Condoning Sin?

I did a lecture on “Why is the Church Responsible for so much Evil?” at Lincoln Berean Church as a part of my spiritual warfare class at Christian Leadership College. In the Q & A time following someone asked about the church affirming life rather than just opposing abortion. In my answer I noted that churches have not supported women who choose to keep their babies. Rather they look down at them and usually refuse to give them a baby shower since they are in sin. I noted with appreciation that many churches have changed and now sponsor showers for women who keep their babies and support them in the difficult task of raising the baby as a single mom.

Then in class today one of the students followed up on this. If we do such baby showers should we also go to a “wedding” or a baby shower for  a lesbian couple. As we thought through this knotty question, I realized I wanted to say both yes and no. “Yes,” because I want a chance to keep relationships where I can speak graciously about Jesus to the couple, but “no” because it would seem I am supporting the rightness of a lesbian family.

She asked where the difference is between a shower for a baby conceived out of wedlock and the lesbian. As I thought I realized that I want to throw the baby shower when the woman has owned that the way the baby was conceived was sinful. I don’t need any groveling or anything like that. But I would have a lot more problem supporting a shower if she refused to acknowledge her sin, if she said “It’s my right to have a baby in any way I want.” In the case of the lesbian wedding or shower that would be the case: “We are doing the right thing for us,” they would say.

I thought further: would Jesus go? He did hang out with prostitutes and tax collectors for sure. But did He affirm their activities? I don’t think so.

Then I compared: would I go to a party for a heterosexual couple celebrating that they were moving in together? Having a baby together? That’s where I realized the issue isn’t the homosexuality, but that they are thumbing their nose at the biblical view of marriage. That I can’t honor. In fact I would more likely to affirm a homosexual couple getting “married.” At least they are expressing commitment in their relationship where the cohabiting couple are denying that.

I wonder if there is a parallel in the situation of 1 Cor. 10:27-28 where Paul tells us to eat whatever is served at a supper, but to refuse if the host said it was offered in sacrifice to idols. The reason is both for the sake of the pagan and for his conscience.

What of love? We are certainly called to love sinners. But love seeks the best of another. Affirming a sinful life isn’t really love.

So I think I’d keep relationship with a lesbian couple, but would not go to the wedding. I’d baby sit their kid, but probably not go to the shower. The difference is that a public act states affirmation where the private act speaks personal support.

So far this is all hypothetical. But I can’t imagine it will be for long.

5 thoughts on “Condoning Sin?

  1. hard stuff indeed. i choose to privately support my sister, her lesbian partner and their 3 kids but wouldn’t go to the wedding in san francisco. my sister was mad for a while but i kept loving her and now she has asked rachel and i to be their kids godparents. she said that she would want her kids raised by christians. so i think you are right gerry. regardless of your public position on sin, people respond to Christ’s love shown by his believers.

  2. Gerry~ This is timely as we’ve been wrestling through some issues with new believers about divorce, remarrying divorced people, etc. You’ve hit the nail on the head — no to affirming the sin but yes to building the relationship with the sinner. I hope I’ve stated this accurately. Thanks for your continued thoughful insight into sticky situations.

  3. Your internal monologues are quite entertaining!
    I agree wholly, the real issue is ongoing embrace of past sin, which is sinful in itself.
    In reading this post I took it forward, imagining these likely scenarios once we’re in Budapest. It peels away another layer, namely, what is socially expected publicly, and what privately?
    Depending on context, the private act (which we all know quickly becomes public) may be seen as a greater stamp of approval than attending a public ceremony. Either way, those most likely to take offense may well be those least likely to act in grace themselves, and that’s offense I can sleep well with.

  4. Wow. Those are sticky issues. Rand and I have had to think through a lot of those having some of them be issues within our families. How do we love the person and still have a solid boundary with what we believe is right/wrong? Tough! Mostly we try to love the person…especially since as family, they don’t need to hear anymore what we believe is right/wrong. It speaks much more loudly to love and serve….and pray!

  5. Interesting and thought provoking as always, Gerry! Thanks for this, some of your statements are challenging to me and I look forward to processing them with friends soon. -Heidi

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