Last night, I had a long conversation about life with someone I care a great deal about. We covered difficult topics and hopefully I made a lasting impression that people who disagree do not have to sacrifice their love for each other. In fact, their love actually can increase while they engage in conversation on topics they disagree. I tried my best to let my reasonableness be known.
Mind you, I don’t think this conversation was orchestrated by me alone. I believe that my whole day yesterday was blessed by God because of my prayer in the morning. I really connected with Him. I’m quite sure he orchestrated the events of the day as well as my reaction to it.
The topic was homosexuality. During the conversation, I learned that I am homophobic, not in the sense that I always have understood the term “phobia” to be, as in “an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something.” In that sense, I definitely am not homophobic. That Google result is “having or showing a dislike of or prejudice against gay people.” Taking it a step further, prejudice is a “preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.”
In her opinion, I have a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience because I am viewing homosexuality only through the lens of Christianity and further evidenced in the fact that I have no homosexual friends in my inner circle of friends. The fact that I am unsympathetic to the homosexual cause makes homosexual people uncomfortable and thereby proves I dislike them.
Such is the state of affairs in the United States of America, and, frankly, that of humankind.
Words Have Power
My challenge was to wrest the conversation away from this mislabeling. When we look at the word phobia alone, we find that it is changed when coupled with “homo.” It goes from “extreme or irrational fear” to “dislike of or prejudice.” That’s a big difference. When I pointed this out, she said that vocabulary evolves. Maybe so, but I think that it is done so intentionally. “Phobia” is strong language, and it doesn’t fit the vast majority of people. But, it is a stigma word that automatically puts people on the defensive. When that happens, it’s very easy to make mistakes, like argue or get mad. Labeling – actually mislabeling – in this way, when words are deliberately changed, is an effective way to slander. Once that spotlight hits you, it is very difficult to get out from under it.
My position on that topic is this. I believe homosexuality is a aberrant behavior that should be discouraged rather than encouraged. I voted against homosexual marriage simply because I do not want to legitimize behavior like this. Furthermore, I am convinced that there is long-term harm to individuals engaging in this behavior as well as society at large when it is normalized.
That’s homophobic in the eyes of an increasing number of people today.
Changing the Focus
At this point, I needed to change the focus of the conversation. My position is reasonable. As Paul says, “let your reasonableness be known.” How can I do that if the spotlight is on that one topic? Simple. Focus on the big picture.
This is how I did it. I pointed out that we must look at all the costs to society for our behavior when judging whether something is “harmless” or not. For example, I used to think that government regulation for smoking was ridiculous. If someone wants to smoke, let them! After all, they are only harming themselves. But are they? Not when we consider the dangers of second-hand smoke. Certainly not when a parent teaches a child, by example, to smoke. Then there is the budgetary cost of smoking. Smokers steal great sums that would be better spent on their families and retirement. What about the pain and anguish family members go through watching their loved ones slowly die? Consider also the stink!
The argument against smoking is getting easier and easier to make because people are more and more willing to consider the actual costs of the habit. I, for one, have changed my mind completely. Given the opportunity, I would vote to make tobacco illegal. It is a scourge to our society. Why allow it?
I didn’t stop there. Next was gambling. Then pornography. Next, drugs and alcohol. Then, out-of-wedlock sex capped with the worst of them all – abortion. All of these are legal, socially-permitted activities. All of them have great costs to society. When we are honest with ourselves, we can see just how expensive these behaviors are to society, not just in terms of money but emotional costs that burden our society far more than we care to think.
One Of Many Problems
Homosexuality is only one form of sexual sin that causes great harm to society. If I was faced with the decision to vote for or against the following, I would vote against them.
- Tobacco, Alcohol, Drugs
- Homosexual Marriage
- Sex-Change Procedures
- Sexual Activity Outside Husband/Wife Marriage
You get the idea. Sex outside of marriage is a huge problem. It leads to all sorts of problems including the absence of fathers from the home. The social costs of heterosexual promiscuity is staggering. We simply refuse to honestly look at the problem. Why? Because we like to have sex with who we want, when we want, and without immediate consequence. As I explained to the person I was talking to, this attitude costs me dearly to this day with an abortion I consented to almost 40 years ago. Do I regret having sex outside of marriage. Back then, no. Today, absolutely.
Certainly, making these activities illegal would create opportunity for black-markets. I get that. However, I must stand before my God and give account for everything I do. Will I vote yes or no to sin and all that goes with it? This isn’t about homosexuality in isolation. It’s about a world overrun with sin. Let your reasonableness be known.
When all costs are considered, it is quite easy to let your reasonableness be known. The argument is quite compelling. Furthermore, it can be made using secular arguments. Religion isn’t necessary to support any of this. However, it does provide a good opportunity to then present the gospel, once our sin has been exposed.
In Conclusion, Finally.
Let me leave with an example how permissibility leads to twisted thinking beyond imagination. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America has issued “A Social Statement on: Abortion” Look at the fruit of this tree: “A developing life in the womb does not have an absolute right to be born,….” On the other hand, there are religious leaders who have a completely different perspective, those who agree with King David when he says, “You formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:13) See what David Platt says to say about this. For an interesting look by me on all this, visit this post.
Let your reasonableness be known.
Father, I thank you for the opportunity I had and the opportunity to share it with others. Amen.
Copyright © 2021 Scott Powers