Every time a vicious crime is committed against a group of LGBT people or a natural disaster befalls a Gay Pride event, my ears are pained by senseless explanations offered by religious yet graceless voices. Most Christians mourn and weep over these tragedies, but I always hear a few Bible Belt dwellers claiming “the heathen” got what they deserved—that God smote the sodomites as they reveled in their sins. They recall biblical stories like Sodom and Gomorrah and almost excitedly proclaim that God is “still in the business of judging rebels!” There is no doubt in my mind that there are religious yet gospel-ignorant men and women sitting in their church pews as I write this article, feeling tempted to utter such insensitivities in the wake of the Orlando gay club shooting.
If you are one who is inclined to believe these gay club attendees got what was coming to them, I plead with you to consider the words of Jesus:
“There were some present at that very time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” –Luke 13:1-5
Is homosexual behavior sinful? Absolutely. Is embracing homosexual desires an act of defiance against a good and holy God? Most definitely. Is a nightclub full of intoxicated homosexuals one of the least holy places you could enter? As someone who spent four nights a week in gay clubs prior to Jesus getting his hands on me, I can assure you that it is. But are homosexual sinners worse than Sunday school sinners? Not by a long shot.
Apart from God’s grace, you are just as depraved and enslaved to the sin within you as the LGBT person. Your wickedness may flesh out differently, but it is no less despicable in the sight of God. Do you think God finds your self-righteous judgment of the gay man more tolerable than He finds the gay man’s same-sex acts? Do you think He is less disturbed by you looking down your nose at the lesbian woman than He is by that lesbian woman’s homosexual indulgences? If so, think again—and heed the words of the One you say you follow: “Unless you repent, you will likewise perish.” Friend, don’t think, even for a second, that underneath your conservative Republican-ish veneer, your heart is any less obstinate and wicked than that of the gay man dancing at the gay bar in Orlando last night.
God does not take delight in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23)—and neither do those whose hearts have been filled with his love. If you claim to follow Jesus, mourn over the rebellion of those who refuse to trust him (Luke 13:34). Weep over death and the widespread grief that accompanies it (John 11:35). But don’t utter a word of condescending judgment—because your own sinfulness earns you no less than an eternity under God’s wrath.