It seems in recent years there has been a lot of debate about the place of the LGBTQ community in the Christian church. Let me tell you, debate is a step in the right direction! Gone are the days when shunning everyone in the LGBTQ community was considered your Christian duty. Even if that meant throwing out your teen child and disowning them. Gone are the days of Christians protesting in the streets holding signs saying “AIDS is God’s punishment for homosexuality”.
Despite these strides within the faith, there are still some hold outs. Often times people in the LGBTQ community feel ostracized from their faith and /or families. This absolutely should not be happening and more Christians need to stand up against this. More Christians need to make room on their pew for LGBTQ people. Not only to support the LGBTQ community but also to prevent the misrepresentation of our faith.
Two Christian responses to Pride
There was this beautiful article that came out in early June about the Pride parade in the Philippines. They were greeted by thousands of Christians holding signs saying things like “we’re sorry” & “God loves you and so do we”. They even had banners made listing the many indignities and abuses they felt responsible for. The article said the Pride participants were moved. Some to tears. There was a lot of hugging and there was finally some closure on decades of hostility. This event was organized by The Church of Freedom in Christ. The members of this Evangelical Pentecostal church located in the Philippines have attended pride events for 4 years. What an awesome and inspirational example of making room on your pew!
Meanwhile, here in the US we have also had newsworthy attendance at Pride parades. Unfortunately it hasn’t been a loving outreach. Instead, it has been in protest of the LGBTQ community. In Detroit, Michigan, at the Motor City Pride event, neo-Nazi’s came out, openly armed and escorted by police (wise choice DPD). They attempted to bait Pride participants into acts of violence. Even resorting to being racially derogatory. It is believed that the neo-Nazi’s were trying to create another Charlottesville scenario.
In Orlando, Florida this past weekend, 3 years after the Pulse nightclub massacre, protesters gathered to listen to the rally cries of local and visiting pastors brought in just for the occasion. Pastors preaching hate and intolerance. Pressing the crowd to agree that not only should homosexuality be illegal but that it should be punishable by death.
Both of these groups represent a small but loud faction. They both claim to be Christian. And both claim to hate in the name of God. I thought to myself… what the heck is going on??? How is this still so sideways???
You may or may not believe in God. That is between you and Him. What you can’t do though is use God to abuse people! You can’t use God to spread hate! You can’t use God to put out your children into the street and reject them! That isn’t God! This isn’t just my opinion. This is what the Bible says!
Jesus would attend Pride
I have long believed that if Jesus was here today he’d be at Pride! I might have just lost a few of you. The thing is that Christians who protest at pride and turn away members of the LGBTQ community are much like the Pharisees. Jesus wasn’t a big fan of them! He spoke many times against the legalistic ways of the church. Withholding access to the kingdom of God because you decide the person is sinful or unworthy just isn’t ok.
In fact, Jesus was so adamant about this that he spent all of his time surrounded by those deemed as sinners. He was questioned about how he could justify this. Why would a Holy man, let alone the son of God, spend his time with sinners? He explained that they needed Him most. Jesus wasn’t into preaching to the choir. He was there to connect the disenfranchised to God. Some Christians are firm believers that the LGBTQ community is living in sin. Because of this LGBTQ people have become disenfranchised from the faith. That means those are the people Jesus would be most likely to spend time with. He never chose to keep company with the self-righteous.
Am I implying that Pride or the LGBTQ community are sinful? Nope. I’m simply addressing the elephant in the room that is commonly pointed to by Christians. It really isn’t my place to determine whether it is a sin or not. It isn’t anyone’s place except God’s. This leads me to point number 2. Who are we to judge sin? My favorite verse regarding this is Matthew 7:3 where Jesus says “why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (NIV). I know most people like to go to the “cast the first stone” one and that one makes the point too.
None of us is without sin. Not a single person, no matter how holy they portray themselves. The Bible says we all fall short of the grace of God. Why is homosexuality considered by Christians to be a bigger sin than any others? I didn’t notice any mention of it in the 10 commandments. I also haven’t seen anywhere in the Bible that “Satan is the father of all homosexuality”. For those who don’t know… “Satan is the father of all lies” according to John 8:44. And most people tell at least a little white lie every week or two. So really, how are some sins ok and others aren’t? Where in the Bible can I find that passage? And who on earth gets to be the judge of that?
There are several places in the Bible where homosexuality is referred to as immoral or wrong. And, clearly, it was not considered appropriate for society at that time. I’m not sure why homosexuality was called out. But it isn’t the only sexual behavior that is frequently addressed. It might have something to do with the whole “be fruitful and multiply” thing. I think most of us agree that as a species we aren’t endangered so it’s probably ok to stop being so rigorous about that. If we are going to expect strict compliance with Biblical sexual morality though we have to prohibit masturbation and make it illegal for people to use contraception or have sex past menopause. Let me know how that goes!
At the end of the day the one thing I do know is that I too am a sinner. We all are! And, I am counting on the grace of God. I need to be concerned about the plank in my eye not the sawdust in someone else’s. I suggest others do the same.
Let’s talk about judgement. This is the one I wonder about the most. So… Jesus said “for in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:2 (NIV). What does that mean? Well… to me it means that if I judge others hastily and harshly that is how God will judge me. I will be given the same degree of grace and mercy I give others.
For all of you showing up and screaming that homosexuals should be put to death this could be REALLY bad. Do you want to be judged by God in the same way you are judging them? Just wondering… what do you think God wants most? What’s the whole point of Christianity? Why did God send Jesus to die on the cross, pay for our sins and be resurrected?
God is love
He did it simply because God is love. That’s what the Bible says. He loved us SO much that He sacrificed His only son to save us. As in ALL of us. He’s been trying to save us throughout the entire Bible. The entire book is a love letter to humanity.
Take a look at your kid or really whoever you love the most. Would you send them to die for someone who had wronged you? Or, send them to die for someone who wouldn’t even care or be grateful? Would you send them to die for someone who would go forward and misrepresent you and make others hate you or break relationship with you? And not just die but be tortured and mocked too. Well… He did! If you’re a Christian you should know this. It is the corner stone of our faith. The single most important thing to God is relationship with His creation. ALL of His creation!
When you ostracize the LGBTQ community from the Kingdom of God you are participating in the greatest sin of all. You are denying people their salvation. You are interfering in God’s relationship with them. Not only will you have to face God and account for all of the souls you kept from Him. But, He will judge you with the same measure you have used to judge others.
Faith vs. Love
Here’s the thing… we are all familiar with the passage in 1 Corinthians 13. It has definitely been recited at a wedding you’ve been to or you’ve seen it on a plaque somewhere. This passage defines love from a Biblical perspective. It says things like love is patient and kind, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs etc. It’s quite beautiful and if you’ve never read it, even if you aren’t Christian, you should. I think people must zone out while it’s being recited or maybe some churches have blacked the end of it out of their Bibles. Because they seem to have missed the point. At the end it summarizes and says “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
WAIT… what?!?! Faith doesn’t trump love? That’s right. Your faith in God, your Christian beliefs don’t trump love. The greatest commandment given is to love one another. This includes those you don’t like, don’t agree with and those living in a way you don’t approve of or understand.
No hate in the name of God
You don’t get to hate in the name of God or in the name of Christian faith. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that this is ok. It hurts my heart as a Christian to see the way my faith and my LOVING God are being misrepresented.
Even so, I have hope. Because not only did these hate groups show up at Pride in the US. But countless allies showed up in countless ways. People even showed up in awesome “mom hugs” and “dad hugs” shirts and gave out hundreds of hugs. They tirelessly marched and reached out in love. Offering acceptance and love to a multitude of people who have been shunned and rejected. They hugged people who smiled and laughed. Held people who wept in their arms. And listened to beautiful stories of loving families and heartbreaking stories of rejection.
Make room in your pew
I know that you might struggle as a Christian to reconcile with the perceived sinfulness of the LGBTQ community. Maybe it’s been ingrained in you. I just hope this gave you some food for thought. I hope you will share this message with others. Don’t sit idly by while people are being cast aside and God is being maligned. Please, reach out, it’s never too late. Get back into relationship with anyone you may have cast aside. Maybe you will offer your own LGBTQ son or daughter a hug from their actual mom or dad.
I hope you will make room in the pew next to you and in your prayers for the LGBTQ community. God loves them too!
*Hugs* to you from afar…
For those of you reading this who are part of the LGBTQ community. I hope you now know that it is not a tenant of Christianity to hate or reject you. You should always know that you have a place in the faith. No one has the right to push you away from God!
To find other Christians that have already made room in the pew for the LGBTQ community, please visit gaychurch.org. There you will find an abundance of resources and a church directory.
Spread the word
Please share this post far and wide. Let’s all do our part to prevent the spread of hatred in God’s name!
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