Summary: Gays can expect kindness, understanding and respect (love), but not agreement with lifestyle and "marriage" (truth).
Function: The listeners will examine their response to gays on the grid of truth and love.
Fifty years ago, if I said, "I’m gay", you would have thought, "Oh, he’s happy." If I said that today, most of you would think I’m either lying or homosexual. That shift also shows the major changes we’ve gone through. Some good, some not so good.
Homosexual behaviour used to be a crime. Now, our government, with Bill C-38 is looking to redefine marriage as this: "the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others". Our Saskatchewan government recently sent me instructions on how to change our current marriage registration forms. In a same-sex wedding, I should just cross out "bride" and "groom" and write in "applicant one" and "applicant two".
So is this progress? You probably have an opinion on this, and a reaction to it. But what is it based on? Is it your gut instinct, or something deeper?
If you were a landlord, and a gay couple wanted to rent your house, what would you do? If your grown up child wanted to bring home a gay partner, would you let them stay at your house? Would you even let them in? What if they invited you to their wedding? What If someone at school announced, "I’m gay", how would you treat them? For some of you, these issues are rather close to home.
As Christians, we have a right and responsibility to respond as Christians. I want to lay out first,
WHAT GAYS CAN EXPECT FROM US
By "us" I mean Christians who follow the whole Bible, not just parts of it. Some who follow just parts of it say, "I hate homos", and they believe they’re being true to God. Other churches who like other parts say, "Gays and lesbians are oppressed and need our support. Let them marry. Let them become our pastors and teachers."
One side wants to hold up the truth. The other tries to be loving. Both fail. The Bible does better. It calls us to speak the truth in love. That’s the goal.
If we follow all the Bible, gays and lesbians can expect Respect from us. Why is that? Every human deserves respect. 1 Peter 2:17 says rather simply, "Show respect for everyone." When we talk about homosexuality, we’re not primarily talking about some thing, but about someone.
What comes to your mind when I say "Gay". Real faces and people come across my brain, some whom I have cared deeply for and been close to. They deserve human rights. Sometimes they need court protection from hate mongers.
As a church we’re a member of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. They know some people go berzerk. They issued this statement, "We deplore the name calling and rhetoric that has been used in this debate. As an association, we believe that every person is made in the Image of God and should be treated with dignity and respect." EFC
So here’s a question. Ever called someone "gay"? Or said "That’s so gay." If so, you’ve crossed a line. Even in joking, and even though you might not have meant it, you’ve said, "Gay people are bad, weird and to be made fun of." And someone who struggles with it may have heard you. In them, you’ve created more self-hatred, more fear, more dismay. That’s not Christian, not even close. We tend to make fun of people we fear or don’t understand.
The homosexual person can also expect us to be Understanding. Understanding is different from approval. Understanding says, "I think I can relate a little."
Sometimes we put homosexuality into a category above, beyond and separate to all other categories. It’s not. Look at 1 Cor. 6:9-11: Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed... 1 Cor. 6:9-11
Do you see anything of yourself in there? How many of us have no sexual flaws -- in thought or action? How about greed? Have you ever wanted way more money or things than you needed? Ever taken anything that’s not yours? Ever slandered someone, or cheated? We’re all human. Your struggle may be different or similar. But because we all struggle somewhere, it calls for some understanding.
Expect to give respect, understanding and Love and Acceptance. Jesus said it as simply as it gets, "Love your neighbor as yourself." Mark 12:31. He said love your friends and your enemies. It’s as close to loving God as you can get.