How Do We Handle the LGBTQ in Outreach?
There are some differing positions you’ll see as you interact with this people group and those who support them. Some will decry all Christians as haters-intolerant hypocritical bigots who have no love in them.
Even in Christian circles there is division around this issue. Some say we should love them and overlook their sinful lifestyle, and others would say their lives are wicked and have no part in the church.
What is true?
It is true that there are wildly differing views on morality, religion and eternity. It is also true we are all hypocrites, regardless of belief system or practice. Humanity, routinely does one thing and says another.
It is true that the Bible says in Leviticus 18 that homosexuality is an abomination. In the Hebrew, an abomination is something that is repulsive, and disgusting, both ethically and ritually. The Bible covers a lot about life and having a relationship with God. So, it seems pretty logical that if God has said a particular act is reprehensible to Him, then He shouldn’t have to give us a lot of instruction about it.
This is not all that God hates.
These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.
A proud look, that is looking down on others. A lying tongue, a rejection of the sacredness of truth. Hands that hatefully shed innocent blood. Hearts that devise wicked plans and feet that run away from God to evil. A false witness publicly agreeing with evil, and one who aggravates and incites alienation between brothers. (Proverbs 6:16-19)
I don’t know about you, but I’m guilty of several of those charges.
So how do we do outreach? How do we connect with what is biblically (and up until recently, socially) condemned? How do we interact with this alternate lifestyle? Should we stand outside LGBTQ events and hold up signs? Should we spend years getting to know them as friends and then spring the question of salvation from sin on them?
How do we reconcile these paradigms:
Love stripped of truth is deceit
Love stripped of compassion is hypocrisy
I recommend a conversation. But that could get, ‘sticky,” you might say. I would agree, it can get sticky. It can be uncomfortable, but the Lord and His good news are too good to delay delivery.
Actual conversation with an LGBTQ person:
LGBTQ: Do I have to become straight to become a Christian, or can I be a gay Christian?
Me: I’m a sinner saved by grace, you can be too.
LGBTQ: But you said, God said it was an abomination.
Me: Did I tell you that I’ve lied, I’ve thought horrible acts and statements against my fellow human, I’ve caused fights. I have done all of those things, and Proverbs 6:16-19 says they are all an abomination too.
Christ is the key
The key to our response is this: keep Christ central to the conversation! Keep the cross in view. It’s not about what we think about LGBTQ-it’s about what Christ has done. Identify their sin; using 10 commandments here might work as a reference: lying, stealing, honoring parents.
It is unloving to hide or deny the truth of the Bible. It is hypocrisy to see and know someone’s need and do nothing about it.
We find our identity in the Christ who died for sinners. We can share how He loved me and gave Himself for me, to free me from the control of my passions, including the ones God has declared vile. Most all of us are, to one degree or another, sexual sinners who all equally need Jesus. Yes, we need to show love. But love stripped of truth is deceit, and love stripped of compassion is hypocrisy.
When the church is operating correctly, we have a real community, because we have a friend that sticks closer than a brother. Our association with one another is to be demonstrated by our love for one another.
Our goal is not the healing of homosexuality, it is genuine repentance and conversion. Our goal is to make disciples who will see the beauty and simplicity of Christ. It doesn’t matter what we think about the LGBTQ lifestyle, but it does matter what Christ has done for all sinners. We came to Christ not to get something else, we came to get Him. Demonstrate Christ in us.
Finally, remember that it is Christ that saves! Not you. Keep Christ central to the conversation! Keep the cross in view.