Tuesday, September 30, 2014


I've NEVER attempted to counsel people who are guilty of sexual sins in the pastoral counseling I've done, and I've done a ton of it, without my being willing to say, at the appropriate time and in the appropriate manner, that I view their action as a sinful action. That's truth, at least for me, about ALL sexual activity outside of marriage which I believe to be between a man and a woman in a covenant type of relationship. Anything other than this is missing the mark which is the biblical definition of sin as I understand scripture. That's what I believe. 

But what I've ALSO found to be true is that people whom I counsel that are guilty of what I may call sexual sins don't need me to convince them of my view of their behavior BEFORE I love them as persons with MORE THAN WORDS. What  they need is for me to be open to THEM emotionally, graciously, and embracing THEM as a person worth respecting.

Now reread the opening sentence of the first paragraph if you will and notice the operative word, "appropriate." 

I'm convinced that they, maybe homosexuals more than others, need someone to give respectful acceptance of their personhood which, if my personal observation is correct, they DON'T find in many Christians. So most of them wind up questioning the genuineness of Christians and Christianity totally. That's because their personhood has been violated for such a long time by some so-called Christians who have obviously been more concerned with condemning a certain kind of behavior than they have been in expressing love to them as a person

Unfortunately, those same so-called Christians exhibit a double standard by NOT demonstrating that condemning attitude of toward fornicators, adulterers, gluttons, drug addicts, alcoholics or even the worse kind of people which is those filled with PRIDE over the fact they HAVEN'T committed ANY of those kinds of things.

I'm sure not saying so-called Christians SHOULD have the same attitude toward the latter. I'm saying so-called Christians SHOULD NOT have that attitude toward the former.

I believe it to be essential for a Christian to respectfully accept the personhood of people guilty of ALL MANNER of "missing the mark" behavior in ALL categories by seeing ALL as sinners, including themselves, and as being created in the image of God originally, albeit fallen now, and objects of our love and not our wrath. I can do THAT without violating my personal view of their actions at all. So I think I'll leave wrath against their personhood to God Who, were it ever to be expressed, will always express it lovingly. That's Who He is.

If someone says to me, "But Paul, homosexuals DEFINE themselves by their homosexuality and expect us to do so as well by demanding that we not call it wrong behavior." My answer is I don't generally do what people expect of me, even the expectations of those so-called Christians who expect me to show my disdain toward homosexuals because of their activity. But I DO want to act on the basis of what I believe to be the Kingdom principle of REAL relationships.

That Kingdom principle is basically treating and viewing ANY person as an image reflector of God and object of my love, but more importantly, HIS love. That principle includes mutual respect, love and forgiveness. In other words, treating THEM as I'M being treated by the Father because I'm "IN CHRIST."  Because I'm a Kingdom kid, the expectation someone might have of me is never to rise above the Kingdom expectation of my loving and accepting people where they are, not based on behavior, PERIOD. Otherwise, loving even our enemies, which we're commanded to do, would not be possible. 

Things like gender, race, ethnic group, age, one holding a differing opinion of theology than mine or any defined behavior found in categories like homosexuality or heterosexuality, simply DO NOT define any person to me as a Kingdom kid. That just isn't the way of Kingdom living. Loving people where they are is the Kingdom way.

Paul B.


Aussie John said...


Again, you've expressed my own heart and mind on a matter.

You illustrate so well the reason I like to use the old expression,"Remember, when you point your finger at someone there are three pointing back at you".

How any genuine follower of Christ can set themselves as sheriff, judge and jury without recognizing their own sinful self beats me!

"......those filled with PRIDE over the fact they HAVEN'T committed ANY of those kinds of things."

I've been there, as well as met quite a few, but it makes me very sad that such people obviously have no idea about their own humanity, and how great is the gift that they claim to have been given.

Bob Cleveland said...

I wonder how the people who despised Bill Murray felt about that attitude, when he became a Christian and was called into ministry? Especially since God knew all along what their attitude was, and that Murray would become one of His own.

Isn't that the same with lost folks or folks living in rebellion?

And calling it "tough love" doesn't give anyone the right to be tough about it.

I don't think I ever heard of a tough sheep.

Paul Burleson said...

Aussie J, Bob,

Both of you guys hit the nail on the head with your comments. Thanks.

I had the privilege of having Bill Murray in my last two pastorates as a speaker and have yet to meet a nicer guy.

RETA said...

Well-said! Thanks for writing, Paul.

RETA@ http://evenhaazer.blogspot.com

Paul Burleson said...


You're welcome. Thank YOU for reading.

Sarah said...

There were a lot of times in church where it was inferred that some peoples' sins were not as bad as other sins committed by less liked people. The people who were there presented a "God" who made excuses for "better" people and played favorites.

That kind of attitude (and your post) reminded me of a song by ATF called "One rule for you, one rule for me" and I think it describes that attitude perfectly.