The acronym LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (or transsexual) and queer or questioning. It is also used as a shorter form for a longer one such as LGBTQ2SIA. The additional letters refer to people who identify as having two-spirits (2S) mainly among First Nations individuals; as intersex (I); and asexual or aromantic (A).
It is no secret that some if not many Christians earlier on rejected these identities, believing them to be biblically unacceptable. Is there a problem with that? It seems there may be. It is one thing to reject something for oneself; but quite another to judge others by our beliefs. The main problem with this attitude is that it puts humans as equal to the Holy Spirit Who has the responsibility to convict. Indeed it seems like when the problem involves sexual matters some people including Christians appear to be especially riled up. Such Christians tend to use the Bible as both an offensive weapon against “immorality” and a defensive shield to stop pushback. Therefore it is appropriate to wonder why some people are very passionate and unyielding in prosecuting others on matters of sexual non-conformity. It is all the more curious why violating God’s Word in other matters does not bring up such, if any, condemnation. For example it is probably true that most of those offended by LGBTQ have undeclared tolerance, if not outright acceptance, of “small” tax fraud, or the Canadian governments’ discriminatory non-funding of First Nation schools, the plight of people who went through the Residential School system or of lying and misconduct, especially by politicians.
Be that as it may, looking at the LBGT issue without a judgmental stance regarding sexual differences, one could conclude that conceivably, non-heterosexuality may simply represent a variation from the norm of the majority of humanity. We know that sometimes changes occur in the pattern of cell division, signaled by the DNA in the genes that are on the chromosomes, which, from the very earliest stage of development, dictate the message, as to how every fetus will develop. This may be said for example of people with Down’s syndrome, twins, Little People and people born with exceptional qualities; so why not LGBTQ?
In fact, on the matter of gender, let’s remember that for all humans shortly after fertilization there is no gender. In simple terms, as the embryo develops the genders become differentiated as a result of a very complex series of changes that arise from hormonal and genetic activity guided by the individual’s genetic code, such that being male or female results from whether or not male-oriented androgens like testosterone suppress female-oriented estrogens. During this process of cell division and assignment a range of gender characteristics is present, which ends in a clear male or female gender or not, of which gender identification is a part. All human development undergoes a similar process, which in other areas such as mental and physical growth may produce a range of intelligence or heights, for example.
We cannot presume to know why God allows variations nor should we write off certain conditions of life as unacceptable to us, and therefore, unthinkably, must be purged or stamped out. Everyone has a divine purpose! For example, it is conceivable that the community of asexual and aromantic people was meant to provide priests and others who would be in celibate professions. Nowadays however, the general attitude in many churches appears to have come around to a change of heart. Today the view seems to be that it is possible to see LGBTQ as participants in God’s Plan of Salvation even if their sexual identity continues to be bothersome in certain quarters.
The Bible however is all-inclusive. In a well-known passage in the Book of John the Evangelist we are told that God’s Salvation Plan includes all of us because Jesus came to die for us all:
“… God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John chapter 3:16)
The Greek word John uses for “world” (kosmos) means the whole created world. Both the rest of the Bible and Jesus’ own behavior certainly confirm this. And let’s not forget Jesus was God’s accredited Representative while He was on this planet. So whenever He spoke it was God speaking! In His day moral sin did not revolve around a social controversy about sexual identity or orientation but based on the Mosaic Law, indisputably, it was to do with prostitution and adultery. So how do the Bible and Jesus “judge” people with this lifestyle that was considered as socially and religiously objectionable? Let’s see.
A prostitute named Rahab is acknowledged in several places in the Bible because she totally believed in God and is listed among the Who’s Who of the faithful people of God, moral fault and all! (Hebrews chapter 11) God does not reject her because of her character; instead He celebrates her faith. She is listed in the genealogy of Jesus. The linage of our Savior, the Son of God includes a prostitute! So on what grounds then should we, His creatures, reject people who are labeled LGBTQ? Here is another report that shows God is non-judgmental.
The story of a “Woman Caught in the Act of Adultery” is not about a woman who is “reportedly” so or who describes herself as adulterous. The story is about someone who was arrested while actually engaged in the act, which indicates there was no fine point from which to see her as not guilty and not deserving of being executed by stoning, which the Mosaic Law required. The religious leaders, completely clad with Scripture and strong public support, brought her to Jesus thinking they had Jesus cornered. The safest choice would have been for Jesus to condemn the woman. Who would fault Him for that? Of course the religious leaders had a plan to denounce Jesus whether or not He condemned her. In His challenge to the leaders and the crowd, super eager for His judgment, Jesus tells us what we need to examine about ourselves before we judge others. Here, in part, is the Bible description of how their confrontation of Jesus played out (in John Chapter 8:2-11):
… When they kept on questioning him (or: When they kept insisting on a response), he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Jesus’ approach was to question the moral authority on which the others were judging her; and if they did not have it, there was no basis on which to apply such an extreme penalty or any penalty, for that matter. The religious leaders would like to think they knew what their Bible said, but they certainly lacked the wisdom of when or how to apply the biblical passage. Being human and guilty of violating some rule or principle in one way or the other we have no legitimacy to judge anyone on moral grounds, regardless of whether or not we believe Scripture is on the side of rejecting the action we criticize. It’s just not our role. Moreover under God everyone is allowed to choose how to live. Indeed every choice has consequences. In the end God will be the judge. Meanwhile as Christians we are required to stop judging and accept everyone. In the Bible, it is only on the basis of faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior that God will accept us close to Him as His children. The Laws in Leviticus where some people go to condemn LGBTQ have been subject to Jesus’ expanded application of those Laws. They were the only means of relating with God in those days, before Jesus came and changed their focus and intention.
Since Jesus’ coming we are now governed by a “new” Command: “Love one another” (John 13:34). This Expectation or Command originated in the OT, where it says: “… love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:18) Do you notice? This passage is from the same Book of Leviticus from which some people have selected a reason to hate or reject others! Interestingly it seems that the love your neighbor passage is written in a way to emphasize there is to be no doubt about the requirement to abide by this very important Rule; so it ends with: “Signed, God”. Again Jesus expands on this OT Law when a legal expert asked Him: “Who is my neighbor?” How Jesus replied is instructive. Here’s what I mean:
“What is written in the Law?” he [Jesus] replied. “How do you read it?” (Luke 10:26)
In other words Jesus asked for the letter of the Law and then He asked the expert (according to the Greek) what he knew for certain about that law. The Teaching by Jesus that followed remains a lasting legacy to Christians. It is conveyed in the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). We find out Jesus is not asking us to be kind-hearted to only the person living next door. More than that, when He tells us: “Love thy neighbor as thyself” He means that where ever we are, we must accept everyone we encounter and show compassion, providing for the peace of mind and body, as necessary to the extent of our ability, to anyone in need, even to people despised in our society.
So how do you, fellow Christian, see LGBTQ people? Do you see them as a problem, as evil or as just other people: God’s creatures like us who we are expected to love, whether they are non-Christians or are brothers and sisters? We are to love everyone, LGBTQ included, as ourselves according to Jesus. We are all in God’s Plan!
Christian friend, if you agree, go out and do likewise as Jesus told the lawyer. You will be making the world a better place and pleasing the Lord. Jesus, Himself gave this Principle as the Message of the entire Bible:
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)