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  • I am a university student and I don't have many friends. A few days ago, I went shopping with a fellow student who happens to be gay. He is a normal person. My mother is saying this is wrong, I understand her. But he taught me to be tolerant (in some ways) and accept people instead of judge. Now someone from church is saying that I shouldn't talk with this student unless it is at university.

    This made me feel guilty. How do you guys feel about interacting with non heterosexual individuals in the western world? Do you avoid being their friends?
  • When Baba Shenouda was in the army, he fasted Ramadan with his fellow Muslim friends as to be considerate to their lifestyle.

    I bet we can answer all these threads using examples from HH's life.
  • That's very sweet. His holiness was so considerate. But I really want a more direct approach to my question, aka, if you quote something from the bible, could you please take the time to explain it to me? Thank you.
  • I guess bad company corrupts good morals.

    I don't really hang out with people who I think will have a negative affect on me, but other people use it as an opportunity to witness to Christ. Have you asked your FOC?
  • I can't reach my FOC at the moment. you are right about the bad company. And I am not a preacher, I let him know that i am a practising christian and when he asked me about homosexuality, I told him "it is wrong, but who am I to judge anyone?".

    Also if I avoid anybody who isn't following the type of lifestyle I am living, then I will never talk to anyone. I live in a culture where binge drinking, casual sex and any sexual orientation is 'normal'. I feel disheartened and confused now.
  • I think you should not worry too much as if you have to help people you may actually help people if you are already in the situation because God can work with all things but my FOC would tell me not to anything I am not comfortable with
    You should only talk to people who you actually pity or have compassion for  and you know in your heart you have such love for them that you would never sin and if not love you know it will not harm you
    It is good to have relationships but there is a time and place for everything
    Do you have relationships with people in church before you do something new and something you are not equipped to handle?

    Are you seeking to bring this person to our church? If there is no hope for that then you should be careful
    Are you seeking to bring him to some other church? Then be prepared to join him

    The important thing is that you have love for all people

    Anyway you should never be friends with people who are too emotional and demanding and not understanding of your limitations and needs

    Trust is earned not to be given recklessly if he is a person of demonstrated morals even though he is gay then there could be a chance it is okay to continue with him because he respects your own morals
  • [quote author=mnc_hnn link=topic=13059.msg153383#msg153383 date=1332277982]
    I can't reach my FOC at the moment. you are right about the bad company. And I am not a preacher, I let him know that i am a practising christian and when he asked me about homosexuality, I told him "it is wrong, but who am I to judge anyone?".

    Also if I avoid anybody who isn't following the type of lifestyle I am living, then I will never talk to anyone. I live in a culture where binge drinking, casual sex and any sexual orientation is 'normal'. I feel disheartened and confused now.
    [/quote]

    Try to reach your FOC he will give you better and more specific advice than anyone here: this site is not a substitute.

    Be careful about the word judge: it is used by many who accept unrepentant gays into the church. We judge the action not the person. And it's not judging to avoid someone who could corrupt ur morals.
  • [quote author=mnc_hnn link=topic=13059.msg153383#msg153383 date=1332277982]
    I can't reach my FOC at the moment. you are right about the bad company. And I am not a preacher, I let him know that i am a practising christian and when he asked me about homosexuality, I told him "it is wrong, but who am I to judge anyone?".

    Also if I avoid anybody who isn't following the type of lifestyle I am living, then I will never talk to anyone. I live in a culture where binge drinking, casual sex and any sexual orientation is 'normal'. I feel disheartened and confused now.
    [/quote]

    It's kind of like apples... They give off ethane gas which after a while makes fruit around it get riper faster and then it spoils a lot faster.

    I don't know what I meant by that, but this is my opinion. If you are casual friends, then yes, there isn't an issue. When i mean casual i mean you talk to him like a normal friend, but never touch on religion of life choices as his/hers will be different.

    Can this person be your friend, yes, but you will be the judge of how this person is affecting you and you will act accordingly. Should this person be your BEST friend? NO.
    Your best friend should be from the church and this should be a person that you can go to for help and will build you spiritually as you should do likewise to the other.
  • Thanks guys,

    and don't worry geomike, I don't do best friends.

    user 157, I'm not going to try to convert anyone. I am not good at answering theological questions. I am just trying to have connections with people in society because loneliness is really tough :(
  • Aww, we're all your friends on here :)
  • I can answer with a really difficult story from my own experience, noting that my experience is by far inferior to His Holiness.

    I was working with a friend I had known for some time and he started to go through a difficult time and you could see it visibly in his behaviour at work.  I came in one day and he was crying, I was the first into the office so it was just us and I asked him what was wrong. 

    He started to babble, what does a person do when their life is useless?  What should they do when everything they're working for is for nothing?

    I said I didn't really understand what he was talking about but a persons life is never worthless.  He seemed really upset so I took him out of the office for a walk and we went to get coffee and sat down in a nearby park.

    He told me that he had came from Taiwan to Australia so he could work for his boyfriend and he had just discovered that his boyfriend had cheated on him.

    At that point I was thinking - of all the people you could have confided in, you chose me?

    I wasn't exactly sure what I could say next, I was pretty sure that old fashioned cliches like 'theres plenty more fish in the sea' would be pretty inappropriate. I was also stuck because I couldn't leave him there sobbing like that.

    I started to help him dealing with his pain and sorry and I told him he was hurting now and would be able to bounce back. He composed himself and we started to head back to the office.

    As we walked back we talked about how he had been so secretive, no one had suspected this about him.  I told him that I was an Orthodox Christian and I couldn't chose for myself the way of life which he had chosen but by the same token, I don't judge him for it.  I also affirmed to him that he was still my friend.

    It was funny because after that we became better friends that we were before - but I have to admit, being his only confidant at that time caused me no end of stress!

    I guess on reflection, he had always hated Christians because they oppose homosexuality.  On reflection, by being his friend I guess it showed him a different side to the same coin.  That the Church is firm but also compassionate.  We are drawn to God because he is lovely, if  a person doesn't know or experience this, they will never come to be saved.
  • [quote author=LookingInDesire link=topic=13059.msg153564#msg153564 date=1332550593]
    I can answer with a really difficult story from my own experience, noting that my experience is by far inferior to His Holiness.

    I was working with a friend I had known for some time and he started to go through a difficult time and you could see it visibly in his behaviour at work.  I came in one day and he was crying, I was the first into the office so it was just us and I asked him what was wrong. 

    He started to babble, what does a person do when their life is useless?  What should they do when everything they're working for is for nothing?

    I said I didn't really understand what he was talking about but a persons life is never worthless.  He seemed really upset so I took him out of the office for a walk and we went to get coffee and sat down in a nearby park.

    He told me that he had came from Taiwan to Australia so he could work for his boyfriend and he had just discovered that his boyfriend had cheated on him.

    At that point I was thinking - of all the people you could have confided in, you chose me?

    I wasn't exactly sure what I could say next, I was pretty sure that old fashioned cliches like 'theres plenty more fish in the sea' would be pretty inappropriate. I was also stuck because I couldn't leave him there sobbing like that.

    I started to help him dealing with his pain and sorry and I told him he was hurting now and would be able to bounce back. He composed himself and we started to head back to the office.

    As we walked back we talked about how he had been so secretive, no one had suspected this about him.  I told him that I was an Orthodox Christian and I couldn't chose for myself the way of life which he had chosen but by the same token, I don't judge him for it.  I also affirmed to him that he was still my friend.

    It was funny because after that we became better friends that we were before - but I have to admit, being his only confidant at that time caused me no end of stress!

    I guess on reflection, he had always hated Christians because they oppose homosexuality.  On reflection, by being his friend I guess it showed him a different side to the same coin.  That the Church is firm but also compassionate.  We are drawn to God because he is lovely, if  a person doesn't know or experience this, they will never come to be saved.
    [/quote]

    A beautiful story LookingInDesire. Your love really touched me and it probably touched your friend even more.

    When Pope Shenouda was in the army he had many Muslim members in his group and when they would fast Ramadan he would also use that time to fast and get closer to God while at the same time he didn't tempt his peers by eating.

    It is these kinds of actions that let people know more about Christ than any amount of words. Itis rightly dubbed "silent evangelism".
  • [quote author=geomike link=topic=13059.msg153576#msg153576 date=1332569696]
    A beautiful story LookingInDesire. Your love really touched me and it probably touched your friend even more.

    When Pope Shenouda was in the army he had many Muslim members in his group and when they would fast Ramadan he would also use that time to fast and get closer to God while at the same time he didn't tempt his peers by eating.

    It is these kinds of actions that let people know more about Christ than any amount of words. Itis rightly dubbed "silent evangelism".
    [/quote]

    I want to say something really honest about this story, it happened at a time when I was really far away from Church.  I would love to say that God's interventions were because I was a really holy person but I would by lying. At the time of the story I hadn't been to Church for months and I was struggling with a lot of sins.

    I just kind of find that God creates opportunities where He can use us as evangelists within whatever capacity we have.  Its quite surprising to me as a sinner just how much God can achieve with such broken and blunted tools.

    Never say that God cannot use you for His service, He is capable of doing so much with so little.
  • Thank you so much LookingInDesire for sharing this. I know I am not wrong now.
  • The Bible tells us that we should be aware of those around us and not to accompany or befriend sinners when they insist on sinning.

    Do not get me wrong. We are all sinners but some of us acknowledge our sins and repent.

    Homosexuality is different for those who choose that lifestyle insist on sinning while believing that their sin is a choice. From those stay away.
  • [quote author=imikhail link=topic=13059.msg153860#msg153860 date=1332959946]
    The Bible tells us that we should be aware of those around us and not to accompany or befriend sinners when they insist on sinning.

    Do not get me wrong. We are all sinners but some of us acknowledge our sins and repent.

    Homosexuality is different for those who choose that lifestyle insist on sinning while believing that their sin is a choice. From those stay away.
    [/quote]

    Hi imikhail,

    St Paul makes it clear that distinction of whether or not we do this is not based on the sin but whether the person committing it is inside or outside of the Church.

    In the First Corinthian letter a member of the Church community is caught sleeping with his father's wife (in this case his stepmother).  This is a huge sin and brings shame on his community. St Paul responds by instructing them to shun this person and not to converse with them:

    1 Cor 5:1-5 said:
    It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named[a] among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife!  And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you.  For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed.  In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,  deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.


    Now he also goes onto clarify that what he does and say here and also what he is asking the congregation to do does not apply to people outside the Church:

    1 Cor 5:9-13 said:
    I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people.  Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.  But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.

    For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside?  But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”


    St Paul firstly makes it clear here that we have no business judging people outside the Church, the end of their deeds belongs to God alone.  There can be no comparison between us as Children of the covenant and those outside who wouldn't know the Eucharistic bread from a rice cracker. If we are to make judgement, it is reserved for the people of God who inherit his commandments and grace.

    St Paul also clarifies by saying that he makes this distinction because it would be practically impossible not to keep company with people of the world who commit sins. The only way to do so would be to become space men and live on the moon.  Lets take for example another sexually immoral sin like sex outside of marriage it is a similar sin to homosexuality and if we don't keep company with people who commit it we would be cutting contact with a heck of a lot of people.

    His interest and concern here is that we are instructed not to keep company with people of the faith in this situation. This is because as receivers of the sacraments and respondents to the calling of God, what we do violates the holiness of our calling. It is hoped by St Paul that by shunning this brother he might turn from his sins and be saved.  This should also be our motivation for not conversing with people who insist on living a sinful lifestyle.
  • this is right.
    i add that we should check ourselves every day or every week and ask ourselves honestly, if our friends are influencing us or if we are influencing them.
    so i believe it is right to hang out with people who behave in sinful ways, but we should be sure not to become like them.
    ideally we should hang out with them in neutral places such as when watching sport or going shopping; not in bars and clubs where there is plenty of alcohol around that dulls the senses and silences the conscience.

    so ask regularly 'am i starting to swear like them, tell dirty jokes, dress in a way that others find sexually attractive and believe that they have no control over their sinful acts?' if so, u have a problem. put some distance between you and talk to yr spiritual father.
    on the other hand, if they are starting to respect the kind way you talk, ask you where your joy comes from and confide in your their fears, then you are influencing them.

    if in doubt, speak to a spiritually mature person, ideally yr priest.
    :)
  • Thank you guys, your points are really useful :)
  • Hi,

    I think there's nothing wrong with hanging out with homorosexuals. They are still people and they are also capable of being good. It's cruel for people to think that way. It's rude to discriminate people just because they have other sexual preferences. However, we cannot totally blame them because culture and the norms is a big influence in their perceptions.  8)
  • The bible is very clear that we should be separate from the world and not to befriend it.

    We should not befriend those who insist on sinning and call sin normal.

    "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20)

    St Paul warns Timothy from those who pride themselves in genealogies and to avoid them. How much more should we be careful from those who call sin a lifestyle?

    The bible warns us to avoid heretics and not even greet them. How much more should we stay away from those who oppose God statutes and blame Him for the way they are?

    There is a reason why God wants us to stay away from such people. It is because their ideology will creep into us bit by bit. The world calls it tolerance.

    Tolerance for sin that is. The wage of sin is death.

    We may think that we would never be like them, "Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits." 1 Cor 15:33

    The bible calls those homosexuals who insist on their lifestyle and call for tolerance:

    "To do evil is like sport to a fool, But a man of understanding has wisdom" Proverbs 10:23
  • [quote author=jeanreyes6 link=topic=13059.msg155247#msg155247 date=1336132727]
    Hi,

    I think there's nothing wrong with hanging out with homorosexuals. They are still people and they are also capable of being good. It's cruel for people to think that way. It's rude to discriminate people just because they have other sexual preferences. However, we cannot totally blame them because culture and the norms is a big influence in their perceptions.  8)
    [/quote]I know this sounds kinda harsh, but being 'good' won't get you salvation.  You're speaking from a social perspective, which 99% of society does. As imikhail has already said, the Bible can't be clearer that this is a sin. Even  if they're good people, we should stay away from them.
  • Please just lock this thread now.
  • I don't believe we can jump to locking this thread until we get a response from jeanreyes (I think we'd be jumping the gun).

    However, there seems to be nothing wrong with a gay acquaintance, so long as it would not impact upon you.  

    I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.

    1Corinthians 5
  • [quote author=qawe link=topic=13059.msg155291#msg155291 date=1336287519]
    I don't believe we can jump to locking this thread until we get a response from jeanreyes (I think we'd be jumping the gun).

    However, there seems to be nothing wrong with a gay acquaintance, so long as it would not impact upon you. 

    I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.

    1Corinthians 5
    [/quote]

    The thread was about friendship not acquaintance. There is a big difference between the two.

  • If we do not interact with them, how will they witness God's love? As Christians, it's our duty to be the light that shines onto the world and leads people to God ... Or am I wrong? It is good that he helped you become tolerant of people with differences, but be very careful as to what you let yourself hear. Don't give Satan the opportunity to trick you ... You have to ask yourself whether or not you're wise enough to handle the position of being friends with a homosexual. Being friends with him is fine, but to do so WITHOUT trying to help him .. that is not fine. Hope i helped.
  • What does friendship mean? Does it mean that I go along as if my friend's ideology is ok?

    In other words what is the parameter of this friendship and on what basis from which does it evolve?

    There are so many examples in the Bible from which we can learn friendship: David and Jonathan, the three youth, Daniel and the three youth.

    Do not get me wrong, I am not advocating to hate homosexuals or not to treat them with respect. But there is a limit on how far one should go along with them. They must understand that their lifestyle is an enmity to God and so long they live within this enmity, they would have no share of my life.

    "Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." James 4:4
  • Don't worry guys, by friends, I do kind of mean just 'mates'. I am not a person who has any 'close' or best friends. I think, with God's help, I know my limits, I know where I stand.

    I cannot comprehend why some people want to lock the thread? I thought this forum was a place for people to discuss matters, not exercise orders of what to say and when to stop.
    Regards


Memorial for HH Pope Shenouda

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