I love my job.
Last Monday night, at a teen girl’s Bible study on the book of Ruth, we read this from chapter one:
“But Naomi replied, “Why should you go on with me? Can I still give birth to other sons who could grow up to be your husbands? No, my daughters, return to your parents’ homes, for I am too old to marry again. And even if it were possible, and I were to get married tonight and bear sons, then what? Would you wait for them to grow up and refuse to marry someone else? No, of course not, my daughters!”
I could see the look of terror & confusion on the faces of the 6 girls sitting around me. I tried to explain the value of family/name/inheritances/etc. in that time period and the devaluing of women-especially widows.
But before I could drone on for too long, one of the girl’s said, much to the delight of some other girls in the room, “Oh, so incest is okay, but the gays aren’t?”
[SIDE NOTE: It makes me VERY HAPPY that the girls are comfortable enough to say/ask these sort of things. That is a legitimate and completely understandable point!]
I didn’t address the comment too much right then. Partly because I was a little thrown off by it, and partly because I don’t want to make that the focus of the study. But this week when I meet with them, I want to talk about it-because it’s an excellent point, and I want the girls to understand what Christians believe and what we don’t believe. They are hearing a lot of WRONG things about Christianity (from Christians and non-Christians alike!) and I want to help them see where I (and the Factory) stand! And so here’s sort of what I want to say:
God, as the creator of all things, made things for certain purposes. And He LOVES what He made. One of the brilliant parts of His plan was to design male and female to compliment and complete each other-both in body and in self. He made them different, and He made them for each other. Then He established the union of marriage, so that these two people would be committed to each other for life. In so doing, they would have the security of having ONE person who loves them, knows them, serves them-for a lifetime! It would take all that time to grow in understanding of the other person, and a lifetime to grow deeper in love with that one person. He decided to give humankind that long term love so that they could experience a depth of love that one could never experience with just short flings. Love planted in the security of a lifelong commitment, growing through the soils of perseverance, produce the most beautiful and precious flower of being fully known and fully loved.
God could have created just that. Man and woman who compliment each other-are different and help each other with their corresponding strengths and weaknesses, and give them the mandate to be loyal for life-so that their joy is ENORMOUS and their hearts are secure. BUT He did even more than that. He took it a step farther and created sex.
Knowing that a lifetime of commitment would be difficult in many ways, due to people’s own selfishness and the stresses of life-He created sex. The way He designed it is MIRACULOUS. Yes, it is to procreate-but it is so much more than that! It is for UNITY and it is for PLEASURE! In God’s brilliance He decided to give the couple that enters the challenging, rewarding lifetime commitment to one another the gift of intercourse. This gift would bring so much joy, it would bring a closeness and a oneness that is unlike anything else. It would cause the man and woman to love, know, cherish, and protect one another’s bodies. God infused chemical reactions into the process that binds the couple together in an even DEEPER unity and an even DEEPER adoration. It would tie them to each other. Such a unifying act with that one person strengthens their bonds of commitment. The deep intimacy, care, and dependency on one another’s strengths and differences brings about the most wonderful, delightful, glorious union.
THAT is God’s plan for marriage. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Isn’t that #goals? THAT brings US the most joy. And OUR utmost joy, brings HIM JOY.
So the reason He disapproves of homosexuality, is the same reason he disapproves of sleeping around, of having sex before you are married, the same reason He hates one night stands, and cheating spouses. It’s not his perfect plan. It robs us of the joy that we COULD be experiencing if we OBEYED him. That’s what God is all about-us loving him and finding joy and fulfillment in loving Him!
A couple of other things:
- I want to remind them of the kindness of this “marrying of relatives”, that incest is strictly forbidden in many parts of the Bible-but this is making sure family takes care of family, in a time where being a family-less widow was among one of the worst possible things could happen to a woman. Women couldn’t inherit anything, they had NO rights, and couldn’t get jobs to take care of themselves. For a widow without a family to take her in, the options were pretty much just begging, prostitution, or starvation. Being a wife once again, would be protecting, providing, and honoring her. Weird and confusing, I know. But history is history!
- Homosexuality is not the unpardonable sin. God lists it among other sins like greed, pride, and stealing. I don’t want to elevate it to somewhere it shouldn’t be.
- I love the gays, JUST like I still love my friends who are sleeping with their boyfriends. I just think they are missing out on God’s BEST for them.
- God loves the gays. No one is going to hell because of their sexual preference. The only reason people spend an eternity apart from God is if they don’t love God –> meaning they don’t know him (@Jesus) –> meaning they don’t believe and trust Him –> meaning they don’t desire to obey Him.
- I don’t expect you (as a non-Christian) to believe homosexuality is wrong-in fact, I expect you to believe it is FINE! If I were not a Christian, I would be fine with it too. Let’s be tolerate of each other’s views-and agree to disagree.
- Lastly, the Bible says that a marriage relationship (in it’s most perfect state) was given to be a picture of the relationship that God wants with humankind! God wants commitment, unity, delight, and teamwork with the Church! And that to me is really cool!
Writing this all out helps me process and prepare! Thanks for reading, and as always, I’d be happy to hear your thoughts!