It isn't just about politics. Homosexuality is such an argument-ridden topic. But people who struggle with it feel like they’re stuck in the middle of the ocean treading water, and they need people they can trust to come along and offer a lifeboat instead of a picket line.
Jesus didn’t say, “Go into all the world and just pass laws that make people behave with good Christian values.” That creates a bunch of cleaned-up looking folks marching into hell.
He said, “Go and share the Good News.” If people follow Jesus, you don’t have to worry so much about politics; He changes people. Even the guy who runs the porn shop will eventually close it himself, no legislation needed, because as he gets closer to Jesus, his heart just won’t be in it anymore.
If tomorrow every Christian started living by “Do unto others,” and treated other people like we want to be treated, we could see a huge turning of the tide. We would be the catalyst for hurting people’s hearts to be truly changed through the power of Christ’s love. We have a huge opportunity to show an outpouring of compassion like we’re now showing for the people of Haiti. What a difference it would make! If each person will focus on the treatment you give over the treatment you get, we’ll have a revolution.
Sex Isn’t the Issue — Love Is
When someone walks into church, that person is looking for people who are glad to see him or her, regardless of their lifestyle. So if a gay person asks you, point blank, “Is it OK for me to be gay?” be smart enough to recognize that this is a desperate child. As a teenager, he or she has already been rejected a million times. He’s so used to confrontation that he or she is trying to draw you out just to prove that you’d rather argue over lifestyle more than you really care about him or her.
Look at that person as Jesus would, and let your response be the result of expressing the Father’s heart to your new friend. I get letters all the time from gay people thanking me for my courage to speak up, and asking me for prayer. You never know — at the end of the day, the gay guy leading the parade may find restoration to his true sexual identity in Christ quicker than the kid who helps with the church car washes and carries his Bible to school each day, but buries deep, dark secrets.
In Michael Ross’ (former editor of Breakaway magazine) recently released book (co-authored with Susie Shellenberger, former Brio editor), “What Your Son isn’t Telling You,” he talks with 18-year-old Brian who is struggling with homosexuality.
Brian asks Michael, “Can’t I be His Son and gay?” Michael responds, “Ask God that question. And think about this: Following Jesus isn’t about fitting Him into our world. It’s about giving ourselves completely to Him.”
“Listen, the journey ahead is going to be hard, regardless of what you do next. But if you keep talking to Jesus, He’ll show you what’s real. You might not like what He says at times, but everything He tells you can be trusted. God is truth."
The Church is About Freedom — Not More Isolation
If a gay person shows up at church and asks questions, I don’t care if he or she wears a rainbow spandex jumpsuit and just led the gay pride parade – he or she showed up. That person is looking. Gay people shouldn’t have to fear the church, and the church shouldn’t be afraid of gay people. Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” for everyone (Matthew 11:13). Never lose sight of the day Mercy crossed the road and saved you. If you weren’t struggling with a same-sex attraction, it was something like it. Jesus rescues people as they are, cleaned up or not.
Prostitutes followed Jesus. Thieves. Outcasts. Broken people. Why? It’s all because a God in the form of a Man finally, in pure love, reached out to them in their desperation. He said, “I came not to condemn the world, but that through Me, the world might be saved” (John 3:17). Don’t even think about trying to reverse the two. Lonely people know when you don’t really care — when you’re faking it in order to avoid a real relationship.
It’s About God — Not You — Doing the Saving
Never try to grill homosexuality out of people or stick them in a program and forget about them. You’re better off saying, “Just walk toward Jesus. Right now. Just head in that direction, a step at a time. Bring your baggage with you. I’ll go with you.” Somewhere along the way, the closer anybody gets to Jesus, the farther they get from everything that holds them back. The baggage falls off by itself. If you start off trying to make a gay guy look straight so he will fit in your church, you’ll wind up with a broken, battered, lonelier guy who looks straight.
God knows everybody’s secrets, including ones you’d rather die than tell. We all have moments of desperation, so when you offer someone hope; understand that no secret retains the power to hold them down forever.
Remember, the gay community will take this guy as he is. Then imagine that you, full of struggles and terrifying secrets, are taking a huge risk, walking into a church for help. How do you want people to treat you? You want their prayers, love and understanding. You want to matter. You want his or her response to invite the Holy Spirit to bring out of you what no person can: a true, free, God-given identity.
ONCOURSE magazine Spring/Summer 2010 with Danny Wallace.