Response to “Just Because He Breathes”

God's righteousness vs love

Q. What’s your response to this story? read before reading this post.)

A. A reader forwarded the above article to me asking for my comments. I read the post, watched the 1/2 hour video by the parents Rob and Linda on YouTube, and read the letter the father wrote to his gay son Ryan. However, I have not read the blog in its entirety.

I have never gone through the struggles that Ryan had, nor the pain that the parents endured as they wrestled with their son’s sexuality. I have not walked in their shoes, and am not judging my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. But since someone asked for my opinion, I write with a certain heaviness of heart, knowing my own shortcomings, and the fact that no matter what we do or how we feel, it will be inadequate.

First of all, I want to affirm the unconditional love the parents have for their son. For the first 6 years, from when Ryan told his mom at age 12 that he was gay, to age 18 when he gave up on God, they did everything they could to steer Ryan back. But according to them they acted out of fear. Then, from the time Ryan dropped out of their lives for 18 months, to his subsequent returning home, till his death at age 20 from drug overdose, the parents changed to living by faith. They learned to accept Ryan the way he was, in their words “as God made him to be”. They changed from fighting or resisting Ryan’s condition, to accommodating and embracing Ryan’s lifestyle, “just so long as he breathes”. I wish I could have the love they have for their son. They have done more than many parents I know, ourselves included. But as much as I see them to be strong evangelical Christians and loving parents, I do not share their position on compromising God’s holiness, as they would celebrate if Ryan were to be wedded in a same-sex marriage.

There has always been a dynamic tension between God’s love and His righteousness and holiness. As love God forgives, accepts and receives. But God is also holy and righteous, and cannot tolerate sin. He does not leave the guilty unpunished; otherwise He would not be just. When we over-emphasize His righteousness at the expense of His love, we are left with a cold, stern judge. However, when we stress His love at the expense of His righteousness, we end up with a diluted “love wins” theology and a God who is less than God because He accommodates sin. And my understanding of Scripture is that homosexual activity is sin, which God abhors.

We do not have a case of our Lord dealing with homosexuals in the gospels, but there is a case of a woman caught in adultery. When the scribes and the Pharisees brought her to Jesus, He told her “neither do I condemn you“. But He did not stop there, He continued “Go now and leave your life of sin.”(Jn 8:11) He forgave her but confronted her sin, commanding her to leave her life of sin behind. What would Jesus do in Ryan’s case? I think He would have done something similar. He would not condemn him; He would love him; but He would also require that he leave his lifestyle behind. Some would find this position to be harsh and easy to say, but impossible for a gay person to deny his inward desire. But Heb 12:4 said “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” It’s a decision each person have to make for himself.

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  • Linda Robertson  On August 16, 2013 at 3:10 am

    Pastor Ray,

    Thank you for your kindness and grace, in spite of our different interpretations of what the Bible teaches about homosexuality.

    Rob and I greatly respect and appreciate your humility in acknowledging that you haven’t walked in our shoes; Bless you. We also respect and appreciate your commitment to Christ and to His word.

    Thank you for all that you are doing for the Kingdom!

    Trusting in His grace & mercy alone,

    Linda Robertson (author of Just Because He Breathes)

    • Pastor Ray  On August 16, 2013 at 8:09 am

      Yes Linda. Thank you for your grace. Trust in His grace & mercy alone. Amen.

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