“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” – John 7:24
Let me ask a hypothetical question about a hypothetical person. Let’s say this person is a twenty-seven-year-old man. Let’s name him Ralph for simplicity’s sake. Ralph is a well-established man with a good job and is an active member of a church. However, Ralph has one dark secret he has never disclosed. Ralph is attracted to little girls. Ralph absolutely hates this about himself. He is ashamed but admittedly has a hard time kicking this attraction.
Here’s the question, is Ralph’s attraction sinful?
Some of you who read that probably feel disgusted. You would say, “Of course!” “Ralph is a pervert!” If you feel this way I would agree Ralph is guilty of a desire rooted in sin. Yet let’s rephrase the question. This time instead of Ralph being attracted to little girls lets say he is attracted to other men, what do you say now?
If you have changed your opinion I would ask on what basis? You cannot say one is more unnatural than the other. You cannot say homosexuality is any less wicked than pedophilia. What has changed about the situation that made you change your mind?
God commands us to judge with righteous judgment. That is to say, we should judge with fairness and consistency. Why would we treat Ralph’s sin issue differently when it was pedophilia than when it became homosexuality? I think if we were honest you would have to admit that it is because the culture has impacted your view of sin more than the Word. We must not look favorably on certain sins than others because we find them less emotionally disturbing. If you gave Ralph a pass on the same-sex attraction rather than the little girl attraction it is because homosexuality does not offend you as much as pedophilia and now you are being an unrighteous judge.
We must judge the sin on the basis of God’s word, not our prejudices. In this hypothetical scenario, both attractions are for sinful relationships. If your attraction is for sin then by definition would not that attraction be sinful itself? You might say the homosexual just has a greater appreciation for the beauty God has bestowed upon his particular sex and he stumbles in this. I would then ask “why?” The only answer can be that in the depths of his heart he desires to pervert said beauty with sinful relationships. If I may make an observation into the human mind, we know this is true with the pedophilic attraction and that is why it offends us. We make excuses for the homosexual perhaps because we can sympathize with them easier. Yet it is still hypocritical to belittle one sin over another.
The bible is clear that it’s not only acting upon fallen desires that is sinful, but the desires in and of themselves are sinful. (Matthew 5:28, 1 John 3:15, etc.) Of course, I do not deny that one who struggles with this sin can be saved, but the evidence of a regenerate heart is a life of repentance and crucifixion of wicked desires and lusts–not identification in them. Those who belong to God identify in Christ alone.
Let me end this article on a positive note. No matter what sinful desires, Ralph has hope in Christ. He should not give up because his heart currently wants something that God has commanded against. Ephesians 2:8-10 states:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Ralph can rest assure that by faith in Christ he is forgiven for his perverted feelings. Because Christ has atoned for the sins of all who would believe Ralph is declared righteous upon faith in Christ. Not only though is Ralph declared righteous before God but he receives adoption as a son of God by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Ralph then begin a process called sanctification where God washes His children of the sin that remains from the old life they lived dead in sin.
Rather than lighten Ralph’s sin we should remind Ralph constantly of the gospel. We should push him towards those good works ordained for him in Christ before the foundation of the world. One of these works being the mortification of sin. We should pray for him and walk through his struggles with him until he experiences the freedom God has promised him. We should weep with him when he weeps and rejoice with him when he overcomes. This is the picture of love. This is the power of the gospel.
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