Long before the Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage, there has been a voice against those who are same-sex attracted. The tone of their voice has been harsh and critical, often filled with angry words that include death, damnation, segregation and other acts of cruelty.
It is true that in human nature, we want to destroy that which we do not understand. We want to control that which is seemingly out of our control. Without either of these two things happening we feel lost, as if our world is crumbling around us. This seems to be true whether you believe in the Bible or not.
In fact, the church is called to be different. The church meaning all those in Christ, the “Body of Christ” is called to be different than the world around them. They’re called to see things in a different way, to examine them and put God’s filter of grace and love over them, then receive through that filter what God would have them to see, feel and do. At that point, you are actually displaying the attributes of Christ, or as we call it you’re being a “Christian”. Too often this is not how we act and the world does not see us as anything special.
Since the Supreme Court ruling, I have seen some of my favorite preachers and friends speak so viciously and with open hostility toward the people that benefited from the decision. It breaks my heart to hear them with such anger toward people when that’s not what we’re called to do.
I hear clapping in an audience as a preacher revs “them” (parishioners) up and tells them how God is going to crush and destroy people and that when this happens, it’ll be a good thing because God is getting his vengeance for all. As if not for God’s vengeance they would have nothing for which to cheer.
Yet throughout the Bible and throughout Christ’s ministry on earth, we see quite the opposite. We see that we are to love our enemies. We are to turn the other cheek, we are to lay down our rights, we are to reach out to the hurting, we are to go to this world and make disciples of all and show that Jesus Christ is the living Son of God. That as our Creator he came to rescue us, to pay the price for sin with his own life. That’s what we’re supposed to show.
How do we as a family of faith reach the hearts of those who do not currently believe the way you do and prove to them who and what Jesus is? According to God’s own word, the only way to prove (or certainly one of the best ways to prove) God’s word to be truth, is to live it. We are called to live a life that’s pleasing to God. What does that mean? I believe that means we live to serve others and show mercy, grace and kindness. That’s a life pleasing to our God…our loving, wonderful creator Father. Throughout Scripture, in Jesus time on earth you do not see him walking about and condemning those people who need him so desperately. You see him healing, loving and eating with all sorts of people in all sorts of lifestyle. You see him reaching out, never letting anyone think that they are not worthy of his presence.
He is the Son of God. He is God in the flesh. And yet the “sinners” who did not know him, never felt out of place with him. Isn’t it odd that the apostles and those who knew Jesus were the ones who felt out of place the most? And why is that? I believe it’s because (sadly), we know about Jesus we do not know Jesus! In fact, they (people of Jesus time) knew him and they “knew” they could not live up to his high standard of life. Today, we feel the same way they did. We feel that Jesus was perfect, therefore we can never be perfect, we can just be who and whatever we are and that should be good enough for man or God. Is that truly the way you’re called to live as a Christian? Is that (at all) what Jesus said to do? Are you the kind of Christian who’s words are just something you spill out with very little or no imitation of Christ in them? Is an angry God who is ready to destroy humanity a God that you truly serve? There is the one who rules this world who is that entity and he would be the one that would choose to have you believe that homosexual or same-sex attracted people are deserving of the greatest punishment that could ever be brought upon them.
Once again, buying into that lie makes you look like the rest of the world in their hatred for Christ and Christianity. Do we not reflect the same by hating people who (we assume) are not in Christ because they simply have something they deal with that you don’t?
Where am I going? I want you to understand that being same-sex attracted is not easy. In fact, I don’t understand why God would allow anyone to be same-sex attracted. That’s the question that I would ask if I did not understand God’s great power and mighty grace. In fact, I would take that as far as to say, “I don’t understand it so deeply, that it’s easier to accept it. It seems easier to fit it into my life or fit God into that lifestyle, than it is to stand up and walk (or be led away) from it and trust that God is doing something for my benefit. How and what can I benefit through living this life as a same-sex attracted person?”
Is it possible to live in freedom from whatever it is that troubles you? Yes, If, you actually know Jesus!
I did not say know about him and know about the Bible. Reading the Bible, claiming Scriptures and having them make you feel good for a little while and then it goes away and you’re back to wherever it is you were is not knowing Jesus.
I’m talking about a real understanding of who is Jesus. Jesus is your friend. He stands with you. If you think about your closest friends, you want to be with them. You want to know them. You want to share with them. You want them to share themselves with you (and in many ways) without even knowing it, we kind of want to become them. If you’re a really good friend they want to stand by you and see you grow and change and be part of that too. They want to pour into you and from a human perspective, they want to take on your characteristics and be a little bit like you. Why is this? Because we all want to look at someone else and see a little bit of ourselves in the one we like. It’s been proven over and over that most people you don’t get along with, or greatly dislike are people who are most like the attributes you don’t like in yourself. So we see these attributes (the ones we don’t like) in somebody else and we reject them because we don’t want to see our own unacceptable attributes. We don’t want to be around it! It seems to make sense, but it certainly shows you that it’s a place where God needs to move into your life and heart to change who you are because rejection of anybody (especially yourself) is wrong…If you know Jesus.
The same-sex attracted person has received much rejection in life. I can assure you. It is up to the family of faith to get out of its doldrums, to get out of old ways of thinking. Let go the thinking that everything you agree with is the only thing that is right. In other words, it’s great (or feels great) to find a big giant group, even if it’s millions of people and say, “Hey we all agree so we all must be right!” Instead, stand up for what really is right! Call them out! Say they’re wrong! Show them the error of their ways!
The Bible tells you to do just that and not that only, the Bible calls you to accept when somebody is showing you the error of your ways. Only a fool rejects good counsel.
This is a hard life. I pray that the family of faith would not make it harder, but would be, “The peace that passes all understanding”, in the life of someone who does not know.
It is my deepest, heartfelt hope that you will understand, I stand free because of Christ. Make no mistake, the pain of the past still resides in my memory, and sometimes it’s brought forth by misguided, poorly chosen words from people God has told me to trust.
If you know any of my story, you know that the family of faith was the number one group of people I would not and could not trust. As I’ve grown in my walk with Christ, I realized it wasn’t really God that I didn’t trust; it was his people. How many people look at you and don’t trust God because your example is one that they cannot trust? How many times have you rejected or made comments to people around you and others have heard the anger and vitriol in your voice? How many times has somebody said of you, “I can’t and will never listen to them or accept what they have to say about God because they’re just not nice people?” I pray you never have this happen. Sadly, you will never know because they won’t tell you what they think of you.
Many studies are available that show how people don’t trust Christians in America because they’re not nice, they’re arrogant and think everything they do is right and that’s not good!
We must be the people who reach beyond our own pain, beyond ourselves and reach into Christ; sharing the message of hope to everyone who does not know Jesus.
Let us never forget the people who do know Jesus! This, (by the way) is not in your power to determine. It is God’s. He alone knows the heart of his creation. That’s where you are called to trust God and just simply be Jesus in their life.
When Jesus went out and visited the people around him we do not see (in the Bible) great detail of the relationship they already had with God. It may say, a certain man, meaning they were outside of “Jesus” faith. Again, the Bible doesn’t really go into details of their life. My point in this (the reason that I believe it doesn’t) is it’s not for you to know. It’s not your business to know someone’s walk with God. You don’t need to know what their walk with God is before you get involved with loving someone.
It is your call to bring Jesus to them right now. Right where they’re at! Not where you think they must be.
Look at it from this view. Jesus is standing next to you (just like I would be) and Jesus (or I) say, “Let’s go and be good to these people because they need you.” So, just as I would go with you and I would be a representation of something good for this person’s life, you would introduce me; which would show them by your testimony (introduction) that I’m good. I don’t have to speak; I only have to be present in the room. Because of your testimony of my goodness, the person you’re speaking to will then begin to trust you and open up their heart to receive what you (and I) actually have to say.
Take Jesus with you, introduce him as the loving God he is, think about him standing there and talking to the person. He is a friend.
He is not a God who’s holding a fiery stick just waiting to enter the room so he can kill the person.
What a sad way to present this loving amazing God who created and has known us before the foundations of the world. He created the person to whom you’re speaking. He wants to reach the person you are unwilling to reach out to for His kingdom. He loves the one you’re having trouble loving or perhaps hate.
It is you who hates…not our God, not our Jesus!
So, be aware of what you say, understanding your words are powerful and your thinking is not always right. It’s okay to admit when you don’t know what to do or how to do it. That’s why God sends us people to help.
I often admit that I cannot do certain things. I cannot work with certain people because I don’t have that ability, or gift, or whatever you want to call it. But God has put other people in my life that are uniquely talented and skilled and they can do amazing things. Now, through Christ who strengthens me, I can do those things. Through Christ who strengthens me (with the help of other people he has gifted) I can do all things. You must understand, this goes beyond the borders of your fingertips. This is life with other people. This is the body of Christ in motion.
As American Christians we get so stuck in ourselves. The Bible becomes this personal actualization manual and only you can be involved. Only you can see it, touch it, feel it or do it. If there’s anything we can’t do we throw a Scripture on it just to make us feel good about the fact that we don’t do it. You do not have permission to live like this. Read the book of Acts. Read about the church and how they took care of each other. People came who didn’t believe and in some cases didn’t want to believe. They just came because it was so amazing, beautiful and powerful. God resided with his people. That’s it. They were drawn to God by the outreach life of his beloved children.
In that moment, the Holy Spirit will give you what you need. “I can do all things through Christ Jesus, who strengthens me.”
I pray that you would start living out loud with a heart of outreach. That you would reach out to us and let us help you show people this love of which I speak. Let them know that Jesus Christ is Lord. He is their creator; he died for them and rose for them. Their sins are already forgiven; they have only to accept his forgiveness to become part of the very same family you were so lovingly brought to.
John, who lived in the lifestyle for 30 years and returned to Christ full force, and Brandon, a 21 year old straight man also in love with the Lord Jesus. A team of two brought together by God to act as one. One gay one straight both in loving relationship with Christ.