Compassion

If you are familiar with the Gay Christian Network (GCN) lingo, you would have heard of Side A and Side B. If you've not, those on Side A believe that God blesses same-sex marriages, and those on Side B believes that God calls gay Christians to lifelong celibacy. You can click on the links to read the very long arguments Justin and Ron have made respectively for Sides A and B. They have done an excellent job and both essays are well worth a read.

If you'd like to know, I personally am on neither side. That is a whole other story fit for a post on its own.

In any case, I'd just like to talk about love and unity in the body of Christ. As Jeff Chu put it so well in the opening keynote GCN Conference earlier this month at Portland,

"If you are Side A, can you regard Side B without pity? If you are Side B, can you look at Side A without judgment? If I told you that I’m Side C or Side M or Side Z—or if I were to refuse to opt for sides or labels, because they vex me—could you meet me there too?"

We can't do it perfectly it all the time, but can we at least try?

I have not been in a Side A/Side B debate (since I'm on neither side), but I've been at the receiving end of Christians giving me advice after I came out to them.

It hurt.

Their words stung.

I suppose admonition is supposed to. But what about being obedient to Scripture, albeit in a slightly different way? What about living as a celibate LGBT couple? It seems like that's impossible too.

Now I must admit, I have had leaders being very careful and gracious with their words when I came out to them, and I truly appreciated that. But why is it that it must always be about change?

"Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you" was a verse that a pastor told me to meditate on. Which I did.

Yet my orientation remains. Not for a lack of effort.

At the very last Exodus Conference I attended a year and a half ago, the then president Alan Chambers declared that 99.9% of the clients they worked with didn't experience orientation change. Now this is the largest organization working with people who are seeking change. And they didn't.

Now I do believe that God is all powerful and that He can surely do all things.

But perhaps it's time for a paradigm shift.

What if I accepted that I were fearfully and wonderfully made and that this orientation of mine is a gift from God?

What if this was the way God wired me?

What if there is a greater purpose behind this?

Leaders, Christians, fellow brothers and sisters, when someone comes out to you, please accept them on their terms. It took a great deal of courage to be vulnerable with you, so do speak with love and care. Don't jump straight to conclusions (that they are necessarily supportive of gay marriage and so on) but ask questions in an effort to understand. They are essentially the same person even after coming out to you. Seek to understand them. Refrain from giving advice until after much prayer and research. I would highly recommend that. But most of all, speak with love.

Yes, the truth hurts. Of course. No one likes hearing that God condemns gay sex even if it were true. But if that's the first thing that pops out, to the gay Christian, it will definitely seem like a total negation of himself/herself as a person. Where is the compassion in that?

This brings to mind a story in the Bible. When a woman was caught in the act of adultery and brought before Jesus, the religious wanted him to stone her, just like the law in the Old Testament commanded. Instead, as you know, he told them that the sinless can cast the first stone. And when they all left, he told her to "go and sin no more". Wow.

Can we be like Jesus?

Can we practice a bit of compassion?

Can we love our gay neighbour as ourselves?

Can we?

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