Nothing says love more than telling gay sinners how much we ‘luuuuuuv’ them and how much we HATE their sin. I think that is why there are so many Christians who have deep friendships with gay and lesbian people. Tolerance is a compelling gift to the gay and lesbian community so anxious for Christians to half-heartedly embrace them with the limp, lukewarm hug of Jesus.
Can you just feel the love?
Before I go too far with the pretense that I am an expert on this subject, please know this pep talk is for me as well. I am relatively new on the scene of wholeheartedly embracing all people, period. Even typing that sentence was full of deep conflict for me. I so badly want to qualify my own superiority in all of this by sharing the type of people I am embracing—compelled to make the comparison between my morality and theirs so that you will know how amazing it is that I, a good (a.k.a. morally superior) Christian, am embracing…well, them (a.k.a. poor things lost in sin).
Recently a friend shared this phrase with me, “Live your faith. Share your life”. It embodies the life I am trying to live and the focus we are taking at Exodus International. My faith is everything to me. I am profoundly committed to the Gospel. Living that out is what God has called me to do. Not everyone I live around wants my faith in his or her face. But, they are very willing to love me in spite of that faith and all of the beliefs, and even conversations, that go along with it.
Years ago I would have called this tolerance. I thought, “My gay and lesbian friends tolerate my beliefs and I tolerate theirs”. There is an element of tolerance that is necessary and even God-like, but if all God did was tolerate any of us then life would look very grim. Having once embraced the tolerance movement, I know now that God is calling me to go far beyond simply tolerating my gay neighbors. He wants me to love, serve and commune with them.
My wife and I want to share our lives with the all of people God places in our path. We don’t want to do so half-heartedly or worse—inauthentically. We don’t want to treat anyone like a project. Like I said, I’m new to all of this but it has been so worth it to lose the edge, trust God to be God, and feel free to love people with no strings attached. The days of hyperventilating over everyone’s shortcomings is over.
On this Valentine’s Day as we are thinking about love, service and giving, I encourage you to ponder where you’re at with the Golden Rule in terms of loving your gay neighbor in a way that truly reflects the heart of Christ.