I have a friend from the LGBT community. She and I have been friends for twenty years, and though we disagree on so many things we have kept a strong friendship and taught each other many things. For instance she has opened my eyes to the way many Christian churches respond to people from the LGBT lifestyles/backgrounds.
Far too often there seem to be one of two extremes in the church’s responses to people struggling with these things:
1. Accept them and act like their sin isn’t a sin at all.
2. Reject them and act like their sin is the unpardonable sin.
Both responses propagate lies.
Churches that respond the first way, I believe, do so because they have been told/taught that to “love” someone you must not address anything they are doing as wrong or exhort them to change anything that they are doing. This response is a lie, because these versions of “love” and “sin” are not what the Bible teaches. (see my posts “True or False: Jesus Is All About Love” “What Unconditional Love Is and Isn’t” “Saved From What?” and “The Missing Piece to Salvation”)
Churches that respond the second way, I believe, do so because they are incredibly uncomfortable with this kind of sin and don’t know how to interact with these people or address their sin in a truly loving way. This propagates the lie that these people and their sins are somehow so much worse than our people and our sin, which is so incredibly not the case.
1 Corinthians 6:8-11 “No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”
Not only does this verse show us that homosexuality isn’t the only sin that’s an issue, but it also reminds us that even in this church setting Paul is bringing to their attention the reminder that “such were some of you.” We are not different from those who sin, we are those who sin. We also need to be reminded that it wasn’t because we are different that we are considered righteous. No, it’s because we were washed, sanctified, and justified by the Lord Jesus. Which is the same thing He offers to everyone who has committed sin! To act like homosexuality is somehow so much worse and unforgivable than any Christians’ past covetousness, fornication, drunkness, or reviling, etc. is to disregard and dishonor the Bible.
Or how about some of the other sexual sins out there? Here’s what the Bible says, “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
In relation to the above verse, why are we not holding every person struggling with sexual sin to the same standard? Why is struggling with homosexuality a sin we shun people for, while people struggling with pornography addiction is something we tend to ignore?
If you ask me, we have become a church that cares only about looking good. (Therefore the hidden sin of pornography is acceptable while the visible sin of homosexuality is unacceptable. Let me tell you: Neither one is acceptable!)
Instead, we should be a church that should care about repenting from ALL sin and living in a way that truly pleases God who is our Lord and Savior.
Unconditional love is the invitation that God makes to us for us to receive new life. His love remains unconditional, but the accepting and living out of the new life He offers us is not unconditional. Many want to believe that they should be able to receive life and Salvation while their sin is overlooked by a loving God. “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish,” said Jesus in Luke 13:3.
Challenge: Do you truly care about the person who is in sin? Do you want to help and disciple them, or do you care only about removing what makes you uncomfortable? Are you loving those searching for the truth of God by speaking the full truth, or are you guarding your social circles from having to deal with discomfort, while meanwhile hiding away the ongoing sin in your own life? If you acknowledged out loud what you’re struggling with, might you be what makes your friends uncomfortable? Sin is sin. Let’s be and allow each other to be honest. Let’s help each other repent and accept the forgiveness and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the newness of life He offers us all.
(Scripture taken from the New King James Version, emphasis added)