"The God of the Bible could never love someone like me…"
Have you ever felt this way? I'm sure more people can relate to this statement than you can possibly imagine. I believe that many homosexuals, in particular, are taunted by this idea. Somewhere along the way, someone has ingrained the idea in their head that God hates gay people…and I for one believe that it's way past time that we as Christians help change that perception.
How? Well, there is a great opportunity to begin conversations left and right, because this past week there was an event that included over 8000 schools across the country called "Day of Silence." The purpose of the event is to "call attention to the serious problem of anti‐lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender bullying, harassment, name‐calling and discrimination in schools." Why a day of silence? Because LGBT students are often forced into silence and isolation by bullying and out of fear of discrimination.*
Whether or not your school participated, pretty much everyone on the planet knows about this event, and the question is…
What will you do with this great opportunity?
Option one: ignore, ridicule, or criticize the event with a judgmental, superior attitude.
Of course the problem with this option is the fact that it's not Biblically justified. In fact, check out the example of the Apostle Paul:
Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law…To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings (1 Corinthians 9:19-20; 22-23).
Do you see what's going on here? Obviously Paul would not encourage us to engage in the gay and lesbian lifestyle, but there is no doubt in my mind that he would urge us to stand against bullying and the persecution of anyone for any reason - especially for the purpose of building relational bridges that lead to the gospel message.
So to ignore, ridicule or criticize would in many ways reinforce the idea that "God hates gays"-
Which He doesn't.
For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
Remember this verse? The original word for "world" here does not mean the big blue ball that's spinning around the sun. The word is actually kosmos - which specifically refers to the mass of humanity inhabiting the Earth.
God loves you and me, and also the people across the planet.
God loves the priests and the pastors, and also the criminals and the convicts.
God loves the Christians and the atheists, and also the Muslims and the Buddhists.
God loves the straight, and yes, He loves gays and lesbians.
That's why option two is really the only one available to those who claim the name of Jesus Christ - and that is to break the silence by acknowledging the bullying and harassment, and engage in authentic conversations about the Biblical perspective on homosexuality. Understand that this is not preaching or finger pointing, rather a humble attempt to let God open up a mutual dialogue about your differences and similarities.
So what's it going to be? I am totally convinced that if Jesus walked the halls of your school after the Day of Silence, He would engage in conversation and share God's perspective with the participants, just like He did with a "sinful" woman living outside of God's blueprint for sexuality in John 4. He would listen to them, show compassion, and then challenge them with the God's truth.
And most importantly, remember that our job is simply willingness to be used by God and model Christ-likeness. You are not out to win a debate or change anything, rather you are a representative of Jesus called to share not only His love, but the life-changing message of the gospel. Wherever the conversation goes, make sure you take the opportunity to relate how you broke the silence with God when you trusted in Jesus Christ alone for salvation.
May God bless your courage and compassion!
*GLSEN web site
Flashpoint: Ignite Into Action
Take some time to read the article "How Can Christians Respond to The National Day of Silence." You'll find this to be an excellent resource in reaching out for the sake of the gospel and your friends.
Accelerant: Feed the Fire
"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye (Matthew 7:1-5).
I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people-not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world (1 Corinthians 5:9-10).
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).