But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 ESV
I have sat staring at this title so many times. What a topic! It’s a tough one to put into words. Often when you hear people getting on their soap box against PRIDE month they will quote 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and focus in on the sexual aspects of it:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
But this list is pretty all inclusive! We’ve all had idols in our lives which have been placed before God, we’ve been greedy, we may even have spoken abusively or contemptuously or obtained something deceitfully. Don’t get me wrong I do strongly believe that any sexual relationship which is not between a man and woman who are bonded together in marriage is contrary to God’s word. What I struggle with is that so many Christians pinpoint anyone within this community as committing a sin which is above all others.
Time and time again we are commanded to love God and to love others (Matthew 22:40; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27; John 15:12; Romans 13:8; 1 John 3:11, 1 John 4:7). We have all been made in the image of God, we are all born sinners and we are all in need for the gospel of Jesus Christ and of salvation. As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). We who know Christ are sinners who have been saved by grace (Eph 2:8).
What we need to ask ourselves is this: are our views and attitudes based on the gospel?
There is a difference between loving people and not affirming or condoning sexual ethics. We need discernment; we need to ask God for discernment, and we need to treat each situation based on the person and the context. There is no one response that fits all when we are trying to truly love others and share the love of Christ for those in a very different lifestyle.
As a follower of Christ, we cannot support or condone what displeases God. We cannot ignore what is sinful, but we must step past the stereotypes and see people as individuals. We have a commission, we are called to reach out and to spread the gospel:
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (Romans 10:14-15)
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20)
We cannot do as Jonah did and refuse to reach out based on our own opinions and stereotypes. We cannot run away from a culture and from people that were made in the image of God because we don’t believe they are worthy of His Grace or salvation. We must learn to listen, to love, to pray, and to allow the Holy Spirit to do the work on other’s hearts.
I have a loved one who identifies as being part of the LGBTQ+ community. I love him but I do not agree with his lifestyle or do I condone it. He knows this and yet we are still as close as we ever have been. He is not outside of the reach of God as nothing is impossible with God. For me to have any spiritual impact on him I cannot exclude him, in the same way I cannot support or embrace his choices. To have an impact on anyone living in an alternative lifestyle we need to stand strong, we need to stand on the truths within God’s word, we need to pray for and with each other, and we need the Spirit of God to complete His Work within our hearts and theirs.
By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for others. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:16-18)
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16)
Lord, give us discernment that we may be light and salt in this world. Let our words lead people to you, let our actions speak to our love that comes from God. Let us not bend under social pressure but speak truth in love and live a life which brings glory to your name. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.