In this article I’m responding to an article which speaks eloquently about a struggle Christians in increasing number are resonating with. Yet, it has been and is (emphasise, present tense) a very real struggle for so many of us.
Still, none of us are beyond learning. And God is granting us a fresh grace in this age to wrestle with others who themselves are wrestling.
Not many of us are gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgender or intersex or another affiliation of sexual expression. Not many of us that I know, but the statistics tell me that my reality isn’t a true representation.
There are, therefore, many out there who are living a closeted experience, and, in present context, I’m not talking about those with secret addictions – the functional addicts in all strata of society. There are so many within the myriad forms of addiction that steal peace, kill joy and destroy hope.
And I have to say this… it isn’t just the addict who struggles. Just about every person has struggles. And when I discuss ‘struggle’ I mean a significant daily struggle – with nothing easy about it.
But an article by a gay man desperate for the church to stand up to help people like him, who – like us all – needs to find his way to God and inclusion within the people of God.
Would any of us get in God’s way?
This young man might refer us to these words of Jesus out of the gospel of Luke, chapter 5:
30The Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31Jesus answered, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; 32I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
Verse 32, that’s all of us, anyone clothed in skin. Let’s not call out the LGBTI+ crowd as particularly sinful, and thereby call ourselves out as being Pharisaical. That’s what Pharisees did: highlighted everybody else’s sin, ignoring their own. Our task as Christians is to live real before God: our personal struggle (and each of us has one) is a cosmic challenge that only God can overcome. How helpless are we? Jesus calls the sinner to repentance – a personal activity, for each one of us, facilitated by an almighty and gracious God.
Verse 31, Jesus grants the Pharisees and scribes their truth (for it is not God’s truth) – ‘believe as you wish’ Jesus might say – for the sick are those who know they’re sick – Jesus cannot help the person ‘well’ in their blind stubbornness; the self-righteousness that threatens to reign in us all. And this is no comment on the vagaries of sickness – just that all are sick. All! It’s why all ought to be included.
Blessed is the one who knows they’re sick, who know they need the Physician, who seek the hospital.
And our job – mine in my case – is to simply be a guide for a person who hasn’t met God and who is seeking to meet God. They don’t need my unqualified opinions on the way there. We can give them resources as we listen, but just as we stand before God, we will all be held to account. Our responsibility is to not inhibit anyone’s passage to the Christ.
Therefore, we listen. We feel into their anguish – a reality, up to now and into the foreseeable future, of being estranged to God-felt compassion from the vast copse of humanity.
Ours is the challenge to stand up, as the young man says. It will cause us conflict, for that there is no doubt. But our lives are no longer about us; they are about the Lord’s business.
And the Lord would never condemn them like our fears and preconceptions might.
I want to say, as the article cited suggests, “If you are LGBTQI+ and need somebody to speak to, I just want to offer you a listening ear.”