It has been amazing, and incredibly disheartening, to see how quickly homosexuality and homosexual marriage have come to be accepted in America. Many are left searching for answers, many more have become ensnared by the opinions of the day. Homosexual acts are themselves deeply disordered, but so too are arguments supporting them.
In my time working in the inner city, I have encountered homosexuality many times, and I have had the opportunity to work with a few trapped in its net. More importantly, I have seen many of the biting consequences left in its wake.
The foundations for the radical change in popular opinion on this subject were laid years ago; on this fact most would agree. Determining a specific cause, however, seems difficult. I am going to argue in this essay that our problems as a society began when we forgot what love is, and re-created it in our own image. Without this moor, confusion about marriage was soon to follow, and this will be covered as well.
Before we begin, it must be emphasized that this is no academic discussion. Lives are at stake, and much misery will continue to befall the least of these until we as a society correct our minds and our hearts. Lest we forget, consider the following two lives, both impacted by homosexuality.
I first met “Mary” when she was about 12. Already, her father had left her mother and his children for another man (he eventually had a sex change operation). They called him “Shim”, both because his name was once “Jim”, and because they were no longer sure if dad was a she or a him. With dad gone, the bills piled up, and mom allowed successive “boyfriends” to move in with her, so long as they could help pay the bills. One of those boyfriends was even an admitted pedophile. Over the years, in the many opportunities that I had to speak with “Mary”, the subject of her father came up once and a while, and always the subject was associated with pain, and always pain of a different sort than all the other kids I knew whose fathers left their mothers for another woman. When “Mary” was about 16, her “Dad” (by then living as a woman) attempted to get custody. I’ll never forget being called down to court, and being asked where I thought “Mary” should live. I could give no answer, and I’ll always consider that to be one of my many failures. By now, “Mary” is about 20, and her life remains bleak. I could give many more details, but the point here is that her life was negatively impacted, and significantly so, by the actions of her father. That her father left her mother hit her hard, that it was for another man made it much worse.
I also met “David” when he was about 12 years old. Already by that time, his father had left his mother for another man. With “David” it was always different than with “Mary”. His father was never mentioned or discussed, and it continues to be this way to this day (and I still see “David”, now about 20 years old, frequently). The silence speaks for itself.
Love Turned Inward
1 John 4:8 tells us plainly that “God is love”. True love is a picture of God, and cannot help but point to God. True love is more than just patient and kind, absent any envy, boasting, arrogance, and rudeness. Love is all that 1 Cor 13 says that it is, and it is more. True love, like God, is generative, procreative, and creative. True love creates unbreakable bonds, where once none existed (Mat 19:6). Love creates care for the least of these, from nothing, resulting in international societies like the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, and especially Saint Vincent de Paul. When people are consistently shown love, by these societies and by those around them, it inspires them to be more loving. Love is in this way, and in other ways, procreative, creating more of itself. And yes, love creates new people. True love, like God, is always reaching out, never seeking self. True love, like God, is always creating, from nothing, new bonds, new relationships, new ways to care for others, and more of itself. We should not be surprised, “God is love”.
Many today have either lost sight of this, or never knew. Love has been reduced to a mere emotion. Saying “I love you” means only “I want to be with you”, and this all too often only means “I want to possess you”. This sort of love (and we shouldn’t even be calling it love) is turned inward, seeking primarily its own desires. How many times have you heard someone remark, “Well, as long as they are both happy…”? Happiness is inward looking, it is at base simply self-satisfaction.
Marriage Turned Inward
Long before homosexual marriage became the issue that it is today, marriage in America was failing. Our divorce rates are soaring, as are our out of wedlock births. Of the marriages that endure, a significant number are dysfunctional. At the root of all of this misery is the flawed, inward looking, view of love described above. Those who enter marriage because it will “make them happy”, “give them fulfillment”, “make them less lonely”, or because they simply want to “be with” their spouse will end up with a marriage that is turned inward, and self seeking. Such a marriage will not succeed, even if it does endure.
True marriage, like true love, is procreative, both biologically and spiritually. It creates children where there once were none, and it creates children of God (and not merely from the biological children). A marriage creates a family, which, like love, is a picture of God. It is the primary picture of God, in fact, used by the biological children to know God, and it is also a picture of God to those around it. A true marriage, like God, is filled with true love, and so it is always reaching out, seeking to share itself with others, and in so doing, shares God with others. A marriage, like the trinity, has both unity (Mat 19:6) and diversity (both a man and a woman).
In my work in the inner city, I have unfortunately observed many sad couples. Always it seems to be the case that the relationships are very possessive. The woman thinks of the man as a sort of status symbol, and treats him that way, while the man thinks of the woman as an object to bring him pleasure, and treats her that way. This pattern, I believe, repeats itself all the way up the social/economic scale, with the only difference being the level of sophistication employed to hide these base facts. In any case, the point here is that all of these relationships are self-centered, and turned inward.
Homosexual love can never be true love because it can never be a picture of God. It is never procreative, never generative, never creative. Rather, it is always dry, and void of life. This is true biologically, and it is true in so many other ways. Homosexual love does not reach out to others, it does not feed the hungry, it does not create children of God. Homosexual love, like all things that are devoid of God, is always self serving, because absent God, self is all that is left. Like homosexual love, homosexual marriage can never be a picture of God. Unlike the trinity, there can never be any diversity (always male with male or female with female), nor, since true love is absent, can there be true unity.
Unlike heterosexual relationships, homosexual relationships are irredeemable, since they can never be a picture of God. Even the most vile and dysfunctional heterosexual relationship can, with God’s help, be transformed into a beautiful picture of Himself. This can never happen with a homosexual relationship.
The Bottom Line
The measure of any relationship is how accurately it pictures God. The ultimate purpose of any relationship is to lead others to God. Relationships that are self-centered lead people away from God, while relationships based on true love lead people toward God.
While doing inner city work, I have often encountered people that have been raised in broken marriages and broken homes. For their entire lives they have only seen self-centered love and self-centered relationships. I have found that when speaking with these people, the simple phrase “Jesus loves you” does not work, not because they do not understand Jesus (He can be explained easily enough), but rather because they do not understand love. Think of that – “Jesus loves you” doesn’t work! Do you see the consequences here? The only recourse in this situation is to show them true love, until they understand (not tell them, because words can never convey true love). This can take a decade, sometimes more. Living a life without even the knowledge of true love produces lasting damage that is not quickly undone.
There are many arguments to be made against homosexual relationships and marriage. The best argument that I can make is this: Homosexual relationships and marriages always point away from God. Not only this, but they are irredeemable, in that they can never point to God. At bottom, they lead people to a place where saying “Jesus loves you” does not work.