Will there come a point where Christianity will regret how it has reacted to homosexuality? Will it want to take back all the anger and self-righteousness it has conjured against a single group of people who we have judged as sinning greater than anyone else?
There’s a little story buried in the Bible about a Levite and his concubine who stop for the night to get rest (Judges 19). The men of the town (Israelites mind you, the chosen of God) come and want to have sex with the man. The farmer who is hosting the couple says no, but offers the men the mistress and his virgin daughter. After some arguing, the mistress is eventually thrown to the men who then gang rape her so badly that she dies. But that’s not where the story ends. Eleven tribes so violently react to the incident, they nearly destroy the twelfth, the tribe of Benjamin. They then realize that their response has left them with a void. “Then they lifted up their voices and wept bitterly and said, ‘O lord God of Israel, why has this come to pass in Israel, that today there should be one tribe missing in Israel?'” (Judges 21:2-3)
Like the other eleven tribes do we get so incensed over the sin of homosexuality we are willing to cut off a part of us? We become so angry at this one group of people that our first reaction is to eliminate them entirely. We don’t stop to think about the actions we take because our emotional reaction is so strong. We can not permit this. They are immoral heathens whose mere presence in our sanctuary condemns us all.
But when the story is over, will we look back at a lost part of who we are? Friends, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, cousins. And beyond them are the innocent’s that are lost along with them. The families and support systems who have endured the attacks with love and patience. They experience our wrath and criticism; our revulsion and rejection as we force them to choose the church or their loved ones. In a fit of pharisaical indignation we lay out their choice of God’s wrath and forget about the grace of the cross.
The story of the Levite and his concubine is full of bad decisions; decisions based solely out of anger and self-righteousness judgment of others. Not until everything is settled down do they realize that they just killed a part of themselves in the process.