Don’t Judge LeFou’s Struggle

                Being
tempted to steal a lollipop is not a sin. Being tempted to cast yourself off of
the temple to prove yourself to be the Son of God, if indeed you are the Son of
God, is not a sin. Being attracted to a member of the same-sex is not a sin. It
is detrimental to others and to ourselves to look down on someone based off of their
specific struggles and temptations while turning a blind eye to our own. 

Every
individual who has ever lived upon this earth – even Jesus – has been and will
be tempted in three different ways – the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes,
and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). All
forms of sexual intercourse (intercourse = activity or involvement [1])
outside of the bond of marriage (i.e. “fornication”) is a transgression of
the commandments of God. “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed
undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4).
Someone who is tempted to commit fornication by a member of the same-sex is
just as guilty as someone who is tempted to commit fornication by a member of
the opposite sex – and that guilt is nonexistent. Both individuals only become
guilty when they fall for those desires either through continued entertainment
of sexual thoughts or through performing the act itself. “You have heard
that it was said to those of old, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY.’  (28) 
But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has
already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28). Can you
imagine the shock if someone spoke evil of Jesus because He was tempted in all
three of the categories of temptations listed in 1 John 2:16? Jesus was tempted
in all areas for a reason: “For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted,
He is able to aid those who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18). “For we do not have a
High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points
tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Why should we then judge
someone because of what they are tempted by? Instead, we should be like Jesus
and attempt to comfort and aid each other when times of temptation arise. Below
we will further show the difference between sin and temptation. In a future
article, we will define marriage and discuss the sin of fornication further,
but that is not the purpose of this article.
THE TERMS DEFINED

                When we
survey the New Testament, we see that there are about four definitions of sin.
The definitions and references are listed below
  1.  A transgression of God’s law (1 John 3:4)
  2. Unrighteousness (1 John 5:17)
  3. To offend one’s conscience (Romans 14:23)
  4. To know to do good and to refuse to do it (James
    4:17)

                We’ve
already seen the three categories of temptation, but to add to that, biblical
temptation is defined as “a desire to commit sin.” Jesus was faced with those
desires, as seen above, and yet the scriptures say, “Who committed no sin, nor
was deceit found in His mouth” (1 Peter 2:22). The point is that there is
a difference between sin and temptation. This is true for alcoholics,
homosexuals, kleptomaniacs, liars, fornicators, those who look at pornography, and
every other manifestation of sinful desire. God does not judge an individual
based off of what they are tempted by. Judgement only comes when one gives into
that desire and continues in it without regard to repentance.
THE PROCESS OF SIN

“Blessed is the man who endures
temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life
which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.  (13) 
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for
God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.  (14) 
But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and
enticed.  (15)  Then, when desire has conceived, it gives
birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.  (16) 
Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 
(17)  Every good gift and every
perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom
there is no variation or shadow of turning. 
(18)  Of His own will He brought
us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His
creatures” (James 1:12-18).

                Before
one ever sins and dies spiritually, they must first have a desire and be
enticed by that desire. To be tempted to sin in some way is not to actually
sin. One can be tempted and still make the decision to avoid ever sinning. This
is can be seen in two different occasions of temptation in the Bible.
                In
Genesis 3, Eve was tempted to take of the forbidden fruit. The scripture says,
“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to
the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise…” (Genesis 3:6a) Up to this
point, Eve had yet to sin. She could have decided to walk away and not to be
overthrown by her own desires, but the Bible goes on and says, “…she took of
its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate” (Genesis
3:6b). In this moment, Adam and Eve sinned. God would, a few verses later,
pronounce judgement upon them by removing them from the garden, and the promise
of God came to pass: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you
shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis
2:17). Adam and Eve died in the day that they allowed the lust of the flesh,
the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life to stand in between them and the
Lord.
                As seen
in our quotation from James 1:12-18, it is not possible for God to be tempted
by evil, so Jesus removed Himself from being equal with God by taking on the
likeness of sinful flesh in order that He could be tempted (Romans 8:3). “Though
he was in the form of God, he did not consider being equal to God something to
be held on to, (7) but he emptied himself. He took the form of a slave, being
made in the likeness of men, and, having been found in appearance as a man, (8)
he humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross”
(Philippians 2:6-8; MEG). One of the clearer examples of this is the temptation
in the wilderness in Matthew 4:1-11.

“Then Jesus was led up by the
Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  (2) 
And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was
hungry.  (3)  Now when the tempter came to Him, he said,
“If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become
bread.”  (4)  But He answered and said, “It is
written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE, BUT BY EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS
FROM THE MOUTH OF GOD.’ ”  (5)  Then the devil took Him up into the holy
city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, 
(6)  and said to Him, “If You
are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘HE SHALL GIVE HIS
ANGELS CHARGE OVER YOU,’ and, IN THEIR HANDS THEY SHALL BEAR YOU UP, LEST YOU
DASH YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.’ ” 
(7)  Jesus said to him, “It
is written again, ‘YOU SHALL NOT TEMPT THE LORD YOUR GOD.’ ”  (8) 
Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed
Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.  (9) 
And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will
fall down and worship me.”  (10)  Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you,
Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND HIM ONLY
YOU SHALL SERVE.’ ”  (11)  Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels
came and ministered to Him.”

                Temptation
does not exist where there is no desire. I am not tempted to murder or to
fornicate with a member of the same sex because those are not desires that I
have. There are other things that I am tempted by just like there are things
that you may be tempted by, but it is not what we are tempted by that defines
us. The issue is whether or not we choose the path of Adam and Eve, or of
Jesus. The things that Jesus was tempted by were things that He desired, but He
was able to overcome those temptations through reliance upon God. He allowed
Himself to undergo those temptations in order that we can identify ourselves
with Him in times of struggle as we saw in the Hebrews passages earlier. The
Hebrews writer also said, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so
great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so
easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before
us,  (2) 
looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the
joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat
down at the right hand of the throne of God. 
(3)  For consider Him who endured
such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and
discouraged in your souls” (Hebrews 12:1-3).
CONCLUSION

                We all
have things that affect us more than others. Some struggle with sexual
intercourse outside of the bond of marriage, others struggle with pornography,
and some may be tempted to lie, cheat, or steal, but we should be willing,
regardless of what is a temptation to us, to come together and support each
other in a time of need. While we should never support one’s sin, we should
support each other in our struggles. Paul said concerning all manner of
sinners, “Who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice
such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of
those who practice them” (Romans 1:32). It is those who do the sin and those
who support others’ sinful actions that are in the wrong. Paul did not condemn
those who were simply tempted by the sins listed in Romans 1 because they still
had the choice, like Jesus, to walk away from those desires. May we all strive
to help and support each other regardless of what we are tempted by. May we
also show grace towards those that do fall so that someone will help us up
whenever it comes our time to stumble. Some say “don’t hate the sinner; hate
the sin.” We also need to be careful to not hate the one who is being tempted
because we just may push them to a point where they never want to return. Don’t
judge LeFou’s struggle, but help him to set his affections on things above
(Colossians 3:1ff).



[1]
For a discussion of the etymology of the word ‘intercourse’ please see pages 25
and following of Samuel G. Dawson’s Marriage,
Divorce, & Remarriage: The Uniform Teaching of Moses, Jesus & Paul
(Gospel
Theme Press, 2002).

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