I used to ignore it when a GLBT person would say “God loves me anyway.” After all, what did they really care about God? They were just saying that to get the Christians off their backs. And for many, this is still true. But then I started to see another demographic: those in the GLBT crowd who actually did care what God thought. They loved God and wanted to do what was right in His eyes. The church’s response has generally been “Git out, fag!” But the more I’ve learned and the more I’ve pondered, I began to see that these issues, for lack of better term, are not quite as simple as they seem.
Most of these act on feelings, and you can’t just shut your feelings off, no matter what they are. It’s like when you get punched in the face. Some might say man up and take the hit. That may address the physical aspect–as in don’t let the pain weigh you down–but it doesn’t address the feelings–the anger, shock, betrayal, what have you. Feelings are adamant, and perfectly capable of operating without logic (Romeo and Juliet, anybody?).
So, I began to wonder. Can a queer person still be a Christian? Can they still, in all honesty, love God with all their heart, mind, body, and soul? (cite)
I would say…yes. A queer person can still follow Christ, which is the definition of a Christian. This may make you bristle or even rave. I admit, it’s still a new development form me, too. But I came to this conclusion after realizing that none of the reasons a queer person couldn’t be a Christian added up.
(QUICK NOTE: When I use the term “queer,” I’m using the umbrella term that includes homsexuality, transsexuality, transgender, bisexuality, et cetera. I am NOT using it in the derogatory sense. If I offend somebody, I apologize, but I couldn’t think of a better collective word.)
So what are the reasons a queer person couldn’t be a Christian?
Is it a question of lifestyle habits? God does indeed care what we do with our lives and our bodies and we will be held accountable for them (Romans 12: 1-2), but 1 Samuel 16:7, Proverbs 21:2, and Matthew 5: 21-48 all show that God cares more for the heart than anything else. Proverbs 4:23 says that we should guard our hearts above all else. Everything we are and do comes from within our hearts. That’s why we need Jesus there, not in crucifixes and stained-glass windows.
Is it a question of sinful desire? Who do you know who, upon coming to Christ, was immediately and permanently cured of all desires God might call sinful? That’s right, nobody. In fact, 1 Corinthians 10:13 says blatantly that common temptations still affect us. Temptation itself isn’t a sin on our part (click here for my argument on that), it’s what we do, but that gets us back to lifestyle habits and round and round we go.
Do you think the queer person should “straighten up” BEFORE coming to Christ? Then you suggest there is some sort of salvation other than Jesus, when Scripture says that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). Jesus also said, “The ones who comes to me I will by no means cast out.” There is no precursor to Christ. He is the first and the last step in the process (Alpha and Omega, yo).
Okay, they can come to Christ queer, but THEN they have to straighten up. …or WHAT? What will happen if they don’t? Will God give up and walk away? That’s pretty contrary to “I will never leave you or forsake you,” (Hebrews 13:5) and “Who shall separate us from the love of Jesus Christ?” (Romans 8:35-38). Perhaps your argument is that, if they aren’t fixing this problem, then their heart isn’t in it. But again, we’re getting to the person’s heart, not their actions or desires.
We’re getting into Sanctification now, which is beyond Salvation. Sanctification is the life-long process in which God makes us more like Himself via the Holy Spirit. A Christian MUST open himself/herself up to this process, as it is the only way they will grow and make their life worthwhile. But we cannot dictate how or when it will unfold. God deals with everything in his own way in his own time. I was a Christian for years before God finally addressed my addiction to pornography, but because it was His timing, I was finally able to overcome.
So what about the Heart? We’re finally down to the heart, which is what God views more than anything else (Proverbs 21:2). Every heart is different, so you cannot generalize this answer. When you see a queer person, ask, where is their heart?
Do they long for God in some way or another? Are they aching for holiness? Do they long for the Father who loves them? Do they want to do what God says, not what their feelings, friends, society, or even church say? Perhaps they have a hunger for God’s Word. Maybe worship transcends them into God’s domain. It can manifest in a number of ways, but if the person’s heart is ever reaching for God Almighty, then I am confident that that person is or can be a Christian.
You cannot let sin be the qualifier for Christianity. Christ is the qualifier for Christianity. Jesus is the Christ, and Jesus’s blood overcame sin on the Cross. If you have Him, you’re in. If you don’t, you’re not. There are NO other terms, no good deeds, no bad deeds. Jesus is the only way (John 4:16b).
Will God change them? Maybe, maybe not. A Christian must be open to any change. No matter what your orientation, the Sanctification process is not always going to be pretty. It requires openness and surrender to God’s ways, not our own. But we must acknowledge that His ways are better than ours. And we must let Him do things on his own time in his own way.
Two things I am NOT saying.
- I am NOT saying to throw out all the rules, that everything is okay, and nothing is sin. Jesus said, “I did not come to destroy [the law], but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5:17). God’s laws never changed; sin is still sin. Jesus simply fulfilled them and we get the benefit.
- I am NOT saying fie to accountability. Jesus himself talked about confrontation with a wayward believer (Matthew 18:15-17). Proverbs 27:17 also says “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (NIV). You know what happens when iron sharpens iron? Sparks fly! Don’t close yourself off to correction; Jesus often speaks through his people.
What I AM saying is that a gay/lesbian/bi/trans/etc person can indeed be a follower of Jesus if their heart is truly set on Him. Not one of us who follow Christ will ever have everything together, so why must we add that burden to the queer community?
If a man gives his life to Christ, then walks out of the church and gets killed by a bus, what happens to his soul? Heaven or Hell? Anybody else, we’d say Heaven, regardless of how imperfect his life was. Why is the queer person so different? Don’t let sanctification get in the way of Salvation. God values your soul way more than he values your life.
Perhaps God wants the queer person to become straight. And perhaps…perhaps God has bigger plans for their lives than just being “normal.”