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As a Christian, is it ok to be around people who are homosexual?

I think the answer to your question is to be found in 1 Corinthians chapter 5. First, let me give you the link to a sermon on that text, and then I'll make a few comments.

The church at Corinth had a serious problem. One of its members was living with his father's wife. Rather than discipline this fellow (according to Matthew 18:15-20) the church embraced him, and felt proud of themselves for doing so. Paul told the church that he had already turned this fellow over to Satan, and indicated that they should do so as well.

Paul had earlier taught that Christians should not associate with immoral people. The church misinterpreted Paul's teaching, assuming that he meant they should not associate with the unsaved. "Quite the contrary," Paul says. If one had to separate from the unsaved to be holy, one would have to depart from this life. What Paul meant was that they should not associate with those who professed to be Christians, but lived immoral lives (like the fellow who was living with his father's wife).

From this text, I think you can conclude that the Christian should not isolate himself from the unsaved, but should live out the gospel among the lost. You will remember that this is what Jesus was criticized for doing in Matthew 9:9-13.

There are, of course, things which no believer should participate in, (see, for example, 1 Corinthians 10:14-22). In such cases we should, "go and sin no more" (John 8:11).

When we come to faith in Jesus, there are many things that we can no longer do (see, for example, Ephesians 4:17ff.). Make no doubt about it; homosexuality is sin. But so is anger, lust, greed, gossip, etc (see Matthew 5:21-48). Few Christians I know would refuse to be around those who lie, covet, or gossip, but many Christians will avoid any association with a homosexual. Is this because they are obeying Scripture, or because they don't like homosexuals?

There are several guidelines that I can think of:

(1) Did Jesus associate with sinners? Clearly He did.

(2) Does the Bible forbid me to associate with such sinners? Not in 1 Corinthians 5.

(3) Does my association with sinners advance the gospel and bring glory to God (see 1 Corinthians 10:31)?

Related Topics: Basics for Christians, Cultural Issues

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