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 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 yourself; quite another to judge others by your beliefs. The main problem with this attitude is that it puts humans as equal to the Holy Spirit who has the responsibility to convict. 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 acceptance, of tax fraud, the Canadian governments’ discriminatory non-funding of First Nation schools or the plight of people who went through the Residential School system. Conceivably, without a judgmental stance regarding sexual differences, one could conclude that non-heterosexuality may simply represent a variation from the norm of humanity, as may be said of people with Down’s syndrome, twins or Little People.
We cannot presume to know why God allows variations nor should we write off certain conditions of life as unacceptable to us and so must be purged or stamped out. Everyone has a divine purpose! For example it is conceivable that the community of asexual and aromantic people were meant to produce priests and others who would be in celibate professions. Nowadays however, the general attitude in the Church appears to have come around to a change of heart. Today the view seems to be that it is possible for the LGBTQ to be included in God’s Plan of Salvation even if their sexual identity is seen as a character flaw.
The Bible however is all-inclusive. John the Evangelist tells us God’s Salvation Plan is to include 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.”
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. In His day moral sin did not revolve around a social controversy about sexual identity or orientation but, based on the Mosaic Law, it was indisputably to do with prostitution and adultery. So how do the Bible and Jesus “judge” people with a lifestyle 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 reported to be or who describes herself as an adulteress. The story is about someone actually caught 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 came to Jesus completely clad with Scripture and strong public opinion on their side, so they thought they had Jesus cornered. The safest choice would have been for Jesus to condemn the woman. Who would fault Him for that? Jesus’ challenge to a crowd super eager for His judgment tells us what we need to look at before we judge others. Here’s how the whole incident played out in part:
… When they kept on questioning him (or: When they kept insisting on an answer), 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 was questioning the moral authority on which the others were judging her; and if none could be claimed, there was no basis on which to apply such an extreme penalty. The religious leaders would like to think they knew what their Bible said but certainly lacked the wisdom of when or how to apply the biblical passage. Being human and guilty 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 He will be the judge. Meanwhile as a Christian I am 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.
Since Jesus’ coming we are now governed by a “new” Command: “Love one another”. (John 13:34) The Lord also tells us: “Love your neighbor as yourself”. 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 Leviticus from which some have selected a reason to hate or reject! It seems the love your neighbor passage is written in a way to emphasize there is to be no misunderstanding of 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 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 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 this Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). We find out He is not asking us to kindheartedly accept only the person next door. More than that He tells us that where ever we encounter the call, we are to accept and provide for the peace of mind and body 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 – who are not Christians or are brothers and sisters, as may be the case – whom you are to love? 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. Remember Jesus also told us:
“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)