Correct doctrine is essential. But are we doing the hard work of building relationships?
Homosexuality and the Church’s response: It seems like an issue that is ever resurfacing in our culture.
Each time it rises up, the pros and the cons raise their voices and talk right past each other in exalted decibels, delivering arrows that speed beyond ears and penetrate hearts with pain, deepening the wounds certain to be found on both sides of the issue.
The cultural standoffs compound upon each other as each side remembers the others’ words in the last duel, and each time the argument constricts more tightly until at last, it’s no longer a position we take but a personal issue we face as we find our loved ones standing in its crosshairs.
Inside church leadership, we seek to uphold biblical truth and we feel pressure to not allow our loved ones to be swallowed up or become spiritually unsafe. When these moments come, our often exhausted, frustrated words find their crescendo in our loved ones’ ears as they leave our mouths with all the momentum of the culture wars behind them.
Rather than causing the awakening our motives sought, they deliver a crushing blow to the hearts of our closest friends and family and devastate all sense of relationship and trust. These moments sever the very ties that would bring restoration and healing if more light were shining and we could hear and see each other.
In the aftermath, we all fall down, distraught with grief and exhausted for lack of resolution … staring at the mountain as if it has never—can never—been summited. It’s heartbreaking for everyone involved.
This should not be so. I cry “grace” to this mountain!
It is my belief that while the Church has long been correct in regarding homosexual behavior a sin from a biblical viewpoint, she has rarely done the necessary relational work to love without condition, understand the unique struggles and bring reconciliation with Christ to people who deal with same-sex attraction.
This is in contrast to the way the Church gracefully handles many other issues, and my heart is to offer insight to leaders so they, in turn, can offer hope to those in their churches who will hide in isolation with their struggle until it’s safe to confess it.
Before I go farther, one thing needs to be said loud and clear about this issue—to both sides of the debate: Not everyone who struggles with same-sex attraction wants to embrace a homosexual identity. There are many in the Church who are “in the closet” but don’t want to “come out” in the traditional meaning of the phrase.