“Shoot Christians Say”

holy shit 2

“Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin” was the first statement we looked at in our new teaching series that started last week: “Shoot Christians Say.”

“Shoot” was a Southern Baptist substitute for the more colorful cuss-word.  Saying “shoot” was fine in that world.   Saying  the other word was not.   We compromised in the series by using punctuations marks: “S*@#! Christians Say.”

I ran out of time before I ran out of sermon – which is not unusual.  So, in this space, I will finish.  

“Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin” has most often been used to refer to the LGBT community.  I first heard it some 15-20 years ago.  It was an attempt to maintain and express a strong protest against a behavior while showing a love for the individual. 

I never used it.  It didn’t ring true to me then.  It certainly does not now. 

To me, it is like saying “I love left-handers but hate their left-handedness.”  Strangely enough, being left-handed was, at one time, associated with sin and still is in some circles.   Throughout the Bible the right-hand is given higher status than the left.  People took the metaphorical use of “right-hand and left-hand” and developed a theology around it.  Left-handedness became associated with evil.  In 19th century Europe homosexuals were referred to as “left-handed.”  In Protestant-majority parts of the United Kingdom, Catholics were called “left-footers,” and vice versa in Catholic-majority parts of Ireland and Irish America.  

“Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin” is not just a statement about what someone is doing, but about who they are.  

To condemn the behavior is to condemn the orientation.  It’s like saying, “I love you, but I hate your freckles.”  “I love you, but the color of your eyes is unacceptable.”  

A friend told me that it was after he heard a preacher state “Love the sinner, hate the sin,” that he attempted to take his own life.  Certainly, his despair was not due to the pastor’s statement alone but the statement was, to him, the tipping point.   To hate the behavior was to hate him and who he is.  

Our society is split on the issue.  Our churches are too.  The position held by the church has changed over the years.  There was a day in which the church did not even recognize the possibility of sexual orientation.  Homosexuality was a choice and choice only.

There are 6 passages in the Bible, written by Moses and Paul, that address some form of same-sex behavior.  Today, a growing number of Christ-followers, myself included, wonder if these passages express God’s will for us today.  Think about it:

*Is it possible that these writers describe same-sex acts that even LBGT folks today would condemn? 

*Many scholars question whether the Biblical writers even had “sexual orientation” in their mental dictionary.

*Are these passages similar to the Bible passages that very clearly condone slavery or prohibit women from speaking in church or from teaching older boys and men – verses that reflect a cultural norm rather than God’s will?  (Am I the only one who has a problem with the Bible condoning slavery or prohibits women from teaching?) 

I have friends and members of the church I pastor, who are on different sides of the issue.  Some see me as compromising the truth.  I get that.  I would have said the same thing about me at one time in my life.  

Regardless, I want to love.  In the context of love we can understand.  We can grow.  

Over the next few weeks, we’ll look more closely at some of these phrases many of us say without thinking of what they really mean.

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4 thoughts on ““Shoot Christians Say”

  1. We have visited your church a few times and I really like your messages. I’ve been to the Venues Downtown on a couple of occasions, as well. I missed last Sunday and will miss this Sunday due to preaching at churches in the Waynesville/St Robert area, but look forward to being there on the 22nd.

  2. As usual I have done things backwards. I read Part 3 of this series…commented on it….then read Part 2…commented on it…now just finished reading part 1. *sigh (wink)
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    As you have done in parts 2 and 3, I think the problem with “shoot Christians say” is we use the phrase “Love the sinner, hate the sin” as a trite phrase to dismiss, rather than deal with, real issues and real people.
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    I will be clear because the Word is clear: God’s Word never has and never will condone homosexual behavior. Oh drat…opened up a can of worms there, didn’t we? Read on, please. There’s more.
    .
    Now here’s why we can’t use the phrase LTSHTS to dismiss people who practice homosexual behaviors.
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    First, because we all sin and have fallen short of the glory of God. I know this because God’s Word says so. I also know that when a person breaks one part of the law, he is guilty of breaking all of it. Again, because God says this is how it works. So if I steal a pack of Wrigly’s gum from a drug store, I am just as guilty and deserving of the fires of Hell as Jeffrey Dahmer? Uh-huh. You bet. Only in this world do we assign degrees of punishment. In God’s holy, righteous, perfect view….”there is no difference, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
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    So if I were to dismiss people who practice homosexual behavior, I am in effect dismissing myself: because I am no less sinful when I look at a woman with lust in my heart, and I confess I have done this…many times. Although I do not engage in homosexual behavior, I have committed adultery in my heart, as a dude who likes women. Chew on that for a minute and let’s explore some more.
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    Here’s a shocking statement. People are not homosexuals. People are not straight. People are not trans-sexual or bi-sexual. People are sinners. Fallen from grace. ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
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    There is a cultural phenomenon sweeping the western developed nations that say we’re all “basically good people”. Oh dear. What do we do with that in light of God’s Word that says clearly “All have sinned….”? Defining sins as cultural constructs is JELL-O theology that says all we need to do is adjust culture enough, and poof! No more sins. The Puritans tried that via adopting hyper-conservative codes. It didn’t work. Today’s western society tries to do it with hyper-liberalism with “I’m okay, you’re okay, do whatever you want”. It isn’t working. Hyper-liberal churches are shrinking faster than any other groups. I call baloney slices (BS) on both approaches. We listen to God or we listen to ourselves. Only one way works.
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    If a person can practice homosexual behavior in a “modern” that accepts it, and make God “okay” with that due to our modern context….what about someone living in a society on the other side of the world where homosexual behavior is not socially acceptable? Is the same outward behavior a damning sin on one side of the world while it is delightful to God on the other? This is almost too funny to even discuss with a serious face. Also, as a “straight” man, what about my lustful thoughts towards women? Society today accepts pornography and at least tacitly approves objectifying women as sex objects whereas in the past we outwardly said that was not acceptable. What if I am “oriented” to be hyper-sexual and society says that’s fine? Is my sin no longer sin due to my biology and my socieity?
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    You see, my friends…the argument is useless. Are we all differently wired physically? Yes, I can agree with that. Some have green eyes, some have blue. Some may prefer men, others women, others either/or. Does this biological preference and cultural norms define what behaviors are acceptable to almighty, holy God…Jesus Christ who says in his word clearly…”for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”. (Matt 19:5) Does it negate the word of Jesus Christ who says, “he who looks at a woman with lust in his heart has already committed adultery.”? (Matt 5:28)
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    No, clearly it does not.
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    I would say this: God loves all people. All people. Those who practice homosexual behaviors, those who steal Wrigly’s gum, those men (me) who look at women lustfully. God loves you; God loves me. He sent his son to die for us all, to reconcile the world unto himself. The whole world, thru all time and all places. Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever. We need to drop “Love the sinner but hate the sin” and substitute, “For God so loved the World, that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have eternal life.”
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    Here are the people I want to sit next to in church: people who sin. I want to sit next to someone who has committed a homosexual act. I want to sit next to someone who has lusted for a woman. I want to sit next to someone who has hated and murdered his brother in his thoughts. I want to sit next to them because I am, like them, a poor miserable sinner, desperately in need of God’s loving mercy. I want to remind them, and I want them to remind me, that the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s son, cleanses us from all sin. This, my friends, is freedom from sin.
    .
    I’ve said too much….again.

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