|Rainbow Flag, from Wikimedia Commons by Ludovic Bertron|
Love. That's what I think Christians need to be. It's what the God we believe in is, and it's what we need to strive towards. Above all else. The two greatest commandments hinge on love. I've seen little or no examples of love from Christians towards the LGBT community.
Whispered conversations. That's what I see Christians partake in, when discussing the LGBT community and matters related to that community. No common discussions. Not much of sound advice from youth pastors and leaders on how we, Christians, should handle members of this community.
Frowns. That's what we Christians wear whenever we need to address an issue regarding the LGBT community. We frown at songs that talk about this, we frown at films that showcase this and we frown at people who embrace this.
Wrong. That's what I think the current general state of affairs is. Amidst all our whispered conversations and frowns, the piling on of hate and the lack of love, we seem to have lost the thread of true salvation brought by God to His people. Let me underscore that last, key phrase - His people.
So what do I think we should do? Read on.
If everyone on Earth is created by God, then we're all His people. Okay, done. Regardless of caste, creed, colour, language, geographic location, physical non-conformity, mental non-conformity and sexual non-conformity. If members of the so-called LGBT community are also His people, the primary thing they need from God's people is acceptance. No holds barred, unconditional acceptance. No nonsense of "You give up your sinful ways and then step into the Church". Nobody forced me to give up ALL my sin to step into Christ's kingdom. I'm still pretty sinful. It's why I need a constant Saviour, rather than an instant Saviour. So do people in this so-called LGBT community. So, let's start by accepting them.
So we accept them into our lives, into our churches and into our family homes. What's next? Embrace them (Metaphorically, of course. Although, you could go ahead and give them a hug, if you so feel like it). We supposedly worship the Christ, who, when on Earth, went around dining and having a good time with sinners and prostitutes. Personally, I've never even had contact with a prostitute. I'm sure there's plenty of Christians like me. We need to embrace people from such backgrounds, because these people are the real ones who need our God (Just paraphrasing what Jesus said about the sick needing a doctor). So, let's fully and wholeheartedly embrace people from the LGBT community into our daily lives. Let's break bread with them.
This is a tall ask. It's difficult to get two colleagues to understand each other about a single sentence, some times. How on earth we'll understand what a person from the LGBT community goes through is beyond me. With God, I believe it can be done. We, as Christians, cry out and lash out and fight out, when it comes to certain things. Let's try understanding these people. Similar to what I've said about smoking - smoking, as an act, does not tempt me at all. Then, I have no business to condemn a smoker and tell him to quit. I simply have no clue what that addiction is, and what a smoker goes through. Similarly, when it comes to the LGBT community, first, let's try and figure out where the lines are drawn and where each person from that community stands. And then, let's build each other up for His kingdom. Not for personal gain or supercilious self-righteousness. But purely for His kingdom.
Come on, let's face it. Even if every person from the LGBT community is the worst sinner on Earth (that's definitely untrue, and a big, big 'if') there are bigger issues in this whole wide world that God has given to us, humans, to care for and nurture. There are people dying of poverty, starvation. There are people fighting each other over petty issues on varying scales of grandeur (civil, international, inter-community). There are orphans languishing in poorly funded 'homes'. There are marriages being torn apart. All this stuff happens on a daily basis. I'd personally suggest that we completely defocus from the LGBT community and refocus on what actually matters more.
5. Big Sin / Little Sin:
My favourite point. And the last, in this post. We, Christians, proudly teach our young children that for God, there is no 'big' sin or 'little' sin. And as I've grown in the Christian faith, I've understood that since sin separates us from God, even the tiniest of sins makes it so that God can't bear to be with us. Thank heavens that Jesus Christ died on the cross, so that our sins would be washed away by grace. With this in mind, even if it is sin for a man to lie with a man or for a woman to lie with a woman (the LG part of the LGBT community), how dare we single them out for their sins when we continue in our lesser-public sins - such as lies, lust, greed, selfishness, unkindness, etc. How. Dare. We.
I have had multiple discussions about this topic with many peers and older Christians. Nobody has clear-cut answers to everything - for example, what about people who are physically male but have female hormones? Or vice versa? It is so difficult for us to admit that we have a crush on someone of the opposite sex. In today's LGBT-hating world, can one of us even imagine what it would take for a person from such a community to openly admit his/her sexual orientation? We can't. And, by clubbing all this under the term, 'LGBT', we're only adding to the possible hatred. We should actually stop using that word - LGBT. We don't call ourselves heterosexual (as opposed to homosexual) or mono-sexual (as opposed to bi-sexual) do we? Why differentiate those souls? Think about it.
You know, you can strike out everything I've said in this post except point number five above. That is the single point that tells me that I, as a child of God, have no business to point to a sect of God's people (all people on Earth are God's people) and label them as "LGBT", point fingers at them and cry "Sin!". I simply have no business. And if you would be so willing to allow it, I'll extend that a bit further to say - neither do you.