Last week, I heard a troubling story about a sheriff’s deputy and pastor in Tennessee who spoke from his pulpit and made the claim that gays and lesbians should be rounded up and executed.
And he made the claim apparently from Biblical text. Of course, that doesn’t exist in the Bible so his claim is immediately suspect.
Anyway, reading the story made me think about a growing trend I’ve noticed in the Christian community. Let me say first, I have proudly called myself a Christian for years. But in my personal beliefs, I call myself a big-picture Christian. To me that means I try to focus on what’s most important — Jesus.
It’s easy to get caught up in the tiny details in the Bible so much we forget the big picture. From Genesis 1 to the end of Revelation, the purpose of the Bible is Jesus and his message of salvation for sinners.
That last word there is the key. Jesus himself said he did not come to save the righteous, but the sinners. He came to this world for the evil among us. And we are all evil without Christ. So, yes, Jesus came for everyone.
That includes those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender. If Jesus were walking the Earth today, you wouldn’t find him in the mega church. His life when he was here made it clear — Jesus would be with the homeless, the poor, the sinners and the members of the LGBT community. That’s who he would be preaching to, loving, helping and feeding.
Anyone who claims otherwise is allowing their personal feelings to override the words of Christ.
Look, I’m not trying to say being gay is OK in the eyes of God. That is something only God can say, and I am not God.
But I do know the main verses used to denounce the gay community — Romans 1 and Leviticus 18 — denounce a lot of sin. And for the most part, those in the church and claiming to be Christians quickly overlook those sins.
Leviticus 18 speaks about a lot of sexual sin, including adultery. Yet adulterers are welcome in the church and often hold important positions in the church.
Romans 1 goes even further listing sins such as envy, murder, lying, boasting, being arrogant, slanderers and those disobedient to their parents. Ultimately, that means all of us. Every single person on Earth today is guilty. Yet, we as Christians like to hold a special place of contempt for those in the LGBTQ community.
If you are one who points to Romans 1 to hate gays, let’s go just a step further in the Bible. Romans 2, still the same thought after Romans 1 ended. It reads like this in the NIV:
“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”
That seems pretty cut and dry. If we judge sinners, we are condemning not them, but ourselves.
God sent his son, the one we as Christians worship as our savior, for the sinners. He sent Jesus for the gays, for the liars, for the adulterers, the thieves — the worst of the worst.
That’s how much God loved them.
So let’s try something, Christians. Let’s get off our high, horse for a change and do the same thing — let’s love and show a little respect and empathy toward others.