Thursday, July 4, 2013

JESUS ...and the Gays

Heart stirrings.
Those things that touch, grab at your emotions.
The things that pull at your heart and make you want to figure it out.

My heart has been stirring for years now on the topic that is causing a huge buzz across our nation : how to deal with homosexuality.

My beliefs have changed drastically over the years.
I was a nurse on a telemetry floor in the 80's when the disease AIDS first roared its ugly head. In those days, doctors could not mark on the patient's chart that this was their diagnosis, but we in the medical field were told indirectly. I vividly remember having my first AIDS patient. His IV had come out and I needed to start a new one. Mind you, this was in the days where no nurses ever wore gloves-unless you were doing a sterile procedure.
I was a bit nervous and called home to ask my husband to pray for me-that I would get the new IV with one stick. And I did.

In those days we didn't know that much about AIDS but it was considered purely a homesexual disease. This was in the days of the gay bath houses in San Francisco where frequent one night stands were participated in by hundreds of gay men.

I remember being so grateful to C Everett Coop, MD, the surgeon general of the United States at the time, who courageously informed every household in the US of how AIDS was transmitted. Up until that time, people were so fearful that it was an airborne disease.

It was during the 80's that I, being a young eveangelical follower of Jesus considered homosexuality a gross sin. A sin that was repulsive to me- most likely due to the fact that I could never imagine being attracted to another woman as I was to men, and particularly to my husband.
In the late 80's and early 90's, the gay community came up with the theory that they were born gay. At the time, I found that almost ridiculous to believe and thought that they were just making "excuses" for their lifestyle. Today, I think that could very well be a possibility.

All along though, I was bothered by how the far right portrayed any homosexual as perverse and almost abhorrent to God I  could never reckon that with the God I knew, who says that He loves all of us the same.
I was repeatedly embarrassed by Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell and the comments they made in the media. And because I had a career that caused me to care for patients of many backgrounds, religions and sexual preference, I knew I had to treat everyone with respect.

I often struggled with how to have my Christianity line up with how I believe Christ would be. How Christ would want me to be. I still struggle with this.
Having been involved in Young Life for what is now my 5th decade, I have always told my student friends and my adult friends that I truly believe if Jesus were alive today, He would be hanging out with the gay population, with the drug addicts, with those suffering from mental illness and the homeless. Those of us who think we have it all together, would probably respond to Jesus much like the Pharisees of His day; professing to know God and His ways, and yet acting just the opposite.

I have a few very good friends whose children are gay. 
Has that changed my perception of them?
I love these friends the same as I always have. I love them for who they are, for who Christ made them to be.
Throughout my lifetime, I have had a number of friends who are gay who are very dear to me and who I love without question. Do I treat them any different than i do my other "straight" friends? NOT IN THE SLIGHTEST.

I  have tried to reconcile my faith with these issues.
I know it says in the Bible-which I believe 100% is the Word of God and that it is all true- that homosexuality is a sin. It also says that lying, cheating, being judgmental, getting drunk, having illicit sex (which is defined as any sex outside the bounds of marriage), gossiping, coveting, murder, rape, anger, bitterness and malice are all sins .
Which one of us has never sinned?
None of us except Jesus Christ.

In light of the Supreme Court's ruling last week stating it is unconstitutional for states to say that Gays could not marry, we are going to hear an outcry from what will be called "Christians".
And my response to that will be we need to be like Jesus.
Jesus treated everyone with respect, love and compassion. It didn't matter what one had done. He let them know that He loved them, cared for them and wanted the best for them. That is how the church in America needs to respond to the Gay community.

I don't have "the answers". 
All I do know is that God is a God of love and that He loves Gay people every bit as much as He loves you and me. Knowing Jesus, wanting to obey Him, wanting to look like Him doesn't make Him love me more than He loves the gay man or woman, the addict on skid row, the teen mom, the gang member, the murderer, the tyrant and all the other people.
The difference is that I know what He did for me.
                                                     I know that He suffered and died for my sins.
                                   I know that He defeated death and sin once and for                                         all.
But that doesn't mean Jesus loves me any more- or you any more.
What it does mean is that we are to be looking more like Jesus than people that don't know Him. Often times we look the exact opposite by our outspoken criticism and rejection of those who are 'different" than us.
In Luke chapter 3 (from the New Living Translation of the Bible) we read:  

"Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God"

Prove by the way you live.
WE as the followers of Christ are not acting like we belong to Him very much when it comes to our response and attitudes towards the Gay community. I am not a theologian. I never have pretended to be.
But what I believe with all my heart is that we need to be tender hearted and forgiving-just as Jesus has been to us. Each one of us needs to ask Our Lord how to respond-not take it from someone else's beliefs.

We need to look like Jesus to a very hurting world.

Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.  

This past week I read an article and saw a video that I recommend:

And I also would heartily recommend a book that I read this past year called:
The Cross in the Closet by Timothy Kurek. This book will challenge you and make you think about how you treat the Gays you encounter in your own life.

May we learn to love like Jesus does: unconditionally- to all people regardless of how different they appear to us. 


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