A member of our church recently told a very personal story on his blog. He’s struggled with same-sex-attraction. Instead of indulging his flesh, he is seeking to live a life that honours Christ. The blog is courageous, gentle, and biblical. In response, he’s received hundreds of comments on social media and on the blog itself. The overwhelming majority are from Christians to encourage him and thank him. But several have been quite negative. In this blog, I’m not as much concerned about all the negativity. He’s handling it very well. But I do want to address a specific nasty allegation: Several who’ve commented have implied that the brother is complicit in the death of homosexuals.
For example, one person linked to a study, and commented,
Studies like the one linked here show clearly that religious conflict with one’s sexual attractions or identity greatly increases suicide risk in young people. You are perpetuating this conflict, and this could be extremely damaging to young people reading your blog.
Let me tell you how many of these people end up. They either continue to live a heteronormative lifestyle, where, as someone else commented, they will live unsatisfying lives, both for the wife and themselves, possibly cheat with a man anyway, or even possibly abuse the wife. Because that’s what severe repression does. On the other hand, some will commit suicide. The pressure from everyone telling them that they’re a good person and can’t let the sin win, doesn’t make the gay go away. It instead causes further self-loathing and disappointment where they just can’t take it anymore.
Still another said,
These people try hard to live a heteronormative lifestyle and wind up emotionally neglecting or even abusing their partners, having secret affairs and living double lives with a homosexual partner, destroying their family, or committing suicide because they are eternally unhappy.
When you directly tell others to repress their feelings or identities, you are actually doing harm. Many studies show clearly that religious conflict with one’s sexual attractions or identity greatly increases suicide risk in young people. You are perpetuating this conflict, and this could be extremely damaging to young people reading your blog.
When someone kills themselves over the garbage you’re putting on the internet, because they took it as a manual… I hope you feel really great about yourself. I’m sure you’ll make it out to be “God’s will” or something stupid like that… but really it’ll be all your fault.
It goes on and on. Some link to studies, others to articles. But the implication is that those who articulate Christian convictions are somehow complicit in the suicide of homosexuals.
Yes, sadly homosexuals do commit suicide. But to insinuate that Christian teaching causes suicide is unfounded. It’s a lie. One who tells lies is a liar. Liars who tell lies about other people to incriminate them and assassinate their character are not only called liars, but they are also called false witnesses. God takes bearing false witness very seriously. For example, the ninth commandment says, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour” (Exodus 20:16). Proverbs 6 lists six things that God hates, and one of those things is “a false witness who breathes out lies” (Proverbs 6:19). “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will not escape” (Proverbs 19:5), and “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will perish” (Proverbs 19:9). God is very much concerned about protecting people from slanderous lies. If people feel threatened by truth they tend to lie about those who tell the truth. It happens in junior high, it happens in politics, and it happens on Facebook.
Bearing false witness against Christians is an old trick. Kim Jong-un accuses Christians of being Western spies to North Korea and enemies of the state so he can execute them. After the Barbarian invasion of Rome, anti-Christian bigots accused Christians of provoking the invasion. The early church was slandered as being cannibalistic, because they regularly celebrated the ordinance of Communion. Emperor Nero burnt Rome to the ground to falsely incriminate Christians, and then upon their incrimination he burnt them alive as torches in his gardens. I’m sure they could all point to newspapers and studies and big names to prove the slander too. Even Christ Himself was slandered by big names and official reports (Matthew 26:59-60). Slandering Christians to discredit them happened long before Lot moved to Sodom, and it happened to Lot while he lived in Sodom too (Genesis 19:9).
I understand why people bear false witness. When truth confronts a lie it’s easier to spread lies about the truth tell than deal with the truth. When Christians teach truth, homosexuals might feel a bit like Bernie Madoff’s clients did in 2008. If you invest a lot in a lie and someone exposes the lie it’s painful. In our society, powerful people with large platforms offer answers to troubled souls. They say things like “religious conflict with one’s sexual attractions or identity greatly increases suicide risk in young people.” Then when you do defile your body with sin, they laud you as courageous, invite you to celebrate your actions in parades, and spend millions of dollars on promoting your choices in movies, sitcoms, public schools and universities. All of this is necessary to assuage a guilty conscience. Suddenly after billions of dollars worth of assuaging, a Christian comes around and says something for absolutely free, with no cost incurred at all. Then folks get angry. “You bigot!” “You’re complicit in suicide!” The free statement of truth does something that none of the expensive assuaging could. It pricks the conscience. The Christian is not the one leading the homosexual to death. The Christian is pointing to life in a world that only offers death. But death has a deceitful way of pretending to be life.
Ultimately these false allegations amount to a false gospel. Like all false gospels it calls life death and death life. “Embrace homosexuality to escape suicide.” “Reject Christianity or you’ll kill yourself.” But truly, it’s all a disguise. It is an offer of death in the name of life, and it’s a call to forsake life in the name of death. Homosexuality, like all sins, is a path to death. Jesus Christ is the only way to life.
The true gospel is tasteful, wholesome, and sweet. Jesus Christ is strong, powerful, and glorious. He left heaven. He obeyed God’s Law perfectly. He died on the cross. He rose from the dead. He ascended to heaven. He will return in judgment. If you repent of your sins and put your faith in Him, you will live forever. If you embrace any other way or lifestyle, you will perish. Jesus invites you to be washed in His blood, to be cleansed from your filth, to have your shame removed, and to be freed from your guilt. Jesus invites the homosexual. Jesus invites the liar. Jesus invites the false witness. Be clean! Be forgiven! Become His! (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
To those with same sex attraction, the false witnesses seem to present two bleak options. Pick your poison: death by homosexuality or death by suicide.
But Jesus came that you may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). He invites you, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).