When Jason Collins went public with his homosexuality earlier this week, it didn’t surprise me. Not because I had some insider information or I always had my doubts about his sexuality. It’s just that anyone with any idea whatsoever about what is going on in our culture knows that an announcement like this was bound to happen. And it’s only a matter of time before more prominent athletes will be making similar announcements.
But what did surprise me was the response to the Collins announcement. It probably shouldn’t have but it did.
In examining the fallout of Jason Collins’ public statement and the controversy surrounding Chris Broussard’s response it seems as though everyone in the media began to fall all over themselves just to prove that the dreaded homophobe label didn’t belong anywhere near them.
In doing so they used two basic defenses. The first one is based on time and the second is based on emotion.
The time argument says, “I have no problem with what goes on in your bedroom. After all, it is 2013.”
This is a very dangerous argument but it is one that is to be expected when we have abandoned established truths like we find in the Bible and replaced them with fluid or relative propositions. It is dangerous because anything that is divorced from a set standard has a way of regressing. What may initially look like freedom turns out to be quite the opposite. Sort of like the kite that has worked its way free from that annoying string.
Human sexuality is no different. Today, with it being 2013 and all, homosexuality is completely acceptable. But in a little while, say maybe five or six years from now, don’t be surprised when you are expected to be tolerant of grown men who are sexually attracted to 12-year-olds. “After all,” we’re sure to be told, “it is 2018.”
The second defense, the emotional one, is equally as dangerous because it arrives at the same point. It says something like, “As long as two people love each other, why should they be kept apart?”
More often than not, love in our culture is synonymous with sex. Do a quick survey of the songs on the radio or ask the average guy on the street to define love and this is where you will end up. Christians with a basic understanding of the Bible see love as self-sacrifice that delights in the good of another. The best example of this is the cross (Romans 5:6-11). A culture, no matter how sincere, that has rejected the cross cannot fully understand or practice love.
And that’s why the love argument, taken to its next logical step, is a dangerous one. The man who really, really loves twelve-year-olds isn’t concerned with self-sacrifice that delights in the good of another. All he wants is sex. And for our culture that’s good enough to be considered love. And who are we to stand in the way of two people who really love each other?
To be clear, Jason Collins is not a pedophile. By all accounts he is a very well-educated and hard working individual who has achieved a level of success that few will ever know. But, as is usually the case, the story is bigger than the headline. Jason Collins is the headline. Our culture’s response is the real story.
And we should all be concerned.
Concerned, not just for what may happen to our nation or the family structure as we know it but for the souls who hang in the balance.
Sadly, for many Christians, their concern has only led them to proclaim that homosexuality is a sin. This is a true statement (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). But it is not the full story.
After listing examples of unrighteous behavior that will keep people from inheriting the kingdom of God, of which homosexuality is one, Paul gives a very clear picture of genuine grace.
And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11
Homosexuality is a sin but it is not a sin that is beyond the reach of a loving and forgiving God. Christians do violence to the gospel when they only announce the sin and leave off the opportunity of forgiveness.
As a Church, may we not get too caught up in the media’s response and agenda. Yes, it is dangerous and it is important for us to know how to respond. But we must remember that Jason Collins and others like him are not agendas. They are not news stories. They are people.
And yes, they are sinners.
But that’s exactly who Jesus came to earth and died to set free.
And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them,“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:16-17 (ESV)