I am a Mom of five (nearly) grown kids I homeschooled, married to Rob for 26 years, and a churchgoing Christ-follower for decades. I know the lingo, got the t-shirt. Certainly I’ve figured out that most Christians I’ve met avoid The Gay Debate. When friend or fam pop up as gay, many Christians say, “It’s a sin — I didn’t say it, God said it!” Then they can “love the sinner and hate the sin” with abandon. I don’t blame them for avoiding the debate, honestly. Who wants to poke that hornet’s nest? And when a Christian learns of this cousin or that nephew or the other friend’s daughter, they must come up with something coherent to believe so as not to abandon Jesus’ word nor His principle. His word, they’ve been taught, says homosexuality is a sin. His principle, they observe, is mind-blowing, life-affirming, unconditional love to the deepest part of their being. And so they fool themselves into thinking that as long as they love the sinner, they’re all good to hate the sin.
But it’s not that simple. Place one foot in this issue and you’ll discover it’s multifaceted… thus this blog. Turns out “Love the sinner, hate the sin” feels to those on the receiving end just about the same as “hate the sinner.” Also turns out “Love the sinner, hate the sin” comes from Gandhi — same person who said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians, they are so unlike your Christ,” which might be more instructive to us.
So why would a married Christ-loving mom join in this great debate? Two reasons. 1. Jesus called me. 2. I can’t help myself.
1. Jesus called me through a series of experiences, culminating in one path-turning moment: I was listening to an impassioned speaker talk (on another topic) about responding to God’s voice, no matter the cost. As she spoke, the Holy Spirit whispered to me: “I want you involved in gay ministry, no matter the cost.” I was in tears — have you ever been undone by the voice of the Holy Spirit? I wanted to do what He asked. But I know Christians. I knew I may as well say I’m gay myself for the response I would get. But I couldn’t not follow Him. So I asked him to confirm it for me. Then the woman sitting next to me said, “You remind me of Ellen.” I stared at her. “I know,” she nodded apologetically, because we all know Christians agree about this topic, yes?? [No.] “You just look like her.” Well, by this time, I was having a good internal laugh with Jesus. I’d never heard I look like Ellen Degeneris, but leave it to Him to speak a language I could understand. And I’ve never… well, I’ve rarely… looked back.
2. I can’t help myself. My Jesus-compassion for this community started when my best friend in high school told me he was gay. I had no thought of judging him, nor of others I’ve encountered since, who find themselves unable to step off this path (despite the intensive prayers most people pray once they discover they’re gay). I cannot look at them and say, “You must change, or live celibate lives (though you do not feel called), or you are in trouble.” Is it right? Is it wrong? I don’t think I can say that for someone else. Why not? I will discuss that more fully in future posts, but for now, I refer you to meat sacrificed to idols (1 Corinthians 10:25-30).
Mostly I can’t help myself because love is the right thing. Jesus’ love is the right thing. He surprised many religious people by those He loved.
I’d love to hear from you in the interface between gays and Christians (no hate mail, please). What has been your experience?