"How do I treat homosexual friends?" -- A conversation with a Friend
David, I am having a hard time with knowing what to do, how to act, and how to love and be tolerant of my many gay friends that I work with. In the bible, I read about being gay, and the sexual acts of it, to be wrong. But I want to show love, not hate. Several gay couples that I work with, have gotten "married". I feel that marriage is a gift from God between a man and a woman, and Christians make a covenant before God when they marry. Help me here if you can.
Here's a blog from a pastor:
A Christian pastor in North Carolina has been amazed by the reaction to one of his recent blog postings, in which he wrote about what his reaction would be if any of his children grew up and told him
I skimmed that article. I concur with most of it (not most of what he said about various biblical texts, which he completely misunderstood).
This question is just like asking, “How do I treat people who sin?”
How should you treat them? Really, like a friend. If that's too vague, ask yourself how you'd treat someone you cared for? That's what Jesus seems to have done in His ministry.
Just because there are times when they are doing sexual things with the same-gender (hopefully at times when you're not around!) doesn't mean that you can't be kind to them at the times you DO see them. For example, I'm sure you're kind to people, who, when you're not around them, do all kinds of sins like lust, are prideful, gossip, lie, cheat, etc. I doubt you are ever tempted to think, "Man...I'm not sure how to treat that person because I bet at some time since the last time I saw them they committed a sin." The same is true with homosexuals. At some point since the last time you saw them they probably committed a horrible sexual sin. But...we don't stop acting loving and kind toward them.
Now, I don't think Christians have the role to point out every sin to people. Again, we'd have to be VERY consistent with this: condemning people all the time when we hear that they lied, gossiped, lusted, etc. We'd really be busy...
So, how do we make sure the person doesn't think we condone that behavior? I guess we just don't show that we support it. We don't have to act all excited when they talk about gay marriage. We don't give high-fives when an inappropriate gay joke is said, etc. I also don't act excited when someone murders someone or gossips or lies or steals. Simultaneously, we don't turn into punks; we don't act so disgusted that we become mean. If there's anything Jesus seems to have done in His ministry, it was that He really accepted, ate with, and hung out with people that others rejected, and through His love and truth, "converted" people. (He certainly didn’t just accept them; He loved them too much to accept them in sinful habits. He most certainly expected people to repent of their sins.)
It seems to me that the ultimate goal is to have the gay person think this: "Wow. [Insert your name] is always so kind to me. I think s/he doesn't support homosexual relationships. But, s/he's always so kind. S/he treats me like everyone else."
Again...don't we want EVERY person to think that? Even liars? gossips? Murderers? etc.?
Now, it's crucial to be clear: we must be more concerned with acting like Jesus and standing up for the Kingdom of God than being liked. We simply won't be liked when we do what Jesus did and teach what He taught. We should be kind, yes. And we should also be sure to speak truth whenever it is needed. This means people will often come to hate us for our views...or rather, for holding Jesus's views. So be it.
If they ASK you about your view, here are my tips:
(1) Ask them, "Before I tell you what I think, I need to ask you a question: 'Do you judge people who have a different view than you?'" -- This will force them to pause before they jump on you.
(2) If it’s at work, and especially if it’s from a superior, I’d ask how that question has to do with your job.
(3) Stick with Jesus, not your own view. Don't even BRING UP words like, "I just feel" or "I just believe..." Let Jesus speak for Himself. Something like, "Well...it all comes down to whether or not there is a God who created us. If there is, then how He designed sexuality is the only thing that matters. And in Matthew 19, Jesus said that the only appropriate sexual relationship is between a man and woman. And, Jesus spoke with God's authority....so, I side with Jesus. I don't have all the answers, but I know that Jesus spoke truth so I do the best I can to live according to His lifestyle."
Here are some more thoughts. I have a podcast in which I dealt with some similar questions on homosexuality. You can find the podcast here: /davidwpendergrass/p/podcasts.html
Also, I wrote a blog on the issue (the podcast is based on it): /davidwpendergrass/2014/08/can-homosexuals-be-christians.html
Finally, here's a sermon that might be helpful: /davidwpendergrass/2015/02/gods-view-of-sexuality.html
These are my thoughts.