I need to ask a question about love. I have asked before about boy-boy or girl-girl relationships. Is there such a case that you can say it is proper if you're a guy to be infatuated (or have a crush) on another guy, or for a girl (this is more common, I think) to have a crush on another girl? I want to ask if there are laws against this? Are there any rules and limitations?
I have asked many this question, yet they all have different answers. One says it's okay so long as you don't go beyond the love. One says that it's normal, another one says it's not normal. So here I am because this issue is growing bigger in my country (the Philippines). Can you say love to the same gender is bad because it also becomes a relationship? There are verses in the Bible about love, such as "Love one another just as Christ has loved you." I don't know if they are doing the same, but it's about the love they give. Is this also called a relationship?
I hope you could take time to answer these. I have friends who are in this situation and I want to know if they are doing right or wrong, and what I might be able to tell them about it as well. Thank you very much.
The difficulty that you are encountering is that mankind plays games with terms, such as "love." I love chocolate. I love my mother. I love my wife. I love my children. I love God. Yet in each of these statements, the love being expressed is not exactly the same.
Can you love someone of the same gender? Of course! Abraham loved Isaac his son (Genesis 22:2). Ruth loved her mother-in-law Naomi (Ruth 4:15). And it doesn't have to be a family relationship either. A slave can love his master (Exodus 21:5). In the early days of his reign, King Saul loved the boy David and had him made his armor-bearer (I Samuel 16:21-22). Soon his son Jonathan became best of friends with David. "Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul" (I Samuel 18:1). The phrase, "loved him as his own soul" is describing the depth of feeling they had for each other. It is reserved for the very closest and best of friends. One of the laws warns not to be led away into sin even by someone to whom you are very close: "If your brother, the son of your mother, your son or your daughter, the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, secretly entices you, saying, 'Let us go and serve other gods,' which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers, of the gods of the people which are all around you, near to you or far off from you, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth, you shall not consent to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him or conceal him" (Deuteronomy 13:6-8).
Most can quote the famous law, "you shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Leviticus 19:18) and not think there is anything unusual in the command. It is related to the command that you quoted. "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another" (John 13:34).
None of these relationships are sexual in nature; love doesn't necessarily imply that sex is involved. The most famous description of the nature of love is found in I Corinthians 13:4-8, and yet it contains no reference to a sexual expression of love. It describes the love every Christian should have for each other. We realize though that it is also the perfect description of the love between a husband and wife.
Yes, in the relationship between a husband and wife there is sexual intercourse (I Corinthians 7:2-5). But sex is not the love. Sex is just one way married couples express their love to each other. However, because sex is supposed to be confined to a marriage relationship (Hebrews 13:4) and people who are married are supposed to be in love, sex is sometimes referred to as love. It is a figure of speech called a "metonymy," which literally means a change in name. For example, a press release might state "The White House announced today ..." The president's home doesn't speak. It is a figure of speech where the residence is used in place of the person who works there. The same is true when "love" is used to mean "sex." It doesn't happen often in the Bible, but it is so frequently used in our societies that people forget the distinction.
In Proverbs 7:18, the seductress uses the come-on line "Come, let us take our fill of love until morning; Let us delight ourselves with love." Obviously sex is being talked about, but by calling it "love" it gives the appearance of legitimacy. Married couples in love have sex; hence, the come-on line is that "we can make love" with sex. The problem is that true love is not made by sexual activities. The cart is before the horse. People who are truly in love get married and then engage in sexual acts.
Such is seen in Song of Solomon 7:12. "Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine has budded, whether the grape blossoms are open, and the pomegranates are in bloom. There I will give you my love." Here the wife is suggesting that she and her husband take a trip to the country and engage in sex while there. "Love" is used as a metonymy for "sex" to give a "teasing" to the statement. The wife and the husband both know what is meant, but the indirect reference lends "mystique" to the statement.
Since sex in marriage generally takes place in bed (Hebrews 13:4), adultery is mentioned in Ezekiel 23:17 in this manner: "Then the Babylonians came to her, into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their immorality; So she was defiled by them, and alienated herself from them." The metonymy is used here to form a contrast. The bed of love is supposed to be a reference to the honorable sexual acts between a husband and wife, but Israel had twisted what was honorable and made it into an abhorrence.
One last metonymy is seen in Ezekiel 16:8, ""When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine," says the Lord GOD." The phrase "time of love" refers to sexual maturity. It means that the person had matured enough to get married and participate in sexual relations in a marriage (indicated by the mention of swearing an oath and entering into a covenant).
Using "love" as a metonymy for "sex" is fairly rare in the Scriptures. I only found the four examples listed above. In each case, the usage of the word "love" makes it clear that "sex" was actually being discussed. However, it is a grave mistake to assume that all usages of "love" are metonymies. Such would cause awkward or improper readings where the statement clearly violates the laws of God. Look again at the examples of metonymies above and notice that each case sexual activity is being alluded to and not a general relationship.
Some read about the relationship between David and Jonathan and declare that it included a sexual relation. However, if it was a metonymy, then one would have to say that the passage is only saying that David and Jonathan were engaged in sexual activity; yet, in reading the context it is obvious that this is not what was being described. It is the closeness of their friendship that is under consideration. To say that Jonathan and David were engaged in homosexual acts leaves the dilemma of explaining why they were not condemned for violating Leviticus 20:13, "If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them." Especially considering that David was condemned for his adulterous relationship with Bathsheba later in his life. The only reasonable conclusion is that sex was not involved in this relationship.
And so we find that the mention of love does not necessarily imply that sex occurs between people in love. We also find that many types of love are mentioned that are accepted and obviously do not include sex. There is no reason to conclude that David and Jonathan had a homosexual relationship. They were simply two men who deeply loved each other.
Now one last point to bring out. When young people reach adolescents, their developing bodies give them awareness of sexual desires. But, as with all developments, it takes time to mature. A baby has hands and feet to move and the infant moves them frequently, but to no useful purpose. Boys in particular, because their genitals are external, are aware that their bodies express sexual desire, but to no particular purpose. We even have a phrase for it: "spontaneous erections." Girls actually experience similar events, but because their organs are internal, they do not get as strong of feedback as boys do.
Sexual desire is broad at first and teens are unsure how to handle the strange sensations. Hence, it is normal for them to turn to others of the same sex for help. After all, who would know more about handling these strange urges than a fellow man or woman? Several informal surveys have noted that about half of all teenagers go through a stage where they are attracted to people of their own gender. It is likely that because just prior to puberty little boys "hate" girls and little girls "hate" boys, that they find themselves attracted to those with whom they are familiar. This is particularly unsettling when teens begin having sexual themed dreams which involve people of the same sex. Few are warned that it sometimes happens or that it is a temporary phase in sexual development.
The broad application of something new prior to a focused application is a well-known phenomena. You see it is little children when they learn a new concept. They learn "dog" and suddenly all animals are "dogs." After many corrections, they eventually learn that "dog" only applies to some animals. Or, a child learns to make a word plural and suddenly all words are plural whether they need to be or not. After much correction, plurals are used only in appropriate situations. The learning of handling sexual urges is no different. When it is new, the urges are broadly expressed by the body. But after conscience rejection of improper expression, it becomes focused. Believe it or not, the embarrassment of having erections in public locker rooms and the merciless taunting other boys are all part of helping steer the bodies sexual urges to the proper direction.
Those promoting homosexuality latch on to this tendency of broad application of sexual desire and declare that homosexuality is "normal." What they willfully ignore is that it is just a phase which passes. For the vast majority of teens, the broad focus of desire fades and blossoms as a narrow focus on the opposite sex. It is all a part of the brain wiring itself to handle sexual urges.
Unfortunately, homosexuality is so heavily promoted that during this temporary phase of same sex attraction, people are convinced that they must be homosexual. They focus on it and the mind trains itself to retain what should have been a passing thought. Their conscience becomes seared and they accept what should be rejected.
I hope this helps clarify matters. Looking back, I seem to have touched on a wide number of related topics. Please write again if you need further information.
The studies Growing Up in the Lord: A Study for Teenage Boys and Growing Up in the Lord: A Study for Teenage Girls which discusses sexual development as taught in the Bible in detail.