By Pete Riehm
Guest Colmnist 

God made you for something better


May 31, 2018

It seems Pope Francis has a penchant for igniting firestorms with his unscripted comments, but the latest may be a fanciful tempest in a tea pot. He set LGBTQ passions ablaze with hopes of affirmation and fired up conservative Christians with possible apostasy when he reportedly told a gay Chilean man: “God made you that way and loves you.”

Context is vitally important here. The gay man, Juan Carlos Cruz, was a victim of sexual abuse by a Chilean Priest and then maligned and ostracized by the Catholic hierarchy in Chile when they sought to deny the crimes and cover it up. Pope Francis also holds some culpability because he initially sided with the Chilean Bishops until he sent the Maltese Bishop to investigate and subsequently learned Cruz was telling the truth. Pope Francis then admitted grave errors and invited three of the victims to the Vatican so he could personally apologize.

Cruz still a devout Catholic was distraught by the ordeal, so in a confidential conversation, the Pope apparently sought to comfort him. Cruz relayed the private exchange in an interview with Spanish newspaper “El Pais,” so we only have a third hand account. And naturally, those with an agenda immediately tried to spin it to their favor. The LGBTQ community and their supporters declared it affirmation of the gay lifestyle and Francis’ detractors pounced on the Pope for heresy. Neither are correct.

We may never know exactly what was said, but it doesn’t matter. We have the inerrant Word of God to know the truth and with some charity we can learn a greater lesson here if we don’t allow apologists on both sides to hijack this teachable moment. For the record, the Catholic Church still maintains that homosexual acts are “disordered and unnatural” sin. Pope Francis has not countered that and in fact has several times sustained that doctrine.

It may be impossible to ever discern exactly what the Pope meant, but let’s examine his phrase on its face value. He told Cruz God loves him. That is indisputable. God loves each and every one of us, so why wouldn’t He love this gay man? Yes, Cruz is a sinner, but we are ALL sinners. God loves us all so much; He sent His only begotten Son to die for ALL our sins. And which sin doesn’t matter at all; sin is sin to God.

The Pope’s stumbling block is “God made you that way.” Did he mean God made Cruz gay or that God made each of us an independent unique soul to be loved by God with the capacity to love God in return? God’s answer is obvious, but we tend to get hung up on the sin. Now openly flaunted, homosexual sin is easy to see, but most of us harbor secret sins that we rationalize as not that bad.

We tend to think our sin is less than others, but we all have the fallen nature of Adam which means we can and tend to choose sin. Forgiveness is readily available, but we cannot atone on our own – we need Jesus to redeem us.

God made us not to be robotic slaves; He gave us free will to choose Him. Therein lies the eternal key. We must choose individually to accept God’s love and if we love Him earnestly in return, repentance of sin comes more easily. Every soul is subject to sinful urges or proclivities, but it is how we decide to handle our sin that determines our salvation.

In not shielding us from the world, God made us with the freedom to choose. We can succumb to evil or choose to eschew anything that separates us from God. The simple truth is sin separates us from God, but God did not make us for sin. God made us for something much better, to be with Him in eternity.

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23


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