Dear Christian with a sign,
Remember that sign? You know, the one you brought to the rally for traditional marriage last week? The one that read “Homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of heaven . 1 Corinthians 6:9-10”?
I wonder if you saw the look on the face of one of the counter-protesters when she saw your sign. See, she was just starting to hope that God might care about her, that He might hear her when she prayed. Now she’s reminded that a lot of Christians don’t seem to think He does, and she’s wondering if she was just kidding herself.
Dear pastor in the pulpit,
Remember that sermon a few weeks ago? You know, the one where you talked about the decay of society? And then you talked about how gay marriage proved that society was going to hell in a handbasket? And then, to end on just the right note of righteous anger, you started in on people who claimed to be gay AND Christian? “Doesn’t that just prove that even the Church is polluted?,” you asked. “How can people claim to be Christians, and throw the Bible aside like it means nothing?”
I wonder if you saw the look on his face before he wiped it off and smiled bravely. Your youth group’s 16-year-old wonder boy, the one everyone knows is going to be a pastor someday. The one who can always be counted on to help with the new ministry, or lead in prayer. The one who knows his Bible backwards and forwards. It turns out, he’s also known since he was 9 years old that he was attracted to other men. He’s prayed and prayed for God to change that. He’s cried and cried at the thought of being lonely for the rest of his life, and he’s begged God for a way out. A way to serve Him, obey Him, and still not be so lonely for the rest of his life. I wonder if you know that he cried again that Sunday morning, after he got home from your sermon. He’d been wanting to come to you for help, and now he’s afraid you might condemn him if he does.
Dear Christian with a sign, Dear pastor in the pulpit, I’m not saying you need to ignore your convictions.
It can be helpful, of course, to remember that we’re all fallible, that our interpretation of the Bible isn’t perfect. It can be helpful to ask God prayerfully to show us when we’ve gotten something wrong, or said something that was right the wrong way. But that’s not what I want to remind you of today.
What I want you to remember, what’s so crucial, and so often forgotten, is this: there are real people on the other side of this debate. They’re hurting because they’ve been rejected over and over. They’re people Jesus loves and died for. So next time you make a sign, next time you preach a sermon, please just ask yourself this: “How would Jesus say this? And how would I say this, if I knew one of them was listening?”