If you don’t have at least one LGBT family member or friend then chances are that you don’t have family or friends. Far gone are the days when few people personally knew someone who identified as LGBT.
In this episode of Now Is the Time I share with you some times on how you can speak the Gospel to your LGBT friends and family.
What I’m reading
Recently I picked up a little book of Charles’ Spurgeon’s personal letters called “Letters of Charles Haddon Spurgeon“.
Not only are these letters a very personal look into the heart of Spurgeon but they are also extremely inspiring and encouraging. They have changed the way I write my own letters!
How to speak the gospel to your LGBT friends and family
Recently I wrote a post entitled, “6 Truths I want my Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Friends to Know After the Orlando Massacre.” I received an overwhelming response of e-mails from people with friends and family who are LGBT.
Many wrote to me of the heart-break of a child who choose the gay or lesbian lifestyle. Some asked for advice on how to lovingly share the Gospel with someone caught up in a lifestyle that seems so directly opposed to Gospel truth.
Below are 9 tips on speaking the gospel into the lives of your LGBT friends and family.
1. Don’t avoid them
Sometimes straight people and especially straight Christians can feel awkward and even fear being around openly LGBT people. How are you supposed to act? What are you supposed to say? How will they respond?
This feeling is quite normal, but it doesn’t mean we should avoid them. Being LGBT isn’t some sort of special class of sin that is “untouchable.”
LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. Biblically speaking these all fall into the category of sexual sins.
Sexual sins are not new, we find many different types of sexual sins early in the Bible: polygamy (Gen 4:19), nakedness (Gen 9:21-23), adultery (Gen 16:1-4), homosexuality (Gen 19:5), incest (Gen 19:32-36), and rape (Gen 34:2).
Jesus himself spent a fair amount of time with people who were known for their sexual sins. Check out Luke 7:36-39 where Jesus was even condemned by religious leaders for spending time with these “sexual sinners.”
I’m not saying that you need to start going to gay clubs and bars, we should use wisdom in all these matters. I am however, saying that if we want to communicate gospel truth to our LGBT friends and family, then we’re going to have to stop avoiding them and start spending some time with them.
2. Apologize for the hate mongers
Unfortunately there are a few very public “Christian” groups who spew nothing but hatred and condemnation against homosexuals. I think we should apologize for the rude, unloving, and unbalanced approaches of others.
3. Be clear and respectful with them
While there are some exceptions, in general I’ve found that often my LGBT friends were ok with the fact that I did not personally agree with their lifestyle. They respected me enough to allow me to have my opinion on it.
Don’t be afraid to respectfully share with them your view on homosexuality. You can simply say something like, “I believe the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin.”
4. Don’t try to “fix” their sexuality
As a heterosexual protestant evangelical believer it can be easy to lose focus when sharing the gospel with my LGBT friend. We have to realize that God has not called us to “fix” anyone. Whether it’s homosexuality, overeating, or a problem with anger, these are not things you or I can “fix.”
Remember we are fixing people so they can come to Jesus, we calling sinners to faith in Jesus (Luke 5:32) This means our focus should be faith issues that will lead the person to a real and deep understanding of who Jesus is and what he has done for them.
5. Speak to their deeper issues
It’s important to realize that homosexuality is not the main problem, it is only a symptom of deeper problems. All unbelievers are seeking some sort of fulfillment, purpose, and satisfaction in life. In addition to this many struggle with issues like depression, anxiety, and anger.
These are the things of the heart! This is where we need to be speaking the truth of the gospel into their lives.
We need to show them that only Jesus can give them the ultimate satisfaction they are looking for. We need to help them understand that Jesus alone is the answer to their depression, anger, and anxiety.
6. Don’t make it only about the LGBT lifestyle
Turning the gospel into a one issue platform belittles the power and breadth of our message. The gospel is holistic. It doesn’t pivot on one particular sin or another. It conquers all, it changes all, and it completes it all!
You will need to talk with your friends about the power of the gospel outside of their LGBT lifestyle. Show them how Jesus changes man from the inside out, explain to them the joy and peace that the Holy Spirit brings into the life of a believer, talk with them about the gospel’s power to free from guilt and remove the burden of all sins.
7. Let them know about your sins
Unfortunately we often come across as holier than thou in our approach to LGBT people. This should not be.
Let them know that you also struggle with sin, even sexual sin. Speak to them as a poor wretched sinner who found grace in Jesus not as a finger-pointing preacher whose only remaining sin is being too long-winded on Sunday mornings!
8. Love them
Tell them you love them. Help them when there is a need, be kind and compassionate toward them, leave them with no doubt that you genuinely love and care for them as a person.
9. Pray for them
Make them regular in your private prayers. When you visit with them ask them if they have anything you can pray for them about. let them know you are praying for them. Pray for them in person when you have a chance.
10. Share the gospel repeatedly and in various ways
Remember that the gospel takes many forms and can be communicated in many ways. We all need to hear the gospel message again and again. Find different ways to share the truth of the gospel naturally as it relates to different matters in life.
Don’t forget that it is the job of the Holy Spirit to work in the heart and bring about conviction of sin and faith in Jesus. This is a process that we don’t see, it is a process that may be happening now even though it doesn’t look like it.
Some helpful resources
Below are links to six articles that relate to the gospel and LGBT people. I found them helpful and I think you may too.
- Letter About How to Relate to a Relative Who Is Homosexual -John Piper
- From Lesbianism to Follower of Christ: An Interview With Emily Thomes -David Qaoud
- The Gospel for a Gay Friend -Garrett Kell
- Letter to a Struggling Gay Christian -Augustus Nicodemus Gomes Lopes
- A Safe Place for Sexual Sins -Interview with Rosaria Butterfield
- Are LGBT People Being Damaged by Traditional Christian Teaching? -Matt Moore
I found the following two video interviews with Rosaria Butterfield very enlightening and helpful. Rosaria is a former Leftist Lesbian who came to faith in Jesus Christ.
Rosaria on personhood and identity and how we ought to open our homes to people who are struggling.
Rosaria about consistency in our approach to our LGBT friends and how to disagree with them.
Rosaria about the Christian gay movement.
Rosaria Butterfield on understanding and loving our gay and lesbian friends.