I have long dreaded addressing this topic…but it is one that is becoming more and more volatile…so it is with great caution that I wade into these waters. I truly want to insure that no one is offended by my remarks so understand that I acknowledge that I get a lot of things wrong. I am no expert on this subject by far. I am not a psychiatrist, psychologist, sociologist, medical doctor, scientist, or trained counselor. I’m just a pastor of a small church with no real credentials to speak of…and I really try…albeit with great failures…to follow the Jesus of the Bible. Having said that…Recently there has been a man in the news that has been so vitriolic regarding the gay community in our nation. He is a pastor in California that seems to have hatred eating away at his soul and he has said some of the most ungodly things regarding our president as well as the homosexual community. The truly unfortunate thing is that it seems like a lot of people in our nation believe that what he has to say represents the mainstream thinking in the Christian church…and that’s simply not true. Having said that, let me tell you what I think the mainstream thinking in the Christian church is: “uuuhhh….uuummmm…..errrr…..” That about sums it up. To be sure, many if not most, have a dogmatic position on this subject, but as soon as you put a flesh and blood situation in front of them wherein a family member, friend, or church member has expressed that they believe they are homosexual…then things get real…and all of a sudden…the rules are not very helpful.
I was teaching an open forum Bible study several years ago…when I had everything figured out…when I knew it all…*wink wink…and I came to a passage about homosexuality. I attacked it viscerally. I began to speak from a very angry and judgmental position about the subject…saying in no uncertain terms that it was a choice and that no one was born that way. (I’ve already mentioned my lack of credentials haven’t I…) One particular individual raised their hand and said, “My son is gay.” I think I actually said…without skipping a beat…”Well then, he should repent.” The next thing this parent said haunted me for years to come…they said, “You really believe this is a choice, huh? Well, let me ask you something…who would choose that…who would simply, for no apparent reason, just choose something like that as if it were on a menu?”
I will never forget that day. Inside just a moment’s time…my world was totally rocked.
Now…I need to be clear…I believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God. I believe in its truth, and I acknowledge its difficulties.
But…instead of trying to tell anyone why I think a position on this subject is right or wrong…I have come to realize that what matters most is not how many verses of Scripture I can throw at someone to prove my position…what matters is whether or not that person KNOWS that I love them…and whether or not that person KNOWS I accept them.
I have many friends from many different walks of life. I am close to some from the fundamentalist side of life and also have great love for some that are ardent atheists as well. I have friends on Facebook that are in same sex relationships and some are even married and I have some that say some pretty harsh things about such situations. One thing that I try to make perfectly clear is this: No matter what your life choices (don’t read into that word) are, they don’t affect the way I love you. If they do, then I’m not practicing a pure belief in Christ…
There are lots of lifestyles that I don’t agree with, and I know lots of people in these various lifestyles, whether they be related to drug abuse, greed, domestic dysfunction, harsh religious fundamentalism, or perhaps promiscuity. The problem is that navigating the various twists and turns in these relationships can be tricky and it’s often a lot easier for us to simply push people out of our lives as opposed to having to think through these things all the time…
…but then I began to wonder…how would Jesus treat such individuals? Let’s be honest about Jesus. He was not what we might call, “tolerant.” He had some harsh words for some people. He also told some people that the lifestyle they were leading was sinful and that they should change it…but in all of this…He loved people.
Here’s what I’ll tell you: you don’t need my permission to live whatever lifestyle you want to live.
I don’t have to accept your choices to accept you.
I don’t have to endorse what you’re doing to love you. If I do…then once again…I’ve missed the point of Jesus.
Whenever we talk…maybe this stuff comes up…and maybe it doesn’t…but it’s not up to me to approach you in order to “fix” you…besides…that would be a pretty bad “fixing” job if I did.
One thing is for sure…these types of discussions are far more important than a soundbite and they don’t need to be in the political arena…but in the personal one…with people that care about one another.