Sunday, March 18, 2012

Does God Love or Hate Gays??

This is a very controversial blog post and you may or may not agree with me.  If you want to post comments, you are welcome but I ask for you to be respectful to me and I will be respectful to you.  I have never said I was a theologian but I am speaking from my heart.

I used to be very homophobic.  I would agree with anti gay sermons, books and news letter articles.  Then one day I had a revelation.  God loves all people, even if they don't know it yet.  And if God loves all people, He also loves gay people.  And if God wants to change someone's sexual orientation, then that's up to Him.  Its not up to me.  I needed to stop judging people and I needed to stop rejecting people.  It was my choice to love people or not to love people, to judge people or not to judge people, to reject people or not to reject people.  

In light of the revelation from God about gay people, I realised that I had to change my mind about gay people.   God didn't stop part way in His lesson so took me on a bit more of a journey.  He didn't want my lesson to stop at theory but gave me a practical one as well be putting me in direct contact with homosexual people whom I feared and judged.

I was in my 40's at the time and after being a stay at home mum I decided to go to TAFE to get a  Certificate in office administration in an attempt to get back into the workforce. It was at TAFE that I met a gay man and a gay woman who happened to be in my class.   I probably had met lots of gay people over the years but that was in passing. The man was 20 years old and was lots of fun.  I became very fond of this young man as we shared coffee at morning tea and lunch time each week.  The woman was closer to my age and sat next to me in class.  We also had lunch together every school day.  This woman had been in an abusive heterosexual marriage and when she could take no more of the violence, she left.  She had never been happy in her marriage, even before the violence started but when she married him, she did what was expected of her.  She is now in a relationship with a woman, her adult children love her partner and she couldn't be happier.

The next revelation I had was that most of the gay people in this world think that God hates them.  This actually made me sad to the point of tears but I totally understood their feelings.  The reason they believe this is because for the last 50 yrs or so, Christians have been very vocal about being anti gay.  There are churches in the US that picket funerals and protest gay marches with signs that read "God Hates Fags" and create websites dedicated to how much God hates gay people and their enablers.    

Jesus in the New Testament only spoke against the Pharisees, that is the religious teachers of the day...the ones who life work was telling people how to live, burdening them with rules and regulations and pretty basically they lorded it over the common folk. Jesus told them they were "white washed tombs"  Pretty on the outside but nothing but full of darkness, rotten flesh and death inside.  Not a pretty description at all!  Jesus never said one single word against homosexuality but surely gay people were around when He walked the earth. 

Now, I really really really really doubt God hates gays. In fact, I really believe He loves them and I also believe His heart breaks when we tear into each other.  When we make it our goal in life to beat the homosexuality out of people are we any better than one of the Pharisees that Jesus rebuked?

When you take time to think about it, how will gay people ever know that God loves them and Jesus went to the cross for them if all they hear from us is hate?
People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish,  but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God.  And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water?  Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.   James 3:7-12 NLT

Since I finished TAFE, I have met many many gay people in many walks of life.  Gay people are not always funny or friendly like the characters on television or in films, because that's just the stereotype.  Gay people don't all march half naked in street parades because that is also the stereotype.  I have met gay people who happen to be lawyers, nurses, accountants, bookkeepers, bar men, salesmen, truck drivers, dentists, writers, factory workers, radio announcers, PR people, Uni students, baristas, cooks and a couple of singers, dancers and only one or two actors.   I may not have close friendships with all of these people and quite honestly, there are some I have little or no communication with but that is how it goes with people everywhere. 

I never make a secret of my Christianity.  Because of the history and bad publicity church folk have generated, gay people are naturally wary of me.  You can almost hear them waiting for me to give them a lecture and when that doesn't happen the surprise can be palpable.   I think its a sad situation but we Christians have no one to blame but ourselves.   

I wont pray for God to change someone's sexuality but I will pray that the veil will be removed from their eyes and they will know God loves them with so much passion that he went to the cross for them.

God loves each of us so much that used an rough hewn iron nail to tattoo their name each of our names on the hand of Jesus. 

See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.  Isaiah 49:15

As I said, its Gods job to change people, not mine, so its pointless and painful for me to try to change someone myself.   However, we can ask God to change us and our hearts and mind.  Repentance means to change your mind and we are told to do that.

 The word in the New Testament usually translated “repent” is the Greek word “metanoeo,” and the word translated “repentance” is “metanoia.” Both of these Greek words have the same basic meaning: “to change your mind; reconsider; or, to think differently.”  

I think we should be actively out there embracing people of all walks of life, whether they are gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, transsexual or anywhere in between.  How will anyone ever know that God loves and accepts them if we keep rejecting them?

If someone is having a problem, I tell them that I will pray for them and then I do it.  

But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?  Romans 10:14

The next time you meet a gay person, show them how much you love them by not judging them and then they will want to know why you as a Christian can love them when all they have been taught by media is that Christians hate them with a passion.  It makes sense, doesn't it?   You may even have the opportunity to speak into their lives and to pray for them.
To love people is a way of life for me.  I don't make friends with anyone whilst having an ulterior motive or preaching to them.  I just want to love people because that is who I am and what I have been called to do. However, I believe God has given me a job description for my life and that description is found in Micah 6:8...

O people, the LORD has told you what is good,
      and this is what he requires of you:
   to do what is right, to love mercy,
      and to walk humbly with your God. 

I may never have the chance to verbally share the Gospel with one of my gay friends but I do have an opportunity everyday to share the Gospel through my actions.  And if I get the opportunity to pray for someone, I seize it with both hands.  

At the moment, I'm praying for a guy who is hoping for a co-worker who will swap a shift so he can go see Kylie Minogue in Sydney.   He thinks its impossible but we all know that nothing is impossible for God.   So please, if you see this before March 20. please join me in prayer for my friend and that someone will give him a ticket as the show is only in two days.  

To sum it up, we each have to answer this question of ourselves "What are you choosing?"  And we need to take this question seriously and think for ourselves.  We need to examine our hearts and minds.  The Bible is called food, so we need to feast on it and learn the truth. Read a few different translations of that Bible, listen to different points of views and be prepared to find out that everything we have believed for our Christian lives could be wrong or that there is a real basis for everything you believe.  Its a scary and somewhat painful journey but the reason you want to walk in the light is you can see clearly what is ahead.  By letting others tell you what to think, then you may as well be walking in the light but wearing a blind fold over your eyes.   

As I said at the beginning, this post can be somewhat controversial.  God has given us brains and minds and the ability to reason, to think and to actually know what we believe. Each of us should know what we stand for if  asked, what we would hang on to if our life or death depended upon it and what we can let go because it gets in the way of our focus of God.  

EDIT: My friend who thought he was going to work when he wanted to see Kylie Minogue has just informed me he has the shift off and is going to the concert I just want to praise God and give the glory all to Him!!!  Nothing is impossible for our God!  My friend knew I was praying and this will speak volumes to him.

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