There are gay people in our congregations. Who love God and who are deeply loved by Him. They worship the Father in all sincerity and truth and are at peace with themselves.
Too often from the pulpits we offer rebuke and condemnation for our LGBT brothers and sisters, but we hardly ever hear a word of love, life, or encouragement. You see it’s easy to speak harsh and condemning words about someone and go on without a second thought to how our words and actions are and have been affecting them spiritually, psychological, emotionally, and physically when the majority is on your side. It’s easier to give a harsh word and go on than to look them in the eye and see the pain and suffering that word has caused. It’s easier to put them away than to deal honestly and openly with the situation for fear of becoming empathetic and sympathetic to their cause. Having to deal with it and ask questions frightens many for fear that they might be wrong and also forces them to bear responsibility for their actions.
The pastor gets up and says,”Homosexuality is an abomination!” He calls them perverted, unclean, unholy, broken, filthy, faggot, worthy of death or neglect.
Have you ever spoken to a gay person? Did you listen to their stories? Did you listen to respond or listen to understand? Did you come with preconceived notions or where you open to hearing what they had to say? Do you have gay friends or relatives? You say you do, but even white people say that they have black friends and still resent or hate them. Did you place yourselves in their shoes or did you say I know everything there is to know about this person? Did you research or did you say that the science is rigged and therefore remained ignorant? Did you look into their eyes when they spoke? Did you hear and see their soul? Are you willing to listen and learn? Are you willing to seek out the truth for the sake of your brothers and sisters?
You say that you’re only repeating the words of God. Well, then what are His words?
The Lord says in 1 John 5:3,
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
You may say that you love LGBT people, but that you have to tell them the truth in love. Well, what is love and who is love?
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
1 John 4:8
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
If God is love and love does no harm to its neighbor then there seems to be a contradiction. What suffering have we inflicted on the innocent? Shall we take a look?
The CDC reports that around 40% of homeless youth are LGBT as a result of being rejected by their families. Researchers found that LGBT people are,
8 times more likely to have tried to commit suicide
6 times more likely to report high levels of depression
3 times more likely to use illegal drugs
3 times more likely to have risky sex
You might want to say that these numbers are made up or that LGBT people are to blame for their own suffering. Well, let me tell you that this thinking is a convenient way to escape responsibility and to blame the victim. I don’t think that this thinking would fly with God if He asked you about it upon meeting Him at His throne.
What about Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, or Eric Garner? People offered that if they would have only obeyed or stayed quite they would be alive. If they had only listened instead of trying to defend and express themselves then they wouldn’t have been killed. If Tamir hadn’t had that toy gun he would still be alive.
Why the outrage and hypocrisy? Are LGBT lives not equal to black lives in their suffering? Don’t they have a right to express and defend themselves or must they stay in the closet hidden from view?
Christ warned us that whatever good or evil thing that we do to others it is as if we are doing it to Him.
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’
Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’
Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’
And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Have you already forgotten you’re past dealings in misinterpreting Scripture and the great harm that it caused and still causes to this day?
The Church persecuted scientists such as Galileo Galilei (1564-1642).
He observed that the galaxy was sun-centerd. Copernican astronomy.
The Church taught Ptolmic astronomy based on this passage of Scripture:
“Indeed, the world is firmly established; it will not be moved.” (1 Chronicles 16:30 NASB)
The Church declared Galileo’s discovery heretical and demanded that he recant. They banned his writings and put him on house arrest for the remainder of his life.
During the Middle Ages Jews were persecuted, burned alive, put in ghettos, executed, and had many other egregious things done to them in the name of God. Ministers would justify their racism with Scripture.
“When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.”—Matthew 27:24-25
“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”-John 8:44
“The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die” -John 19:7,
“Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend” -John 19:12.
The religious leaders in that day condemned the Jews and sought their destruction and masked their fear, hatred, and bigotry with Scripture.
The Church also persecuted red haired people claiming that they were of the devil and that they were out to steal souls. Red hair was seen as parallel with betrayal as Judas was often depicted with red hair in medieval artwork. St. Jerome is even quoted as advising parents, “Do not dye her hair red and thereby presage for her the fires of hell.”
Churches used to commit atrocities against African-Americans. In America we have a long history of this being the case. The Church split over the atrocities of slavery.
The Abolitionists read this Scripture, “And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.” -Exodus 21:16
The South used this verse to support the sin of slavery, “Moreover you may buy the children of the strangers who dwell among you, and their families who are with you, which they beget in your land; and they shall become your property. And you may take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them as a possession; they shall be your permanent slaves.” -Lev. 25:45-46
Colossians 3:22 says this,
“Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:”
Both sides during the Civil War believed that Almighty God was on their side. Abraham Lincoln said it exceptionally well when he said in his Second Inaugural Address, “Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other.”
Slaves were beaten until crimson red blood flowed from their bodies. In defense of this slave masters would quote this Scripture, “And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.” -Luke 12:47
African-American women were raped and their families torn apart. African-Americans were hung, ripped apart by dogs, burned, water hosed, and had many other horrendous things done to them all while their masters quoted Scripture and praised God.
Interracial marriage as well as integration were also deemed unacceptable by “Christians” and Scripture was used to condemn it.
Verses were shouted from pulpits which said, “Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind …” -Leviticus 19:19. Also this verse was used, “And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.” -Deuteronomy 7:2-3. Under these verses employment wasn’t allowed to those of a different race, public venues and sports were segregated, education was unequal, marriages couldn’t take place, and this was all done by Christians just following Scripture and what God commanded.
Bob Jones Sr., founder of Bob Jones University, talked about race on Easter Sunday in response to Evangelist Billy Graham’s trip to Africa and his efforts to end Apartheid.
In his sermon Bob Jones Sr. said that God intended all races to be separated and inhabit their own countries explaining that if God wanted the races mixed then they would have been. He declared that the Chinese are in China for a reason and so are the other races. Any one that disagreed with this position he said was of the Devil and preaching a demonic doctrine.
Women, no matter their ethnicity, were not excluded from this discrimination either. The Bible again was quoted.
2 Timothy 3:1-7: Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands….
Ephesians 5:22-24: Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so [let] the wives [be] to their own husbands in everything.
1 Timothy 2:11-14: Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
Scriptures such as these were used in defense of denying women the right to vote, employment, education, land, property, and countless other things that would help them to prosper and succeed in life.
The Church maintained that left handed people were of the devil and they used this passage of Scripture as well as others: He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Matthew 25:33
Catholic Schools until recently used to punish children who were left-handed because they were thought to be in league with the devil. It was even thought that left handed people had mental disorders, increased illness, and learning disabilities. An idea has been facilitated that being left-handed is a sign of an underlying syndrome that is characterized by brain damage and a shortened lifespan.
We should not involve ourselves with doctrines and teachings that bring about destruction and degradation instead of life and edification.
Jesus taught us that,
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” – John 10:10
“And if you had known what this means, I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.” – Matthew 12:7
Many have said that Dr. King was the our secular Saint and was a Prophetic voice but they missed the other part of that voice continued in Coretta Scott King when she adamantly fought for the rights of LGBT people. She invoked Martin when she said, ” A threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Many have failed to listen to that other voice, but it was all in love and the Holy Spirit flowed within her as it did with her husband.
She once said, “Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood,” King stated. “This sets the stage for further repression and violence that spread all too easily to victimize the next minority group.” – Chicago Defender, April 1, 1998, front page.
She also addressed her African- American critics saying,
“I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice. But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream to make room at the table of brother- and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people.” -Coretta Scott King
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Will we look at the past and learn from its mistakes?
Listen to your children and your LGBT brothers and sisters and hear their cries and feel their pain. Listen to their souls poured out like blood next to a poisoned river. Will you ignore them or heal them? Will you beat and berate them or mend their wounds and give them rest?
The Lord is always on the side of the oppressed and marginalized. He is with those who suffer unjustly. Will you listen to the Spirit of God speaking through them?
Look to the things that promote life, liberty, justice, equality, fairness, love, and edification.
God is love and love does no harm, therefore, let love lead the way.
Go in peace. Give life. Walk in love. Edify each other.
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?