Do you love us enough to hear our heart?

by Rick Brentlinger
(Pace, FL, USA)

California native Reuben Israel

California native Reuben Israel



Dialogue between non-gay Christians and LGBTs is sometimes angry and often graceless. What non-gay Christians view as ministering often pushes LGBT folk away from Christ. Many Christians seem to be more interested in denunciation than evangelism, almost as if they gauge their success by how deeply they offend their audience.

Jesus was full of grace and truth, John 1:14, yet never truthless in His grace nor graceless in His truth. When you profess to follow Jesus, love like He loved.
If non-gay Christians make the effort to listen and really get to know gays and lesbians, the Holy Spirit can do a mighty work in our day. Here are helpful suggestions to evangelize your gay, transgender, lesbian and bisexual brothers and sisters.

1. Approach us in love


When you look at us, if all you see is a pervert, all we'll see is a bigot. Jesus died for our sins as much as He died for yours. If you can't get beyond your personal dislike for us or your vivid imagination about our sex lives, we will pick up on that immediately and you'll do us more harm than good.

2. Visit us where we live


Have you ever been in a gay bar or a gay church? Have you ever complimented a lesbian on her colorful flannel shirt or a gay man on his stylish clothing? Remember that the lesbian you love to insult is someone’s much loved daughter; the gay man you love to disparage is the beloved grandson of doting grandparents.

Treat us as you’d like people to treat your children. We’re really friendly and if you approach us in love, we're not even scary. You may be pleasantly surprised to discover we are not the deviant monsters you’ve imagined.

3. Invite us to Jesus, not to church


We know what you think about us because we grew up in your churches. And we’ve already heard what some pastors say about us from the pulpit. Calling us nancy boys, Frisco faggots, fairies, lezzies, bull dykes, queers, trannies, mos, queens and pervs doesn't make us long to be your friend. Don’t expect us to visit your church anytime soon so your pastor can insult us in person. If all you do is invite us to church, that’s not evangelism and that’s not loving.

4. Visit gay or gay-affirming churches


If there is a gay or gay affirming church in your area, visit it. And don't be surprised if we sing, What can wash away my sins, nothing but the blood of Jesus. Don't go to argue doctrine but just to see what we teach and how we worship. You may be amazed at how many lesbians and gays are devout Christians. You may also be amazed to discover that some of the things you've heard about our churches are not true.

You may even hear justification by faith and the gospel of the grace of God being preached and see people getting saved. Put aside everything you've been told about us for a few hours. Most of it is wrong anyway, little more than propaganda based on lies. If you repeat those lies to us in your witnessing, we probably will be polite but we will still lose respect for you.

5. Don't keep telling us you're straight


For psychological reasons we will not get into here, Christians who witness to gays feel compelled to keep announcing they are straight. That only reinforces the unstated message that you don’t like or respect us. The more prejudiced we perceive you to be, the less likely we are to listen to your message.

6. Don't try to change our sexual orientation


Don’t go there. No, really, don’t go there. Those of us who grew up in church have already interacted with ex- gay ministries like Exodus International. We’ve seen it up close and personal and it wasn’t pretty. We’ve never seen anyone freed from homosexuality by an Ex-Gay ministry.

It is frustrating and faith destroying for gays who buy into the ex-gay message yet real orientation change never happens. If your only interest is in getting us to attempt orientation change, we won't have much to talk about.

7. Stop with the clobber verses


We've heard it all before. Gay Christians have studied those verses as if our lives depended on it. We already know the context of those verses better than most preachers. We also know the original Hebrew and Greek words and what they meant in Bible times.

Christians who blast us with clobber verses only push us away. If you really want to reach us, remember we grew up in your churches. We know the context and meaning of the clobber passages, even if you don’t. Knowing that has not made any of us ex-gay.

8. Don't compare us to pedophiles, murderers and people who
have sex with animals


If someone claims to love you and then compares you to child molesters, murderers and people who have sex with animals, would you think, Hey, she really does love me!? Those issues are different issues than innate sexual orientation. Christians who think they’ll win gays to Jesus by comparing us to that kind of wickedness are missing an opportunity for productive dialogue.

9. Hone your listening skills


Instead of waiting for a lull in the conversation to blister us with an insult, listen to what we're really saying. Do you love us enough to hear our heart? Christians in most denominations have railed on us, judged us and rejected us without giving us a fair hearing.

Are you willing to acknowledge the hurt and oppression you’ve heaped upon us? Christians who will not repent of their sins of abuse have no credibility in the LGBT community.

Healing can begin when you admit that you don't really understand us. Simply put, you have never heard our heart. And instead of trying to convince us you do understand, please humble yourselves and listen to us.

10. Avoid hate the sin, love the sinner rhetoric


Now take a minute to listen to yourselves. Hate the sin, love the sinner comes across as mean-spirited instead of loving. We hear it as an ill-disguised attempt to seem loving when you really don't even like us let alone love us.

When it comes to sexual orientation, it is impossible to separate the sin from the sinner. Your heterosexual orientation is not something you do, it's who you are. In the same way, our orientation is not something we do, it's who we are. You can't hate our “sin” without hating us. Whether you agree or not is irrelevant. I'm just telling you how we perceive your rhetoric.

11. Stop calling us fags, fairies and bull dykes


It should go without saying yet someone needs to say it. You wouldn’t walk into a Hell's Angels bar and begin your witness with:

You're all maggot-infested, hygiene-
challenged, tramp-stamped sissies!

If you wouldn’t say that to a bunch of bikers, moderate your language when you talk to us. I get emails from christians who hope I’ll get AIDS or tell me I’ll burn in hell or the devil will love it when I get to the lake of fire. They quote one or more of the clobber passages and close with, I love you in Jesus or I love you enough to tell you the truth.

The angry attitude sizzling in their vitriolic words is amazing. Demeaning and insulting us is probably the quickest way to lose us. When you have no more respect for us than that, we tune out everything else you say. Seriously now, do you think we believe those words come from a heart of love?


Why are straight Christians
so dismissive of gay Christians?


Why would a preacher
constantly make anti-gay remarks?


How can we build bridges of trust
with non-gay Christians?


Isn’t it all about sex
for you gays and lesbians?


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This page is based on an essay by Scott Cruse and adapted for GC101 with Scott’s kind permission.

Comments for Do you love us enough to hear our heart?

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May 29, 2012
Hi ^^
by: Anonymous

A friend of mine just led me to this site and I just wanna say I love you! I love this site and I love there are Christians like you out there. I've been an ally for honing in on two and a half years now (I just told my mother about it today, because I was afraid to. Surprisingly enough she was accepting of me), and it gives me hope that finally people are on the right track :).

-Amanda

Mar 23, 2013
Eyes to see and ears to hear
by: Lee Carlton

God bless you for making this effort to assist more non-gay Christians in understanding how their words and use of scripture can harm, demonize and dehumanize other souls for whom Christ gave His life. While I still consider myself to be an evangelical Christian; my world view was shaped both my personal salvation in receiving Christ as Savior and growing up among the inconsistency, contradictions and rejections of fundamentalists who had a lot zeal for scripture and missionary endeavor but only as long as they could shape the convert into their likeness. The progress and real spiritual transformation of growing up into Christ has come among more progressive minds and open hearts where I realized what the love of God in me was for: As God in Christ is - so we are to be in this world. Today, I see little difference in fundamentalism in all religions and it is hard to distinguish the difference between Al Queda, the Taliban, Extreme Zionist and Fundamentalist Christians except in the level of their hatred for each other. It was after all, right wing religion, cooperating with expedient Roman imperialism which nailed the Son of God to the Cross. Yet, it was God's love for all in Christ Jesus' very person which held Him there and brought Resurrection and Life for all.

Rick's comment: Hi Lee. Thanks for commenting. I would add, "brought Resurrection and Life for all who receive the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior from sin. Jesus set up the dichotomy of saved and lost by His explicit teaching in John 3:18 and 36. John the Beloved of Jesus made this even more clear in John 1:11-12.

I try to go the extra mile in explaining this because too many gay Christians have embraced the false teaching of universal salvation.


Feb 04, 2014
The starting point is equal ground
by: Kevin s.

God's Word, the Bible, commands believers to first and formost, LOVE one another! I would add to that, as God's creations, we need to respect one another. Therein is the problem I have experienced when debating, conversing and discussing the issue of GAY or as they would say, Homosexuality.

The Conservative, Evangelical, Fundamentalist, Christians starting point is that LGBTQ people are: gender confused, broken, have emotional arrested development, are abominations to God. So their starting point of what we hope will be a reasonable, rational, compassionate, understanding exchange of ideas to establish God's heart begins with LGBTQ people being less than, not as good, flawed (as if they are not), damaged goods, emotional misfits, and bias towards our GAY THEOLOGY, what ever that is.

Until we can have a conversation with THEM that that begins with ALL being equal, I don't believe anything can be accomplished. Why? Because their frame of mind, their attitude of inequality, their starting point is bigotry and bias wrapped in the Bible! First they must love and respect us. By not doing that; THEY are in disobedience to God's Word.

Sep 29, 2014
Per the Bible
by: Lee

The efforts to obtain acceptable status by gays is, unfortunately, sought by challenges to what is understood by an educated Bible student. The Bible is clear that laying with another man as one lays with a woman is not pleasing to God. It says what it says. Historical records of gay marriage do not change what the Blble says.

The Gospel says deny yourself and follow me. One's feeling are not the standard for righteous behavior and God is not a respecter of persons. Love is commanded, however the love that is commanded is loving as Jesus loved, and He, being God, is also the author of the old testament.

What is being sought by gays as gay marriage has only gained ground by changing the definition of marriage on the grounds of "equality", a social concept that changes meaning depending on the agenda of who is using the term.

Although, the Bible makes no case for condoning homosexual behavior, or gay marriage, or any other sin, legitimate comfort is found in the Bible for any sinner embracing Jesus Christ. We are all sinners, we all need Jesus, but we do not need to destroy something for our own selfish gain.

To do so merely proves the vanity and self deception that mankind has always been plagued with. To twist Scripture and seek approval as a Christian for homosexual lifestyle is no different than seeking approval for any other sin. There are greater sins than homosexual activity, such as the sin of pride.

Rick's comment: Hi Lee - I wish you had said: Per the Bible IN CONTEXT. The reason you like to ignore context is that the clobber passages are not now and never have been about two gay guys or two gay gals.

I believe you know that so you ignore context and assert that the clobber passages are about homosexuality - those gays and lesbians trying to destroy the institution of marriage, hoping no one will call you on the deception. You claim to be an educated Bible student who understands the Bible yet on this topic, you are without understanding or intentionally obfuscating God's truth.

I do hope you will keep your heart open to the gentle leading of the Holy Spirit and remember that God has more truth for you to believe than you have currently accepted.

What must I do to be saved?

Sep 29, 2014
Response to Rick
by: Lee

Context is certainly required for getting close to an educated perspective on what the bible says. Perhaps you can be more specific rather than merely try to discredit.

The bible says what the Bible says. If you take issue with what I wrote I have no problem with that, but I would be more impressed if you responded with more than insults.

I would be more impressed if you did more than slide insults my way. I could insult you however that would do no more good than your insults to me.

Perhaps a solution to your cause is to create your own Bible and leave God's alone.

Rick's comment: Hi Lee - sadly, most of you anti-gay folks respond the same way. On this website, I go into great detail to provide context for all the clobber passages.

Perhaps I could be more specific? LOL. This website is my specific response to your non-specific critique.

You ignore every fact, every source, every text link, every citation of context on this website. And because the facts do not fit your preconceptions, you accuse me of insulting you.

Yawn. Churches like yours are losing the young generation on the gay issue. Why is that? Because you keep trotting out the same tired old discredited anti-gay arguments and your young people are not buying it.

You are in the same position as Peter in Acts 10:14. The Holy Ghost is speaking and you keep answering:

"Not so Lord."

Sep 29, 2014
Sunday School Theologians
by: Kevin S.

To quote Lee; "The efforts to obtain acceptable status by gays is, unfortunately, sought by challenges to what is understood by an educated Bible student. The Bible is clear that laying with another man as one lays with a woman is not pleasing to God."

Let me address the issue of "UNDERSTANDING BY THE EDUCATED BIBLE STUDENT." Lee has exposed himself as an amateur in Biblical scholarship. The sunday school way he quotes a verse from the Scriptures is just what i would expect from an amateur. I'm assuming he was shooting at either Leviticus 18:22 or 20:13. But when debating the content or interpretation of a specific verse; it's needful to pick a Biblical version and quote accurately and state the reference. Commentarying is not appropriate unless you are Matthew Henry, Strongs or Harper's etc.

"UNDERSTOOD", now there's an arrogant word. Biblical scholarship is about research and debate into Biblical linguistics, Biblical history, and Biblical culture. The rabbinic Bible scholars and Church Fathers, for almost 2000 years have studied, researched, and debated, yet Lee has it all UNDERSTOOD. The only people who seem to have it ALL UNDERSTOOD, are usually members of cults or religious groups with forced dogma.

Yes, there are some doctrinal issues in Scripture that are pretty clear. The deity of Christ, the inerrancy of the Scriptures, and the supremacy of God the Father. However the issue of homosexuality is neither a major Christian doctrine nor UNDERSTOOD. Its total basis for debate is based on approximately 6 verses, in the entire Bible and they are at the very least debatable.

Lee, you so missed the intent of gay Christians if you actually think we are trying to "obtain acceptable status." That status of Children of God, members of the body and the Ekklesia are not given by the Church members but by Jesus Christ, the day we put our faith in his shed Blood on Calvary. We DO NOT seek that which was free given.

Ephesians 2:8-10 - For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Sep 30, 2014
Dissect the word of truth
by: Kevin S.

I to often hear religious folks spout off about what they "KNOW". I'm learning that ARROGANCE and IGNORANCE go hand in hand.

II Timothy 2:15 says, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, RIGHTLY DIVIDING the word of truth."

The Greek word ορθοτομουντα or orthotomounta, translated in English as "rightly dividing" means; AUTOPSY, or DISSECTION. We are to study the Word as a coroner would dissect a dead body for forensic evidence. To do that we need all the basic understanding of Biblical foundations, just as the coroner needs the basics of medical science.

Yet those who freely offer their elementary read-through understanding of the Bible, do so without doing anything more than reading an English translation. When they speak, they sound like little children.

There is an applicable saying: "It is better to remain silent and have people think you a fool: then to speak and remove all doubt." So before you comment, please do your homework.

Nov 13, 2014
I would hear a conservative's views if the dialogue would change.
by: Tony

When I say that, I do mean non-gay christians who indicate some form of homophobia.
Biblical literalism I've heard over the years, but truthfully, no one is completely biblically literal. Everyone pinpoints one text or another to back up intolerance. Read your history, I'm not making this up.
"The Bible means what it says" that answer wouldn't bother me so much if more conservatives were more willing to analyze it as a whole, not just the clobber passages. Sexuality is a lot more complex than black and white mentality. For some: love is gender blind, that's my take on this, comments welcome...within reason.

Nov 13, 2014
WOW
by: Lee

Wow - the responses to my first comment were proof that the commenters on my comment can do no more than attack, assault my character, claim superior knowledge, claim I think this way or that and why, and in general avoid being specific and rational. I never said I was anti-gay, but typically, because I do not support your wishes you attack.

False teachers are talked about in the Bible, lots of them these days. Anyway. THE BIBLE SAYS WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS and it doesn't change to suit you, me or anyone else.

Rick's comment: Hi Lee - since I also answered your comments, I'm wondering why you haven't spent time reading this website. I offer specific, rational, to the point, in context explanations of the clobber passages.

I cite world-class anti-gay Christian scholars and some pro gay scholars who agree with me on the context but may differ on conclusions. I provide links so that you can easily check out my sources. My writing is specific and rational.

You lament that you are being attacked and beg for specific and rational responses yet you ignore the hundreds of pages of factual info on this website. Why? What is your real motive for hanging around a gay Christian website?


Nov 13, 2014
Thank you Rick
by: Tony

First off, Lee, this wasn't a direct attack at you, this was directed at conservatives as a whole. I tried to be respectful and typically of some, you totally took it out of context. I was only pointing out how the dialogue with this issue needs some more air as in rework. But if you are going to twist everything I say as a personal attack, I'm not wasting any more energy on this with you. We don't ask for complete agreement, we just ask for consideration of our viewpoint, we've opened our side up, yet most conservatives refuse to return it. Either way, God bless and good night.

Nov 14, 2014
What I hear
by: Lee

I see "hear our heart" written on this site. Tell that to Jesus when you stand before Him, and He may remind you that "God is not a respecter of persons". The bible says what the Bible says and it's spiritual, not intellectual. You interpret and you are responsible for how you apply what the Bible says. I am sure you have many "scholars" who support your positions and apparently you feel validated by the ones who support your efforts to justify homosexual behavior. Men being at odds with Scripture is nothing new. Seeking blessing for personal desire is nothing new. Tearing down what God has set in motion is not pleasing to God. You can always repent and God will forgive. Homosexual behavior is certainly not the greatest sin, but it is a sin.

Wow2 - Ok so you deny what previous comments said. You admit you responded to "a perceived group of your own graphic generalizations", and not me as an individual. What kind of conversation do you call that?

Again, the Bible says what the Bible says. It doesn't matter how you spin it with your intellectual rationales, you can't make homosexual acts other than a sin.

Rick's comment: Hi Lee - no context, no thought, no knowledge of the culture, history and religious facts which prompted the biblical authors to write what they wrote.

So you really didn't want specifics and a rational answer. That was just bloviating on your part. Very 12th century of you.

Jun 18, 2016
I am an ex gay!
by: Timothy D

the reality that most christians who witness are not loving in there approach i totally agree with its not born out of respect or relationship but out of pride, the reality is "all have sinned and full short of the glory of god" all means all, that humbleness of heart is a great starting point, but if i may at the same time the idea of "oreantation" is not true the idea of a GayChristain is a lie, christ himself sad "go and sin no more" we all must repent and beleive, all, to change god into a god made in our image is just another sin, idoletry he demands we worship him in sprirt and in truth,

Rick's comment: Hi Timothy D - Although some people claim to be ex gay, the truth is, the largest ex-gay organization on earth, Exodus International, shut down their entire ministry in June, 2013, because, they admitted, no one had changed their sexual orientation in 38 years of ministry.

You are assuming that being gay is a sin, without any real study of the clobber passages. In order to condemn gays, you must rip verses out of context and assert they are talking about gays because if you left them in context, it is clear that gays and lesbians are not anywhere in the context.

You may be ex-promiscuous.
You may be ex-drug abusing.
You may be ex-bar-crawling.
You may be ex-drunk.
You may be ex-lost.

But you are not ex-gay - no one is.

Jun 19, 2016
EX-GAY?
by: Kevin S.

Timothy D. I spent a year in an EX-GAY ministry just days after I came out in 2006. The initial words, "you are a homosexual" came from a two hour verbal exchange between the EX-GAY leader and myself. He had no psychological, clinical or even spiritual training to make such a proclamation.

He had no background, education, or experience yet he was the man in charge of the emotional and spiritual well being of a group of men with same sex attractions.

I did not fit any of the criteria of being gay or should I call it modus operandi. No bad or distant relationship with dad. No overpowering mom. No previous emotional or physical relationship with another male. (Acting out)

I had a good relationship with the Lord.
Yet the leader regularly dumped shame and guilt on me and continued to warn me of acting out on my attraction. He instructed us to stop interacting with LGBTQI people. He attempted to make himself and the group members my only social network, very cult-like thinking.

He and another friend went on to date and marry women. However, they both readily admitted that they still had some, though very small, attractions to men. If they were EX-GAY shouldn't their attractions be for women? Why are they still having homosexual attractions?

I think the quintessential absurdity was when he and the group told me I should stay married and get marriage counseling to heal my marriage, that I needed a women to curtail my desires. The absurdity was; I had been faithfully married for 34 years to a women, yet I was still gay.

I had been raised by two heterosexual parents. I had grown up in a heterosexual endorsed home. I only had heterosexual friends. I was raised in a church which told me the Bible taught that homosexuality was a sin. I had dated women. But at 55 years old, I was still gay.

Behavior, lifestyle and attitudes can change. But sexual orientation is as much apart of you as your taste in music, art, food, favorite color, etc. and it's a big a mystery as to why each person's emotional wiring is unique to them.

If you chose to live as a heterosexual and partner with a women, that's a choice you have the right to make, and no one should think less of you. But it is possible to be gay and a Christian, in harmony with who you are as a child of God and as a homosexual.

Homosexuality is NOT synonymous with: adultery, promiscuity, fornication, drug or alcohol addiction or sinful desires. It's merely a title for our sexual orientation as is heterosexuality.

I to see the problem of EX-GAY thinking in the same way Rick has stated. The EX-GAY view that homosexuality is a sin and is WRONG both on a spiritual and sociological basis. If you start out there, every conclusion you come to about homosexuality and homosexuals, is skewed.

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