ARE GAY PEOPLE SAVED?

 

Yes, if they trust in Jesus. Are straight people saved? Same answer.

A young adult started coming to our church in California and through a new member class gave his heart to Jesus. He attended Trinity for some years, then we lost touch. I found out that he was in a gay lifestyle and later that he was dying in our local hospital of AIDS. I called him because I wanted to lift shame and encourage him to keep saying yes to Jesus. The thief on the cross made some bad decisions, but one good one propelled him into paradise, and we’ll meet him there. My kind and quiet friend told me not to come, maybe out of fear that I would condemn him. God forbid! I wish I had gone anyway to love him and remind him that Jesus is merciful to sinners like us. I hope to God that he died in the arms of Jesus when he left us days later. I am crying as I write this, thinking about his torment.

What makes me even sadder is that our friend may have been living in fear the whole time he was with us, terrified that we might find out that he was different, cursed with a same-sex attraction and condemned to loneliness. I wish he could have sensed sufficient love to take a risk. We would have embraced him–literally and symbolically just as we did with men who struggled like most men I know with opposite-sex attraction, some of whom were addicted to porn. Were they saved? Thank God they were!

Why do I wish I got close enough to him to hear his silent sorrow? Because I and the church need to be where the Lord is, and He is “near the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18), which gives me hope that I will see him, my brother in Christ, in heaven.

Same-sex attraction has impulses and desires that affect family structures and often leaves its victims single and lonely their entire lives. Although some have experienced the miracle of rewiring, a large chunk of Christians with same sex attractions will end up single throughout their life–and die struggling to believe for a change.

How would it feel to think that God placed in your body a curse that alienates you from the church, the community of love, and that both they and God Himself hate you? Listen to me: I am not making this up. The church needs to be radical in its love AND embrace. Is your sin more sanctified than theirs?  Where is the attempt to understand, to ask questions rather than make statements, statements that wound the wounded, that condemn the condemned. Love is not passive. Have you talked to them? Do you know that they have prayed a thousand times for God to take away this curse of same-sex attraction, that they have not chosen it? Why is the suicide rate strikingly high among them? If you are hated, you are going to hate yourself.  And you live in fear that straight people will find out and shun you as they have shunned others.

Someone wanted me to write a hard-hitting blog. I am writing it–for the people who are supposed to get it and to be merciful. Dear friends in Christ, be merciful, as your heavenly Father is merciful!

SAME-SEX ATTRACTION, part 2

 

So someone didn’t like my lovey-dovey blog on “Same-Sex Attraction Among Christ-followers.” They thought that all I was offering was sentimentality void of truth. That is what the world is providing. They are saying that there is nothing wrong with same-sex attraction. It is normal. We need to accept it and encourage it. Let them marry and do their thing.

I am saying just the opposite, and I said it in my first blog. We accept the person, not the practice. It is not right; it is not normal, nor is it God’s way. He made it clear right from the get-go: “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number…’” (Genesis 1:27,28).

God made provision for Adam in his loneliness, and it wasn’t another man. It was Eve, not Steve. He took from Adam and made Eve. And the commentary that followed: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Only a man and a woman can be “be fruitful and increase.” Only a man and a woman can “become one flesh.” Homosexual sex is not sex, not as God intended it, nor does He approve of it and bless it, as some churches are doing in illegitimate ceremonies. That is a mockery of the Word and will of God.

I am not selling out to the culture; I am coming against culture. But for those who live where I do, under the authority of the Word of God, I am concerned that they (we) build a safe environment for people who because of abuse, neglect, improper parenting, or ten other possible reasons find themselves struggling to change a same-sex attraction.

The Pharisees in Jesus’ day were the conservatives, the Bible-believing kind. The Sadducees were the liberals, and they didn’t get along with the Pharisees unless they were attacking Jesus. The Son of Man had far greater opposition from the Pharisees than from the sinners. People who knew they were broken found Jesus a safe place. Religious people who knew they had it right and were not open to change created an environment of judgment and pretense. Let’s learn from their hypocrisy and create a shame-free environment for Christians who know their sexual identity is skewed and needs transformation. Otherwise we will have Jesus opposing us as he did the Pharisees. I’d rather have Him on our side.

Maybe you’re wondering how you should show love to your friend who struggles in this way. Perhaps you wonder if you should give a real hug, an embrazio! The answer is, “Absolutely!” They want it; actually they crave it. Physical love with no sexual overtones is needed and helps the healing process. Don’t single them out because of your concern. Include them in because of your compassion. It works!

SAME-SEX ATTRACTION AMONG CHRIST FOLLOWERS

 

Been around for a long time, like anger, jealousy, and other inappropriate behavior. It is a skewed identity. It happens. No easy answer as to why. Don’t be too quick to think up a cause or a solution.

It doesn’t feel good to be in the minority and to be afraid that people are going to “find out.” They may have carried this for a long time and have been silently suffering. If they have shared their struggle with you, they must trust you. Don’t violate that trust. You have the opportunity to show love and to hopefully help create an environment of acceptance in your church community.

The two most important pictures in our life: how we view God the Father and how we view ourselves. Satan’s goal is tampering with those two, and he starts early. Things were going well in Genesis 1 and 2. Then in 3 enter the snake. He managed to put doubt in the heart of Eve. She bought the lie and bit the apple. That also tampered with the relationship between Adam and Eve big-time. Blame and irresponsibility overrode admission of guilt. Sin messes with our identity. For a hundred different reasons it can impact how we view the opposite sex–and our own sexuality. Redemption is a process of recovering who we are in God and who God is in us. Understanding of ourselves and our fellow pilgrims goes a long way in helping us all heal.

Here are some things to help us understand our friends who struggle with same-sex attraction:

THINGS TO KNOW

.They didn’t choose to be that way. It happened to them.

.They don’t feel proud of the way they are; they feel victimized.

.They want help–and understanding helps.

.They have already died a thousand deaths. Watch your words and actions. They often feel       judged for being alive. You can help reduce the condemnation.

THINGS TO DO

.Listen, love and look out. Careful with the Bible verses. If you at least try to understand, you are helping them heal.

.It is becoming much more common as society as a whole accepts same-sex attraction and marriage as a viable alternative. That is really sad. Our part is to accept the person and not the practice. That calls for sensitivity.

.Don’t concentrate on their issue. They are followers of Jesus as you are. Affirm their gifting, their character, their love of God. If your friend is made to feel that all you see is their issue, they won’t feel like being with you.

.Be vulnerable. You have problems. Don’t make it all about them. The people Jesus had the hardest time with was the Pharisees–legalistic, condescending, judgmental, argumentative, out of touch, and unable to see their own darkness. Vulnerability releases grace. It enables people to be who they are, not hide out.

.Get informed. Google some causes and potential solutions.

So am I soft on homosexuality? Not for a moment. But I care for those trapped in a false identity and wanting to break free. Let’s give them the kind of safe community where they can be healed and not shamed. “Love never fails!”

“MY FRIEND’S A HOMOSEXUAL”

 

“He’s also a Christian. This is the first time he told me. He was maybe afraid that I might reject him as some really weird person. I appreciate him now even more for being vulnerable. He must have trusted me. What counsel can you give me as we walk forward together?”

 

Great question.

DON’T REFER TO HIM AS A HOMOSEXUAL.

Describe him (if you must) as someone who struggles with same-sex attraction. Referring to him this way is kinder than pinning a label on him, even if you think it may fit. Labels can come with baggage, and that one for some Christians is cause for rejection. He’s already had too much of that. And you need not tell anyone. He can do that with whom and when he wants.

 

KNOW THAT HE STRUGGLES.

He lives with a lot of fear, especially if he hasn’t bought into the culture that says same-sex marriage is a gift from God. Good of you to accept him and show him that you can be trusted. Some have maybe violated that trust and treat him as an outcast. He already feels it inside. Go out of your way to love him. You might even ask, “How can I love you?” He may be transparent enough to tell you what he needs.

 

His vulnerability says something about you. Be worthy of his trust. Ask for his permission before you say anything to anyone. Some people don’t know how to handle what you received in a Christ-like way. Jesus loves broken people, and those with same-sex attractions are broken. They need rewiring, and that can take a while. Your genuine love and acceptance is already enhancing the healing process.

 

Christians with same-sex attractions often live with hopelessness. They have told me. They don’t know how they got in, and now they aren’t sure about the way out. Many are fighting what their body and emotions are screaming at them to do. They are in a fearful place, and it is taking longer than they had hoped. Some people already hate them without knowing them. Some care but are afraid at the same time. Your quiet confidence speaks hope to him.

 

HE DIDN’T CHOOSE THIS–NECESSARILY.

Don’t make assumptions, and help others not to. It is often more complex than you realize. Easy answers are bad answers. Don’t pretend like you understand. Tell him you don’t and ask questions as long as he is open to share. You will learn a lot, and it will deepen your love for broken people. You are reflecting the love of the Father “who heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).

 

HE NEEDS PHYSICAL TOUCH.

Surprise! Whether he has experienced the gay lifestyle or not, he needs to experience more of the straight. Don’t resist hugging him for fear of wrongly arousing him. He needs proper affection, and if you are a hugger, go for it. It will minister grace. He is being treated as the human being that he is rather than a dangerous leper that he isn’t. We’re all broken; some of us just realize it more than others. Loving wounded people brings the Father’s affirmation. Way to go!