Written in 2008
Abortion is illegal in Sri Lanka even though there are hundreds of abortions taking place every day. Homosexual marriage seems to be a distant possibility though it is gaining acceptance in the West. Yet we know that homosexual practice is ignored in public life and a lot of people do not see much of a problem with it. How should we Christians respond?
When the church faced challenges to its beliefs and practices in the past, it responded with restatements and demonstrations that presented the Christian truths being challenged in a more beautiful, clear, appealing, persuasive and practical light. I pray that this would be the response to possible challenges coming to our belief in the sanctity of heterosexual marriage and the sanctity of human life.
The Homosexual Marriage Issue
- The growth of prominence of homosexual marriage is in some way related to the diminishing of the way people view heterosexual marriage in society. This is a huge problem in Sri Lanka. Marriage is devalued and the idea of having sexual relations with only one person for life is not considered an essential value. The church must demonstrate afresh the beauty and joy of being committed for life to one husband or wife and of confining sexual relations exclusively to ones spouse. We must demonstrate afresh the freedom to love and to enjoy ones spouse that such life-long commitment gives.
- We must not only proclaim that heterosexual relationships of life-long commitment within marriage are the best, the wisest and the happiest way to live, we must also demonstrate why this is so.
- We must show with new persuasiveness how those with homosexual orientation could experience the abundant life Jesus promises through celibacy in terms of homosexual activity and through seeking healing from this orientation.
- Just as Jesus hung around with tax collectors and sinners and saw them become righteous servants of God, Christians must be known as those who hang around homosexuals in loving, humble and righteous friendships.
- We are accused of homophobia because we oppose homosexual practice. Would this be reduced if the world knew that we oppose with equal emphasis heterosexual sin? Certainly in the Bible there is much more condemnation of heterosexual sin than of homosexual sin.
- Our pursuit of radical Christian morality must be mixed with radical and humble servanthood. We must be known to be those who will suffer inconvenience and shame because of our love for sinners, our desire to whatever is necessary to help them and to bring them to Jesus.
The Abortion Issue
- We must show with fresh attractiveness and persuasiveness why it is best not to terminate an “unwanted” pregnancy.
- More and more Christians must be proactive in caring lovingly for those who face unwanted pregnancies and do all they can to help them and the children who are born.
- I have been very impressed by the way many Christians in the West are adopting children. This is sometimes a painful experience because some of the children end up rebelling against the values their parents held. But that happens with biological children brought up by good Christian parents too. The idea of giving a child the opportunity to grow up in a loving Christian home surely is fully in harmony with Christian principles. Let’s have more Christian adoptions in Sri Lanka!
- We must powerfully combat those factors that lead people to sexual activity outside marriage, which is the primary reason for “unwanted” pregnancies.
- Our family-life must reflect the joy and pleasure of holiness and the security of parental affirmation and acceptance, so that our children will not fall into the trap of yielding to sexual temptation in order to receive joy, pleasure, affirmation and acceptance.
- We must present with fresh attractiveness the joy, the pleasure, the affirmation, the acceptance and the freedom that comes from sexual relationships experienced out of a life-long commitment and devotion to one husband or wife in marriage.
- We must battle those things in society that lead us to seeking sexual pleasure outside a marriage relationship—such as pornography and the sexualisation of the media.
- Proverbs and Song of Songs teach that married people must work at being sexually attractive their spouses rather than to others. The media flaunt the sexual attractiveness of some people (many of them married people) for the whole world to enjoy. Married Christians must concentrate on being sexually attractive to their spouses and on enjoying their spouses sexually.
- God created our capacity for pleasure, including sexual pleasure. The world is exploiting that capacity in sinful ways. We must demonstrate that the only way to really fulfil this capacity is to enjoy pleasure righteously.
- Righteous living includes self-control and abstinence for married and unmarried people. We must show that people who deprive themselves of certain legitimate pleasures because of commitment to a higher agenda could still be happy, wholesome, contented and fulfilled individuals. Here we would include those who are single or divorced, those who are waiting to be married to a person whom they find sexually attractive, those who are travelling away from home and those who are unable to have happy sexual relationships with their spouses. Frustration is an essential factor of life in a fallen world (Rom. 8:18-22). It produces holy longing in the Christian (Rom. 8:19, 23) that can serve to make us deeper, holier people. Frustration is never an excuse for sinful escapes from frustration. We live daily longing for complete redemption, enjoying the fulfilment of Christ’s abundant life and refusing to give went to our frustration through sin.
We must always battle for legislation that accords with the plan of the Creator of humanity. Surely, the Creator’s plan alone is what is best for humans. Therefore, legislators must continue their battle for social righteousness. However, no amount of bad legislation can overcome the power, the joy, the appeal and the goodness of biblical morality demonstrated in the lives of Christians. We now have the challenge of demonstrating this afresh.