Is God Homophobic?
Certainly many people are homophobic and sadly that includes some Christians. But they didn’t get that idea from God.
Over the last fifty years there has been an enormous shift in attitudes towards homosexuality. Where once there was a well-grounded fear of ridicule, discrimination and persecution now to be openly homosexual is considered an honest and honourable position to hold.
What was God’s attitude to sexuality and has it changed? We know from the bible (old and new testaments) that God says sexual activity should be reserved for the monogamous marriage of a man and a woman. The bible gives many examples of sexual activity outside of that pattern and makes it clear that God strongly disapproves.
So does that mean that God is homophobic? No, far from hating homosexual people (that would be homophobia) God loves them to bits! How can God disapprove of behaviour without hating the people who do it?
He makes distinctions like this all the time. These words were addressed to a New Testament church: “neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
There are three important ideas in this passage. The first is that God isn’t singling out some behaviour as less acceptable than others; he doesn’t make distinctions between one lifestyle and another. The second point is that is no behaviour can ultimately separate someone from God. And thirdly none of us is made right with God by our behaviour but by the mercy of God.
It isn’t the things we do that separate us from God, it’s the people that we are. To be right with God we have to be changed in such a radical way that the bible calls it new birth. And God is prepared to do that for anyone, including all the people mentioned in the bible quote above. He sent his son to die for them and issues an invitation to them to join him. He populates his kingdom with them and will be genuinely grieved if any of them refuse his invitation and reject his offer of relationship.
The good news that we discover in the bible is that God wants to know us whatever our sexuality. God is inviting people to enter into a relationship with his son where they accept his forgiveness and submit to his will and enjoy his blessings.