“It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love.”
Within the last decade, acceptance of LGBTQ+ lifestyles have been on the rise in America and beyond. The Pew Research Center shared last year that the majority of people who approved of homosexual lifestyles didn’t consider religion important in their daily lives. Later in 2020, a separate report found that nearly half of adults identifying as LGBT claim to be religious.
It can be a murky area where even the most compassionate and sincere Bible-believing Jesus follower can hesitate to step.
“Claiming the name of Christ is sometimes a dangerous business. And holding to God’s revealed truth in His Word concerning homosexuality is even more dangerous,” Becket Cook wrote in his book, A Change of Affection: A Gay Man’s Incredible Story of Redemption. “If you believe that homosexuality is a sin, you are immediately labeled a bigot or homophobic.
“Somewhere in the last decade, ‘I disagree with you.’ came to mean ‘I hate you.’ … Although we are not forced to bow down to a golden image, we are pressured to bow down to the great god of Public Opinion. Over the last several years, I’ve seen many Christians cave to culture.”
So what’s a believer to do? Consider these 5 Biblical truths as you minister to your LGBTQ loved ones:
1. No matter what identity a person chooses, that individual was created in the image of God. Genesis 1:27 is very clear. “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.” It wasn’t random or haphazard. God intricately knit every human being in the womb (Psalm 139:13). Treat every single person you encounter the way God intended—as His beautiful creation. God’s people are reminded to “clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).
2. Stand firm in your faith. Don’t confuse loving God’s creation with affirming the sin the world promotes. Jesus was firm in His stance on a variety of topics, including marriage, which He cited between one man and one woman in Matthew 19:5. As followers of Christ, our marching orders are simple (per Mark 12:30-31): We are to love God and love people. But we’re also “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37). We’re supposed to put on the armor of God and resist things contrary to God’s Word (Ephesians 6:13). We’re also told not to grow weary in doing good (Galatians 6:9) no matter what’s happening around us.
3. Homosexuality is complicated, but it’s not a gray area. It’s sin, so it separates a person from a Holy God, but it’s rooted so much deeper. Cook reminds his readers, there are gay pride parades but not gossip pride parades. “Homosexual orientation affects the whole person: the mind, will, emotion and body,” he writes. “When I was fully immersed in that lifestyle, my entire identity was wrapped up in my sexual orientation. And the only thing that changed that identity for me was the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
4. Transformation isn’t up to you. You can introduce people to Jesus all day long, but you personally can’t transform a single soul. Yes, you should pray. Yes, you should invite your LGBTQ+ loved one to church (even virtual church). And there is nothing wrong with grabbing a socially distant cup of coffee and gently challenging your friend. But remember, as you walk in obedience to Christ, turn everything—especially your loved one—over to God. He promises His Word will not return to Him void (Isaiah 55:11) and simply urges us to be ready at all times to share Christ (1 Peter 3:15). Consider Colossians 4:6: “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
5. Proclaiming Christ, even in love, is counter-cultural. Expect backlash, particularly from a society that continually normalizes and promotes all sexual sin via media platforms. LGBTQ characters account for 9.1 percent of series regular characters on scripted broadcasts (primetime, adult and youth programming), according to the 2020 GLAAD “Where Are We On TV” report. Jesus didn’t condone the outward embrace of sin, but he didn’t outcast the people involved. He talked with the woman at the well (John 4). He ate with tax collectors (Luke 19). But his message of God’s love never wavered.
To that end, Christians shouldn’t alter the Word of God based on popular thought.
“The consciences of today’s Christians are being corrupted by the oppressive cultural milieu and the extreme social pressure surrounding the issue of homosexuality, but we know that the law of the Lord is written on our hearts (Jeremiah 31:31-33) and though we may succeed in muting our conscience, the Word of God is eternal,” Cook said.
“It is never safe to tamper with conscience and it is absolutely fatal to tamper with God’s Word.”