Christians & Gays: We're Doing It Wrong
So the whole Chip & Joanna Gaines/HGTV thing has been interesting to me.
If you haven’t heard, Buzzfeed published an article about how the Gaines pastor in Texas said some “anti-gay” things (took a pretty conservative Christian view of homosexuality) and people were surprised (which was funny) and mad.
I have 2 thoughts on this.
1. Having grown up in conservative evangelical circles, it’s hilarious to me that anyone would be surprised that an evangelical church would say homosexuality is a sin because it’s such a widely held belief among evangelicals. It’s always funny to me when people are surprised that conservative evangelicals hold conservative evangelical beliefs (as noted in this Babylon Bee article that made me giggle).
But if you didn’t grow up among conservative evangelicals I can totally see why you’d be surprised because, why would people that seem really nice on TV have such a hateful view of gay people? Yes, I know I just called it a hateful view. That’s point #2. Stay with me...
2. Christians, we are handling this ALL WRONG. All of it. Every single issue surrounding the LGBT community. We have been categorically bad at this.
Here’s the thing, I don’t think that Christians who believe homosexuality is a sin are hateful. Not in the slightest. I think they’re trying their best to live out what they understand the Bible teaches. I don’t think that believing homosexuality is a sin is a hateful view because I understand you and your view of Scripture. I grew up with you. I know your heart and your generosity and your sense of humor and your genuine desire to serve the Lord. I know you.
But not everyone does.
I understand if you believe it’s a sin. I get it, I really do. But when people get angry that we hold these beliefs and then we get angry that they’re angry and we start crying “Persecution!” and “Religious intolerance!” we’re making it so much worse for ourselves. And for our cause. And for our faith.
When you yell that homosexuality is a sin you’re telling them that 2 people who love each other shouldn’t be together because a book they don’t believe says so. That would be like me telling you that you have to have 5 wives because the Book of Mormon says so (disclaimer: I don’t think the Book of Mormon really says that, but who knows. The extent of my Mormon knowledge comes from a South Park episode and my friend Adrienne). You’d say “That’s really stupid and I don’t think the Book of Mormon has any authority so I’m going to 100% ignore everything you’re saying.”
I know you’re not the bad guy. I know you’re not trying to keep people apart. I know you’re not trying to hurt anyone. I believe that you have the best of intentions and I’m not at all telling you to stop preaching what you believe God commanded.
But we’re doing it wrong. So, so wrong.
Telling people that homosexuality (or anything!) is a sin before they know Jesus is like giving an American directions in German. They have no idea what you’re talking about and you end up just sounding super angry.
People don’t care if you think they’re sinning because they don’t know who they’re sinning against. They don’t know why they shouldn’t be sinning or what even counts as sinning.
Seriously. Think about it from their perspective for a minute. A person who has (from your view) incredibly outdated beliefs is telling you that you shouldn’t marry the love of your life because a god you don’t know doesn’t like it. Why would you care?
You wouldn’t. And they don’t. And I don’t blame them.
So when we tell them they’re sinning or when we yell about intolerance (when we seem to be pretty intolerant to them) we’re just making ourselves more and more irrelevant to their lives. We seem more and more ridiculous. And we’re pushing them further and further away from Jesus.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we need to stop preaching against sin, that we should “water down” the Bible or ignore what God says. I’m not saying that at all. Every church has the right to preach whatever they believe and I think it’s super important that we hold our congregations responsible for their actions and their lives and their walks with Christ.
But that’s just it, our congregations. Not strangers, not random people on the internet, not friends from high school we haven’t spoken to in 10 years. Fellow Christ followers. Other believers. Christians.
As far as I know (you may be surprised to find out that, while I did go to Bible college, I don't have a photographic memory of every red word in the Bible) Jesus never told a non-believer to stop sinning before showing them love.
We can’t hold people accountable to a standard they don’t believe in or even know exists.
We can’t ask non-Christians to hold the values or beliefs that Christians hold. And when we demand they do, we sound like jerks.
I wish, just once, that instead of Christians getting defensive about their beliefs they’d get excited and proactive about them. I wish that instead of insisting homosexuality is a sin they’d insist that every orphan had a home. I wish that instead of crying persecution they’d cry for the hundreds of thousands of Syrians that have died in the last few years. I wish that, for once, Christians would be on the news for the good that they do, not the fights they’re in. I wish Christians would be loud about how much Jesus loves them instead of what they think others are doing wrong.
Guys, we can’t ask others to follow our values simply because we want them to. We have to show them WHY. Why would I want to follow Jesus? Why do I care if I’m sinning against God? Why would I want to live a life that’s pleasing to Him?
Show them how much Jesus loves them. Show them that He wants them, flaws and mess and sin included. Show them why He’s worth it.
It’s not our job to convict people of sin, that role belongs to the Holy Spirit alone. But it IS our job to show people that Jesus loves them.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
1 John 4:16
So please, before you get angry about someone else’s choices or their thoughts about your beliefs, please take a second and ask yourself “Does this person know Jesus?” and “How can I show His love to them today?”