One of the difficult things–among many difficult things–related to homosexuality is how to speak of the issue in a way that addresses all the nuances people need to hear. As I’ve written before, there are various groups that may be listening when we speak about homosexuality, and the group we think we are addressing usually dictates how we speak. There is time for toughness and a time for tears, a time for defense and a time for letting down our defenses, a time for rallying the troops and a time for putting up our hands to show that we come in peace.
Recently, a brother encouraged me to write a blog post speaking directly to those dealing with same sex attraction. It was a good challenge. Our conversation cannot be only about preserving the truth and fighting the necessary political battles. Those of us who believe in biblical marriage must also be careful to speak in a way that acknowledges the growing number of men and women in evangelical churches who have desires for persons of the same sex and know that God does not want them to act on those desires.
I’m sure there is much more that should be said–and equally sure that many can say these things better than I can–but as a starting place I believe our churches should make these five commitments to those struggling with same sex attraction in our midst.
1. Welcome. We will extend to you the same hospitality we extend to others. We are glad to see you in Christ’s Church–not as a project, not as a proof of anything, but just as another person created in God’s image. Thanks for coming.
2. Friendship. We want to do more than show a friendly face on Sunday. We want you, like every other person in the church, to find friends. We all need companionship. We need accountability. We need love and laughter. We need people to bear our burdens and people whose burdens we can also carry.
3. Truth. We will preach the Bible, not fudging any of the hard parts. We will try to let the glorious parts shine through and the scary parts to do their work too. We will strive in our own lives–and you should in yours–to embrace the whole counsel of God, no matter how difficult, dangerous, or unpopular.
4. Gospel. We will sing and speak and share as often as we can about the good news of Christ’s death and resurrection. We will tell it to you, and we need you to tell it to us. You may need forgiveness, and we may need you to forgive us. We won’t get it right all the time, but our goal is as much of the time as we can to be a truth and grace, gospel place.
5. Hope. We believe in the One who breaks the power of canceled sin. We believe in life change. We believe in eternal life. We belief that we can be washed, that we can be restored, that we can be recreations. Praise God, we believe we are not yet what we will one day be.
If I’m not mistaken, these commitments should be in place in every church, all the time. For they are not only for those who struggle with same sex attraction, but for those who struggle. And that means for all of us, all the time, in every place.