How should I relate to a friend who takes an opposing view on homosexuality?

A sincere and humble attitude is a prerequisite to any discussion that you might have about your opposing views. Your friend may have tried to “change” in the past but the same-sex sexual attractions persist; he/ she may have faced or witnessed discrimination on account of being different from others of the same sex. Extend understanding towards their circumstances.

Willingly listen to their point of view. Ask questions in a calm and gentle manner. Avoid being hostile and defensive, or aggressively arguing beliefs. Your role or responsibility towards them is not to change their mind or ways. It is possible to maintain your stand against homosexuality without losing a “pro-gay” or homosexual friend.1

Acknowledge that neither party has all the answers. Prepare to respond to pro-gay interpretation of key bible verses that refer to homosexuality. Stay flexible when discussing theories (e.g., biological basis of homosexuality or ability to change sexual orientation), yet firm when discussing your convictions. Be aware of the complex issues within the discussion.

Offer genuine friendship. Instead of focusing your energies on arguing that they are morally or ideologically wrong, show them love by demonstrating acceptance and grace. They may expect you to dismiss or betray them at some point because of your differing stand; prove otherwise.

Set appropriate boundaries. You may be the first heterosexual person to engage with and befriend them. Watch for signs of emotional dependency or co-dependency, and do not be afraid to clarify your relationship.

Speaking about homosexuality poses an unavoidable challenge as the issue is itself controversial and our words often misconstrued. Nonetheless, Christians are called to influence and not just evangelize the world (Matthew 5:13-16):2

Possible Argument

Truth
Innateness: homosexuality is inborn, and therefore normal and God-ordained.
  • Even if homosexuality has a genetic or biological origin, it does not prove its normality or morality.
  • A homosexual orientation may be discovered but homosexual acts are chosen and voluntary, making the person who chose them morally responsible for those choices.
  • Every fallen human faces the challenge of resisting from acting out deeply ingrained sinful impulses.
Insignificance: homosexuals are decent people and a minority; what they mutually consent to is a private matter.
  • Homosexuality (like all sin) has negative consequences that impact others, including but not limited to children raised by same-sex parents.
  • Legalization of same-sex marriage has weakened the institution of marriage by allowing multiple sexual partners.
Intolerance: those who oppose homosexuality are dangerously ignorant, prejudiced homophobes or violent gay-bashers.
  • Human-beings can recognize the worth of other persons without agreeing with their behaviour or subscribing to their different beliefs.
  • While we don’t condemn persons, we need to distinguish between types of behaviour. We do this out of our convictions based on our biblical worldview as Christians, and not out of prejudice or fear.
Endnotes
1. Alan Chambers, God’s Grace and the Homosexual Next Door: Reaching the Heart of the Gay Men and Women in Your World (Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2006)
2. Joe Dallas, Speaking of Homosexuality, (Christian Research Institute, Article ID: JAF1296, accessed 16 July 2014)