I have a great love for the LGBT Community. God has truly given me His love for them. He has done a great work in my own life regarding same-sex attraction, and this has only increased my desire is to see those in the LGBT Community find hope and salvation through an intimate relationship with Jesus. My prayer is for them (and everyone!) to find freedom and restoration for their hearts, while walking in the fullness of who God created them to be.
I know that many of you feel the same way. We are talking about many of our dear friends and family members here…
In this post, I am going to address a few of the questions I have received regarding your friends, family members, and other loved ones who are in the LGBT Community. You want to love them well! I recognize the challenge of navigating the territory between love and affirmation, because the lines can seem blurry sometimes.
Loving our LGBT friends and family well (while upholding what we know to be truth) is a learning process. I have unfortunately made mistakes, and you may have too. One of the most important things we can do is to ask God to give us His heart for them.
When we have His heart, we can display His heart.
While I can give general answers, these situations will require us all to be very sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading, being aware of what He is speaking to each one of us. So much of this depends on our relationship with the person involved:
Question #1: How do I love my LGBT family members without condoning what they are doing?
How is your communication with your loved one? One of the most important things we can do is continue to build relationships with our LGBT loved ones. I think we sometimes feel driven to jump in right away to say that same-sex relationships are sinful, or we can be afraid that “not” saying something condones agreement. I most definitely believe there is a time and a place for sharing this, but I also believe that this is often best done in the context of relationship. What kind of a relationship do you have with them? Is there room for improvement?
- What do they like/dislike?
- What brings them joy?
- What do they enjoy most in life?
- What else do you know about them?
Listen to the heart of your LGBT friend and family member. It is so important to have open communication with them, especially during the times that feel awkward. Chances are, it may be awkward for them as well if you have not talked with them about this subject very much.
Showing love and kindness is not the same as showing agreement for their actions.
Love them just like you do everybody else. You can rest in that.
Love them, get to know them, have coffee with them. You probably have more in common with them than you think. Share your life with them in difficult times and when everything is going well. Be patient and do not try to do what only God can do. Let yourself off that hook!
Put them into God’s hands and trust that He is working even when you cannot see it.
If this is a close family friend or relative, please do not exclude them from your life or family activities. I know there are uncomfortable situations that come up, (especially when it involves someone recently coming out of the closet), but these are all things we need to work through.
When someone comes out of the closet, this actually opens up the opportunity to know them on a much deeper level. Situations like this (and many others) can be confusing, painful and messy. That is to be expected.
None of us know how to do this correctly 100% of the time, but we need to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us (including our hearts and mouths). Continue to share your heart and life with them, just as you always would. Love them just as Jesus does.
Share Jesus with them. The closer you are to this person, the more of an opportunity you will have to do this. We cannot change people (We cannot even change ourselves. 🙂 ) It is not our responsibility or place to try to change anyone! What we can do, though, is demonstrate to them who Jesus is. He is the one who loves them more than anyone else. He sees their true needs, and He desires to meet those needs in a way that only He can.
If your LGBT friends and family members have not given their lives to Jesus, their biggest problem is not being gay…it is unbelief. They need to give their lives to Him. When Jesus started healing my heart years ago, He didn’t start with my same-sex attraction at all. Who they are consists of much more than their sexuality. If you give them Jesus, this is one of the most important things you can do.
When someone gives their life to Jesus, He starts a process that no one else can finish but Him. In the meantime, love them and share your life with them. Pray with them if they are going through a difficult time. The Holy Spirit is more than capable of doing the rest.
Question #2: My female friend is dating women now after being hurt by men. What can I do?
One of the most important things you can do is pray for her. Whether she is a Christian, or not, pray for her. Listen to her heart and do not feel compelled to correct everything she says when she opens up to you. Don’t try to change her (you can’t, anyhow). Gently share the truth with her. Remember that Jesus is the One who can restore her heart! Offer to pray for her when you are with her, if you are comfortable. It would probably mean a lot to her!
Share Jesus with her. Encourage her in who God made her to be, and in how God sees her. Encourage her in her true identity in Christ. She needs to know who loves her most. She needs to know her heart is safe with Jesus. He is trustworthy and will never hurt her. For years I was drawn to women, because I did not think men were safe. I did not trust them. I was never physically abused by a man, but I did not feel I could trust them.
Model a healthy friendship with her and encourage her to build a relationship with Jesus. Share your own testimony with her. You don’t have to bulldoze her with all of this, but as you spent time with her, share what God has done in your life little by little.
She doesn’t necessarily need a relationship with another man right now, anyhow. She needs to fall in love with Jesus. He is the one who can heal her heart. Don’t give up praying for her. Stay patient and trust the process to God.
Question #3: My Christian friend resisted his same-sex attractions for years but recently gave up. He is now in a relationship with another guy and says he feels free. What can I do?
It can be incredibly discouraging for Christians who struggle with same-sex attraction. The world screams that the only way someone who has same-sex attraction can be happy is to be in a relationship with someone of the same sex. (People feel compelled to tell me this all the time, actually – regarding my own life.)
What the world misses, though, is that for those of us who have given our lives to Christ, being in a relationship with someone of the same sex would be forfeiting our peace and joy. This does not equal happiness by any means.
Without the support of other Christians around them, it can be a very lonely walk. It can be lonely, even with the support of other Christians. This is why we need to actively support our Christian friends who experience same-sex attraction.
If your friend is a believer, he is not going to feel truly at peace engaging in a same-sex relationship. The freedom he feels now will be short-lived. Remind him who He is in Christ, and pray for him. Encourage him to turn away from this relationship. God does not promise to take away all of our temptations, but He will help us fight them. If he does not want you to pray with him, pray for him when you are by yourself. Jesus can grab a hold of his heart.
I know many people who love Jesus with all of their hearts but are not attracted to the opposite sex. The goal is not for someone to be attracted to the opposite sex. It’s to point them to Jesus so they can build an intimate relationship with Him.
Experiencing intimacy with Jesus has an amazing way of decreasing the “power” and hold of same-sex attraction in a believer’s life. I know many people who have experienced this first hand, and I am one of them. He is our Sustainer, and the intimacy we can have with Him is the only thing that truly fulfills.
Pray for your friend, and continue to pray. Pray that the Holy Spirit would reveal any lies to him that he is believing. Pray that He would know the truth of who he was created to be and the truth of who God is as well. Be patient with the process, even when it seems like nothing is happening. Trust that God is at work, because He is!
As I said above, I believe one of the most important things we can do is to ask God to give us His heart for them. When we have His heart, we can display His heart.