In a recently published post, “The Love God Hates,” I pointed out that we should not love that which God hates.
In numerous passages the Bible speaks of hating wickedness, unrighteousness and ungodliness. (Ps 45:7: Prov 6:17-19). As the people of God we are commanded to be holy and not to love worldliness (1 Jn 2:15-17), but to “hate evil (and) do good.”
In the post I related the story of man who’s daughter admitted she was a lesbian. While he initially expressed his disapproval, eventually he joyfully embraced his daughter’s choice and apparently is going to host the wedding.
A reader responded and asked my advice on how to handle the situation. Here are 7 things I would suggest.
(1) Affirm God’s love for her, regardless of her decisions.
The Bible says,” But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
In the golden text of the Bible, Jesus said, “God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son…” (Jn 3:16). God loves the sinner so much that He sent Jesus on a rescue mission to earth “to seek and save the lost” (Lk 19:10).
The Bible is clear that God’s hatred of wickedness does not negate His love for those entangled in the web of sin. God’s perfect love sees the potential in every human being. And He desires that everyone come to Him through his Son, Jesus Christ. (Jn 14:6)
(2) Reassure her that you love her, even though you disagree with her choice.
Our disapproval of a loved one’s lifestyle can often lead us away from our love for them. Also our objections may be interpreted as a lack of love. Often Christians who believe the Bible teaching regarding sexual sins including homosexuality are categorized as judgmental, intolerant and hateful.
True followers of Christ are commanded “to judge righteous judgment” (Jn 7:24) based on God’s revealed righteousness in the gospel (Rom 1:16-17). That requires us to embrace Truth and reject error. But we are not to hate anyone. While it may sound like a worn out cliche’, it is possible to hate sin, but love the sinner.
(3) Seek to understand her thinking, feelings and what has contributed to her choices.
If we are to truly help someone trapped in the clutches of sin, it’s important to understand where they are. And why they are there. It’s difficult. It challenges our preconceived ideas. It’s messy. And it calls for patience, kindness and love.
One of the hallmarks of Jesus’ interaction with sinners was understanding and compassion. He met them where they were as He sought to take them where they needed to be.
(4) Gently and lovingly share what the Bible teaches regarding this lifestyle.
There comes a time to share your faith. To teach the Truth. To point out the error of their way. But open your Bible. Read God’s Word. Don’t allow the conversation to deteriorate into personal opinions, caustic comments and unkind accusations.
The Bible reminds us to “speak the truth in love” (Eph 4:15). Let your speech be “with grace seasoned with salt” so that your teaching and response will be rooted in a caring heart of genuine concern for their soul. (Col 4:5-6).
Pray for wisdom. Pray for strength. And pray for your loved one. In our assemblies, we often speak generically about “praying for the lost.” Personal situations like this should elicit our heartfelt prayers for those we know who need it the most. (Jas 1:5; Phil 4:6).
(6) Do not celebrate the sin or endorse the lifestyle.
This is where we often reach a confusing and challenging crossroad. When one persists in sin, what can we do? What should we do?
Today, same-sex marriage is legal. Those who engage in this lifestyle want to celebrate it. And they want us to celebrate with them. But I must respectfully decline.
The Bible teaches to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness” (Eph 5:11). The apostle Paul commands “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.” Then he rhetorically asks these 5 questions that provide some insight into this situation.
For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? (2Cor 6:14-15).
While it is obvious that we must live and interact in an ungodly world, we must not align ourselves to show approval of sin, take pleasure in unrighteousness, or to celebrate immoral lifestyles.
(7) Finally, remember that “acceptance” does not imply agreement or endorsement.
Accepting that something is true or that someone we love has made a sinful choice does not mean we agree with it. Unless we are in denial, our awareness demands that we accept the reality of a relationship or circumstance.
Whether we agree or not, it is a fact that the Supreme Court of the United States has legalized same-sex marriage. I don’t agree. I don’t approve. I believe it’s wrong. Yet, it’s a reality.
The “Serenity Prayer” written by American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr speaks to this issue: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.”
While there are many difficult decisions one may face in similar situations, even calling for “tough love, we must exhibit the spirit of Christ in all we say and do.
May we care enough for those trapped in sin, to show them the way to spiritual freedom.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman