LoveThyNeighborAsThyself

I recently heard from yet another Christian mom whose daughter was rejected by their extended family. They had rallied around in love and sacrifice to accommodate the significant physical challenge she was born with, but when she revealed her same-sex attraction, their unconditional love became, well, conditional. We love you – but we cannot accept this about you. We love you – but you must change. All the sacrifice required to love her in her physical requirements vanished when it came to her orientation.

I wonder if the presence of so many LGBTQ in our Christian families is likewise an opportunity for us to learn to love well, the way Jesus told us, the way Jesus loved us. I’ve seen many parents do just that, loving so fully and richly, even as they had to reassess what they thought they knew. Parents of a gay child often have their views dismissed, being told: “You just approve of this because your child is gay.” Well, what better way for God to shift someone’s paradigm than to make it real to them, give them reason to question the assumptions they’d held? Most victim’s rights laws are championed most fervently by victim’s families. They see firsthand the change that needs to be made. Instead of dismissing them as biased, we can encourage them in their fierce defense of their loved ones.

The alternative is to be unteachable. When the human being in front of you conflicts with what you have already believed, even if you believed it all your life, maybe God is showing you something new. Not to see that requires intense lack of humility.

To lay out rules for others is easy – it requires no sacrifice on our part, no challenge to our point of view. It’s extremely human. To be surprised by a gay son or daughter and then to take it to Jesus and let him guide our actions requires so much more love from us than just trying to change them. It requires us to live in the unknown even if it’s uncomfortable instead of the usual black and white that feels secure. It requires trust.

Jesus is about people and the heart, not rules. Considering how radically Jesus’ words shook the paradigms of everyone who heard Him (take a look herehere, and here), I’m going to guess He’s more interested in our relationship with Him and others than He is in the rules.

If you’ve had a paradigm-shifting experience in accepting the LGBTQ, I’d love to hear about it.

CLICK HERE TO READ “How Do You Love the LGBTQ In Your Life”

Does Jesus Ask You to Love LGBTQ?

20 thoughts on “Does Jesus Ask You to Love LGBTQ?

  1. Susan, I am the mother of three children. My oldest and youngest are gay. I am a Christian and have always been involved in church and worshipping with a corporate body of believers. I can’t thank you enough for sharing God’s message and love with all of us. Loving my children unconditionally is and was not hard when these two beautiful kids came out to me, but dealing with the “Christian” judgment of friends has been the hardest part. They are all quick to declare their love and acceptance of my children and of me but their continued condemnation of what they deem to be a lifestyle or a “choice” that is an “abomination” to The Lord sure does not feel welcoming or loving. Your messages are an encouragement to me and to many others who feel alone in being a Christian parent who loves and accepts that God created our children in His image and their lives and existence are NOT an abomination to our Lord and Savior.

    The Church is missing the boat on this and the continued collective judgmental stance on this issue that promotes denying my children the same rights under the Constitution as all other citizens by treating them as second class citizens not worthy of equal treatment under the law, in my opinion, will only serve to continue to see church membership drop and hasten the relevance of the church’s message. That is scary and sad because so many equate God’s message as the Church’s message – and in many cases they are not the same. I am not sure that many pastors see this but I hope they do before so many die lost because of their misrepresentation of God’s love and message to a lost world.

    • Thank you so much for your beautiful words and analysis of the situation. I completely agree with you. I am greatly encouraged, however, by the many, many blogs and books and other work coming out around this topic, largely by younger men and women, through whom God is reaching many people. I figure my energies are best used in reaching those who have an ear to hear, and smiling and nodding at those who don’t. I too have been so afraid of people leaving the church and leaving Jesus as well. But I’m convinced that God is doing a new thing in His church body, and we can be onboard or we can scratch our heads and wonder where everybody went! Thanks so much for your heartfelt truth. Your sons are so blessed to have you. The more parents are onboard, the more we can love them as Jesus told us to. Bless you!

    • Hey, thanks so much for writing. It’s interesting because that argument seems to come up all the time. But it’s not the same at all, of course. A new addition to my resource page: What the Bible Say and Doesn’t Say about Homosexuality, is very helpful on the arguments. You can recommend it to those who really want to know and would be willing to read, or you can read it to understand the arguments yourself. It really shows that our interpretation of those few passages has a lot of history around it, that doesn’t have anything to do with their meaning in the bible. Basically, the homosexual passage in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:14 (listed along with many other restrictions like shellfish, pork, mixed fabrics, sex during menstruation) are not mentioned again throughout the law. It was part of restrictions for these people set apart. But adultery, incest and bestiality, also restricted, are repeated in Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. So restricting men from “having sex as they would with a woman” belongs with not eating shellfish, wearing mixed fabrics, and sex during menstruation; not with adultery, incest and bestiality. All of this is in the Matthew Vines video on my resources page. I hope they will listen to you. If not, you have to remember you can only speak, you can’t make them hear. I wish you the very best, and I hope it goes well for you.

  2. My paradigm shift came when I accepted that I was transgender. At that point, not only did my heart open to all LGBT people, but to ALL people! Prior to accepting my own condition, I had been very judgmental of others for all kinds of reasons, from cutting me off in traffic to being overweight to political corruption or whatever. But when I learned to love myself, I began to love others, also. Gave a whole new meaning to Matthew 22:39

  3. Hi Susan,
    I have indeed had a HUGE paradigm shift, and just in the past 7 months, after my 25 year old son, came out to me. “Blind” as I was initially (and in shock) after reading his letter to me, God prompted my heart to respond to him, via a phone call, with assurances of my fierce love for him; assuring him that nothing would or could ever change my love for him; assuring him that I wanted to be in his life; and that he and his friends were welcome in my home. Thus began a new journey for me, individually, and with my son. I grieve deeply (still) for all the years he carried this burden alone, in fear that I might reject him, and to be totally honest, I might have answered differently back then. I was raised in the church (mostly evangelical)– as a missionary kid and later as a pastor’s kid, so “homosexuality” was a “black and white” issue, set in stone, and there was no need for any discussion. But, on this journey, God has been actively deconstructing my old “theological ideas,” by giving me “new eyes” to see. There are so many, many things I am learning and figuring out, as God leads the way. I’m actively reading blogs, books, articles and talking with a few friends, about what I’m “re-learning.” One thing that has stood out to me, is how The Message presents 1Corinthians 13:1-7, a passage I am more than just a little familiar with (growing up, my family memorized the chapter together). Verses 1-7 reads: “If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I am nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, ‘Jump,’ and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.”
    Our lives are to be the “proof” of Jesus’ love for us, and our love is to look like His love. It’s not about “theology” but about loving well. Though this new journey has just begun for me, I am quite aware of how the “church” is falling far short in reflecting the love of our Savior. It’s my prayer, that God will use my life to stand in the ever growing gap.
    Thank you for your blog Susan. I so appreciate your candidness and thoughtful presentation of difficult topics!

    • Love love love your comment. Such a beautiful proof of God’s personal and precious leading. Thank you for sharing. So glad you’re loving your son. I so agree about the love – it’s what Jesus gave is to do! Bless you for listening to His voice and following. Your son is blessed. Thank you for sharing and God bless your journey.

  4. Susan,
    I am the Mom of a wonderful son who wants to share his life with me. The few times he had a new boyfriend and would tell me, the conversation ended with him apologizing because I would cry. I hated crying! Then, when we told him we were coming to town, he said, “Good, I want to introduce my boyfriend.” I didn’t cry, but said that would be great. Then I got off the phone and ask God how on earth was I going to handle this? LOUD and CLEAR , this thought popped into my head, “He is a child of mine!” That did it… Peace found it’s way into my fearful heart, and daily I live in less fear and more love. It’s a God thing!

  5. I ponder this issue a lot, having a gay child and many gay friends, and I’m perplexed by the admonition to “just change” that so many have. Thinking about my own sexuality, my visceral physical sexual attraction to my husband, I considered trying to “just change” that, to turn it off by force of mind or will. Not possible! This is not in our control! We might as well try to peel off a secondary layer of skin while leaving everything else intact. Keep fighting the good fight Susan!

  6. I am straight person who has been in conflict with institutionalized churches because I found that they did not accept me as I am in this I have a small glimpse into struggles of the LGTBQ. I also saw that if you did do things the way the church liked they did not show you grace. I saw that some individuals were accepting but not the church as a whole. I did not see God working through the church but only certain individuals in the church. This lack of confidence in the church has made it hard for me to accept Jesus. I will probably always struggle to try to accept Jesus because of my experiences as always feeling like the outsider in the church. Seeing your messages although addressed to the LGTBQ community speaks to me. The individuals keep me trying to accept Christ and the find a church where I can thrive. This is especially important to me know as I want to raise my daughter in a church that teaches reading and exploring God’s word but respecting other way God works in other people even when it is hard and you might not agree with it.

    • Rachel, I’m so glad you shared this. I’d love to give you something to think about here. I encourage you to read the gospels. Just read Jesus. You’ll see that His interactions with people are full of love and authenticity. Then read how He talks to the Pharisees in Matthew 23. He blasts them for putting impossible standards on people that they themselves don’t keep. (They’re the only people Jesus ever blasts!) My advice if you are thinking about a church or group of Christian friends is to see whether they look more like Jesus or more like the Pharisees He blasts. If they look like the Pharisees, run, don’t walk! You don’t want any part of it. If they look more like Jesus, then you may have yourself a good group there. Remember that Jesus said people would know we are His followers because of our love for one another. (John 13:35) Love is Jesus’ branding of Christianity, and the church has really lost its direction in that. If you aren’t seeing Jesus’ hallmark love, then move on. But stick with Jesus who loves you without condition, without condemnation. God bless you on this journey, Rachel, and thanks again for sharing your heart.

  7. this is exactly what happened to me. when I found out my child is lgbtq I went through the emotions, questions, and relentless seeking of God’s answer that I think all Christian lgbtq parents experience. it was divine intervention and Gods soft sweet voice that disrupted all my reasoning and invaded my heart. he showed me that as much as I love my child how much more he loves her. and his pain towards the treatment of his lgbtq children was greater than mine or hers. my life has direct been changed

  8. God has shifted my thinking towards the LGBTQ community!
    Two years ago, I met two people – one is transgender and one is gay. God helped mold my mind to be loving and accepting and now those two people are my closest friends!
    Then recently, one of my family members came out as a part of the LGBTQ community. Luckily, God had already molded my mindset and I was able to respond with love and encouragement! Now I live my life just trying to love everyone I meet. Praise God!

  9. Homosexuality seems to be the current issue that God is using to reveal our (Christians) characters. Will we continue to walk in love? Will we trust the Holy Spirit to guide us in ALL things? To teach us ALL things? Will we love as Jesus loved? Or is this the issue that will break us? that will cause us to stumble when it comes to love?

    I appreciate the risk that you are taking Susan and I understand both the loss of friendship you have experienced for taking this stand as well as the fact the you “have to” take it. When we feel that calling from the Spirit of God, we must respond, no matter the cost. Thank you for responding!

    You are encouraging hearts and changing lives! Keep following hard after Christ!

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