth is also needed in 21st century America. And Christians do the gay community no favors when we ignore and deny this reality. We grieve with them, over what happened in Orlando. But we should have grieved OVER them because of their sin, long before Orlando. Likewise the Muslim.
Can Muslims come to Christ and be saved? Is it possible for one filled with such hatred against the truth, to come to the light of Christ and be saved? Certainly. Paul himself is a classic example. He too once “breathed murderous threats” against others (see Acts 9:1). He hated Christ and hated Christians, seeking their imprisonment and death. But God’s grace changed his heart. Paul wrote: “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief.” 1 Timothy 1:12-13) So God is able to change gays. He is also able to change Muslims. And this should be what the Christian hopes and prays for.
Jesus told his disciples, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44) This commandment seems antithetical to human nature. Because it is. We naturally seek vengeance and rejoice when our enemies are destroyed. Yet a born again Christian who has the Holy Spirit living within them, thinks differently than the world does. We are able to love sinners because we remember that we too used to be enslaved to sin ourselves. Yet God showed us mercy and changed us. We should seek this for others as well. As Christians we should not hate the Muslim, nor the homosexual. But we should not excuse their sin either. We should strive to be a loving and Christlike witness; and long for God’s mercy to change their hearts as it did ours. Waving a rainbow flag won’t help Christians to be the witnesses they must be. Lovingly proclaiming the truth of the gospel will. Let us be committed to continuing on in our pursuit of Christ and our proclamation of the gospel. Let us grieve with those who grieve while not pretending that their sin is non-existent. We do the world no favors by burying our heads in the sand. Let us love others like Christ loved us. And lovingly stand for truth, no matter what it costs us.