The Church and Homosexuality - Part Two
October 21, 2104
Homosexuality: How To Minister to One Who Identifies as Homosexual
Identity or Temptation?
Since I began publicly sharing my story of freedom from same-sex attraction, one of the most asked questions used to be ‘was your healing instant or was it a process?’ The answer, of course, is both. In an instant I was born again into a brand new identity, but the process has been progressive through the years since 1981. That process looks much like Lazarus coming forth from the dead. Like Lazarus, I was fully alive in Christ after having been dead in my sin. And like Jesus said to those gathered around the risen Lazarus, “Loose from him the grave-clothes!”, I have been walking toward Jesus allowing Him to reveal to me the things of death I still wear - the lies of the enemy concerning my true God-ordained identity - and then tearing them away with the Truth of God’s Word, ultimately revealing who HE says I am.
The most asked question from the Church these days, though, has become ‘How do we minister to homosexuals?’ And after having personally experienced the lack of understanding afforded me by the Church (both before and after my deliverance), I have come to realize the Church either lashes out in fear and condemnation or it pretends this is someone else’s issue. Both reveal a simple lack of knowledge. This blog is my attempt to help change that!
If you ask a homosexual whether or not they were born gay or not, they will typically answer, “This is simply the way I was born.” When they hear a Christian say things like “That is an abomination to the Lord” their ears hear condemnation that says “I (the homosexual) am an abomination to the Lord.” When I was a ten-year-old boy, I already knew my struggle was with same-sex attraction. Every sermon I heard as a boy concerning SSA can be condensed to this phrase: “You are homosexual. You do not pass Go and you do not collect $200. You get to go straight to Hell!” Could it be that the gay community hears that when we challenge them?
What led YOU to repentance? Was it not the lovingkindness of God? Could it be that kindness is the missing ingredient as we relate to anyone, regardless of their temptations? Being kind to someone else does not equal condoning or blessing their behavior. Last time I checked, you and I are no one’s Savior or Redeemer, meaning we are not responsible for the outcome of someone else’s life. We re simply responsible to LOVE. The most simple act of love - the laying down of life - is simply being KIND to another person, regardless - REGARDLESS - of their lifestyle or choices.
How, then, do we express kindness to someone who identifies as homosexual? A kind heart would be willing to develop a relationship with that person. A kind heart would encourage them with speaking good and affirming words of life to that person. We can always find something good to say about those we understand, but find it difficult with people whose life we may not understand. This does not, in any way, negate our scriptural admonition to speak the truth in love. Here are some very powerful and important passages that reveal a proper kind and loving attitude. Our tongues - the words we speak - carry the power of death and life. We are people of LIFE.
Anxiety in a man's heart weighs it down,
But a good word makes it glad.
A gentle answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 15:1 NASB
A man has joy in an apt answer,
And how delightful is a timely word!
Like apples of gold in settings of silver
Is a word spoken in right circumstances.
Proverbs 25:11 NASB
Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.
If we understand that our association with - building intentional relationships with gay people we encounter - does not equal condoning behavior, then we open the floodgates of possibility! When building a relationship with anyone else, we invest in their lives. When we invest without regard to our own comfort and focus on the need of another, we effectively build up that relationship investment to the point where the other party trusts that we will love them…and when they know we love them no matter what, then we are free to speak the truth in love. Should they disagree, does not, in any way, negate our love for them. After all, we are not commanded to agree, but we ARE commanded to love.
That being said, when you have built a self-less relationship with someone who struggles with their identity, there are a couple of things I would recommend you sharing. First, temptation does not equal identity! Just because you are tempted with something does not mean that is who you are. After all, Jesus was tempted in EVERY manner just as we are, yet without sin. That tells us that temptation does not equal sin nor does it endow identity. Regardless of how they respond, you keep loving and let God worry about watering and growing and harvesting the seed of that good love word your planted in their heart. They just need you to be a faithful friend.
Another question I like to ask is this: If you had the opportunity to go back into your mother’s womb and be born again, would you choose to be gay or straight? Every time I have asked that question the answer has been ‘I would choose to be straight.’ In that moment I make this statement. ‘What does that tell you? It tells you that somewhere down inside of you there is a seed of that true identity God has placed in the heart of mankind - to be men who are attracted to women and to be women who are attracted to men.’
One more thing to note is this: We do not get to choose what tempts us, but we are responsible as to how we respond to those temptations. Jesus did not get to CHOOSE his temptations. When I was a young man, I felt I had no choice, yet there came a day when I realized that I ALWAYS have a choice in how I respond to any given matter or feeling. My good news is that someone loved me in spite of me and my responses…and choices!
Would you, Church, be willing to lay down your life for one who identifies as homosexual? What would Jesus do? You may be the only Jesus that person sees and experiences today. What will you do?
…do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?
Romans 2:4 NASB
- Questions About Homosexuality
- The Church and Homosexuality - Part Two
- The Church and Homosexuality
- No One is Born Gay
- Pro-Gay Theology Overview
- Amputation Versus Restoration
- How To Minister In Your Home
- The Wreckage of Resentment
- DJ's Philosophy of Worship
- Doing Great Things For God With Limited Resources
- The Spiritual Banking Crisis
- Worship Leading Made Simple
- Fighting For Freedom - Why Many Give Up
- How to Minister to Your Neighbor
- Resources for Those Who Struggle With Same Sex Attraction
- How to Minister to Someone Who Struggles With Same Sex Attraction
- The Joy of Temptation
- How To Hear the Voice of God
- How to Be Born Again