If any protection is needed, be the first person to defend against harm
Social justice has become the heart cry of the upcoming generation. We may all come to different conclusions on how this should be exemplified, but regardless of your political, social, sexual, or spiritual persuasion, creating equality in the many realms of our society is something we can all get behind. From a Christian perspective, social justice is an image of God issue where every person has the beautiful, distinct mark of the Creator and is deserving of dignity, value, and worth.
As I said in my last post, the culture war has caused many Christian people to look skeptically at social justice, specifically within the LGBT community. Some view LGBT people as a major force behind the massive shift towards a more liberal worldview which then equates to being an enemy to conservativism and then to the church. I’m painting with broad brush strokes here, I know. I get that not everyone fits into these boxes and perspectives but this seems to be a common narrative that drastically affects how one even hears the words “social justice”.
If I see a group of people as my enemy, or as the ones who are messing up my world, I will likely do very little to create justice for them when obvious injustice happens to them. My unspoken thought might be that they deserve it or I might even feel a twinge of satisfaction at their misfortune.
Christ is the most excellent example here. A group of men had declared war on him and came at night to arrest and crucify him. His disciple, Peter, did what was natural and responded in kind – cutting off the ear of one that declared him an enemy. But Jesus messes it all up, as he tends to do, and refuses to accept the invitation to become mutual enemies. He heals his opposer’s ear and changes the paradigm…….again. His actions declare, “This is how it is in MY kingdom – opponents are made friends and enemies are loved.”
So I make a conscious decision that LGBT people will NEVER be my enemy. I will not see them through that lense because they’re too valuable. And because they’re not my enemy, my heart is moved to create justice for the most oppressed and vulnerable in their community.
I’ve previously said that God tends to do a lot in my heart when I’m at gay pride parades and festivals. I ask Him for His heart for this community that He loves. It has always bothered me that gay people do not feel that God is for them and for their joy. Maybe it’s because we haven’t convinced them that WE are for them and their joy.
So my thought at this particular festival, which I believe was from the Spirit, looked something like this:
“There are many things Christians and the LGBT community likely may never agree upon. But are there things in which we DO agree and can actively join them in?”
I thought about the most vulnerable in their community and my heart became more and more moved to be part of giving care, providing aid, and offering justice to: (1) gay youth who are bullied, (2) LGBT teens and young adults who are homeless and (are at risk for being) trafficked, and (3) those affected by HIV/AIDS who need to be reminded that they are not abandoned or alone.
Dear Christian, these endeavors do not compromise our faith, they only accentuate and fulfill it. In the coming months and years, Walls Down Ministry will play a more active role in social justice for the LGBT community. I hope you will join us in those efforts which I believe will start to convince those who may see us as enemies, that WE have repented and are for their good – a better reflection of the Father’s heart.
This blog is one in a series of 30+ tips for relational effectiveness with LGBT people. Find the condensed list HERE. These relational tips are from a handout acquired from “Lead Them Home”, a Boston based ministry that equips the church on LGBT issues. These tips have been expounded upon with permission.
These tips, along with numerous other insights, are found in an excellent resource called “Guiding Families” available HERE.