Originally published April 7, 2013
The dreadfulness of the word hung heavy in the air between Jana and her friend Denise.
“The doctor says it’s terminal,” Denise choked, “I’m so confused. I don’t know what to do.”
Jana’s heart broke as she envisioned the difficult emotional road ahead for Denise and watched the tears streaming down her face.
“I’d do anything to take that pain away,” thought Jana. “Anything.”
For days after they parted, Jana’s thoughts were consumed with how she could help Denise accept and feel better about her condition. By the weekend, when they met for coffee, Jana was ready.
“Denise,” she began, “I’ve been giving it a lot of thought, and I think I know why you’re so uncomfortable with having cancer.”
“Oh? Why?” asked Denise.
“Well, first of all, you shouldn’t be fighting against the idea of having cancer. It’s a completely natural biological event. In fact, you were probably born genetically predisposed to cancer. It’s part of who you are. Accept it and embrace it as something that makes you unique and wonderful!”
Denise seemed skeptical, but Jana plunged ahead.
“You’re also worried about what other people will think of you. Maybe they’ll think you’re weak and try to help you with things that you’d rather do for yourself.”
“But maybe I’ll need some help,” Denise suggested quietly.
“Nonsense!” Jana retorted, “Having cancer doesn’t make you different from anybody else. It’s exactly the same as not having cancer. What we need to do is show that to the world. Maybe we should have a rally for cancer equality!”
“Jana, that’s great and all,” Denise whispered somberly, “but I’m going to die. That makes all the stuff you’re talking about seem a lot less important.”
Jana seems like a very loving and kind person, but does the “help” she was offering Denise seem…well…helpful?
What if I told you that during this entire scenario, Jana personally knew a doctor who had a proven cure for Denise’s type of cancer, and was giving it away, yet Jana never told Denise? How loving and kind does Jana seem now?
Now read back through this story and substitute “homosexuality” for “cancer”.
We live in a culture that tells Christians that we are to “love” our homosexual friends and loved ones by embracing homosexuality as good and natural. We even hear people who claim to be Christians saying this. But is this how the Bible defines love? Is this how Jesus loved people?
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:10-11
Think back over the encounters Jesus had with people, from the woman at the well, to Zaccheus, to Nicodemus, to the woman caught in adultery, to the rich young ruler, to anybody else Jesus ever interacted with.
Did Jesus ever “love” someone by telling him it was OK to stay in his sin?
No, He didn’t.
Jesus loved sinners by calling them to repentance, forgiveness, and a new life in Christ.
Why? Because it isn’t love to help the slave to embrace his chains. It’s love to set him free.
Christ loved us by going to the cross and becoming the propitiation –satisfying God’s wrath—for our sins. He laid down His life for our freedom.
And, Christian, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. We must lay down our opinions, our politics, our ideas of what we’d like the Bible to say, maybe even our actual lives, in order to help people know freedom in Christ. We have the cure for their spiritual cancer—the gospel—and it is not “love” to knowingly misdiagnose them or keep that cure from them.
Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.
But as important as it is to rescue the perishing, there’s an even greater issue at stake here for those of us who claim the name of Christ.
For our sin, our Savior endured wrongful conviction, ridicule, mockery, and bullying.
For our sin, our Savior was slapped, punched, spit on, had His beard yanked out, and thorns and brambles mashed into His skull.
For our sin, our Savior had the skin flayed off His back, buttocks, and legs, whipped nearly to death until He was a bloody mess.
For our sin, our Savior, beaten, bloody, and broken of body, hoisted a heavy, splintery cross onto His shoulders and carried it through town and up the hill to His execution.
For your sin. For my sin. For our neighbors’ sin.
How dare you, or I, or anyone spit in the face of our bleeding, dying Savior by saying that the sin that put Him on the cross is OK?
How dare we?
How can any of us claim to love Christ while celebrating the nails, the spear, the crown of thorns?
By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
1 John 2:5b-6
Jesus walked the way of leading people to repentance from sin and to the beauty, the freedom of a glorious new life through faith in Himself. Will we, who say we abide in Him, love Jesus and our homosexual neighbor enough to walk in the same way in which He walked?