Listen carefully to the LGBTQ+ community and you will hear stories of hurt that originate from the church. This is one of those places where we have allowed our American culture to supersede our calling as Christians.
Why do I say this?
Because American life is all about winning, about being right and convincing everyone else to see it our way. When other people disagree, we put up a fight. Suddenly winning the argument or standing firm becomes more important than seeing the value of the person standing in front of us.
Our calling as Christians is all about love. Or it should be.
In John 13:35 (MSG) Jesus said, “This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” The very last commandment Jesus gave you and me before going to His death on the cross was that we love as He showed us to love. That love was unconditional and all-consuming. The love Jesus demonstrated was to give Himself fully to imperfect people.
In Matthew 23, Jesus has harsh words for the teachers of the law. He tells them that they have been so focused on the legalities that they have missed the meaning. They skipped “fairness and compassion and commitment” (23:23 MSG) and focused more on their outward appearance than on their own inner wickedness.
Another beautiful example of how we are to love one another comes through in the stories of Jesus healing the sick. He never asks or even determines the worthiness of a person. He simply heals them. Coming to Jesus is about waking up, not cleaning up. Trust the Holy Spirit to work in the lives of all of us, even those whose lifestyle you disagree with. Their choices and orientation is not your decision to make. It is your calling to simply love every person placed in your life as they are. The choice that is yours to make is whether you will listen when the Holy Spirit stirs in your heart to change.
Examine your own heart first. Ask if you are living into the calling to be a Christian or if you’ve become consumed by winning the argument. Those in the LGBTQ+ community are hurting because as a church we have excluded and condemned them when what we were really called to do was love and walk beside them.