Don't Hate the Sinner, Hate the Sin

The Bible is almost like the rule of life for Christians, a command to follow to serve their Lord entirely. It is His word, and everyone who believes in the Christian faith knows that they must follow His word. More often than not, however, the writings are skewed to fit one’s own interpretation of the text, leaving out bits and pieces, or ignoring things entirely. Some Christians use His word, the word of our Lord, to back their agendas, but they don’t even use it fully, only the pieces that suit them. Is it ironic that many Christians are often the most judgmental people, or is it just sad? Doesn’t God, The Bible, and Christianity teach us about love and tolerance?
The Bible makes up a large percentage of the population’s reason for opposition to anything related to gays. The Bible does mention homosexuality (not in so many words, of course, so who can say it isn’t open to interpretation?) so it is a perfectly legitimate reason. It’s a legitimate reason until you read further into The Bible, that is. There are verses that are entirely ignored in favor of smiting the gays (and there’s a measly two verses written on the subject for all the ruckus people create). Can we just pick and choose the verses we want to follow now? Are we really degrading The Bible down to the likes of a fast-food restaurant, asking them to leave off the pickles (because you really don’t like pickles) but having them add cheese (because, well, cheese is delicious)? Let’s forget the verses that pertain to us, and go straight to enforcing the ones that don’t, like the mere mention of gays is breaking a law and the sinner needs to be punished. How is that fair?

It is true that "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination" appears in The Bible (Leviticus 18:22). It is also true that “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them" appears in the Holy text once, but those are the only mentions of homosexuality (though neither verse outright mentions the term) so is it really as big of a deal as people make it out to be (Leviticus 20:13)? Those verses are the cause of extreme disdain, almost hatred, of gay people amongst a portion of the Christian community. Those must be some pretty powerful verses.

As Christians, let us not forget all the verses of The Bible, though. Let’s list a few verses that are entirely ignored, shall we? There’s the ever-forgotten (or purposely ignored) verse about being disrespectful to one’s parents, "For everyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother. His blood shall be upon him" (Leviticus 20:9). Can you imagine how many children we would have to kill if we still followed this text? Leviticus also says "Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard" (Leviticus 19:27). There’s always the verse about cloth and seed, too, "...do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. Do not wear material woven of two kinds of material" (Leviticus 19:19). How often are we warned of the evils of shaving, though, aside from a cut if you’re not careful enough? You are neither warned about the evils of planting more than one kind of seed and wearing more than one kind of cloth nor killed for disrespecting your parents throughout your life. Some would say that it’s because those verses don’t fit into our time, they’re much too “old-school” to be practical today. Isn’t it interesting that Leviticus only shows up in the Old Testament, which no one follows today in favor of the New Testament, and is the book that condemns “homosexuality”? Isn’t it interesting that no one says a word about the cloth or the seeds but is so avid about voicing The Bible’s hatred of men lying with men when both are from a book long forgotten?

Leviticus isn’t the only book in The Bible that has verses that remain unspoken, however. Deuteronomy says "If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of the town. They shall say to the elders, 'This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard.' Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death..." (Deuteronomy 21:18-21). That’s a little harsh, don’t you think? Stoning your child to death because he or she is unruly is certainly a little bit of a rash decision. That’s probably why the verse is so often forgotten.
There’s more to it than ignoring certain verses that are agreeably antiquated. Killing your child for lying makes no more sense than smiting gays and lesbians in a modern-day sense. Those verses are admittedly old fashioned, but what about the verses that bear far more meaning than the verses about homosexuality? We certainly aren’t forgetting the message of love that appears countless times, are we? It can’t be, though, because love is still preached by devout Christians, just not alongside the preaching of God’s hatred of homosexuals. That, however, is what could be called hypocrisy

Let’s remember: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35), “Let all that you do be done in love” (1 Corinthians 16:14), “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;” (Luke 6:37), and “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). The same book that mentions men lying with men also says “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:18), and strangely enough there isn’t even a clause that says “unless your neighbor is gay”.

We are all supposed to have an inherent love of everybody, are we not? Are we not supposed to love blindly and let God worry about condemning? It is not up to us to hate and judge and condemn, but it is up to us to love and treat everyone with respect and kindness, for that is what the Lord would want us to do. Using The Bible, a book ultimately about God’s love for His children and the sacrifices He has made, to further our hate and xenophobia is an improper use of His word. Can we not let those we deem sinners face God instead of trying to play God ourselves? The Bible isn’t an excuse for hate; it’s a reason for love.





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