Thoughts on Sinners
Rob and I are one month into our hunt for an investment property. This Saturday we happened across the dream building. It's a little out of our price range, so I think we're going to pass it up for now, but looking at it got me thinking.
The tenant downstairs, which we would be inheriting if we bought it is gay. We happen to live in one of the most densely homosexual neighborhoods of Akron, so even if we don't buy this building, it's likely that we'd be renting to a homosexual, and possibly even homosexual couples regularly. Twice, upon revealing this fact to Christian friends I've had the friend reply that they wouldn't be able to rent to a gay person, or even to an unmarried, cohabitating couple because they do not want to support that lifestyle. My original reaction was, "Well that's discrimination, and that's illegal." Which it is. But something else has been nagging me about it.
I understand that we want to call sin sin. It's important, and it's one of the reasons no one likes a Lutheran Blogger. We call sin sin so loudly that it makes everyone uncomfortable. But I'm wondering if sometimes in our zeal to condemn sin, we forget that we ourselves are sinners. Is homosexuality or cohabitation that monumentally more sinful than me being passive-aggressive to Rob? Should I therefore not rent to myself? Or should I not rent to an alcoholic? How about a person who hasn't talked to their parents in years? How about a Muslim? By housing these sinners under my roof, am I condoning their sins? That alcoholic could be drinking to excess in my house and that Muslim could be praying to a false god; just as much as a gay couple or fornicators could be profaning the gift of sex.
I've been trying to write a sentence that explains the difference in these situations, why some are ok, and some are not. I can't think of that sentence. Is it because there is truly no difference?
One of the people that I talked to about it warned me to keep Olivia safe in this situation. I will; with all of my strength I will protect her. And there are dangerous, and predatory gays. We have a friend that used to work for a gay boss. He always thought that his boss was a little weird, but then all of a sudden his boss was gone. He had been convicted of sleeping with a 13 year old boy. I will definitely do everything in my power to protect Olivia from people like that. But just like not every homosexual is a sexual predator, not every heterosexual is safe. Look at BTK, for example. He's a husband, father and active member of his Lutheran Church. Even his pastor was shocked to discover the depth of his crimes. According to all outward appearances, Rader was an upstanding citizen, and there was no apparent reason why I shouldn't have rented to him, or someone like him.
The answer I come to at the end of my ramblings (which I've written on the fly to help further develop my opinion) is that we are called to love our neighbors. We are not called to dismiss our neighbors' sinful behaviors, but we are called to love them, even if they're gay. I am also called to love and protect my baby from all the evils of this world to the best of my ability. Because of that I will perform extensive background checks on all my renters. I will interview the renter in person in order to make a character judgment. And I will never leave Olivia alone, ever, when we are still living in the same building as our tenants. Hopefully, by the time she's old enough to be left alone, we'll have our own home, but who knows.
Even though I will do everything in my power to protect my baby, I will not discriminate, and I will try my best to be loving and fair. I will also try my best to be humble. If I ever do have an unrepentant sinner as a tenant, and they ask me, "So, do you think it's ok that I worship Allah?" or, "So, do you think it's ok if I sleep with this man?" I'll respectfully say, "No. I think it's wrong. God's law prohibits it, but you are free to sin in any manner you choose. I sin all the time. The only difference between you and me is that I've been called to repentance, and I have been forgiven. You can be forgiven too, if you repent and believe in Christ." Or something along that vein.