[Disclaimer: I know LGBT+/same-sex attracted people can be Christians. Otherwise...I don't exist. I am writing generally here. Please forgive me for any unintentional marginalization.]
First, some statistics.
LGBT+ people are:
- 2-4x more likely to attempt suicide
- 8x more likely to attempt suicide in highly rejecting homes
- 41% of transgender people have attempted suicide compared to 1.7% of the general population
- 74% of LGBT youth are bullied (vs 20% general population)
- 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBT+ (versus only 7% of the general population)
- 46% run away because of family rejection
- 1 out of 3 homeless teens are approached by a sex trafficker within 48 hours on the streets
- **Insert unknown number. LGBT+ people are murdered globally.
When I share these statistics, I often get a glazed-over look from Christians. Here’s a few reasons we might not react:
- We already know the statistics
- We are cold and heartless
- We don’t have permission to care
I think the last one is most often true. So Christians, today I give you permission to care. Why? Jesus.
May this passage mess you up like it messed up me: John 8. What do we see here? Pharisees and teachers of religious law bring to Jesus a woman caught in adultery. A sexual sinner. They are ready to stone her. They ask him what to do. What does he do?
1. He saves her life.
He steps in the middle and instead of grabbing a stone he stoops. He boldly, peacefully writes in the sand. He calms the wave of the legalists’ rage.
2. He points the finger back at the Pharisees.
“Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” He writes in the sand and says this. What does he write? We don't know. Here is a good idea. No matter what, we do know what he wrote and how he responded convicted the hypocrisy in the hearts of the accusers.
3. He does not condemn her.
“Didn't even one of them condemn you? ... Neither do I.”
4. He talks about sin.
“Go and sin no more.” Jesus saved her life, convicted the accusers, removed condemnation, and then talked about sin…at the end.
He made sure she was alive first so she could experience the redeemed-from-death love of Jesus Christ. Such love should make us want to obey the command to flee from sin.
But we need to experience love.
Jesus loved those perceived by the legalists as "the worst" (they aren't) so much that his interactions made them think he was not from God. “This proves that Jesus is no prophet. If God had really sent him, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!” (Luke 7: 39)
When really, the opposite was true: his love of “the worst” sinners proved he was Emmanuel. God with us. God with the lowest of the low. God who became the lowest of the low and died as the lowest of the low so that everyone can have life.
So, Christians. You can care. But I don’t even have to give you permission. Jesus did.
- Do something. Tip your gay barista extra. Speak up for the lesbian who is bullied in choir. Serve at your local homeless shelter—not just the straight homeless, but the LGBT+ ones, too. (What’s the difference? Which one is more sinful again?)
- Do something more. I personally know of one organization who holds to a historic, biblical sexual ethic (one man+one woman for life=marriage), which is actively seeking to serve LGBT+ people. How is this okay? (If you know of more, share them here!)
- Pray. Do you pray for your LGBT+ friends, neighbors, and co-workers? Do you pray not for a change of sexuality but for a wrecking of their hearts with His love?
- Remember. It is the kindness, tolerance and patience of God that leads to repentance--for everyone.