North American culture is as shifting as sand, isn’t it? One day something is “in” and the next day it’s “out”. Now, in these Last Days, many are “out”. Out of the closet, I mean. Those who identify as gay have for centuries been terrified of what would happen to them if they revealed their sexual preference; and for good reason. Hatred and discrimination against homosexuals has been a tangible problem for them and outside of North America, it’s still the same.. only worse. In Muslim countries, homosexuals are hated, tortured and killed. It’s no wonder that they live in fear; you and I would also!
That said, homosexuals – a once persecuted people group – have now become the persecutors of Christians – and others – in a way that will shock you as you click this link: https://carm.org/homosexual-persecution-of-christians and see the utter hate filled conduct of those who feel it their right to persecute any who do not agree with their lifestyle. This is unfortunate; for a group that speaks so much of peace, love and tolerance, they’re becoming more and more vocal and aggressive in their tactics against those who who do align with their worldview.
I remember here in Moncton when a Christian Florist was persecuted by the gay community. It was all over the news, as well as international media. The gay community appeared to be hurt and yet forgiving towards this Woman of God for not partaking in a lesbian wedding. Behind the scenes, however, it was another story altogether. As my wife and I sat with this Christian couple in their home in Riverview, they showed us the postcards that the gay community sent to them. hate filled words and blasphemous photos of Jesus were sent. It was anything but peace, love and tolerance. There was a clear sense of hatred and violence against this couple. Yet, this precious couple continued to pray for them and refused to fight back. (Read story here: http://www.christian.org.uk/news/homosexuals-protest-at-home-of-christian-florist/)
As our culture now accepts homosexuality and celebrates it, how can we, as Christians, hold to the Biblical view that homosexuality is sinful (Romans 1) and yet love on and come alongside our homosexual neighbors to show them the love of Jesus? How can we remain faithful to the Lord and His Word while not being mean and hateful to those who identify as gay? Here are 5 ways to love gays:
1- Don’t protect their lifestyle but be sure to protect their dignity: Many Christians today are bowing under pressure, either completely endorsing the homosexual lifestyle or remaining silent on it for fear that they’ll be labelled hateful. This is not the will of God and shows a clear cowardice. The homosexual lifestyle is an abomination (Leviticus 18:22) and yet at the same time, those who practice homosexuality are loved by God – and deeply so! We’re to be very open about what the Word of God teaches on this topic – that it’s against the Will of God and yes, against nature itself – to practice homosexuality – yet we’re also to protect the dignity of homosexuals. We must defend them against hate speech and from those claim to be Christians and yet who show a malice towards those who identify as gay.
2- Don’t jump on the hate bandwagon: Many Christians today involve themselves in political issues on homosexuality and this should be a no-no. When in the news you see Christians and homosexuals pitted against one another, you should not – for any reason – join in on the name calling. Christians seem to lose their minds when a homosexual sues a bakery. they sign petitions, post comments, etc. Don’t fall for this trap. Yes, support those of faith but do so in a sensitive way. Your gay friends are watching how you treat those who identify as gay. If you’re acting mean and taking sides then why in the world would your gay neighbor want to confide in you? Be as sensitive as you can possibly be with those who identify as homosexual. You see, gay people have been hated on and persecuted by those who claim to follow the God of love. Don’t display behavior that alienates you from your gay neighbors. Stay out of another man’s fights and remain silent on political issues that involve mass media propaganda. Don’t remain silent on the issue of homosexuality and what God says about it, but at the same time, don’t jump on the hate train!
3- Invite them into your fellowship, showing them that all men are created equal: It makes no difference whether one identifies as homosexual or heterosexual; no one gets into Heaven or is sent to Hell based on sexual identity. Sexual identity is a result of our inner desires and our inner desires are not the determining factor of whether we’re saved or lost. Turning to Christ in repentance and faith is the determining factor. Our job is to invite people into our churches – gay or straight. We must never see a gay person as someone who shouldn’t be welcomed into our churches; they’re just as in need of Jesus as a lost straight person is. Many Christians today are afraid that if gay people come to their church that they’ll infect the church with an evil lifestyle. Yet, these same Christians don’t say the same about straight people who lie, cheat, steal and sleep around.They’re hypocrites to the fourth degree. If we don’t invite them in to experience the Love of Jesus and genuine community where everyone is treated equally, then let’s not rant and rave against them when they say we’re unloving… because we are!
4- Pray for and with them for God’s direction in their lives: Homosexuality is an extremely difficult issue to tackle and hence many do not take it on. This is unfortunate. If you’re a Christian and have gay friends and yet you’ve never addressed God’s view on their lifestyle in a loving, gentle and sensitive way, you’re endorsing their lifestyle by remaining silent. Do your gay friends know beyond any shadow of a doubt that you don’t support such a lifestyle? I encourage you to open the conversation with your gay friends by sharing God’s view of the homosexual lifestyle and then offering to pray with and for them. Challenge them in a positive way by letting them know that if they truly want God and seek His Will for their lives that God will most certainly reveal truth to them. Be someone who comes alongside your gay neighbor to offer prayer on a regular basis. Not concerning homosexuality only, but just as you’d offer prayer for anyone else. Let them know that whatever they’re going through, they can count on you to pray for them and with them. This will show them that while you do not agree with the homosexual lifestyle, you’re genuinely concerned about their well being.
5- Share Christ with them: Don’t see them as lost because they’re gay; see them as you would anyone else who is lost: People are lost because they don’t trust Christ… not because they’re committing some particular sin. People practice sin because they’re lost and regardless of what sin it is, lost is lost… gay or straight. When sharing the Gospel, don’t make it seem like if they “stop practicing homosexuality” that God will save them… because that’s not the Gospel. The Gospel is that when God saves them, they’ll then stop practicing homosexuality. You see, there are many Christians today who believe that a person can practice homosexuality and still claim to follow Christ; this is a lie. Whether it’s homosexuality or any other sinful practice, Paul the Apostle makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 5 that no one who practices sin will ever see God. Let your homosexual friends know about Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection to save them from their sins – including homosexuality – and how the Gospel will transform their hearts and lives.