Thursday, February 3, 2011

Jesus, the greatest commandments and Homosexuality

There are a lot of things that Jesus talked about while He was here on this Earth. Jesus' favorite subject was Hell. He calls it "outer darkness", "everlasting fire" and Hell. The Lord Jesus Christ also spoke of the Greatest Commandments in the book of Matthew.
Matthew 22:36-40 (New International Version, ©2010)

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Now Jesus was then asked the question, "who is my neighbor". Jesus then proceeded to tell the story of the Good Samaritan. If you remember from Sunday School, the Samaritans were hated by the Jews because they were half-breeds, not to be outdone, the Samaritans hated the Jews. And so what was the insightful Jesus really saying when he answered the question of loving one’s neighbor? The person you hate the most is your neighbor and is deserving of your love.

Did Jesus ever get angry at anyone when he was here on this Earth. You bet He did. This is one of my favorite passages. It is where Jesus is talking to the ruling religious body of His time on Earth; the Pharisees.

Matthew 23

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel! ... Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness.

Mark 8 - When Jesus overturns the tables in the temple. Again, it is a rebuke to the religious people of this time.

On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And he said to it, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." And his disciples heard it. And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons; and he would not allow any one to carry anything through the temple. And he taught, and said to them, "Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations'? But you have made it a den of robbers." And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and sought a way to destroy him; for they feared him, because all the multitude was astonished at his teaching. And when evening came they went out of the city. As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. And Peter remembered and said to him, "Master, look! The fig tree which you cursed has withered."

Jesus has to correct his disciples when they try to chase away the little children from coming to Him. Might I say that the disciples were those closest to Christ.

Mark 10

And they were bringing children to him, that he might touch them; and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it he was indignant, and said to them, "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it." And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands upon them.

It can be seen here, that when Jesus got angry and was rebuking, it was at the religious people of the day. Too bad the religious people of our day don't learn from this. Who is their neighbor. Don't stop people who are trying to bring people to Jesus by hating them.

Jesus never mentioned homosexuality, but He did condemn all forms of sexual immorality:

What comes out of you is what defiles you. For from within, out of your hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile you. (TNIV, Mark 7:20-23)

So what is the reason we allow some people equal rights and not others. The reason being that this is a "sin" of which they are not guilty, therefore, they can make a big deal out of it. The Bible says that lying is an abomination, yet all kinds of liars have equal rights, can marry and can run for Congress. However, because everyone has lied sometime in their lives, it is not considered to be a "bad" sin. That is not what the Bible if we are going to use the Bible to condemn homosexuality (although Jesus didn't condemn homosexuality) we must also use it to condemn liars.

I believe that the United Methodist Church has a good stance on the subject:

Homosexual persons no less than heterosexual persons are individuals of sacred worth. All persons need the ministry and guidance of the church in their struggles for human fulfillment, as well as the spiritual and emotional care of a fellowship that enables reconciling relationships with God, with others, and with self. Although we do not condone the practice of homosexuality and consider this practice incompatible with Christian teaching, we affirm that God's grace is available to all. We implore families and churches not to reject or condemn their lesbian and gay members and friends. We commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons.

Certain basic human rights and civil liberties are due all persons. We are committed to supporting those rights and liberties for homosexual persons. We see a clear issue of simple justice in protecting their rightful claims where they have shared material resources, pensions, guardian relationships, mutual powers of attorney, and other such lawful claims typically attendant to contractual relationships that involve shared contributions, responsibilities, and liabilities, and equal protection before the law. Moreover, we support efforts to stop violence and other forms of coercion against gays and lesbians. We also commit ourselves to social witness against the coercion and marginalization of former homosexuals.
From The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church--2000, ¶161G, 162H. Copyright 2000 by The United Methodist Publishing House,

When did Jesus get angry at the sinners? Let me think, He got water from the woman at the well, He ate with Zacchaeus, He healed the woman with the issue of blood, he healed the Centurion's beloved male servant (which some believe to be the Centurion's boyfriend), He cast out the demons, He said to the thief, "Today you will be with Me in Paradise"...Jesus had compassion and love.

It is too bad that Christians today are following in the footsteps of the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, the Salem Witch trials and other misdeeds done in the name of God instead of following in the steps of the Lord Jesus Christ who said to the woman guilty of sexual misdeeds, "neither do I condemn thee...."

I am a woman who is in love with a woman. When we finally get the right to marry, I will marry the love of my life. We will quote from Ruth 1:16&17 and I believe that our marriage will be blessed by God Almighty.

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