In the evangelical community the only LGTBQ people’s stories that are shared and celebrated are the ones who claim to have been “healed/delivered” (although those are on the decline as “reparative therapy” has been debunked and people are free to be honest) and the ones who embrace celibacy or heterosexual marriage. I am taking the opportunity Pride* Month offers to share some different stories and thoughts, the ones that don’t get press in mainstream evangelicalism. Today I’m sharing something a friend wrote, with his permission.
(*Pride – not as in “flaunting”, but as in “the opposite of shame”.)
‘How do we respond? How do we respond in this time and reality…when people say they are gay? When people say they love Jesus?
Here are my thoughts:
Gay is just a part of who someone is, it is not the definition of who they are. As a Christian you are 100% son or daughter of God through Jesus.
I am gay: I want to say that there is no celebration of free sex here. Lust is wrong. There is no lifestyle being celebrated but a heart of desiring to try to explain a reality of what Jesus’ death and resurrection, power and freedom means. Being gay sexually does not define everything there is about a person. However I believe the New Testament says that when sexual desire is strong in a person they are always told to bind themselves in marriage to one another. And to not stop having sex because of temptations outside the marriage. Marriage and sex are a gift from God to be used to help navigate this broken world. Marriage is temporary between human but marriage is eternal to God. (FYI, there is no verse that says marriage is [exclusively] between and man and woman, that just is a quick hurtful political answer. The Bible talks often about one man with multiple wives more often if you want to follow an example.)
I believe actually I am part of the church that is the bond for the best marriage to Jesus, a God-man, and we are going to have a huge party! Human to human marriage includes sex as a way of intimacy. Human to God-man Jesus marriage uses other forms of intimacy to bind us together such as worship, feasts, prayer, joy, sealing of the Holy Spirit. But it is the same word. Marriage.
Everything is about Jesus and His resurrected life. There is nothing we do to earn His salvation and enter this epic marriage. LGBTQ+ people are 100% souls that need love and to be shown freedom in Christ. They need to see Jesus’ hands and feet as we all do. I want people to ask themselves if they know people that say they are gay? Do you have gay friends? I mean in your home and loving on them? Listen to their story.
I get and understand why a two man marriage is new for people. Many are still struggling with interracial marriages! Saying they are wrong and sinful using the same Bible. (They say slavery is still allowed in the New Testament and they say that God designed people to be in separate races, there are actually many verses that say this, Deuteronomy 7:3, “You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons.”)
I know I could do better. I wish for all of us Christians that we could do better. That we would consider how it hurts people’s ability to see Jesus when they present the rules as they understand them, instead of presenting hope and love of Jesus and the coming marriage feast.
When I think about the major changes that Jesus brought in…I realize how legalist I am about things. I am offended even when someone forgets to say thank you! (That is against my rules). Another example: I don’t get close to the broken because I am afraid of getting dirty by their sins, which is so wrong if me. Oh I need the Lords grace again. I need to see people like Jesus does.
The Old Testament has filled its purpose. Jesus is presenting the new way. Totally brand new, let go of the past.
Mark 2:21, Jesus says:
No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. 22 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.
Peter struggles with this tendency toward rules. Jesus’ close friend denied Him and then after the resurrection He made him a meal and forgave him. Jesus was also pushing Peter away from legalism. Later even Paul has to push Peter away for legalism. This can be a struggle but it shows that church leaders need each other to lean into grace as legalism is more natural to the fleshly human. Probably because it connects to our pride.
Grace covers all of my sin under the blood of Jesus Christ. Unearned and undeserved.
I will close with this encouragement:
Gay does not equal sex, parties, drugs, drink and lust like so many Christians think it does. Neither does a rainbow flag. Gay is a word the helps people express a specific desire that is built into them just as most humans express themselves when they say they are male, American, or football fans. It helps gives some context for a person and what they probably have gone through.
Next them you see the pride flag or meet a gay person: see a person that has probably suffered a lot of rejection, hurt, pain and have probably hurt themselves trying to find hope and peace.
This hope and freedom from sin can only come from Jesus. When hear the world LGBTQ+ think of how you can sit with them and not stay on the sidelines judging those that do, as the Pharisees did to Jesus. I know I am a sick sinner found by Jesus and He died for me and now sits with me and even has sealed me with the Holy Spirit. I am not healthy without my doctor Jesus. He has made me whole and I am headed towards the biggest marriage feast even. What an epic start to eternity with our Jesus. The best is truly yet to come.
While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”