How should the body of Christian believers, the church, respond to a matter that’s only becoming more forefront in our culture?
I argue that the people of God and those who follow His son Jesus Christ should respond to our changing in culture in a spirit of love and should work towards building healthy relationships that are genuine and Biblical.
We should not, as believers, approach people whether its through video, blogs, interviews or on the pulpit with a kind of visceral, ugly sprit and expect people to come to Jesus.
Who accepts a gift from someone forcing it upon them!?
There’s a better way to approach people and issues regarding sin, brokenness and matters of the heart! It’s love…the love of God and the love of Jesus.
What does that look like? I’ll get into that shortly!
The Boy With A Secret Sin!
Imagine, for a moment, an 12 or 13 year old boy. He has a sensitive heart. He’s not quite like other boys around him who may prefer sports over stories or baseball over books. He loves music, movies, the arts and things that feeds him intellectually and sparks his heart. He’s not very rough and tumble. The boy has, the Living Hope Ministry Director Ricky Chelette has said before, “It is as though they have a giant magnifying glass attached to the lens of their soul (https://livehope.org/resource/connecting-to-the-sensitive-son/).”
The boy feels deeply most things around him.
So, things said to him and things heard or experiences, are deeply felt. For a boy like this, they don’t just “get over it” that easy!
For this young man, it may be difficult to connect and relate to any of the young men around him and depending on the Father or role-models around him, they may or may not quite understand them either. And yet, it’s so key that they do. In fact, the lack of relationship there only helps dig deeper a hole in the heart of that boy.
There’s a deep yearning to be like the other guys: to have the physical features, the strength, the inner resolve of character and somewhere in the midst of loss and disconnect the desires rise.
The boy attends church. He even professes to be a Christian. But he feels like he can tell no one. He may even try to write it off as a phase or as something that will go away. He even wonders if God has already wrote him off and casted judgement on him.
Other men including his Pastor at his church may be speaking Biblical truth about homosexuality. But, he hears very little grace and mercy and a whole lot of hell. He hears more crude jokes and bullying and teasing then he does truth in love!
He hears that He needs Jesus, but, no one has truly spoken of His love for Him so great that it can fill the void in his heart and bring peace where there’s fear.
The boy feels a real reality of hell being his eternity. Rather than faith-filled…he’s fear-filled.
The boy is older and a choice has to be made. He wonders should he follow the world and just give in to his feelings and desires that feel more real than God’s love and the church to him. Or, maybe, just maybe, the Lord is waiting on the boy to confess and admit his issues and seek the Father whom he so desperately needs.
For a lot of boys who later grew into men with the problem, they choose to follow Jesus in spite of the challenges and the pain and the sweat and the tears. But, they find healing. For so many, they choose to leave the church, feeling that many are fake, hypocritical and unloving.
They are missing out on healthy, wholesome relationships with others and, more importantly, a relationship with Christ.
Firm Preaching with Grace!
Colossians 4:5-6 says “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one (NKJV).“
Dr. Warren Wiersbe of the “Wiersbe Bible Commentary” says that our speech should be “controlled by grace, so that it points to Christ and glorifies the Lord.” We should be “speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4:15)” and our communication must not be corrupt (Eph 4:29).
Followers of Christ should NEVER compromise when it comes to Biblical truth and lifestyle. The Bible is clear with regards to matters like sexual immorality and homosexuality.
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, NKJV).”
And how might a person present this to someone whose not of the same belief or ideas?
Grace and Christian Living In Real World Scenarios!
Those who are living a lifestyle apart from my own are expecting one of two things, a Christian whose genuine and living for Jesus and that God IS who we say He is to us. Or, they are expecting a Christian whose life is no different than their own.
The gay community at large views many Christians as fake, hateful, hypocritical and worse. Unfortunately, just like most who do not believe in God or Jesus, its to be expected. The world is expected to hate us. But, to make matters worse, many Christians make life choices or approach this population in such a way that it helps to substantiate the claims.
This is sad all around!
After speaking too numerous men and women who have either left the gay lifestyle or been delivered or struggled for years with same-sex attraction, I learned that the common theme to them turning their life over to Christ and changing their lives were people who connected with them on a personal level. In turn, when that grew and Jesus was introduced, big changes took place.
These are people who loved on them AND spoke the truth in love. These were the men and women that they had a healthy, holy relationship with. These were the mentors, the role-models and individuals who challenged them in such a way that it moved them to considering making Jesus their choice.
The people they trusted were the people they talked too about various issues that homosexuality was only symptomatic of…not feeling ‘man enough’ or like one of the guys…feeling alone…depressed…lost…stressed…worthless…the experience with the overbearing mother…experience with the passive or non-existent father…suffering molestation…abuse…and manipulation. Or…just not knowing or feeling loved.
The sins in our lives are the result of a need that has not been sufficiently met. How the sin comes up…whether it’s adultery…pornography…drinking…excess eating…the list goes on…varies person to person.
If we are the church that believes that Jesus can fulfill those needs…let’s be the church that speaks that out and lives that out in love…with every person outside of Christ and in our church but secretly struggling.