5 Ways to Love Gays
You can’t love God and hate homosexuals. On the contrary, loving God means loving gays. Really, truly, honestly loving them. (Are you listening, Westboro Baptist cult?) That doesn’t mean voting “no” on Proposition 8 or waving rainbow flags in the nearest pride parade. No, biblical love for gays is far more extraordinary. It’s a Christ-centered love that meets them in their brokenness and offers the same grace that God extended to us, even when we were dead in our sins (Ephesians 2).
So what does that actually look like? Here are five ways to love gays:
1. See the image of God in them. Let’s get one thing straight (no pun intended): God created gay people in his image, too. Of course, ever since Eden, the image of God in humanity is marred by sin, tarnished, obscured. Sometimes we see only a glimmer of it, but it’s there. Look for it. When you talk to someone who identifies as gay, don’t forget who you’re dealing with: someone God created, cares for, and calls to repent and believe the gospel of Jesus Christ.
2. Speak the truth in love. Sure, you’ve got an opinion on homosexuality. But must you give a full-blown treatise the moment you shake hands with someone who’s gay? “Hello, nice to meet you. And just so you know, I don’t agree with your lifestyle. Leviticus says homosexuality is an abomination, and the Apostle Paul and I agree.” Don’t let this happen to you. Instead, try talking over coffee. You know your worldviews are going to clash, that disagreements and debates will brew, perhaps after just a few sips. That’s when you can wipe the espresso foam from your mouth and speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
3. Understand the real problem. The problem is not homosexuality; the problem is sin. Fallen natures, blind eyes, hard hearts. It’s quite possible that your gay friend has even stronger attractions to pride, idolatry or greed than to homosexuality. Things you struggle with, too. That’s because, gay or not, we’re all born into sin. Your deepest desire for gays should not be that they become straight, but that they become Christian. Truth is, they may or may not ever develop desires for the opposite sex, but by the grace of God, they can develop a desire for Christ.
4. Listen to their story, then tell yours. Maybe you think gay people were sexually abused. Maybe you think they lacked a father figure. Maybe you heard they were “born this way.” Maybe you’re wrong. You won’t know until you listen. Take an interest in them, not as a project, but as a person. Have them explain their background, beliefs and behaviors. Simply listening doesn’t mean you agree or condone; it means you care. If their story is one of abuse, it’s OK to sympathize. If it’s one of loneliness, it’s OK to console. But don’t stop there—share your story. When told as part of the sweeping narrative of Scripture, it’s bound to be a lot like theirs: we were all made sinners in Adam, but can be made righteous in Christ (Romans 5:19).
5. Remember the good news. It’s easy to talk about homosexuality in academic terms, even theological terms, and forget to share the gospel. You can’t get so wrapped up defending your position that you detach doctrine from real people—homosexuality from homosexuals. Never talk about homosexuality apart from the power of the cross. Yes, it’s good to share your views on gay marriage, the causes of same-sex attraction, or even the biblical case against homosexual practice, but that’s not enough. The gospel, on the other hand, is.
Bryan can be reached at The Happy Alternative