He’s the first active athlete of the four major sports in America to announce to the world that his is homosexual. Jason Collins, the 34-year-old center for the Washington Wizards, had an interview with George Stephanopolous on ABC’s Good Morning America after his announcement. When asked what he would say to a gay 12-year-old boy dreaming of playing in the NBA, Collins said, “It doesn’t matter that you’re gay.”
Playing basketball has nothing to do with your sexual preference. Collins continued with his counsel for the young, hypothetical athlete by telling him that hard work and commitment to your teammates is what counts. I couldn’t agree more. If Collins ends up playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, then I’ll cheer as hard for him as I do for Kyrie Irving or like I will for Lebron James when he comes home ;-).
However, I won’t cheer for him just because he’s gay to prove that I’m a modern Christian with up to date morals.
Support from fellow NBA stars, celebrities and even the President of the United States went out to Collins, validating another response in the interview about the timing of his announcement, “America is ready.” That pains me not just because it’s a sign of the times, but because part of me wants to be able to do the same.
Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle note in Erasing Hell, a book refuting Rob Bell’s argument against the existence of hell, that they like the idea that there is no hell because that’s easier to understand and accept. It’s hard dealing with the notion that God has a place of eternal torment for people who reject him. But as much as they dislike the idea of hell that doesn’t make it go away even though the sentiment is based on concern for people who will suffer. God has always been just and he always will be.
I’m writing a book where I note how unfair it is to have such a strong desire toward gluttony when others don’t. But, let’s call it what it is, or, more accurately, what God has decided it is. To say that eating everything in sight is okay because that’s how I express the real me is to say that I’ve defined morality for myself and that God can stuff his. Though I’m often tempted, I’m just not willing to do that (anymore).
Compassion is the emotion that leads to relieving people of their suffering. The homosexual community has been struggling for a long time. It is right to want to see that pain end. However, real peace is being in a right place with God on his terms. Trying to alleviate suffering for others by redefining divine concepts will not work for them in this life, and certainly not in the next. And it doesn’t do us any good either.
Giving my blessing to sinful actions because people are struggling with them is a cowardly and ineffective approach to following Jesus just as much as judging and mistreating them are. Christians, we’ve erred to one side for much of our history, let’s not err to the other now.
Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32, NLT)