I often bring up the biblical truth that as humans, none of us are ultimately that different from one another. When I apply this to gay people, however, a lot of believers have trouble. Often, it stems from a word we find in the Bible: “abomination.” For many, because the Bible says that same-sex sex is an abomination (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13), they believe gay people are not only different from them but worse than them. So let’s take a look at the word and how it’s used in the Bible to see if that’s actually true.
What does “abomination” mean?
Holman Bible Dictionary describes the meaning of this word by looking at how it’s used in scripture. It describes anything that God finds detestable, especially idolatry (worshiping false gods). It is translated from a number of Hebrew and Greek words, several of which mean “to stink” (e.g., Exodus 7:18). An abomination is something that God detests and finds rotten and vile. It is applied to idolatry far more often than it is applied to homosexuality.
Do only gay people commit abominations?
Perhaps you hold yourself to be better than gay people because you believe they commit abominations and you do not. To support this, you need to make a clear case that you do not, in fact, commit abominations. Unfortunately, the Bible is very clear that you and I actually do commit actions that are abominations in God’s eyes every single day. All people do, whether they’re believers or not.
Paul calls envy “idolatry” twice: once in Ephesians and once it its twin epistle, Colossians.
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:[b] sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5)
For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. (Ephesians 5:5)
Have you ever felt envy? Yes, you feel it often, and so do I. We feel it when we long for a life different than our own. We feel it when we see a man or woman we want for ourselves. We feel it when we grumble about our jobs, believing we would be better off if God provided something different. We feel it when we become impatient with our children, believing it would be better for us if they were different.
God says that you and I commit idolatry. For many of you, this isn’t surprising. Seeking provision from anything other than God and what He gives is no different than serving a false god. It’s an idea foreign to some believers but to not most these days. Idolatry is an abomination to God. And we do it every single day.
We all need Jesus’s grace
Yes, homosexuality is an abomination. But so is envy. Frankly, so is all sin, and none of us can claim we don’t sin. If the word applies to something as commonplace as envy, what does that say about contentions, anger, selfish ambitions, grumbling, deceit, and pride?
It’s not just gay people who need to repent and trust Jesus when they don’t understand. We all need to repent and trust Jesus when we don’t understand. Believer, you are not better than your gay neighbor. You are the same as them. You’re not even better than an unbeliever. When God had mercy on you and saved you, it was all His grace.
You contribute nothing to your salvation except the sin that made it necessary. (Jonathan Edwards)
You depend on Jesus just as much now to change your heart when you’re living in the flesh’s desires as you did when He first saved you. When you believed in Jesus, you declared in no uncertain terms that you were so bad and so helpless, you needed God to crush His Son to atone for you and make you clean. This is not a belief that lends itself to you thinking you’re better than anyone, much less a gay person.
We all share the same need for Jesus to save us, whether we’re believers or not. We’re just not that different from any other human, gay people included.
For a more in depth treatment of this, check out Chapter 4 of Foreign (specifically the section, “Addressing Leviticus”).