Over the last few months several friends, church members and Christians, have asked me to respond to some very meaningful questions surrounding sexuality. The most common thread in their questions is: How do we love gay-identified people well and not compromising the Truth?
Let’s start by recognizing that the culture does not reflect the same Biblical values and beliefs as true followers of Christ do concerning marriage, sexuality, and gender. We must respond to members of the LGBT community respectfully, thoughtfully and compassionately. This will in all likelihood involve an ongoing dialog over a long period of time. The single most influential aspect of my own journey was the willingness of Christians to walk with me and not preach at me. They shared meals with me, invited me into their homes and day to day lives. They made me feel at ease rather than other-than or like the worst sinner ever.
The following are suggestions on how to engage members of the LGBT in a meaningful conversation that leads to a new life in Christ.
- Establish common ground: By this I mean stick to the central message of the gospel. Convey that all people are sinners in need of a savior. Build trust and make the common ground Jesus. Most gay-identified people will want to make sexuality the central focus of a conversation. Keep Jesus as the focal point.
- Understand that those who are gay-identified see their sexuality and sexual attractions as the primary aspect of their identity as opposed to sinful behavior. Ask your friend to help you understand how being gay became a central part of who they are. Inquire if there have been any hard times in their journey. Part of loving people well is getting to know and understand them.
- As the conversation continues, it is important to establish that all people are created in the image of God and that humans are the crown jewel of God’s creation and His most treasured possession. He has set boundaries and limitations on our behavior for our benefit, especially when it comes to sexuality. The person you are talking to may not acknowledge or recognize that. They may see God’s best for our lives as random or harsh indictments on who they are. They may believe that God hates them or made a mistake when He created them as an LGBT person. As a result, they may have anger towards God and may be conflicted about the authority of the Bible and its ability to evaluate and guide their lives.
- Resolve for yourself the authority of the Bible and its right to evaluate and guide our lives. Study the Bible to gain clear Biblical understanding about gender, marriage, and sexuality. Base your conversations on God’s word and who God says we are. Nothing is more convincing, convicting and transformative than God’s word. Two key questions I find helpful in this type of discussion are: How do you define truth? Do you think the Bible has the authority to evaluate and direct our lives? Ask them if they have read the Bible about the issues at hand and have a clear understanding about what God says and why He says it. Invite your friend to do a Bible study and have an ongoing discussion with you on the subject.
In closing, may I encourage all who seek to engage in life-giving relationships and conversations with gay-identified people;remember that it is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict and convince others of their need for a savior. Pray often for God’s direction and wisdom in your friendships and conversations. Be brave and courageous, stand firm in God’s truth against the cultural tidal wave concerning, marriage, sexuality, and gender. Continue to love others well by speaking the truth and walking with them.
Thanks for following my journey, please feel free to leave a comment!