Big Questions Section
This section includes answers to some big questions. We don’t claim to have the answers (only God has all the answers!) But we hope and pray this helps you and the young people you work with. These are not definitive and you may way disagree or be able to add more, but they hopefully act as an inspiration or starting point.
There are 18 questions answered here. We must credit “When Skeptics Ask” by Norman Geisler and “Cosmic Codes” by Chuck Missler, “It makes sense” by Stephen Gaukroger and the website http://carm.org/ (Christian Research and Apologetics Ministry). We’ve tried our very best to give easy answers to the questions and then more advanced / detailed answers and even further study.
Does God hate me if I’m gay? (No!)
For more on this question, it’s worth visiting the brilliant Living Out website – and buying the book ‘Is God Anti-Gay?’ by Sam Allberry. They are very experienced in answering this question and ones like it very well and with respect and compassion.
Does God hate you? No he doesn’t! And nor do true Christians hate you either (despite what some people want you to believe). The vast majority of and any true Christians do not hate people who are gay or transgender or struggling with their gender. Sometimes those who are gay think that Christians are homophobic or hateful through bad experiences or because what others say. But it’s not true. God loves us so much and is desperate for everyone to know him personally. We live in a very complex and often confusing world with loads of different messages about who we are, what’s right, what’s wrong, whether there is a right or wrong! But just as many people may have an opinion about the right direction in a snow storm, only a map can give us accurate instructions. Jesus is like that map – he’s the best way in storms or good times.
The Bible tells us that we’ve all messed up and fall short of God and his love – we all do things that mean there’s a gap between us and God. All of us have a desire to be loved unconditionally. But people let us down. Only God can truly satisfy that longing, that hole, that emptiness inside. God doesn’t point his finger at any of us or whack us round the head with a Bible. He says, ‘there is a sinful part of you that divides you from the fullness of my love. If you ask me to come into your life to help you, to fill you with the Holy Spirit, then I can help you to be more like me. This will mean turning away from things that damage you and me.’ But this message is for all of us, as everyone has fallen short.
God’s way right from the beginning was to want the best for all of us – he created man and woman and said fill the earth, multiply and hang out with me. But man did what was wrong and that perfect world has become distorted and evil in most ways.
If you are struggling with your sexuality or gender identity, talk to someone about it who you can trust not to judge you and who wants the best and God’s best for you. God loves you if you are gay or struggling with your gender identity. God loves people regardless of how they identify or feel. But God also loves us too much to allow us to stay as we are, whether we are gay or not. As we work with God, he helps change us to find true happiness and satisfaction – and that is only found in God, his ways and his love. It is also important as a Christian that while there are truths in the Bible, we have to make a choice about how we respond to people. We live in a world where there are lots of things that aren’t God’s best in all kinds of ways. But it is our response that is important – it should be with God’s kind of love. God may not ‘take away’ desires you have if you are gay. In the same way God doesn’t automatically take away the desires of straight people not to have sex outside of marriage etc. But God wants to help all of us know that life isn’t just about sex. He will offer you a life full of satisfaction and meaning and purpose, whether you feel gay or straight or are confused – or whether you are married or single.
And remember, just because people disagree it doesn’t make it hate. We can love one another even when we don’t agree with each other. We are all friends with people who are different and who we disagree with! Let’s say it again – having a different point of view does not make Christians ‘hateful.’ It’s often quite the opposite, with Christians being on the end of nastiness!
It is also true to say that not all Christians agree on this subject, so you’ll find a wide range of views from Christians.
First of all it’s really important to know that God does not hate any human being! And God does not hate you because you are gay! People may say hateful things to you but they are wrong. (They say hateful things to all kinds of people, not just people who are gay. Many Christians have hateful things said to them). But God doesn’t say anything hateful to you as he loves you and me, the people he created. In Matthew 18.14, Jesus talks about how he doesn’t want anyone to be lost (he doesn’t want anyone to die without knowing God and going to heaven).
Let’s think a minute about the Bible. Some people say it’s irrelevant and out of date (even Barack Obama said things like this). But actually it’s not true. The Bible tells us that God is outside of time (he created time only for the earth). So actually if God is outside of time then the Bible was written for all of time and it’s never out of date! It is also a book that never changes (God never changes. This doesn’t mean he’s old and out of date, it means he’s always reliable and always there). The language used to express what the Bible says may change, but the Bible itself doesn’t change. There are all kinds of books and resources in the world and if you look at them, people are always saying different things. But the Bible cuts through all the shifting ideas and is consistent. In a way, it’s like holding on to an huge oak tree in a storm. Lots of other trees and things may get uprooted and fly away, but the big oak tree will stay standing and so will each of us if we hang on to that tree.
So what does the Bible say about homosexuality? Well, the start of the Bible speaks of God creating the world. He created man, called Adam. He then saw man was a bit lonely in a way, so he created woman, called Eve. God told them to ‘be fruitful and multiply’. What he meant was have children and grow. At the very end of the Bible, we find Jesus (the Son of God) returning from heaven to the earth. It’s a book called Revelation which is a very visual and creative, colourful book. In it, the Bible talks about a ‘bride’ (the church) being ready for the ‘bridegroom’ (Jesus). It’s a picture, a concept, but it talks about the bride and bridegroom.
Then throughout the Bible, there is lots of talk about ‘sin’ and wrong things that we all do that build up a barrier between us and God. One of the things mentioned (among many other things like being lazy) is homosexuality and God says that he doesn’t like the practice of homosexuality. He doesn’t say he hates people who are gay! God never hates the person (in the beginning of the Bible, someone called Cain killed his brother, Abel. But God didn’t kill Cain, he actually protected him!) but because God is only good, he can’t stand things that are wrong and that hurt us and divide us away from him, the one who created us. The Bible tells us in Psalm 139 that we were each handcrafted by God!
We live in a world with lots of ideas, with lots of stresses and ways of doing and seeing things. We all have lives that are in a bit of a mess at times. We also recognise that over time since the world began, lots of things have gone wrong (for example, although it’s different, there are now many diseases that didn’t exist before). So it can be very tricky thinking about issues like sexuality becomes things have become very confusing and difficult for everyone. The same is true of gender identity. It’s important not to make major life decisions when you are young but to seek counsel and to consider those who have changed gender but are now very disturbed in later life.
God never says, ‘you evil sinner, I’m going to bash you round the head’. Instead, God looks at us with real love and says, ‘you’re hurting. I’m the healer. Let me help you.’ This is the same whether you’re gay, straight, black, white, old or young! Everyone has struggles and things they have to deal with, but the good news about God is that he wants to out to you in love to help you be more like him. We all get lonely and if we’re gay, we may think that a relationship will make us happy. But just like in a heterosexual relationship, it is not another person who will ultimately give us happiness. They will annoy us, hurt us and may well reject us. This is especially true in gay relationships where there are many more breakups, according to the statistics from gay organisations. But actually it’s only in God’s love that we really find ourselves complete 🙂
If you are gay, then God has the same message for you as he does for someone who is heterosexual, “I am the way, the truth and the life… Believe in me and be transformed to be all I made you to be! Yes, there may be pain in the process, but I want to help sculpt you into something even more beautiful so put your life into my hands.”
So should you go to your friend’s gay wedding? It depends on how you feel. But would you go to the celebration of a couple you know who are straight but aren’t married? I would.
Finally it’s important to say that Christians do not hate gay people either – well, none that I’ve ever met. Many people will say that Christians hate gay people – often these people have an agenda against Christians so say things like this. This may occasionally be true for the occasional person. But the overwhelming majority of Christians do not hate anyone because they are gay. Don’t mistake a difference of opinion for ‘hate’. Increasingly it is Christians who are the victims of hate and rarely the cause of actual hate.
I am deeply sorry for where people who are gay have been hurt. I apologise for where Christians may have said or done things that have caused hurt. Don’t become someone who persecutes others or else you become the one causing the harm. And actually you need to forgive people for wrong things. The only person that it will hurt is you. Don’t let the actions or beliefs of others destroy you inside. If you feel you can’t forgive others (in any kind of way just generally), why not ask God to help you? Don’t damage yourself by not forgiving others.
And finally finally (!!) remember that we are all more than just ‘gay’ or ‘Christian’. Don’t discriminate against people just because of one thing they believe or don’t believe or one thing they are or are not. If we did that in every area of life, no-one would get on with anyone else!
For more great info, visit http://www.livingout.org