Dear LGBTQ community,
True Christians love you and care about your eternal salvation. Please focus on the word “true” because it makes a world of difference. As born again, blood bought people of God, Christians do not hate you. We cannot hate you. Nor would we ever desire to hate you, or anyone else for that matter. There are just some things we wish you would understand about us. And I’m sure, there are things you wish Christians would understand better about you. Don’t worry, I will challenge Christians on this blog post as well. I will ask myself, and other believers, some very personal questions about how and why we deal with gay people the way we do. But right now, there are also many things we want you to know about us. And when I say “us”, I mean people who are born again and truly fear God. Gay people, please think about these things I mention. It really is that important to me, and other Christians, to learn more about you. We want to know how you think through interactions with us. We want to know how to enter into your life, and how to have solid friendships with you. We desperately want you to know that we care. So to everyone who is a part of the LGBTQ community, we want you to know that……..
1) Christians agonize over how to befriend you, because most of us don’t think that you really want to be our friend. We do not want to hurt you. We do not want to make fun of you. We do not want to get into arguments with you. In fact, we are so afraid of NOT showing compassion to you, that we sometimes fail to say anything at all. Admittedly, most Christians are not very good at building relationships with gay people. I personally struggle immensely with how to do this. I have read books and countless blog posts to try to learn how to get better at it. And I’m sure many other Christians do the same. Christians tend to believe that you want nothing to do with us, and so we often hold back due to our own sinful fear. This is not an excuse. It is failure on our part, that we should readily admit. In fact, Rosaria Butterfield (a former lesbian who converted to Christ) once said, “Prior to conversion, my experience with Christians was that they were mostly fearful people.” If you are a Christian reading this, I would advise you to watch this powerful interview with Rosaria. Gay people, we really want to have empathy with all you have been through, and we want our empathy to be real……not just lip service. And where we have failed you, we do not cover it up. We ask for your forgiveness, and we ask for your help. Yes, we want you to help us to love you. We want you to somehow let us into your life, so that we might get to know you as a person, and not simply a project. We do not know your world of friends and hobbies and work. We do not know your hurts. But we want to. And Christians, lest you think I’m going overboard with all of this, please go back and listen to Rosaria Butterfield above, especially when she talks about how Christians can learn much from the gay community.
2) Christians are grieving over the massacre in Orlando. Yes, we hate when wicked people commit acts of violence against other people. Yes, even when the victims are people whose lives contain sexual practices that we disagree with. Can’t you understand this? Whenever I see those smiling pictures of the Orlando victims, I do not start thinking about the fact that they were gay. I think about the fact that their loved ones (parents, gay partners, friends, co-workers) will not see them anymore. And I also think about how scared they must have been to be there at the Pulse Nightclub when Omar Mateen stormed in and went on a killing spree. Christians have great heartache over this incident. No, not enough heartache I realize. Never enough. But well-known Christian football player Tim Tebow left the Bahamas to go and visit one of the victims. Please know, gay people, that all true Christians wish to have this same heart as Tebow does. We want to serve you with acts of love and mercy. We want to be better with the LGBTQ community. In a previous post I wrote on the Orlando massacre, I made it clear just how devastated we should feel for all of you. And if we don’t feel that way, then God help us to repent.
3) Christians feel heartbroken when we see a gay AIDS patient on the cover of a magazine. I still cannot get this image of David Kirby from Life Magazine out of my head. I have stared at this image several times in my life. There are times I have been sitting at my workplace when I had an impromptu thought to google Life Magazine just so I could look at that photo. I don’t know why I think about it sometimes……..I just do. Perhaps it’s because I never want to lose compassion for people who are suffering. Even today, my heart breaks for the Kirby family when I look at that photo. And when I look at these precious young faces murdered in Orlando, my heart goes out to the families. I, and other Christians, never want our sharing of the gospel to be words only. We want to share the gospel, while demonstrating the love and compassion of Jesus Christ.
4) If God were ok with someone practicing homosexuality, true Christians would tell you this. We would not hide this information from you. We are not trying to steal your fun. People who tell you that God is ok with homosexuality just want you to like them. They care not for your eternal body and soul. Yes, we have failed greatly at times in our methods and our approach. We have failed to show the love of Jesus. And yes, in the last few decades (especially during the AIDS crisis of the 1980’s), we have often just flat out preached the wrong message. As Christians, we often say that it was only “professing” Christians who did this. Well, maybe the majority of them were false believers, but born again believers must admit that we are often still influenced by the Moral Majority. And this is not a good thing. We must be influenced by Jesus Christ. He loves sinners. So should we. Tragically, some folks in the visible church (not only Westboro), claiming the name of Jesus Christ, have often turned the gospel message into “Just be straight like us. Stop being gay and God will be ok with you. Repent of being gay. Gays cannot enter heaven. You’re going to end up in hell.” This is not the gospel. This is moralism, pride, and fearmongering. But gay people, please realize that true believers want to tell you the truth. We want our message to be balanced, with the right mix of law and gospel. We always want you to know that God is not only holy and just, but He is also love. We care about what happens to you when you die. We believe hell is real. How hateful would we have to be to NOT warn you of these things?
5) Christian pastors, as a general rule, rarely preach on homosexuality as a topic. And I mean rarely! In my experience, heterosexual sins are preached on just as much, if not more, than homosexuality or lesbianism. For the most part, churches focus more on pornography than homosexuality. We have sexual sin in our lives too. Christians sin sexually…….. in our minds (by lusting) and sadly, sometimes in deed (by having pre-marital sex or committing adultery). We’re not better than you. Not by a longshot. Christians are not perfect. Our Savior is.
6) Westboro Baptist Church does NOT represent true Christianity. I hope you can see a world of difference between them and the teachings of Jesus Christ. Do you know that Jesus hates what they do? I mean……….He really hates what they do! And don’t you know that true Christians think about the pain that gay people feel when they see those horrible picket signs?! That Westboro cult (notice I did not say church) moves from city to city to hold up banners displaying motives of bigotry and hatred. Jesus, on the other hand, moved from town to town to show people love and acts of kindness. He was moved with compassion. And the kindest, most loving thing He did was to reveal Himself to them. For since He is the only One who can truly fulfill us, then by revealing Himself to others He is displaying the ultimate love and kindness ever heard of. Westboro Baptist does not do this. Despite what they may claim, they do not reveal Jesus to others. They plot out their picket schedule well ahead of time. They strategically plan to reveal signs meant to demean, shame, and embarrass gay people. Jesus, on the other hand, purposefully set out towards Jerusalem. He plotted His own course. In fact, nothing would stop Him from entering the town of Jerusalem at the end of His life. Why, you may ask? Not so He could hold up picket signs against the Jews and the sexually broken. He went to Jerusalem specifically so He could die for sinners. That’s the Jesus true Christians believe in. He’s the same Jesus that we want you all to know.
7) Most Christians believe that practicing homosexuality is not the “worst sin in the Bible”. There may be a few exceptions out there, but I believe they are wrong if they believe that is true. Why do I say this? Because rejecting Jesus is the worst sin ever. And apart from God’s grace, that is what everyone in history (gay or straight) would do. If God did not pursue us, none of us would ever choose Him. Christians believe your worst sin is unbelief, not your sexual orientation. Homosexuality is merely a symptom of a much greater disease. Heterosexuals who have pre-marital sex are no holier than men who practice homosexuality. Christians, I believe it can be a dangerous game when we start categorizing specific sins by degree. Because whenever we do this, it is always based on what we think are the worst sins. From what I see in the gospels, the church elder who sits in a pew week after week with a self-righteous, pharisaical heart is in far more danger than anyone marching in a pride parade. Greater knowledge equals greater responsibility. I see no profit in trying to argue that being a homosexual is worse than being a heterosexual fornicator. Both groups need the cross of Christ just as much!
8) Christians should be much more judgmental about our own sin than that of others. If we point a finger at you, we better be pointing a few more back toward ourselves. Jesus reserved His harshest words for self-righteous folks. A great man named A.W. Tozer once said, “Be hard on yourself and easy on others. Carry your own cross but never lay one on the back of another.” This should be my personal anthem, and the anthem of all Christians. We should be held to this standard.
9) True Christians are not, or at least should not, be homophobic. Do you know that, if a Christian were displaying homophobic behavior, that he needs to be called on to repent of his sin? Please, gay people, we kindly ask that you would not label us as part of a group like that. Just like you don’t want us to label you as something you are not, we just want the same fair treatment in return. That’s all. The reality is that Christians speak out against many different sins that are listed in the Bible. We speak out against lying, theft, adultery, envy, anger, etc. But no one accuses us of being a liar-phobe, or a thief-phobe, or an adulter-phobe, or even a murderer-phobe. It has nothing to do with hatred or fear. We are simply warning people that living your life as though the Bible does not exist is a dangerous game to play. Both sides (gays and Christians) fail in showing empathy, and both need to work on it. I do not believe that Christians have the market cornered on this one by any means. We have much to learn. We cannot let difficult circumstances, and a rapidly changing culture, keep us from reaching out to the gay community. And I realize that for both sides, with all of the litigation going on regarding issues of religious freedom, and the political mudslinging on top of that, it is very difficult to maintain empathy for people we disagree with. However, if there is to be any progress made, or any bridges to be built, it must begin with empathy coming from both Christians and gay people. If we’re not willing to meet each other half way, it is going to be difficult to meet at all.
10) Right now, Jesus loves homosexuals, and transgender people, and lesbians, and transvestites. He loves you and He died on the cross for sinners to prove that love. Don’t listen to Westboro. They are wrong. God loves Bruce Jenner. He loves Ellen DeGeneres and Anderson Cooper too. And by the way, I called him Bruce (and not Caitlyn) because I believe something important about how God created gender in the beginning. I was not trying to offend you, and I really care about Bruce Jenner. I am simply obeying my Lord and rejoicing in His perfect distinctions between a man and a woman.
11) Our ultimate goal in sharing the gospel with you is not for you to become a heterosexual. No, it isn’t the goal. Not even close. Our goal is that you would be born again, escape the wrath to come, know the beauty and glory of Jesus Christ, and find all of your joy in Him. And if we were friends with you, and you reject the gospel message that we share, we have no intention of breaking off the friendship. Because we believe………..yes, we really believe that you might just be pretty cool to hang out with. Not everyone that Jesus spent time with embraced His message. Friendship is much deeper than that. Gay people, Christians really do love you. Yes, we disagree with Obergefell. Yes, most of us oppose the legalization of gay marriage. I won’t pretend these beliefs do not exist. But, at the same time, we still care about you. We wish we knew how to care more.
12) We pray for you. Yes, my gay readers, we pray for you. And not just when a tragedy strikes you. We just…….well, we just pray for you. Not enough I know. We can always pray more. And that is the goal with you, and anyone else who doesn’t know Jesus. We want you to know the Christ, the Holy One. We want you to know the King of glory. And since we are powerless to pull this off ourselves, we go to the One who has infinite power to take out a heart of stone, and replace it with a heart of flesh. We plead with Jesus to bring you into His Kingdom so that you will have eternal joy in Heaven with Him!
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