Five Tough Questions: Showing Jesus’ Love to our Gay Friends
by Adam T. Barr and Ron Citlau
In preparing our book Compassion without Compromise, we collected questions from lots of people — too many to cover in a short article. Some of them arise from people’s own experiences. Some are hypothetical “What if?” queries that set up scenarios any of us would find daunting. Like you, we are learning the complex
balancing act of reaching out in love, speaking truth with compassion, opening the doors for the gospel and trying to be a good friend or family member.
We hope these practical responses will be helpful in your context. Even more—we pray that you will be able to grow in discernment, and exercise biblical wisdom in real life situations. As you seek to exercise compassion without compromise, we encourage you to keep two key principles in mind: a) mission, and b) true love.
Jesus came to seek and save lost people, and He has sent us out with that same mission. (Luke 19:1-10 and 24:44-49) We can never forget this. He did not call us to a “bumper sticker” mission, where we are content to advertise our convictions without ever entering into the sometimes-messy world of relationships. When we are facing a tough choice, one essential question should be, “Will this help or hurt my call to witness in this person’s life?”
The “true love” concept is at the heart of living out a life of compassion without compromise. In our day, people often act as if love and truth are at odds. Sometimes, people do live that way.
Let’s face it—there are “truth” people who dispense facts without any hint of love. “Truth” people are like guys who use a sledgehammer for every conceivable household task that includes hammering something. They might be trying to drive a stake into the ground to stabilize a sapling (good application), or a small nail into the wall to hang a picture (bad application). In the extreme, “truth” people do things like question the eternal salvation of a friend’s grandmother while visiting them in the funeral home. Or respond to a gay coworkers wedding invitation by looking up and saying, “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” Truth people need to grow in true love.
Then there are “love” people who refuse to ever speak a hard truth if they feel it might hurt someone’s feelings. They are like an over-indulgent, willfully blind parent who refuses to believe that “my little Johnny” would ever hurt another person, despite a track record of terrorizing his classmates, or like a doctor who would refuse to give someone a hard diagnosis if the treatment might inconvenience the patient.
A “true love” person understands that trying to sustain love without truth is like trying to breathe underwater. We are not showing anyone love when we encourage them to live out of phase with reality. At the same time, acknowledging the truth that it’s potentially dangerous to dive below the surface does not prevent us from jumping in to save someone we love! Love drives us forward. Truth helps us chart a safe course towards the destination.
We won’t pretend the answer is easy. Sometimes, the “right call” will only be known in eternity. With that said, here are a few of the questions we have received. We pray you find the answers helpful as you reach out with the Good News.
- How can I have a meaningful conversation about this issue without getting into an argument? How can I turn an argument into a meaningful conversation? – Submitted by “Brian,” a 30-something youth pastor, husband and father of three.
Read the rest of the article here.
THE ARTICLE ABOVE WAS FEATURED IN THE NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015 ISSUE OF SEVEN MAGAZINE. GET SEVEN FREE