All I knew was: if they told me the little loop on the back of my shirt was called a "fag tag," I was either cutting it off or was never wearing that shirt again.
a male homosexual.
- a bundle of sticks or twigs bound together as fuel.
So, why would anyone call a homosexual or "Sodomite," which is the biblical word that is used (as in the title of the illustration above) a "faggot?" Well, whereas the word is not found in the Bible (either the Greek word or the English), the phrase "bundle of sticks" is used (Acts 28:3 for example); and the concept of certain people burning in fire is used throughout.
1. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by God through fire.
In Genesis 19, we see the first mention of men seeking sex with other men, and this took place in a region called Sodom. Lot and his wife and daughters were physically removed from the city by angels of God who then rained fire and brimstone upon the city and burnt it to ashes for its wickedness (not just homosexuality, but that is the sin for which it became known).
Therefore, "Sodomite" became a word used to label anyone who practices same-sex relations. Some arguments have been made to define Sodomite as "male prostitutes" or something similar, but the simple fact is that the name came to be associated with same-sex relationships (particularly men with men, but women with women are equally punished in the Bible); and as we will see in number 3 below, this particular incident became an example of God's judgment on the wicked.
2. The Law God gave Moses required burning as judgment upon certain crimes.
Although people in same-sex relationships weren't specifically sentenced to death by fire as some crimes were, they were indeed supposed to be put to death according to Leviticus 18 and 20. Throughout history, fire was used to punish homosexuals as well as stoning with stones, hanging, and other methods.
Still, the fact is that "burning with fire" was a punishment that was practiced in the Bible under the authority of God. It seems like a very harsh judgment, and this has caused many to choose not to follow a God who would allow or even command such things, but God is God, and there is nothing we can do to change that.
The point I want to bring out here is this: If we are consistent with the usage of the word "faggot," then we also have to apply it to anyone who is worthy of death by fire. By this definition, that would apply specifically to:
- The daughter of a priest who is a "whore" (Leviticus 21:9)
- Those involved in a marriage where a woman and her mother are both married to the same man (Leviticus 20:14)
3. The "ungodly" are reserved unto a judgment of "eternal fire."
Yes, we all fall short of the glory of God and, in our natural condition, are condemned to hell (Romans 3:23, John 3:18). The wonderful thing about the Gospel is that we can be saved from the penalty of our sins by trusting in the payment Christ has paid. However, there are many clear scriptures in the Bible that teach us that there are those who have rejected Christ in their hearts and await an eternal judgment of eternal fire in hell (Romans 1, 2 Peter 1, Jude).
It is a sad reality that many have already decided in their hearts to reject the working of the Holy Spirit to bring them to a place where they accept Christ as their Savior. After rejecting a clear presentation of the truth, many continue in wickedness to a point in which God allows them to be totally given over to a "reprobate mind" (some would say, a "psychopath"), and they will continue in all manners of wickedness (sometimes it is manifested in someone who is openly and unapologetically rebellious and degenerate; and sometimes it is hidden by someone who will deceive and pretend to be a good, and even religious person).
But the worst part is that some are destined to hell simply because people who know the Gospel and have received the Gospel do a poor job of spreading the message to others. This is the job that Jesus has asked us to do until He returns. Regardless of how difficult it might seem, of how much persecution or tribulation we might endure... we are supposed to be bearing fruit and leading other people to Christ.
This brings me to my last point:
4. Christians who do not bear fruit are to be destroyed "as by fire."
Jesus said that a branch that doesn't produce fruit is to be cast into the fire (John 15). Although a saved person can never lose his salvation, in this life he can be good for nothing or even become counterproductive to the work of evangelism. There could come a time where God needs to destroy that person and remove him from the position in which they are hindering the work of God. The apostle Paul states that he had decided to "deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh (1 Corinthians 5:5)."
In fact, we all will stand before God one day; and only what we have done for Christ will matter. Everything else, the Bible says, will be tried by fire (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). Thankfully, we can count on our souls being saved if we are children of God, but we will suffer "much loss."
So, before we go around calling someone a "faggot" or damning him to hell, or claiming him to be a "bastard" because God is not his Father (all which are quite common curses we hear today), I want to make a plea. Personally, it is super rare that I would use such terms against someone. Before you choose to do so, I have two suggestions:
- Let's first spend more time considering our own lives and whether or not we are bearing fruit.
- Let's first try everything we can to win that person to the Lord or help a fellow believer to become fruitful.
Consider this parable:
6 ¶ He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.
7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?
8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:
9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.
There is definitely a time to "shake the dust off of your feet" and spend your energy on someone else. In fact, there are times when being "nice" to someone could be partaking in his evil deeds (2 John 1:10,11). We don't want that!
Also, there are many examples in the Bible in which the prophets of God begged for another chance for the people. Even though their efforts were not typically successful, God seems to show favor with those who have a merciful heart... as long as they know when to get out of the way and let God be God when He is ready to pour out His judgment.
Finally, if you are the merciful type (as I believe I am), then why not have mercy on those who are a little rougher, a little meaner, a little less merciful. The story of Paul and Barnabas arguing over whether or not to give John Mark another chance always comes to mind (Acts 15). Here is what we have to remember:
- There are some gardeners who throw dying plants away and consider it a waste of time to keep them, and there are some that keep trying to nurture them and bring them back until they are completely dead.
- There are some fisherman who cut the line when it gets tangled, and there are some that will mess with the string for two hours... while the other fishermen are probably out there catching more fish!