This post focuses solely on how Christians who are not pro-gay relationships interact with gay non-Christians who are in gay relationships.
There are two major things I think Christians need to understand about most gay non-Christians:
1. Being gay feels totally natural. Believe me, I know. The pull to be in a gay relationship is very strong, and it feels completely natural to me. When I’ve thought about kissing a guy before, it makes me feel….well….good. If you’re straight, think about how you feel towards someone of the other sex that you’re attracted to or with whom you’re in love — it’s the same feeling gay people have.
One implication of this is that gay people are not twisted people trying to engage in weird, perverted, and disgusting behavior. It may look that way to a straight person, but from a gay person’s perspective, it is natural. In fact, if you really got to know a gay couple, you would probably see a lot of romantic love in their relationship —romantic love that doesn’t look much different from a heterosexual relationship.
The other implication of this is that asking a gay non-Christian to give up their gay relationship makes no sense to them. Why would anyone want to give up a person that they love or a relationship that means the world to them? They wouldn’t. So they’re not going to join the Church, at least not churches that don’t endorse gay relationships.
Unless there was something better. And as Christians we know that the something better is following God and being a part of the body of Christ. But, unfortunately, we often make it impossible for gay people to believe that this is better because (1) we say hurtful and offensive things to gay people, causing our community to appear hurtful instead of loving, and (2) as my previous post indicates (see “some of Tony’s story”) – the Church often communicates that there is no place for a gay person in its community.
I think there’s actually a third reason too. The Church tends to emphasize that having a family and kids is the best life and best way to serve God. By joining the Church, most gay people will have to remain celibate, so because of the family emphasis, they feel like they won’t have a satisfying life. Thus, some may just decide not to become Christians or if they do, they decide to join churches that support gay marriage.
2. Gay non-Christians don’t believe in the Judeo-Christian God. Seems obvious? Yes. But not so much when you listen to what people say. It is unbelievable to me when I hear Christians talk about non-Christians practicing homosexuality or attempt to have dialogue with gay people when they say things like….
“God made Adam and Eve. Not Adam and Steve!”
“Why would they turn their back on God and forsake His natural law?”
“Don’t they know they’re going to Hell for being gay?” <<< many problems with this
“Marriage is between one man and one woman. God and the Bible say so.”
All of these statements presuppose belief in the Judeo-Christian God and make no sense to a non-Christian. If I don’t believe in the Judeo-Christian God, then I could care less what the Bible has to say about marriage or about being gay because I don’t think it has significance for truth.
So attempting to convict a gay person of their gay relationship with these statements is just about pointless and will probably result in the gay person developing alienation, bitterness, and anger towards the Church.
What a gay non-Christian needs is Jesus, just like any other non-Christian, and not some trite phrase that feels derogatory. What they need is people to respect them, to listen to their stories, to make them feel valued — something Jesus would do. If Christians think gay non-Christians shouldn’t be in a gay relationship, then they should be Jesus to them.
Then after the person knows Jesus is when dialogue about not being in gay relationships can occur. I believe Jesus saves us where we are at — He doesn’t expect us to be perfect before salvation (actually, He never expects us to be perfect). It’s after our salvation that He starts working in our hearts through the Holy Spirit’s sanctification.
Please note that I am not suggesting that we be manipulative to non-Christians and “trick” them into becoming Christians by hiding that we expect them to not be in a gay relationship once they are saved; rather, I am suggesting that we stop barraging them about their gay relationship and instead love them like Jesus.
So to summarize my post:
Being in a gay relationship is natural to a non-Christian >>> asking them to give this up is hard >>> there’s only credibility in asking someone to give this up if the Church can show they can be loved in different ways
Gay non-Christians are non-Christians >>> the Church’s rhetoric often paradoxically communicates that they are Christians >>> non-Christians who are gay need Jesus and not condemnation of their gay relationship that likely feels totally natural and beautiful to them