Ask any person that considers themselves gay, bi, lesbian, or transgendered what their view on the church is and I can almost guarantee you that the response is a negative one. Let’s face it! We haven’t done a great job of communicating truth with grace concerning the topic of homosexuality. This needs to change! But how?
“Great thoughts speak only to the thoughtful mind, but great actions speak to all mankind.” Theodore Roosevelt
This is true…our actions always speak louder than our words. So unless we start showing something different toward the LGBT Community, things aren’t going to change. Jesus Himself said that the way that we testify to the world that we are Christians is by the way we love. Are we demonstrating love to these? To love someone requires us to give so I want to share 4 Ways to Give Love.
- Give Up Your Pride
We all need to work on laying down our pride for the sake of another. Many times we think we know best..if in the church, it’s easy to approach things with hyper spirituality and a “holier-than-thou” attitude; while in the world, it’s easy to base everything off of what we feel and experience. But love is self-less, prefers others over self, is humble and teachable.
- Give Some Time
Time seems to be the hardest thing to come by these days relationally, especially in America. Here we have so much social media connection but no real-time face-to-face interactions. Between our busy work schedules and our favorite Netflix show, it’s seemingly impossible to invest time into another. I recently visited Iraq and was surprised at the level at which they esteem relational connect. Relationships take priority there hands down. For example, say you have an appointment and right before leaving your house to make it someone visits you. Even if it’s not a close friend, the appointment becomes an afterthought because your visitor is priority. And I’m not talking about just a gracious 20 minute conversation before rushing to your appointment…no, hours later you will have to reschedule your appointment. I appreciate the principle of giving another your undivided attention and time. Giving time to actually get to know one another would do wonders to bridge the gap between the church and the gay community.
- Give Your Ear
Many times we make conclusions too quickly, but people’s lives change and evolve. We are all in process, growing and maturing. No one does things perfectly the first time. So being able to hear another’s heart while remaining non-judgmental is key in relationships. In the church, it’s easy for a topic like homosexuality to be just that–a topic. We miss the point that this isn’t about a topic but about people. Learning to listen and actually hear about a lesbian’s or gay man’s life story might do a lot of good. In the LGBT Community, it would help also to learn not to be so defensive. Because not everyone in the Church is the same and there really are ones that aren’t looking to condemn or judge you. Let’s learn to have conversations again, even if we disagree! I mean, we were given 2 ears and one mouth for a reason(let the reader understand).
- Give Up Comfortability
To love someone, means giving what another needs. We all need others in life..the way our lives(as babies) begin attests to this truth. Even though we grow up, we still need others. Do you know what needs another has? What would it take and look like for the LGBT Community to feel validated as people, loved, and feel like they have a place to belong around Christians? An easy way to start is to have a conversation and aim to befriend someone in the LGBT Community. Giving hugs also helps communicate love!
“We have drugs for people with diseases like leprosy. But these drugs do not treat the main problem of being unwanted” Mother Teresa
Some refer to homosexuality as modern-day leprosy because the church in addition to others don’t want anything to do with homosexuals. We’ve created such distance between us when God desires to remove the gap. In Iraq and India(both I have seen first-hand), affection through touch is very common. I think that this is a great way to communicate to anyone that they are wanted.
I want to end this post by giving just a few very practical ways and ideas to the church to go low to show love to the LGBT Community.
-Invite someone from the LGBT Community to your house for a meal
-Attend a gay-pride event not to protest but to simply build relationships
-Take a group from your church to visit AIDS patients to show God’s love
-Host a seminar at your church on homosexuality and invite someone to share on their struggles on being gay/lesbian and simply listen to their story
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:12-13
LET’S DO THE COMMAND AND PUT LOVE INTO ACTION