Over the years of being a youth pastor I’ve come across a number of students who all asked variations of the same questions regarding, is being gay a sin, can a gay person go to heaven, or can you be born gay? Each time I would have to set aside time to explain this, because these questions are too loaded for a short yes or no answer. I believe there must be an explanation behind the answers provided or all credibility is lost. More importantly, I knew the answers to these questions could make or break the fragile mind of an adolescence and have profound effects on their perception of religion and their own identities. Despite, I never shied away, and never told them anything but the truth. Because only with the truth could they make their own decisions to follow God’s path or their own. Anything based on a notion other than the truth is a false foundation. Therefore, based on the biblical truths of the bible, I would answer as follows.
Is Being Gay a Sin?
The answer to this question is “No and Yes.” In order to understand, I’ll have to explain under both answers.
Simply being gay is not a sin; I stress the word simply. The definition of Homosexuality is being sexually attracted to a person of one’s own sex. Being sexually attracted to anyone, male or female, is not a sin, it’s a natural part of life. Only until a homosexual starts to act on their desires toward the same sex would it become sin. For example, I am a straight married male, but it would be foolish to say I’m not sexually attracted to other women. I’m a realist remember? There’s plenty of women I perceive to be sexy in the world. It’s part of my nature of being a straight man. Yet, me being sexually attracted to other women doesn’t make me an adulterer; it’s only until I act (remember the word “act”) on that desire that it would become adultery. It’s the same for being gay. It’s not a sin until acted upon.
The bible talks about this in Matthew 16: 24-25. Jesus says if any one wants to follow him, they must deny themselves, pick up their cross and follow him. The focal point here is to “deny yourself.” This means to deny who you are as a sinner, and/or deny your sinful nature. If you’re a liar, deny the action of lying; if you’re a thief, deny the action of stealing; if you’re gay, deny the physical actions of being gay. Therefore, the avenue of sin doesn’t matter, Jesus is saying deny who you are as a gay/bi man or woman and choose him, and as long as those homosexual acts are denied, it is not sin. Will it be easy? No. Will it be worth it in the end? Definitely.
Now I know what everyone’s thinking at this point. You can’t just turn off being gay. And you are absolutely right, but as a straight male, I cannot just turn off being attracted to women either. A homosexual lusting after the same sex is no more powerful than a heterosexual lusting after the opposite sex. In each circumstance, it is up to the individual to deny those sinful desires and choose to follow God’s commandments instead of their own. Attraction is a function of human nature with which we have to live. It’s the reason so much infidelity infects this world. Instead of denying those desires to cheat, whether with the same sex or opposite, people are not making the choice to deny those acts of lust, thereby following themselves. If a gay/bi person wants to follow Jesus, they have to do the same thing I as a straight male have chosen to do for my wife and family; deny myself, which is simply denying the desire of my flesh. Once a person starves a fleshly desire long enough while feeding the spirit, the desire will gradually become easier and easer to deny, until it’s almost dead, giving room for righteous relationships.
Let’s recap. The answer to the question, is being gay a sin, was “no and yes.” Now we’ll focus on the latter.
Being gay is a sin, BUT only in the same context that being straight is a sin. Sinning for both starts in the mind. In Matthew 5:28, it says any man who looks onto a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart. Remember, I said to “remember the word act?” I can innocently think a woman is sexually attractive, but as soon as I start to act on those thoughts with erotic daydreams, plots and images of said woman, it becomes sin. It’s the exact same for a homosexual. Again, the definition of homosexuality is being “sexually attracted” to one’s own sex, but as soon as it moves from innocent attraction vivid triple-x scenes in one’s mind, it becomes sin. I don’t think it can get any clearer than this, so let’s move on.
By sheer power of deduction of the above text, one should already have the answers to the remaining questions of “can a gay person go to Heaven?” Or “can you be born gay?” But if for some reason it’s still unclear, I’ll quickly answer these.
Yes, a LGBT person can go to Heaven. In Romans, the bible says for all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God, and that whoever confesses with their mouth the Lord Jesus, and believes in their heart God raised him from the dead will be saved. If you’ve done that, you’re Haven-bound, regardless if after, you’ve messed up along the way. If you’re gay/bi and struggling with your relationship with Jesus because you know what you’re doing doesn’t align with his word, don’t be discouraged. If you’ve accepted Jesus as your only Lord and Savior, you are still going to Heaven one day, but it’s the sin that’s making you have doubts. Sin puts a wedge between us and God. You’re still saved, but as long as the sinful lifestyle is chosen, it will rarely feel like you are.
Can you be born gay? Whether you can or cannot be born gay is irrelevant, but for the sake of answering definitively, I personally would answer yes, simply because being born in sin doesn’t discriminate dispositions. Romans 5:12 says, by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, so that all have sinned. Since all are born sinners, why couldn’t a person be born gay? It means they were born a sinner just like everyone else in the world. Therefore, being born into a specific characteristic of sin is unnecessary to argue.
The “Sin is Sin” Argument
I’ve heard the argument sin is sin, so it doesn’t matter if a gay Christian acts on their desires because it’s the same as a straight male stealing in God’s eyes. While this may be true that sin is the same degree in God’s eyes, there’s a difference between sinning and living in sin. Living in sin is much more dangerous than slipping up from time to time, because living in sin is a conscious decision to disobey Gods commandments. Ask yourself, to which would a judge show more leniency, a man’s first time offence stealing money in a moment of weakness, or a man who has a long history of theft being caught once again. Obviously, the first case. In the end, we will stand before the final Judge (God) and give an account of how we lived our lives according to his Word, and living in sin is the opposite of his Word. So yes, sin is sin, but sin is not the same as willfully living in sin.
The “I’m Just Not Attracted to the Opposite Sex” Argument
This argument is a lie. In respect to not being attracted to the opposite sex, it’s the reproductive organ of the opposite sex the person’s not attracted to. Let me explain by first reiterating, I’m a realist. I am a straight, happily married male with two beautiful children. Even with this background, I would be foolish and in denial if I said I’ve never noticed attractive looks or physique on another male. But do I desire that male’s genitalia? No. It’s the same with a homosexual. In all honesty, a gay person cannot say they’ve never, or will never be attracted to someone of the opposite sex; it’s part of our nature to notice attraction. The real statement should be “I’m just not attracted to the opposite sex’s reproductive organ(s),” meaning, they don’t desire to be physical with them, but outward appeal is still evident. Straight men and women acknowledge beauty and/or physique of the same sex all the time (mostly women because they’re more secure speaking their feelings), but the only difference is that the heterosexuals are not attracted to that same sex’s reproductive organs.
In conclusion, it’s heart wrenching to me that there are gay Christians out there doubting their eternity because so many Pastors when, “preaching the gospel,” love to use the LGBT community as this ultimate example of sin. There is no ultimate example of sin. Sin is sin degree wise. This type of preaching not only goes against the bible commandment of love, but it also turns many gay non-believers away from Salvation, because, who would want to follow a God that hates them?—I wouldn’t. God doesn’t hate LGBT people, he loves all. Jesus died for all people and all sin. It is direly important Christian believers become more aware and more knowledgeable when it comes to the bible and homosexuality. All too often we see and hear people who claim to be followers of Christ, bashing, condemning and judging the LGBT community, and this is completely unbiblical. To set the record straight, anyone bashing, condemning and judging gay people should really evaluate their claim on being a Christian because they’re doing the opposite of what Jesus taught us. Being a true follower of Christ can boil down into two words to live by: love and tell. We are to love others and tell them of the love of Jesus. That is it. If they choose to refuse the gospel, it’s not our job to force it because the rest is in God’s hands. Believe me when I say, in terms of being a sinner, a homosexual and a straight Christian are the same, and will be standing side by side and equally as guilty come Judgment Day.