In a word: Love.
To some people, that may sound preposterous—but bear with me as we work through this.
Many have difficulty reconciling how Christians can engage in both of these activities. Don’t Christians oppose same-sex marriage because they hate gay people? While some would like to say so, that’s just not true. Yet it is easier for many to continue in this belief than deal with the tension brought about by sorting through the above question.
To help understand how Christians can tread both of these roads, we must examine what they actually believe.
Christians believe that all of humanity have turned their backs on God and none measure up to God’s holiness on their own effort. A big price needed to be paid for this violation of God’s high standard of holiness. Jesus paid this heavy price, by going to the cross and becoming the object of God’s wrath against all humanity’s sin. The benefit of his payment for sin is now available to all (including you)—if you believe that Jesus paid the price on your behalf. This is the gospel (or “good news”) of Jesus Christ. He restores our status with God for all eternity, regardless of how we have offended God. We just need to turn from our sin, repent, and believe. If we truly believe, we will want to follow and obey this God who saved us.
So what are we saying here? We are saying that God fully loves and forgives, yet his standards fully matter. Indeed, the very reason Jesus had to go to the cross was because the violation of the standards was serious enough to require a serious sacrifice. Yet the reason God sent Jesus to the cross was that he loved us so much that he wanted to be with us for eternity. When a Christian realizes how much Jesus loves them by dying for them, they can’t help but want to extend that love to others and seek their well-being—such as praying for hurting people like the LGBT victims of the Orlando attack.
The price that Jesus paid on the cross was very great because the seriousness of humanity’s departure from God’s standards was very great. So God’s standards matter. But he has also made a way for us to satisfy them.
If he has restored us to himself spiritually through Jesus, don’t we want to live consistently with the standards for whose violation he paid a great price? We will all remain sinners while we are on this earth—including Christians! But it is good for us to strive to live according to God’s standards. It is so good that God cared about it enough to send Jesus to pay the price for our departure from these standards. So any Christian who really understands the good news of Jesus can’t compromise God’s standards and say they don’t matter.
Christians therefore also think this way about how we conduct our sex lives. God’s principles in that area are for our best. Because Christians care for people, we don’t want to see them engage in harmful sexual practices contrary to God’s design for sex—which is only between a man and a woman in marriage. This also means, as a single person, it is good for me to not have sex. It may seem difficult, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is good. It brings me contentment, wholeness, peace, and joy. But even when I don’t feel those things, I still trust that God’s plan is good. Submission to God is not always easy. At times it is difficult, and doesn’t feel smooth. Yet it is still good—for me, as it is for all people. Therefore Christians urge all to not engage in actions outside of God’s plan—whether these are heterosexual or homosexual acts. God has designed marriage to be between a man and a woman. Humans can’t change that. Just as we can’t change it to be between two men or two women, we also can’t change it to be between three men and four women, or any other variation. Just because people have broken this standard at different times throughout history doesn’t mean we can say it is not God’s ideal—which we must remember, is ultimately for our good.
It is true that we have all fallen short, and all need the covering and forgiveness that Jesus had to provide on the cross. But we all know our choices on earth still matter, and can harm us or help us. Indeed, the whole reason Jesus had to go to the cross was because the choices of human beings harmed our relationship with God. Yet God has restored this relationship through Jesus.
It is natural that Christians therefore want to share this good news with others. It is the central message of Christianity, and it goes to the core of our existence on earth. We want others to hear this news because it is good for them. At the same time, this doesn’t change God’s standards on sexuality—which remain in existence, and work for our good. When we seek someone’s good, we are loving them. Therefore pointing someone toward God’s guidance on sexuality is loving toward them.
Christ provides a covering for our actions on the cross. But we can still harm ourselves on this earth even after we are spiritually purified by his sacrifice on the cross.
When we decline to agree that same-sex marriage (or any sexual conduct at odds with God’s standard) is okay, we are doing this for the good of those who may engage in that conduct which is harmful to them. When we pray for the well-being of the LGBT victims of violence in Orlando, we are doing it for their good. There should be no tension between the two for a Christian.
Many may not agree with my message. But I want everyone to clearly understand my motive.
If you desire to know more about God and the good news of Jesus discussed above, I invite you to find a Bible and open it to the book of John. Or contact me through our FRC website. I’d be happy to talk.