Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bullying – Part 2

Some say that churches who preach that the practice of homosexuality is a sin are promoting hate. This is true for a few lunatic fringe churches that get in the news occasionally, but I believe most churches are careful so as not to promote hate or prejudice. While the Bible is explicit that the practice of homosexuality is against God’s will (in both the Old and New Testaments), such biblical disapproval doesn’t give anybody the right to persecute, harass, or bully those who are gay. Therefore, Christian parents should instruct their children not to bully kids who are different from them, pointing to Jesus as their example. Jesus hung out with the “undesirables” of his culture, and caught a lot of heat from the religious elites because of it. If anything, parents should instruct their kids to befriend the new kid who just moved into the area (“care for the strangers and aliens in the land”), and the kid who is different in some way. Then you and your child will be truly living out the Bible’s commands.

You might ask, how can you balance the biblical disapproval of the gay lifestyle with loving those who are gay? Again, just look to Jesus. He never denied people were living a lifestyle inconsistent with the moral law (such as the woman caught in adultery or the Samaritan woman at the well) but he loved them nevertheless. God is all about grace (unmerited favor) and as Christians, we should be instruments of God’s grace. Instead, some Christians become instruments of condemnation, thinking they’re doing God’s work by denouncing gays.

On the other hand, some deny the biblical disapproval of the practice of homosexuality because they just can’t reconcile the fact that some people appear to be “born gay” with the biblical injunctions against the practice of homosexuality. To me that is a cop-out. The Bible is clear on the issue, and if you claim to believe it is the Word of God, then you must accept even those parts that you have trouble with. But we also have to look at the Bible in its entirety to discern how we are to respond. As I mentioned before, grace, mercy, and love are at the heart of the biblical narrative (in both the Old and New Testaments) and so we as Christians must exhibit those to all, whether we disapprove of what they are doing or not. Jesus is our model.

Therefore, we must teach our children that bullying and other forms of prejudice are wrong. Parents must also lead by example, and should never exhibit hate or ridicule any group by making nasty comments or calling a group by a hateful name. Kids will do as you do, not do as you say.

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