Somewhere along the way you may have noticed that there is a bit of a rift between conservative Christians and people who embrace/applaud a gay lifestyle. The division is understandable to a degree, but I often think that professing Christians have unnecessarily magnified the problem.
Of course, there is the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas. Technically they are a church, but I find it difficult to even classify them as Christian. Honestly, I relate to a fair number of Christians and I don’t know of even one who would consider Westboro to be a viable voice for our faith.
Still, based on my personal experience, I think that most conservative Christians have few (if any) unforced relationships with those who profess homosexuality as a lifestyle. I see two primary reasons for this:
1. They can’t stand people who practice homosexuality and prefer to keep as far away as possible.
2. Hate or disgust are not the primary issues. They simply don’t know how to relate, and are afraid that any acceptance of those who practice homosexuality will be misconstrued as approval of their actions.
Again, based on my personal experience, I think that the vast majority of conservative Christians falls into the second category. I mean, if we love and accept someone we perceive to be in sexual sin, doesn’t that mean that we automatically approve of their behavior? It certainly may appear that way so the best option is usually to keep an awkward distance.
This approach has been amazingly effective in reaching the gay community for Christ, hasn’t it? People sense our rejection and quickly embrace Christianity don’t they? Of course not!
Jesus stood taller than any other in how He dealt with these types of issues. He walked and talked with sinners. They felt accepted by him and yet He never approved of sinful behavior. How did He do that? His love wasn’t conditional based on a person’s behavior. Christ’s heart flowed with a steady stream of kindness, love and acceptance–so much so that He was able to launch the greatest revolution against sin ever known to mankind. How are we doing at following His example?
To be fair to the conservative slant, some from the gay community exacerbate the animosity by demanding acceptance and approval of their lifestyle, and not just acceptance as individuals. In their minds homosexuality is an identity and so any disapproval of their sexual orientation is seen as a total rejection of their personhood. Anyone who disapproves of a homosexual lifestyle is then automatically branded as a homophobic hate monger regardless of their motivations for doing so. In the end these love advocates display the same type of harsh, narrow-mindedness as Fred Phelps and his Westboro followers.
If some in the gay community choose close-minded bigotry, that’s up to them. But if we as Christians have any real desire to honor Christ and impact our world with His truth, we need learn to love and respect others regardless of their behavior. Acceptance of a person as an individual does not automatically amount to approval of their actions. The idea isn’t new, but it continues to be revolutionary!