Do Gays’ Sexual Behavior Matter to Jesus?
Life lessons of a loving gay Christian
Do you believe that Jesus frets whenever a gay man has anal intercourse with another gay man? The answer is complex while being simple. Read on.
None of us knows for certain the answer to the article’s title. We seek the bible to help us comprehend — and then establish — our personal, debatable opinions. In like fashion, I am now going to offer you my own opinion on the matter of Jesus’ perspective on gay sexual behavior. And once I have pronounced it, I may have Jesus chuckling at me for getting it all wrong. But of this I am certain:
I may get it wrong, but I will never be unloved and abandoned by Jesus.
We must look at the two major factors that potentially resolve whether Jesus gives a twit about gay sexual behavior: 1) what constitutes “sin;” and 2) does Jesus abandon me when I sin?
What Constitutes Sin?
The best place to start is to get a clear definition of “sin.” I am choosing to use my Protestant Bible as my primary source of illumination (referencing Sarah Gruden’s translation from her book “The Gospels”). Accordingly, sin can be an overstep (i.e., my behavior was “out of bounds”). Additionally, sin can be a stumble (i.e., a blunder). Furthermore, sin can be a debt (i.e., something I owe to someone). And finally, sin can be a “failure of one’s purpose” (i.e., an infraction of a morally defined “right behavior”).
In the Protestant Bible, does Jesus ever declare “wrongful” sexual behavior? And does Jesus differentiate wrongful sexual conduct for a gay man versus a straight man?
As it so happens, Jesus is quoted as having defined two human sexual behaviors as wrongful: “adultery” and “sexual immorality.” You may enjoy reading my article (shown below) on the subject.
As declared in my previously listed article, adultery specifically speaks of the covetous behavior of taking another person’s spouse as your own sexual partner. This sin can occur behaviorally or mentally (i.e., “lust”). Jesus makes no differentiation between a straight or gay person regarding this wrongdoing.
Furthermore, sexual immorality directly refers to the idolatrous behavior of temple prostitution. Again, such wrongdoing applies to straights and gays alike.
Adultery. Does Jesus’ condemnation of covetous sexual behavior (i.e., adultery) apply to us today?
For me, the answer is “yes.” I believe I have erred if I covet taking another person’s husband as my sexual partner in anal intercourse. And logically, if I (as a married gay man) actually engage in anal intercourse with someone other than my husband, I believe I have encountered immoral behavior.
Sexual Immorality. Furthermore, how does Jesus’ condemnation of temple prostitution apply to me today (if at all)?
For me, it means that I should not provide money to a man so that I can have anal intercourse with him. However, if I have obeyed the first condition of “never engaging in any anal intercourse with someone other than my husband,” I automatically obey the restriction against prostitution.
I had one reader of my above article challenge me that it is absurd to think that the God of the universe frets over what we do inside our thoughts or with our penis. Perhaps this man is correct. As for me, though, I believe sin exists — and that every sin somehow matters to Jesus [more on that statement later in this article].
Virtuous. Now let me progress into the really good stuff! If “sin” is an infraction, what is “virtuous” sexual behavior? Often, we Christians focus on what not to do rather than what to do. If sin is real, then by definition, the concept of virtue is likewise real. In other words, if dark actually exists, then light must also exist.
So what is virtuous sexual behavior?
To answer that question, I need to know: what behavior (of any kind) is viewed as “right” by Jesus? And I believe Jesus has given us His answer.
My Protestant Bible quotes Jesus as declaring that all human laws and divine rules can be fulfilled if I simply align with Jesus and treat all others with His type of love. Well, I am aligned with Jesus — I will never leave Him. And I am to extend Jesus’ kind of love to all others: humble, other-centered acts of kindness and mercy. Furthermore, if I get confused about what “Jesus’ love” looks like, then I simply treat all others in the way I want to be treated. Finally, the “all others” include my enemies who intentionally bring harm to me.
So, in summary to this section’s question of “what constitutes sin,” my answer is failing to abstain from the behaviors that Jesus declared to be wrong and failure to engage in the corresponding virtuous behaviors.
Me. Regarding my sexual behavior, I would do well to avoid covetous adultery and idolatrous prostitution (i.e., abstain). And I satisfy both of those restrictions whenever I provide love in the way in which Jesus would (i.e., virtuous behavior).
As for my husband and me, he would be offended if I engaged in covetous anal intercourse with another man. And I would be deeply hurt if my husband were to engage in such behaviors. Furthermore, the two of us would be offended if the other person engaged in any form of erotic behavior with another man.
To accomplish each of our boundaries, I do not grit my teeth. Rather, I focus on how pleasing it is for me to uphold Jesus’ only request: that I love others in His way. And I believe that living by Jesus’ way is the best way for me to live.
Does Jesus Abandon Me When I Sin?
Growing up as a Catholic, I believed that I negated my relationship with God whenever I sinned. Accordingly, as I thought, I would be punished by God — a very painful and potentially eternal punishment. Later, when I became an Evangelical Protestant, I had a more confident assurance in my final destination. Still, I worried that if I engaged in any erotic behavior with another man, I would “disappoint” Jesus. Today, I am no longer an evangelical — and my perspective on disappointing Jesus has likewise changed.
Here is a legitimate question for every Christian: does Jesus accept me whenever I engage in sin?
In my youth, I believed that God would reject me — and Jesus would be disappointed with me — whenever I engaged in erotic behaviors. Does Jesus frown when I masturbate? Does He get upset when I look at gay pornography? Does Jesus turn His back on me when I have anal intercourse with my husband?
My answer to these questions is centered on the heart of “what is sin” and “what is virtuous.” I believe that both covetous adultery and idolatrous prostitution are wrong in Jesus’ taxonomy. While I have never engaged in prostitution, I have lustfully imagined myself having homoerotic activity with certain married men. Thus, I sinned.
So, in those times in which I engaged in the homoerotic lust of a married man, how does Jesus respond to my lack of virtue? Does my sin cause Jesus to abandon me?
Here is one biblical answer:
“People are not justified [i.e., in a right relationship with God] by obeying the divine and humanistic laws. Rather, we maintain a right relationship with Jesus because of Jesus’ obedience and our alignment with Him” (Galatians 2:16).
I have learned that there is NOTHING that can separate me from Jesus! Not masturbation. Not gay porn. Not gay sex.
Does this amazing grace allow me to act capriciously — selfishly attaining whatever makes me feel good? Yes, it does. Allow me to explain.
While I indeed do have the freedom to sin (i.e., Jesus will never leave me), do I thrive in acting outside of Jesus’ directives? I believe the answer is “no.” I think there is some level of pain and harm whenever I engage in adultery. I believe that when I become united with a prostitute (i.e., sexual immorality), I miss out on the joys of abstaining.
Basically, I believe the best way for me to live is to love all other people in Jesus’ way. And I simply cannot imagine Jesus committing adultery or sexual immorality. Rather, I imagine Jesus as continuously acting virtuously: loving all others through a compassionate heart, followed by acts of kindness and mercy.
And I want to love in Jesus’ way.
Therefore, what does all of this article actually, pragmatically, mean?
· Humans were created by Jesus to have sexual attractions.
· Humans were created to long for sexual activity.
· Regarding the use of my sexuality, I want to treat all others in the way I want to be treated. And I do not want to be sexually harmed.
· Gays have sexual attractions, longings, and responsibilities. So do straights. Gays are not more accountable or egregious than straights.
· The “Law of Love” is the only law that ultimately matters. If I accomplish it, I achieve all of the other rules.
· Loving like Jesus looks like being other-centered, feeling compassion, and responding with kindness and mercy. Even to our enemies.
· If I want Jesus, He allows me to stay by His side.
· And Jesus will never leave me.
Dr. Mike Rosebush is the founder/author of GAYoda and writer for Backyard Church. He has a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology and is a retired Licensed Professional Counselor with nine years of counseling and mentoring thousands of gay Christian men. A short synopsis of Dr. Rosebush’s life can be found at I Lived the Most Unusual Gay Christian Life Ever. Please read the complete set of his articles here. You may contact Dr. Rosebush at firstname.lastname@example.org.