Consider it success just to share the Psalms
After 30 blogs, we’re finally getting to the one about sharing scripture. This whole series has been a continual reminder that before anyone could even care to hear what the Bible may say, they have to know and trust that it’s coming from a place, from a person, that is for them – without hidden motives and free of secret agendas.
If there’s one thing that is a maxim of discipleship, it is that a scripture ill-timed can cause destruction and hurt, but a scripture that has the timing and anointing of the Spirit can produce life, freedom, & joy where there wasn’t before. With that in mind, I’m aware that the scriptures that are often presented to LGBT people are the 6 verses that talk about same-sex sex coupled with the Genesis account that describes God’s intentions for male and female union – as if this is what they really need to know in order to experience life to the full. Although I believe heterosexual sex to be God’s created intent, I was experiencing life to the full long before I got married to my wife and I continue to know straight people that are self-described “train wrecks” that have plenty of heterosexual sex.
Despite my belief that all scripture is profitable, I continue to say that it wasn’t any of the verses on homosexuality that changed my mind or drew me close to Jesus. It was actually all the verses that pointed to what God was actually like, most accurately displayed through His son, that caused me to want to give up all that was dear to me in order to obtain the One thing that really mattered most – that costly “pearl of great price”. Many people know God’s rules, very few people have spent enough time with Him to know what he’s like. It’s His character, the unfailing love and unimaginable kindness, that makes relationship with Him attractive, desirable, and worth the sufferings of whatever cross one is called to bear.
And it’s in that vein of relating to God well and pouring out your heart to Him that the Psalms become a beautiful piece of discipleship. One may think that the Psalms are “for beginners”, but it’s this book – these songs – that give me permission to pour out my heart and engage the grief, lament, and anger of my humanity. They make God more accessible & personable, & the writer more human and relatable. It’s in my moments of shame and grief that I need to know that God is crying with me and for me, rather than holding back his disappointment and disgust.
You may be slightly disappointed that this blog is not giving you clearance to share what has become known as the clobber passages – the 6 or so verses on homosexuality. Because when you get into relationship with LGBT people, you realize they are much more than a sexuality. They are people with stories of trauma, not just sexually at times, but more so relationally. I haven’t meet too many gay people that haven’t had the experience of rejection of several family members and sometimes their entire community. I personally don’t know of one LGBT person that hasn’t seriously considered ending their life at some point. This tells me that, as Christians, our posture of trying to fight and conquer them through culture wars and a battle for theology are grossly irrelevant to what they really need. I need you to see that stories of relational trauma and rejection need to be engaged, cared for, and grieved over – the way God does – and this happens when we share the parts of our faith that this is in fact the way God relates to a traumatized humanity – with lament, not punishment.
So share scripture; it’s useful on many occasions, but make sure that in your sharing, it’s for the person’s benefit, rather than your own agenda. Show off the God that cries tears in unison with our own so that He’s not seen as just the God that gives “yes” or “no” to sexual expression, but the God who always says an emphatic “yes” to deep intimacy in our most vulnerable places.
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 blogs have been expounded upon with permission.
These tips, along with numerous other insights, are found in an excellent resource called “Guiding Families” available HERE.