Primum non nocere. “First, do no harm”.
This Latin phrase summarizes the Hippocratic Corpus and is the ethical standard of doctors around the world. This analogy will serve best to describe the Biblical and ethical problems arising out of the recent Supreme Court of the United States decision (Obergefell et al., v. Hodges, Director, Ohio Department of Health, et al.) to legalize homosexual marriage within all 50 states.
Imagine, if you will, that a patient demanded a certain prescription from a doctor during a visit. Unbeknownst to the patient, the doctor had information about a recently diagnosed illness the patient was suffering from and the combination of the demanded drug with the illness would lead to a more advanced illness and eventually death. The doctor didn’t want to make his patient sad, so he kept the diagnosis to himself. Knowing the dangers, he initially denied the patient’s request even though he saw the great desire of the patient to have this popular pharmaceutical. The physician winced as the patient became angry and reached for his phone to call an attorney. Out of fear for his own well-being and what he called “love”, the doctor gave the patient what he wanted. Six days later, the patient died from complications arising from mixing the drug with his pre-existing illness.
How would we respond to this doctor? Would we not be indignant? Wouldn’t we all feel that he had the power to potentially save the patient’s life and failed to do so? Would we not emphatically argue that the doctor’s access to greater knowledge obligated him to warn the patient of the dangers of mixing this new drug into his ravaged system? We would hold him to the above oath regardless of how the doctor tried to explain away the misconduct. We would remind him: “First, do no harm”.
The doctor might excuse his actions by saying he was just trying to love his patient. “First, do no harm.” The doctor might appeal to the fact that if the other masses had access to the drug, it would be unfair, even discriminatory to withhold the substance from the patient. “First, do no harm.” The physician might argue relevance, questioning, “Who am I to deny someone their desires?” “First, do no harm.”
Christians live and have their purpose in an oath as well. Our Lord Jesus Christ commanded His disciples, and all subsequent generations of believers, to, “[g]o, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20) We believe that Jesus Christ is God; therefore, this is an oath we accept from the very mouth of God. It is serious. Deadly serious.
The Bible teaches that sin is punishable by death; death not only in this life, but also in the next. God is very clear that He hates sin and that He will not leave it unpunished. He provided a substitute for sinners, though, because He loves mankind with a pure and righteous love. Jesus was punished on the cross for all forms of sin: lust, anger, hatred, drunkenness, idolatry, and sexual sins, of which homosexuality is listed. The head, back, hands, and feet of the Son of God were beaten, whipped, and punctured to pay what was justly owed to God for our treachery. God’s blood was spilled out for mankind so that anyone who would see their need for a substitute would reach out and, by grace, through faith, take hold of forgiveness and innocence before God. Apart from taking hold of that forgiveness, sinners stand guilty and condemned before God and will pay that very same price themselves: the full wrath of God for sins.
How then can Christians stand by and celebrate the normalization of homosexuality when we know full well that our silence will lead to their death before God. Hell is awaiting mankind unless they turn from those things that God hates and instead reach out for their Savior. We refuse to be the unloving doctor who would break his oath because the truth makes us or others uncomfortable. True love for mankind means warning them of their illness and providing a better option than some simple, momentary high. Instead, we offer forgiveness, communion, true acceptance before God and man, deep and complete healing, and a relationship with their beloved Creator. Sometimes love means doing the hard thing… but love never fails. “It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:7) Bring the church people like us, sinners, and we will teach them our oath: Make disciples of all men and teaching them to observe everything Christ commanded us, remembering that Jesus will be with us until the end of the age.
Soli Deo Gloria