Think about what you would do if you ran into a loved one who was lost in the woods, trying to find their way home. They tell you they are going to try a path that you know is a treacherous narrow trail, full of steep cliffs and loose gravel. And you also know that it will just take them further from home. Would you say “sure, I love you, go that way, it’ll lead you home”? Of course you wouldn’t. You would say “I love you, I know that path is dangerous and doesn’t lead home, please, come with me, I know the way”.
What if they rejected your offer because they were blinded by someone else’s directions, and chose to still go on the dangerous path away from home? They don’t believe you, they refuse to listen or follow. They have their agency to do that, and you can’t stop them. Do you stop loving them? Do you say “whatever, do what you want”? Of course not.
You don’t stop loving them at that point, but because you can’t stop them, you do the only other thing you can do, you pray with all your heart for them, and trust God to help them turn around eventually and take the right path. Most likely you would weep for your loved one.
People today are trying to say that because Jesus loves people, He doesn’t actually have any laws. If any of them really read the Bible they would know this is totally false. Think of the woman taken in adultery. Did Jesus say to her “Its okay, I love you, you can keep committing adultery? I didn’t really mean that commandment”? No! He said “Go and sin no more”.
Yes, Jesus was loving, merciful, and forgiving to every person, even the sinners (which is everyone). But He still taught laws and standards that He meant to be striven for.
If Jesus were here today, if He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, I believe He would do the same thing for a person who was choosing to enter a same-sex marriage. Like when He walked the earth, He wouldn’t avoid the sinners like the plague. He would still love them, spend time with them, and teach them.
But He wouldn’t condone or approve of their sins.
And contrary to what society is currently saying, I don’t believe God expects us to either.
I have always loved and appreciated this quote from Ezra Taft Benson:
“The world largely ignores the first and great commandment—to love God—but talks a lot about loving their brother… But only those who know and love God can best love and serve his children, for only God fully understands his children and knows what is best for their welfare. Therefore, one needs to be in tune with God to best help his children. …Therefore, if you desire to help your fellowmen the most, then you must put the first commandment first. When we fail to put the love of God first, we are easily deceived by crafty men who profess a great love of humanity…”
Some may think God wouldn’t make someone go through something hard and painful like not entering into a loving same-sex marriage. But the God I know would. Look at the scriptures, look at what He has asked others to go through. Even His prophets. Even Jesus Himself.
The scriptures teach that trials help us grow and commandments help us become like God.
God doesn’t want us to be able to do whatever we want, He wants us to do what He wants. God is not a permissive parent. But what He wants isn’t arbitrary.
He doesn’t have laws against love. He has laws regarding sex. We may not currently understand the reasons behind all His laws with our imperfect human brains, but we can trust God and keep an eternal perspective. He knows how to love us best and He knows what is best for our welfare. Better than we do for ourselves.
I really loved what Elder Christofferson said about how love means following Christ’s example in not misleading people concerning what is right and wrong, what will lead them home and what won’t:
“That was the Savior’s pattern. He always was firm in what was right and wrong. He never excused or winked at sin. He never redefined it. He never changed His mind. It was what it was and is what it is and that’s where we are, but His compassion, of course, was unexcelled and His desire and willingness and proactive efforts to minister, to heal, to bless, to lift and to bring people toward the path that leads to happiness never ceased.
That’s where we are. We’re not going to stop that. We’re not going to yield on our efforts to help people find what brings happiness, but we know sin does not. And so we’re going to stand firm there because we don’t want to mislead people. There’s no kindness in misdirecting people and leading them into any misunderstanding about what is true, what is right, what is wrong, what leads to Christ and what leads away from Christ.”
Like a loved one lost in the woods, if someone chooses to keep sinning and choosing to exclude themselves from blessings that must be qualified for, Jesus wouldn’t reject them. He wouldn’t say “good riddance” or encourage them to leave His church. From what I have read of Him, He would weep. He would cry for their pain. He would cry for their misunderstandings and confusion that is keeping them from living His truths.
He would teach truth, but if they told Him they didn’t want to hear it anymore, He would allow them that agency because He doesn’t force anyone to heaven.
Even though we live in a society that is calling evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20), even though members of God’s church are being attacked for striving to follow Him, we need to continue to follow His example of being firm and unyielding concerning what is His law and lead people aright, but also follow His example in being compassionate and seeking to understand. After all, He came and experienced the Atonement in order to understand why we make the choices and mistakes we make so that He can be compassionate and merciful (Alma 7: 11-13), and ultimately save us.
I say all this from the perspective of a Christian and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who also experiences same-gender attraction. Like everyone, I am just imperfectly trying to find my way through these issues, and these are thoughts that have helped me. I hope they are able to help someone else as well.