A few months ago I heard a message from a dear pastor on how Christians should love the LGBTQ community. While I was in agreement with the vast majority of his encouraging message, there was a small part that (though it was filled with well-intended love and careful consideration of scripture) just did not sit well with my spirit.
The specific subject of discussion was how to show support to those who are in committed homosexual relationships. What does it say when believers show up in support of an LGBTQ couple? Are we Biblically “allowed” to attend a same-sex wedding or housewarming party? And let’s not forget the conundrum that’s had us all in unresolved debate since it dominated the headlines: Are we, as followers of Christ, supposed to bake the flipping cake, or not?
As it relates to the union of two homosexual individuals in marriage, this pastor’s opinion was that while we should always love and support the person, we must be careful to never show support of the sin. And in his opinion, this should exclude the Christian community from attending same-sex weddings.
Friends, before I go a step further, I have to say that I love and deeply respect this pastor. There is no question in my mind that he is the Lord’s anointed. His knowledge of the word and his personal relationship with God are so strong and deep that they could be evidenced by the spiritually blind. That said, prior to this, I had never questioned a single word that had ever come out of his mouth. But in this one instance there was something… something that prevented me from swallowing this message as absolute truth. I kept chewing on it. Over and over until… an inkling of a possible resolution came to my mind.
What if, I wondered… he is right?
But… what if, I thought… I’m right too?
What if the truth/standard by which a pastor must live is different than the everyday Christian neighbor, friend, and family member?
The Bible says that the church is the body of Christ, and Jesus is the head of that body. And just like our Savior, Jesus, is our spiritual shepherd as we walk through this life--- priests, ministers and pastors are our physical shepherds. As an overseer of the church, acting in the position of leadership… is it possible that since pastors are in a position of authority, their physical boundaries must be more rigid and defined?
“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” – Ephesians 4:15-16 NIV
And, as the body--- the hands and feet of Christ (who are called to serve everyone, but especially the persecuted, lowly and lost), it is possible that the everyday Christian might be held to a different standard by God… one that is permissive of total inclusion, unconditional love and support?
I believe the answers are yes and yes.
Why? Because I see attendance at homosexual life-events as an opportunity to be present and make a favorable impression for the Kingdom of God. I also see our “yes” as a ticket into a mission field that is certain to harbor souls that desperately need to see evidence of God’s love (and presence among them). But also, because our “no, due to religious reasons”, often wounds hearts and creates an even larger stumbling block for those “rejected by the faith” as they journey into a life-affirming relationship with Christ.
But what does the Bible say about all this? And more importantly… what would the perfect man, Jesus, do?
“Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 19:13-14 ESV
These questions sent me to the scriptures searching for answers. And what I believe the Lord has shown me through His word has floored me… so much so that I feel called to share it since I believe there are so many of you out there who, like me, have hearts that are broken for this frequently abused, accused, and overlooked community, but who simply do not know what to do about it.
We love our Savior. And above all we want to honor Him. We want to uphold His laws and precepts. But we love people, too… all people (just as Jesus told us to do). And every time we browse the net or tune-in to the world on the topic it becomes crystal clear there are vastly opposing viewpoints. And because we don’t fit into the extremes, a lot of us good-hearted, truth-seeking, scripture-reading Christians do nothing at all (except shake our heads at the Christians literally throwing Bibles in the faces of their gay children and tolerance-promoting priests that go as far as to say homosexuality is not a sin).
“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” – Lamentations 3:21-24 NIV
Friends, my prayer is for revival among the LGBTQ community. And my hope is that regardless of whether their bio-moms and earthling-dads still love them after they come out or start to transition, that not a single soul who associates with being LGBT or Q ever has to question whether their heavenly Father still loves them or not.
“If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?…
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?…
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:31-32, 35, 38-39
Through my personal studies of scripture, I have concluded Jesus wouldn’t just want us to attend a same-sex wedding, but also to take an exceptional gift as a love offering. Furthermore, I have come to trust that if asked of Him, Jesus, Himself would have not just made the gay couple a cake--- He would have baked every last one of the fruits of the spirit into that sucker (free of charge) before sending it on its way with a dinner invite--- and an offer to join Him at the temple or for a sea-side Bible study.
I believe with a heart full of passion that there is a unifying message of lavish love that God needs delivered to this abandoned community. But church, I can’t deliver it alone. So won’t you please join me here next week were I will cover in greater detail what scripture says about our sins and the sins of others? It is my hope that the knowledge within will encourage and equip you… and give you every drop of assurance you need to be all-in with these cherished people who, just like you and me, belong to the Kingdom of God. As they, too, were purchased with the highest price, paid in full… the perfect blood of Jesus Christ.
“to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.” – Ephesians 1:6-10 NIV