Recently my Pastor taught a message on “The Dating Game: Love, Sex and Relationships [Navigating 21st Century Relationships with Truth, Grace, and Love].” The purpose of his message was to give practical tools that allow us, as Christians, to have a conversation about same-sex marriage. What he did next surprised me. He personally apologized to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) community for the insensitive and hurtful nature of Christians in general towards them. I know that many of my brothers and sisters in Christ empathize with and support #GLBT but never has anyone that I am aware of publically apologized to their community for the insensitive and often condemning behavior of Christians; and this act of compassion on his part, I was extremely impressed with – taking the weight of insensitive and oftentimes ignorant #Christians on his shoulders during a time when most Pastors are either silently looking the other way or screaming condemnation.
He then declared that our church will love and cherish those in the congregation who are struggling with their sexuality AND those who are living a full out life with a same-sex partner. To help the Church deal with the controversial and often heated topic of same-sex marriage and relationships, the Pastor gave us three practical tools to use when we are having a conversation: 1) be clear about our convictions while not condemning others or affirming sin, 2) listen to the stories of others with compassion and thoughtfulness, and 3) engage others with humility and a respect for boundaries. Some in the GLBT community feel as though, if a Christian does not agree with my lifestyle, then they have a problem with me personally. And this is definitely not true for all. I, personally do not have a problem with the GLBT community, however, in the same sentence I proclaim that I do not agree with their lifestyle or the notion of same-sex marriage. I believe God’s Word, the bible, and the bible is clear that He created Adam and Eve. [Genesis 2:18-23]. And that marriage is between a man and a woman. [Genesis 2:24]. God is a God of order, I do not believe that He makes mistakes. I also know that we live in a fallen world and the bible says that we are born into sin. [Psalm 51:5].
Bottom line, the recent ruling on same-sex marriages from the Supreme Court of the United States has brought to the forefront major issues and considerations that the modern church has to contend with. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is for everyone. And as more churches find that they in fact have openly gay and transgender members attend their services – how will The Church minister to these individuals. Will they be shunned? Or Will they be loved?
My Pastor summed up this message with our Church’s stance on and boundaries concerning same-sex marriage and gay individuals. The phrase that he concluded with which has resonated with me is this, “they will know us by our love. Love never stops, lover never quits.”
Church, what would Jesus do?
One Pastor’s Position Statement on Same Sex Marriages
The Bible and Same Sex Relationships
A Theological Reflection on Marriage, Singleness, and Same-Sex Relationships