How Do You Reach a Gay Person with Truth? Start Here.

The most important thing anyone who wants to have an effective ministry in this regard has to do is to listen.

Since I first began speaking to parents and youth about issues involving how Christians should respond to the LGBT movement in America, there’s been one question I’ve been asked more than any other: how do I remain firmly grounded in the truth of Scripture while not being off-putting to those who need God’s grace every bit as much as we do?

It’s not an easy question to answer for a few reasons:

  1. I know I’ve failed miserably at this in the past. Sometimes I look back at things I wrote or said that were full of truth but that lacked any demonstrable semblance of love or compassion. I recognize that though my intentions may have been motivated by Christian charity, my words did not adequately reveal that reality, and thus I became the very resounding gong Paul warns us about in 1st Corinthians 13:1. I don’t want to be that anymore.
  2. Our sinful culture has despicably targeted this group of sinners in a way it hasn’t others. No other group of people faces the sinful temptations in their life with the pressure to surrender, embrace, and identify themselves by those temptations like those with same-sex attraction. The prevalence of adultery hasn’t fully shaken its stigma. The same goes for pornography, promiscuity, divorce, theft, greed, or drunkenness. While people may feel less guilty every day for being a drunk, a narcissist, or loose, no one is told to find #Pride in defining themselves or placing their sense of identity in such conduct.
  3. Society has convinced no other group of people as effectively as those involved with same-sex attraction that anyone who morally disapproves of their behavior necessarily “hates” them. I have no rational fear when speaking out against adulterous behavior that I will be accused of “hating” the people who committed that sin. The same can be said of virtually every other sin, with the exception of homosexuality.

All of these realities make having a “truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) conversation with someone with same-sex attraction very daunting and very difficult. As I alluded to in number 1 above, I have learned quite a bit about effective engagement on this issue through past failures. I’ve also learned by listening to and reading the testimony of many Christian brothers and sisters who have battled same-sex attraction. Some of them have been delivered from the temptation, but the vast majority have not (which only makes sense – how many of us can say that we have been fully delivered from being tempted by our urges and lusts?).

So as we navigate this important issue, I’ve come to believe that the first and most important thing anyone who wants to have an effective ministry in this regard has to do is to listen. As Rachel Gilson puts it,

“…listen, and listen, and listen. When she (the same-sex attracted person you’re talking to) gets to a pause, ask her to tell you more. When did she first know? What’s her experience been like? Has she felt wounded? This is not the time to run a theological litmus test…This is the time to bear each other’s burdens in love (Galatians 6:2); perhaps this is a burden she’s been shouldering alone, silently for decades.”

I’ve come to find that last line is so true. There are so many same-sex attracted people who have been unable and unwilling to share the burdens they are carrying because the stigma of homosexual impulse has been so much greater in the church than most any other sinful temptation. In the brave, new, decadent world of American society, many who have felt bottled up for years are opening up to a culture that embraces the sin they are tempted with as a cause celeb.

If the church has any hopes of combatting that, those courageously, obediently battling the urge must know they can trust us. Trust us not to condemn, trust us not to assume we know everything about what they have dealt with, trust us not to assume their vulnerability is an invitation to lecture.

Yes, we must remain steadfast to the truth of God if they are to have any hope of finding their burdens lifted. But that “truth of God” includes discipling and driving out fear with perfect love. In our personal dealings with those precious souls with same-sex attraction, let’s start there.

Comments
Xanthippe
Xanthippe

If you are homosexual (or not!), please forgive us Christians if we have ever used cherry-picked, non-contextual Bible verses to demean and devalue you, to treat you like you are unwelcome and unwanted in the family of God. If you are homosexual (or not!), please forgive us Christians for the foul hypocrisy of screeching about the "sin" of homosexuality while blindly accepting a world that literally runs on the sin of usury. And finally, If you are homosexual (or not!), please know that the Episcopal Church welcomes you just as you are - a human being, a child of God - in all your splendor and messiness. If you are homosexual (or not!), come worship with us and walk with us in the Light of Christ! God bless!

Deaf_Conservative
Deaf_Conservative

No, God did not dictate that we be born with same-sex attractions. We are born with a sinful nature, it is the sin that causes us to have impure thoughts of any kind. Homosexual sins are no different from any other sin, all sinners are in need of redemption through Christ's blood, regardless of how great their sin is.

I would say to a gay person retorting that he was born this way, that he is indeed born this way....as a sinner having sinful nature to cope with. It makes no difference to me if a gay person is born like this, all sinners are born with sins that are heavy on their shoulders, God is not too little to fail anyone trusting in Him for lifelong sanctification process. I wouldn't argue with a gay person that he wasn't born this way, it's pointless to argue otherwise, just point out that he's a sinner regardless of his sexual orientation.

What makes God to single out homosexuality as something so drastic enough to destroy two cities (Sodom and Gomorrah)? It twisted God's design for man and woman to be two in one flesh, a holy matrimony that God Himself divinely ordained to be between Adam and Eve. It destroys the chance of worshiping God in reverence and adhering to His biblical morals. It destroys the passing down of His commandments to future generations. It is no different from other sin, but perhaps to God, it has the greatest and most damning consequences of all sins.

BenjaminD
BenjaminD

So a person is born gay. They only have attraction towards people of their own sex. God has dictated this.

God has also dictated that being attracted to someone of your own sex is sinful and not allowed. Some Christians argue that it's homosexual intercourse that is sinful, not having the thoughts. But the effect is still the same. God has decreed your in-born desires sinful.

God has decreed this because... I'm not sure. It's never been clear to me what same sex attraction does that hetero attraction does not. Or why marriage must be between a man and woman.

If i were gay, i think i would give up on God here. How do you trust a creator who created you imperfect and incapable of being perfect? How do you pray to a god who has forsaken you from birth? How do you believe in a god that bans you from happiness without giving you a reason.

But I'm sure telling people they are sinners destined for hell from birth in a nicer way will make them suddenly not gay anymore.

Deaf_Conservative
Deaf_Conservative

Okay, I'm curious, how do you respond to the common refrain that LGBTQ people were born this way? I get this all the time when talking with these people. I have my own answer, but I want to see yours first. Hope you don't mind answering this question.