Friday, April 26, 2013
The Law of Love, Continued
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another;
as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
Is there such a thing as homosexual love?
In a post-biblical era; can we say with certainty that the homosexual life-style is necessarily wrong? The one place in Scripture where it seems to clearly say that homosexuality is wrong, Leviticus 18:22; 'You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It [ is ] an abomination' though it seems clear enough, may not actually be that cut & dried! We may assume that Yahweh meant that men should not lie with men ( homosexual ) because He was addressing the leaders in Israel ( men? ), and this is actually warranted, for in that culture, men, and usually not women ( though it did happen ) were the ones chosen to lead.
It is clear from Scripture, as we have studied before, that biblical marriage ( union ) was between a man and a women. Without going into too many details, this is because, quite literally, they were made for each other! They fit ( quite nicely )! A man was not made to mate with another man, as we have also explored before; it just doesn't work; certain accommodations can be made, but nothing but selfish enjoyment and relief can come from such an accomodation! Speaking of this sort of 'accomodation'; the Scriptures have something to say about this practice as well. The Greek transliteration 'malakos' from which the English 'homosexual' in I Corinthians 6:9 comes, is defined as 'soft, soft to the touch', in a metaphorical sense ( bad ), one ( man ) who is unnaturally lewd. This was a fairly common practice, I believe, in the Greek and Roman cultures of the day!
Although it may be true that Jesus never specifically condemned the homosexual life-style, He never condoned the practice either! When confronted with a case of adultery, He simply told the accused, 'Go and sin no more'! Although He did not condemn her for her sin He did recognize and acknowledge the practice as sin! Admittedly, there is no Scriptural evidence that He was confronted like-wise with homosexuality, but it is not unlikely that He would have given much the same response!
It might be well, at this point, to clarify ( again ) what love is. Love, as we have seen, is an action, not a feeling, though actions, right and wrong, usually come from our feelings! Paul wrote, 'love is the fulfillment of the law' ( Romans 13:10 ), so therefore, love is something we do, not something we feel toward another person. This Law, the Law of Love, was fulfilled in Jesus, but it did not end with Him! The meaning of that word 'fulfilled' does not connote an ending, but rather a filling up; we, as we continue to love God and our neighbor, continue to fill up this Law of Love! But I digress.............
It is possible for homosexuals to love each other, in that sense! In fact, there are doubtless many homosexuals out there who love more and better than many heterosexuals! In our culture, with so much emphasis on the outward appearance, and strict adherence to the letter of the law, rather than to the Spirit; it is clearly ( among Christians especially ) an unnatural thing, and an abomination for two men to love each other as a man would love a woman! As we saw earlier, and can attest to in Nature, it is quite unnatural for two men to contrive together to make a perfect union as would a man with a woman, but it is nowhere stated that, just because a man may prefer the intimacy of other men to that of women, that he is to be condemned!
A friend pointed out to me the other day that one does not need to experience anther's sexuality in order to be intimate with them ( although that is most often the case ); it is possible to share on a spiritual level without actually having sexual relations. Naturally speaking, it just doesn't seem right to most of us that a man ( or woman ) would prefer the companionship of a person of the same sex, but increasingly, that seems to be the case. On some levels, it seems that many such relationships are purely physical ( lustful and selfish-'any hole will do' ), but, but just as common, I believe, are those who have truly found an outlet for their love, one that is appreciated and shared, though it be a member of the same sex!
What does it really mean to love love your neighbor as yourself? What if our neighbor happens to be one who prefers the company ( intimacy ) of a person of the same sex? Can there truly be union between two members of the same sex? Can such a person ( or people ) enjoy intimacy with God? These, along with other questions, though there is One answer and One Truth, need to be discussed and answered in conjuction with the Word of God, and the Spirit within us!
Tlil then, and most importantly; love God with all your heart, mind, soul ( body ) and strength ( action ), and your neighbor as yourself!
Charles Haddon Shank