One morning after I had preached on loving your neighbor, two ladies approached me to ask how they could love their gay neighbors. They said, “We do not know how to love them without condoning their lifestyle, but we cannot compromise on our beliefs.”
Many Christians face a similar dilemma. We know that we ought to love our neighbors, and we genuinely want to do it, but we are not sure how this love should look. How do we do it without accepting or condoning their sin? Let me share with you the Scriptural response I gave these two ladies.
What Is Love?
Have you ever stopped to consider exactly what love is? Love is an action, not just a feeling. We may not feel affectionate toward an enemy, but we are still commanded to love our enemy. We get a clear picture of this love from God Himself. John 3:16 tells us that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” Romans 5:8 tells us that “God commendeth (demonstrates) His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” We see God’s love in action, even toward those who despise Him. God did not condone the sins of the world, but He demonstrated His love toward us while we were yet sinners.
No man stood against sin more strongly than Jesus—who died to overcome it—yet Jesus was known as one having compassion on the multitudes. Harlots and thieves and lawbreakers found love in Christ. If we are to be like Jesus, we will love even those who do not seem lovable, for that is what Christ did for us.
Condoning a sin is not love. Many who seek to condone the unnatural lifestyle like to quote 1 Corinthians 13 as the “Love Chapter,” yet they seldom seem to notice verse 6 which says, “Charity (love) rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.” True love (charity) cannot give sin a free pass, but still works in spite of sin. While we were yet sinners, Christ demonstrated His love toward us. He did not overlook our sin, but He loved us in spite of it.
I gather from Christ’s example that we, too, can love someone who is still in sin.
What Does It Look Like?
The gay community is not the battle field, they are the mission field. They are not the enemy, they are the mission itself. We are in a spiritual battle, but if you view them as the enemy, you are fighting the wrong war (Ephesians 6:12). Our book “Born That Way After All” explains God’s unique design and purpose for those who are not attracted to the opposite sex.
Even if they were the enemy, Jesus commanded us to love our enemies. Jesus did not include an exception clause. When giving this command in Matthew 5:44, He explains what this love looks like. He said, “bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”
How can I be a blessing to my gay neighbor today? He might be without a job and I could provide some groceries for him. Maybe he is going on vacation and I could offer to watch his dogs for the week. I want to be a blessing to him.
How can I do good to my gay neighbor? Perhaps he is injured and I could cut the grass for him this week. He could have recently lost a loved one, and I can provide a few home-cooked meals for him as he grieves. I want to do good to him.
How can I pray for my gay neighbor? This requires me to get to know him. What are some needs in his life for which I could go before God and ask Him to work in my neighbor’s life? Above all, I can pray that he sees the love of Christ through me.
That gay neighbor is not my enemy. But even if he were, these are the questions that will help me love my enemy. These questions will help me love anyone around me.
Think Of The Impact
Can you imagine the impact that true, godly love would have on our gay neighbors? So many in the gay community view Christians as hateful, bigoted jerks who only wish to beat them down and run them off. What would happen if we took the initiative to apologize for how hateful some other Christians have acted? What if we turned the tables and showed them the same kindness that we show Sister Betty at church? What if we genuinely blessed them, did good to them, and prayed for them? What if we were actually like Jesus and loved the lost?
The church would not only show the powerful love that God demonstrated toward us, but the church would begin to make a difference in the lives of the gay community, opening doors to reach them with the gospel and the truth that God has a purpose for them.
It bears repeating: no man stood against sin more strongly than Jesus, who died to overcome it, yet He was known as one having compassion on the multitudes. Love Jesus, understand His love for you, and then show that love to your gay neighbor.
Let’s love without compromising.
* We do not necessarily endorse the term “gay” or “homosexual” for several Biblical reasons. However, we still employ the term on occasion to communicate in terms familiar with the reader.