Are Christians homophobic?

Homophobia is defined as a fear of, hatred toward, or prejudice against people who identify as homosexual. The Bible says, "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear" (1 John 4:18). Throughout both the Old and New Testaments, God's people are commanded to love their neighbor (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 22:39; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8) and even to love their enemy (Matthew 5:44). So while people who harbor ill-will toward homosexuals can be found in every walk of life, including in some Christian circles, homophobia is not a biblical teaching.

However, the Bible's teaching that homosexual acts are a sinful perversion of God's design for sex is unfortunately sometimes misconstrued by society as hateful or prejudiced against homosexual people. Interestingly, the Bible teaches that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Naming specific acts as sin according to the Bible's teaching is not hateful or judgmental because Christians know that they, themselves, are guilty of sin, too. In fact, in 1 Corinthians 6:9–11, Paul states, "Neither the sexually immoral… nor men who practice homosexuality… will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." In addressing the believers in Corinth, Paul reminds them that they used to practice homosexuality, but that because of Jesus' work on the cross, they are now forgiven for that sin and free to rely on the Holy Spirit's empowerment to avoid that sin in the future. This forgiveness and freedom is the essence of the good news of the gospel.

Galatians 6:1 says, "If anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness." Anytime a believer confronts sin in someone else, it should be done gently with the goal of restoring the other person. When writing to the Ephesians, Paul reminded them, "at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light… Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but expose them… 'and Christ will shine on you'" (Ephesians 5:8, 11, 14). Here he reminded the Ephesians to be humble because they, too, had once lived in darkness. But Paul also called them to expose darkness so that Christ's work could bring light and salvation. In Colossians 3:16 Paul calls believers to, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom." The only way to distinguish between good works and sin is to know God's Word on the matter. The Bible is clear on its teaching about homosexual practice, but it is equally clear on its call to expose these sins in a gentle manner with the hope of restoring sinners to live in the light of Christ and to continue in love toward all people whether or not they have yet turned to the Lord. So biblically, Christians are called to name homosexual acts as sin, but to do so without ill-will or malice toward homosexual people. Rather than being homophobic, Christians should be loving toward homosexuals remembering that, "God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

Related Truth:

What does it mean to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15)?

Is homosexuality a sin?

Are homosexual feelings sinful? Is homosexual / same-sex attraction a sin?

How should Christian parents respond if one of their children comes out as gay?

Does the Bible say anything about political correctness?

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