Life sure can be strange. The media fawns over athletes who come out of the closet. This is a supposed controversy, as if there haven’t been homosexual athletes in the locker room.
One of the comments that often arises by media people is that Christians in the locker room won’t welcome a homosexual teammate. They usually use the term “religious” when they do this. Let’s think about this for a moment.
Christians in every workplace are surrounded by sinners, including themselves. The issue is more serious sins which are public. Outside of a church or parachurch context, and I’ve worked in those, you will work side by side with people who “sin big,” those whom Paul says will not inherit the kingdom of God. Christians work with drunkards, adulterers, fornicators and more. Christians recognize these as sin, and serious sin. We would not be pleased if our spouse was an adulterer, or our kids. We don’t want our kids to be drunks and fornicators.
We may, at times, mention that such activities are sinful. But we still work side by side. There is no charge made of hating drunks, adulterers or fornicators. In these cases people are able to separate the activity from the person. There sin is not perceived as being who that person is at their core. This neglects the Christian teaching that outside of Christ all people are sinners at their core. They may just sin differently.
A Christian can, and should, work side by side with a homosexual. You don’t have to approve of your co-workers’ lifestyle choices (and drunkards, adulterers and fornicators are making lifestyle choices) in order to work with them.
While we recognize that all people sin, we also recognize the reality of common grace. All people are still made in the image of God and He has given them various gifts to contribute to the common good of society. As a result, we value and treasure our co-workers regardless of their particular sins. We should not shun, exclude or attack people we work with on the basis of their particular sins unless, perhaps, they sin against you. If they do you should work toward reconciliation. Since they may not want to admit they have sinned against you or in a way that adversely affected the workplace then you may put up an emotional barrier. For instance, if Joe keeps missing work because he was out too late drinking resent within the rest of the work unit will grow until management acts. He may miss important meetings or not get projects done in time which may leave you hanging. Talk about that and work towards resolution.
I can’t foresee how one’s homosexuality should affect the workplace with the exception of sexual harassment.
No co-worker should feel they have to embrace the lifestyle, religious or political views of others in the workplace. There can be disagreement on those issues and people can effectively work together. This is not the place for a Christian to “make a stand.” This does not mean that you can’t talk about the gospel in appropriate situations. What I am saying is that you don’t have to badger anyone about their sexual orientation or lifestyle. It does not compromise your faith to work with a homosexual any more than it does to work with a gossip, glutton, thief, fornicator or drug addict. The only thing that would compromise your faith is if you joined your co-workers in their sin. In that case, you shouldn’t blame them but take responsibility for your own actions.
So, the Christian does not need to be militant about their faith with regard to particular sins. Neither should they be compelled to lie about how they view particular sins. If a Christian is genuinely and generally warm toward the variety of sinners with whom they work, there shouldn’t be any real problems. But if a Christian singles out particular sins and therefore particular sinners for verbal lashings, shunning or other behavior reserved for our enemies there will be problems. More importantly you would be failing to love your “enemies” and compromising your faith in a way you don’t be actually being friendly with the sinners around you.