Lately I have been feeling as if I was drafted into an invisible war; one that I did not sign up for, but sense pressure to choose a side, and fight fiercely. I look at both sides, read their theological arguments, listen to their stories, observe their lives, and search my own heart.
A few years ago I heard of a pastor whose daughter was bisexual. It was demanded of him that he choose a side or lose his job. He held a traditional biblical conviction, but he loved his daughter, and felt that if he publicly chose a side, she would have to endure the sting of open rejection from her own father. He chose to leave his church position (or perhaps he was pushed out).
I heard another story that broke my heart not too long ago. A teenage lesbian’s mother was in leadership at her church. She was confused by her daughter’s claimed orientation at that time, but didn’t sense it was necessary to demand her daughter to change, if she wanted to continue to live under her roof. As a result, the pastor removed the mother from leadership. The two stopped attending the church. I hear these stories and I know something is not right.
Many churches are not responding correctly and are driving more souls away from Christ.
But how does one accept the LGBTQ (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, queers) community with love and grace without compromising their own personal conviction and interpretation of the Scriptures?
So, I searched for answers. I read blogs and books by brilliant Christian men and women who are advocates for the LGBTQ Christian community. They argue that their sexuality is fixed and that as long as they are married, LGBTQ sex is holy within Christian marriage. There are now churches that fully support this.
To be honest, I wish I could totally agree with this side. It would make my life as a Christian blogger, who tends to lean more towards “liberation,” a lot easier. Plus, I am tired of hearing Christians use smug phrases such as “love the sinner, hate the sin” to describe the LGBTQ community.
Phrases such as these are not only demeaning, but they are also hypocritical because we are all sinners to some degree.
Each time I think about this battle, I envision a massively huge church building (medieval style) with a huge iron door. On the inside, holding the door shut with all their might, is the person having sex before marriage, watching pornography, struggling with lust, over-consuming food, alcohol, and chemical substances, mistreating their spouse and children, practicing greed, selfishness, pride, etc.
On the outside of the iron church door, I imagine the LGBTQ community banging on the door saying “Let us in, we want Jesus too!”
When we cannot relate, we begin to disassociate ourselves from others- looking at them for their struggle, rather than as a human being who Jesus ravenously loves. When we do this, the hostility becomes ugly, because it is easy to fire our weapons of destruction, when our target is a belief rather than a person.
Being right becomes more important than loving people.
When we really take the time to hear the LGBTQ community out, we begin to understand that many of them would truly rather not be homosexual, etc.. Often, they say that if they could choose their sexuality they would choose to be straight to avoid all the hate they receive, as well as the inner-turmoil they go through.
Their struggle is real; and we can debate all day long the reasons, or we can simply accept that they are trying to be honest with us and tell us how they truly feel.
May I also propose that those in support of the LGBTQ Christian community understand that many Christians are for them and love them, but have a genuine conviction that the Bible is against homosexual sex. It is not fair to treat these types as “homophobic” and “hateful,” because many times their hearts are the opposite.
Further, many Christians are “working out their salvation with fear and trembling.” We are all growing in our faith, and renewing our minds each day. What we believed last week, may not be what we believe today.
Are we spiritually mature enough to act like Jesus? Are we able to lie down our weapons of unkind words or even our fierce intelligent arguments, to stand beside a Christian brother or sister, we may disagree with?
Jesus had a way of inviting everyone to His table, even if He didn’t agree with their beliefs. Can we back off and give the Christian LGBTQ community a little space to figure out what Jesus may be asking of them, like we seem to do with most everyone else we accept into the Christian community? Can we feel for them and seek to understand their ultra painful dilemma? Can we listen to their stories? Can we be their friends? Can we love everyone right where they are at?
As for me, I have decided to take the time to really get to know some LGBTQ Christians, to listen, and to learn. I want to do unto the LGBTQ community, as I would want people to do unto me. And so, I am committed to helping LGBTQ Christians feel a sense of love, belonging, and inclusion.
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