When Beauty and the Beast came out in March, I was so excited. The music from the commercial gave me goosebumps, and the actual movie went above and beyond my expectations. The acting, the music—all of it—was superb. But when I giddily shared my excitement about the movie with others, I received mixed reactions. Some people loved it as much as I did. Others refused to even go see it. Why? Because the media made a huge deal of the “openly gay moment” in the film, and, understandably, these people wanted to stay away from that.
First, let me quickly explain this “openly gay moment.” It occurs at the end of the movie, when the entire kingdom dances for joy at the prince’s revived castle. Gaston’s goofy sidekick, Lefou, gracefully dances with a young lady. A mix-up occurs, and Lefou gets thrown into the arms of a young man, something that both men seem pleased about. This all happens in under 10 seconds. Were the producers of Beauty and the Beast trying to promote homosexuality? Maybe. Is homosexuality wrong? Without a doubt. But I believe that Christians are missing something here.
Homosexuality is not worse than any other sin.
Have you ever gone and seen a movie where two unmarried people live together? Have you seen movies where the characters lie in order to save the day? Have you seen movies where characters practice dark magic? Homosexuality is no worse than all of these sins. All are equally abominable to God.
I recently heard an excellent illustration about sin. Picture yourself standing in a city, looking up at the endlessly tall skyscrapers. Some are tall, some are shorter. The buildings represent different sins. Now picture yourself thousands of feet above the Earth in an airplane. You look down at the very same city, with its tall buildings and its short ones. But from this perspective, though, something is different. All of the buildings look equally tall. This is how God sees sin.
When it comes to homosexuals, it seems that Christians resort to one of two extremes: harshly judging them, or openly supporting them. Neither response is God’s will for us.
The realization that all sin is equally detestable to God should soften our hearts and bring to light our hypocrisy. Christians so harshly judge those living in homosexuality when we ourselves are living in our own sin (John 8:7-11). This should also renew our compassion for those around us. Rather than judging nonbelievers living in sin, think of how hopeless they are. Think of how they do not have the Holy Spirit guiding their lives as we do. I cannot imagine the hopelessness that they live in. According to an article on the website HealthyPlace*, “studies have found that GLBT youth attempt suicide more than 3 times more frequently than their heterosexual counterparts. . . that the risk of suicide among LGB youth is 14 times higher than for heterosexual youth. . . [that]among youth who attempted suicide, almost twice as many GLBT youth said they really hoped to die. . . [and that] of transgender people, between 30-45% report having attempted suicide.” Clearly these people are desperately hopeless.
On the other hand, Christians are not to support the sin of those practicing homosexuality. The Bible clearly states that it is wrong. The argument that I have seen time and time again goes something like this: “Saying that homosexuality is a sin is hypocritical. Do you follow all of God’s laws such as sacrificing animals, wearing certain clothes, etc.?” What people with this argument fail to understand that laws such as these were part of Jewish law, given to the Israelites by God under the old covenant. The laws renewed under the new covenant of Jesus Christ are those which we follow today. We no longer follow the old laws, because Christ’s blood covered all of that. But homosexuality is not only opposed in the old law, it is also opposed in the new law. The New Testament repeatedly speaks out against homosexuality (Rom. 1, 1 Cor. 6:9-10, 1 Tim 1:8-10, etc.). Homosexuality is downright wrong. God does not support all “love.” He may be a God of love, but He is also a God of justice and morality.
The key to responding to homosexuality as Christians is the old adage “love the sinner, not the sin.” Those who live in the sin of homosexuality do not need us to judge and Bible-slam them, but neither do they need us to accept their sin as okay. They need Christians to love them for who they are as people, knowing that everyone has sinned and that we all need Jesus. We may not convince them to leave their sinful lifestyle, but through prayer and by example, God has the power to work in their hearts as He has done in ours to bring them to Him and out of the bondage of their sin.