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In which I tell you the truth about telling the truth

As more of us are becoming vocal about calling the Church to love our gay brothers and sisters, I’ve noticed that the first response we typically receive is: “Well, the most loving thing I can do is tell them the truth about their sin.”

Oh, really.

I’m pretty sure not a single homosexual in the Western world is unaware that most evangelical Christians believe their desires and/or lifestyle to be sinful.

If an entire history of persecution weren’t quite enough, the last few years of advertisements, books, sermons, billboards, protest signs, television and radio programming, “Fag!” name-calling, and hateful Facebook rantings would have done the trick rather nicely. So it’s a safe bet the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transsexual, and/or queer community have noticed the fear and loathing directed their way as “telling the truth” by the people of God.  (And I highly doubt most felt very loved by that experience.)

That sentence? It is one-dimensional bumper sticker lower-case truth. It’s not the whole Truth, is it? And it isn’t tough love as I understand it.

 

I believe that statement is almost always a cop-out. After all, my Bible talks more about the sins of not caring for the poor and orphans of our communities, about our pride, about idolatry, than it does about homosexuality, yet I can’t see a lot of to-scale  “truth-telling” on those topics. And, then we call it “tough love”, this truth-telling, as if that phrase, excuses our lack of grace. It’s a too-small band-aid on a complex issue representing real people with real stories and real lives with political and daily life implications we can’t even guess from our gated communities.

No, I believe that tough love means going down deep, to battle our own selfishness, our own anger,  our own frustrations, our fears, our temptations to choose being right over being gracious, to give up on having he last word, to stop convincing by arguing and harsh invectives, pinches and pricks, to win at all costs.

Tough love means Christ will win in me.

So sure, absolutely, it’s time for some tough love: it’s time to walk in the ways of love and truth together – and, yeah, that’s tough.

(The greatest irony of tough love I’ve found is that it’s only found in relaxing. It’s only found in releasing control. Love is the relationship you relax into living.  It’s only found in surrender, in living in the moment, in contentment with being and knowing the truth of enough – that He is enough and Love is enough and what I can do/offer/be is enough, too. Tough love is not found in trying harder to be more kind, more gentle, more disciplined, no, tough love says, you do not need to be right or perfect or without flaw to be loved.)

 

Let me lay a bit more truth on us: truth and love are not mutually exclusive.

Truth isn’t the heavy-handed Papa here to lay down the discipline. Real truth sets free, truth invites, truth locks hands with grace, kisses love, and outlasts all of the fashionable Facebook rants and fear-baiting rhetoric, all of the splinter-spotting by the plank-in-the-eye crowd.

Besides, we aren’t telling the whole truth, not yet.

Are we telling this truth, too?

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.You are cherished.You were chosen even before creation. Your hairs are numbered. You were knit together in your mother’s womb.

No one is righteous, no, not one. God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world but to reconcile us all to Himself.

God is not distant or angry; he is Love. God desires to lavish love on you. He loves you with an everlasting love. His plans for you are good ones, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope.

God is close to the broken-hearted. He is not counting your sins.

Nothing can separate you from God’s love. 

 

The most loving thing we can do is tell the truth, absolutely. So let’s tell all of the truth.

And then let’s live that truth, love together, learning together every day, with real people in our real walking-around lives, without judgement or withholding or fear or stereotypes or who’s-in-and-who’s-out rhetoric. I highly doubt anyone will see Christ in another bit of  drive-by “truth-telling” of that nature. No, the time for simple slogans is over.

The community of God are the ones who can stop worrying about telling the truth, and start living the whole truth out – the glorious, gorgeous, lavish, wild, unfair, and love-filled truth of the Gospel.

 

This post was stirred up by my friend Heather of the EO’s letter to her lesbian non-Christian friend, and her friend, Vikki’s, gracious letter in return, as well as the responses and repostings I’ve witnessed.

faith, fearless, homosexuality, love, social justice
  • Tara_pohlkottepress

    whohoo! i believe in this kind of truth. THIS is the kind of truth that will set people free, not bind them with rules. with the ways they fall short. love this.

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Me, too, Tara P!

  • Nicole Gilbertson Wilke

    I don’t know you, but I love you- I really, really do. For the last 3 years, God has had my husband and I on a journey (filled with amazing people) to understand his heart for sexual minorities. He has convicted us- deep down- that all sin, including our own, separates us from Him. That’s why we have Jesus.

    One day I was praying about this and I received a vision of two roads. They came from different places, ran together for a long ways, then split again. I knew exactly what He was saying. See, for a long time, I felt like the intersection of love and truth was one specific point. That to get them both “right” I had to say or do one perfect thing and respond to people in one specific way. The vision showed me that there is a lot of space (or road) where love and truth intersect. That glorifying Him isn’t some science to master, but an attitude to freely move in. I thought that might resonate with you.

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      That is a powerful vision, indeed! Thanks, Nicole.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=609678136 Shaney Lee

    “One-dimensional bumper sticker lower-case truth.” YES. Such an amazing way to distinguish between facts and the Truth that sets us free. I love this post. This is so needed.

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Thanks, Shaney.

  • http://twitter.com/GraceMothering Marisa Miller

    Especially love that second part about telling the whole truth. “You are fearfully and wonderfully made” – how many hungry hearts would love to hear that truth!

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Amen! We all need to hear it.

  • theblahblahblahger

    I feel like the generation above ours ESPECIALLY needs to read this post. Spot on. Let’s just love each other as Jesus would…

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      I think we’ll see the church shift in our lifetime, JJ, I really do.

    • YourStandardIsNotGods

      how do we love each other as jesus would. what’s your example. hopefully you can back this up biblically. do we really understand the context of christ’s love? it is certainly a complex crisis in the church. or is it fairly simple? can someone please give me a biblical example of how jesus himself would respond the homosexual sinner? of course the appropriate answer would be, the same way he responds to any other sinner. but what is that response? the church needs to know, and more importantly how to emulate it. we simply don’t know do we? we’re tired and confused of these ‘feel good’ statements describing how much better ‘love’ is vs. ‘hate’. it is a good thing god is long suffering. we just don’t get it sometimes. what is the answer i say again?!

  • http://www.inamirrordimly.com/ Ed_Cyzewski

    A lot of times truth and judgment come together intertwined in our minds. That’s what we see at work in our legal system. So it’s jarring to see truth and love knit together in such a way that we are removed from the work of judgment and have to figure out what the deeper truth is here. Thanks for stirring our hearts and minds with this word of truth.

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      “removed from the work of judgement” – love that, Ed.

  • hopejem

    Oh Sarah, you take my breath away. Do you know that? Grace is always the right answer!

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Always. (So excited for Saturday!)

  • Lindsay

    YES. “We call it tough love…as if that excuses our lack of grace.” Yes and Amen.

  • http://twitter.com/ToscaSac T

    My friend who was caught in the alternate lifestyle when I met her I told her I was a Bible believing Christian. It came up I did not bring it up. She told me she had a working understanding of the Bible so I said “I do not have to judge you or brow beat you. We can just be friends.” She loved that idea. Over time I asked her what her beliefs were about God. As she shared I came to more of an understanding of what she was dealing with. She had grown up in a small local cult with a distorted view of Christianity and God but she did still have some faith. I continued to be her friend. I did not have to talk about why I did not agree with the things she was doing or how she saw God. We shared life and talked about other things. Years later the Holy Spirit was able to woo her back to faith. If I had anything to do with that it was in not being a stumbling block for my friend to get mad or hurt on and use as an excuse to not hear the call of love and acceptance that comes from the heart of God.

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Well said, T.

  • hb allaman

    This is wonderful! The voice of love is softly breaking through the shouts of truth. It seems to me that all this standing-for-truth is tornadoes and earthquakes and fire. This is not tough love. Tough love, as you say, is a kind of leaning in toward the one you are loving. The truth of tough love is that it’s harder on the one doing the loving than on the one being loved, and the one being loved actually . . . feels . . . loved. Tough love is not simply telling the truth and then walking away. It’s embracing in silence, listening without a rebuttal, giving without an expectation or demand for change. And the truth about truth is it’s more profoundly about relationship than about morality or rightness.

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Thanks, HB. Appreciate that.

  • http://lilablackbird.tumblr.com/ Charlotte

    This is so timely for me; one of my friends from seminary recently came out as a lesbian (she told me via private message, and then just today posted it for all of Facebook to see). My heart has been hurting for her because I know she’s gotten grief from a lot of people, and I’ve been praying for her and her partner (who is also a friend of mine). I don’t have to explain what the Bible says to her, we met in class at seminary! I’ve long been tired of throwing Bible grenades, I just want to love people no matter what.

    • http://twitter.com/BrentDedeaux Tim B. Dedeaux

      I feel the same way. I wonder if maybe we can’t just show people the love of God and let the Holy Spirit do whatever convicting needs to be done. I mean, that takes the control out of our hands, but hey, it never really was in our hands.

      • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

        Exactly!

    • Nicole

      “Tired of throwing Bible grenades.” I love that, Charlotte – because this is how most of us operate. We can’t seem to separate truth from judgement, as Ed says. I will admit that I find that so hard, because I like to feel validated in my beliefs. Arrgggh, self! There is no difference between God’s grace for anyone who is gay or lesbian, and my slander and judgement.

      • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

        Exactly. Great point, Nicole.

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      That’s a great phrase, Charlotte. Thanks for that.

      • http://lilablackbird.tumblr.com/ Charlotte

        You’re welcome. Feel free to use it! :)

  • Misty

    Oh Sarah. Holy cow. This is some truth. Yes, yes, and amen.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003645695601 Mallory Pickering

    I think it’s our current season. Homosexuals want societal acceptance and more legal rights in our country. Christians among others push back. So there’s this collision. I don’t think it’s that “one sin” that Christians don’t like in general. It’s just the one that’s at the forefront of political discourse and is the fodder for many blog posts, including this one and the one you referenced. It feels like we are almost forced to have a strong opinion on it, one way or the other. It’s always in your face, as an “issue.” But there’s a huge disconnect between the “homosexual debate” and how we actually get along as people. All the yelling gets the attention.

    • http://twitter.com/BrentDedeaux Tim B. Dedeaux

      I think you’re right, to a large degree. The world is changing, and it’s become impossible to ignore some things (rather – some PEOPLE) that were previously swept under the rug.

      But I think there’s an aspect of motes and beams as well. Homosexuality is an easy target, because it gets the “amens!” but it doesn’t step on anyone’s toes. It doesn’t anger the deacons and the church matrons like, say, preaching on gossip (which is on the same “sin lists” in the epistles). It’s an easy shot. it allows the church to “speak the truth about sin” without the hard work of plowing the stones out of our own hearts.

      I’ve heard a lot about gay people from the pulpit. None of it sounded like love to me. Some of it was hate. Some of it was just safe filler, “signifying nothing.” But love? Nope.

      • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

        Good point, Tim.

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      It’s a big topic in the USA, I know. It’s tied to marriage discussions and civil unions, about religion in the hands of government, i get that. But I hate when issues are disconnected from real, live people, too. Guess we’ll have to love loud, eh?

  • http://twitter.com/RachelRHeath Rachel Heath

    Somehow, the “good news” has turned into mostly bad news for the people it’s meant to encourage, lift up, and empower. Instead of hearing the message of salvation, healing, deliverance in the Here & Now, they hear about their wickedness and worthlessness. I hate seeing the gospel turned into a guilt trip. I love that line; “The most living thing we can do is tell the truth, absolutely. So let’s tell all of the truth.”

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Yes, Good News!

  • Vikki

    I just want to say thank you. Simple as that. Thank you.

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Nothing simple about that reply, Vikki, and I’m grateful for it. Thank you in return – so glad to have “met” you through all of this.

  • http://mikerusch.com Mike Rusch

    …and that is awesome.

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      No, you are. ;-)

  • http://besmallstudios.com/ Annie Barnett

    Sarah Bessey, I am grateful for you and your words here. Very grateful.

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Grateful for you, too, Annie.

  • http://dlmayfield.wordpress.com/ D.L. Mayfield

    heavens, girl. i shy away from this topic BIG TIME, due to all sorts of issues, but i am so glad some of us have more chutzpah. one of my new mentors out here said something that has stuck in my gut. she was talking about how we are raised to believe that right belief leads to right action, but if you stop and look around . . . this just flat out isn’t true. what is true? the love of christ leads to all good things. period. let us pursue that, instead.

    • http://www.seeprestonblog.com Preston Yancey

      This. I’ve spent twelve hours trying to figure out how to respond well to this, Sarah, because agreement doesn’t quite touch the complexity of the feeling. DL said it just right.

      • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

        Thanks, Preston. We’re learning to walk the dangerous ways, eh?

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Amen and amen. (And you know me – not too many sacred cows I don’t like to poke now and then, eh?)

  • Megan

    Your last sentence is so inspiring – “The community of God are the ones who can stop worrying about telling the truth, and start living the whole truth out – the glorious, gorgeous, lavish, wild, unfair, and love-filled truth of the Gospel.” Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/FifthStreetMama Sarah Scott

    You can’t see my standing ovation… but it is loud (and slightly obnoxious)… bravo my friend… simply fantastic post that stirs my heart

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Thanks, Sarah!

  • mizmelly

    Amen. What if we just lived what Jesus taught: Love God, love others. The End.

    • mizmelly

      And also ESHET CHAYIL!!!!!

    • Signgirl

      Amen! It really doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that. Thank you.

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Seriously.

  • Jo T

    Brave and true. Thank you.

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Thanks, Jo. Appreciate that.

  • http://twitter.com/Swamp_Ophelia Helen

    As far back as 1991 when I was a struggling pentecostal girl in my first year at university, I took a dear gay friend aside and told him that Jesus loved us the same but the stain on his soul was bigger than the stain on mine…..20 odd years later I’m no longer pentecostal and he is still gay. He still speaks to me. That says something.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ellen-Painter-Dollar/1411877911 Ellen Painter Dollar

      That’s a great story. It does indeed say something. Thank you!

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      That is something to think about indeed, Helen. Thanks for sharing that!

    • Billie

      FYI, not all Pentecostals throw “bible grenades.” There are actually many of us who are very gracious. I’m sorry if you’ve not had. the chance to know any of us. We really do exist. I must say, though, we cannot use God’s grace or his love for people to justify sin.

      • http://twitter.com/Swamp_Ophelia Helen

        Billie yes I’m convinced that what you say is true. I didn’t know any of those people then. A leader in my church told me try three times to persuade my friend to change and if he wouldn’t change I was to walk away because he was lost. That same leader, I know because I know her son, is still telling terrible stories. People with severe mental illness give up their medication because she says she can lead them to healing. Much damage is done. I believe thre are good people in the pentecostal movement, I’m just not part of that fold anymore and am ok with that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ellen-Painter-Dollar/1411877911 Ellen Painter Dollar

    Yup. Tweeted. Shared. Beautiful.

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Thanks, Ellen – appreciate that! We’re a rising chorus.

  • andrew rogers

    Superb…. bless you and your wise words

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Thanks, Andrew. Appreciate that.

  • Susan

    Thank you, Sarah. I have a dear friend who happens to be gay. She is a Christ follower, and is also celibate. We’re both on Facebook, and I have seen and read the ugliest things that Christians have posted at her. She is an incredibly wonderful person with amazing gifts and humor. But all they see when they look at her is her orientation. It breaks my heart.

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Mine, too, Susan, mine, too. Bless you both.

  • http://twitter.com/HeatheroftheEO HeatheroftheEO

    Sarah, the email I sent that got lost in the ethers probably got lost so you could surprise me and do exactly what I was asking you to do. I couldn’t find the words, for the reaction to the letters. Now here they are. Of course, I’ll always have MORE words, but I just love how your heart spilled out here and you said SO much of what I was struggling to articulate. And you said MORE, more that I needed to hear. Thank you. For being Sarah and being open and then letting God’s love pour. xo

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      I love how we wrote each other’s heart out, my friend. And your follow-up today? So wise and honest. Love being on this journey with you. I always remember a line from a Derek Webb song (years and years old…I’m old, I know) that sings that the bread on our tongue will leave a trail of crumbs to lead the hungry back to the place we came from. Amen.

  • Holly

    And I, too, am beginning to understand that “tough love” is not ugly and in your face but more, a surrounding and encompassing “I’m not going anywhere”. I have to trust that grace will fill in all the holes. Thank you for this.

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      “I’m not going anywhere” – love that, Holly!

  • http://www.mjkimpan.com/ michael j. kimpan

    BEAUTIFUL and much needed post. the time for truth-telling slogans is over indeed. may we each be committed to following in the example of jesus – standing in solidarity with the Other rather than uncompassionately throwing rocks at those with whom we differ.

    thanks for writing this, sarah.

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Amen and amen, Michael. thanks.

  • Beth Anne

    It is standing ovation time. You put everything my heart feels into words. Especially the last part where you broke down the whole truth, that the person is still loved & cherished & called His own & why do we seem to slip past that part? Why do we compartmentalize the truth?
    Sometimes I think I struggle even more with extending grace to my fellow Christians who don’t see it this way, who view their role as the “tough love” that you describe at first. I shake my head & I roll my eyes but then I’m caught that I’m not doing anyone a service through that.. So what then? (aka rantings in my head that make no sense here on “paper.”)

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      It’s hard not to judge the Judge-ers, eh? I get that! ;-)

  • Revsimmy

    Even granting the premise on which such people operate (that warning others about their sins is the loving thing to do), didn’t Jesus have something to say about planks and specks in eyes? Do we dare castigate someone else when our own lives are also full of sin – malicious gossip, false witness, hatred, failure to look after the poor and destitute etc. etc. etc. just for starters?

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Very true.

  • Lauren

    Thank you. Thank you for being able to put my heart into words. I am so glad for your courage and love reading your blog.

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Thanks, Laura.

  • http://www.kellysauer.com/ Kelly Sauer

    Really, really appreciating this one, Sarah. I know that as I grow my business, I’m going to run into more issues with the gay community – I’ve already had one query from a gay couple, and one of my photography heroes married his gay partner last year. I haven’t yet figured out how to make sense of them as clients, or as people, largely because it simply doesn’t make any sense to me. I feel very small, but love. I can do love…

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      I think that’s just it, Kelly – they’re our people, too. There isn’t any need for differences, we can love just the same.

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  • Pete A.

    You rang a bell with me when you said “My Bible talks more about the sins of not caring for the poor and orphans of our communities … (and to that you can add widows and immigrants) … than it does about homosexuality.” Mine too. Two examples: “Sodom’s sins were pride, laziness, and too much food, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door . . . therefore I crushed her.” (Ezekiel 16:49-50, Living Bible.) That tells me that those were the sins God hated MOST in Sodom. Then, in Amos 6:1-7, I read Amos telling Jerusalem and Samaria’s wealthy that “by your deeds you bring the Day of Judgment near . . . you will be the first to be taken as slaves.” What sins? Much like Sodom’s. Luxurious beds, choice foods, singing, wine, and perfumed ointments, while – and this is the key – “caring nothing at all that your brothers need your help.”

    I honestly don’t know about Canada, but those passages certainly remind me of the US. And you’re right – THOSE are sins God speaks of the most, and says he will judge us for. Are we guilty of them?

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Great points about Sodom, Pete. Thanks for that perspective – very insightful.

  • http://adifferentbrandofcrazy.wordpress.com/ TracyRae

    This is beautiful. This is what I have been feeling but have never had the words. Thank you so much.

    This came at such a perfect time. I just got in an discussion with my dad about this very topic like two days ago. Every time I say anything about how I try and live my life lovingly, without judgement, and without making the church the “morality police” of the world that is the very argument he uses, the same one I heard when I was 13 and first starting to question church and how we treat people and it has never meshed with my idea of Jesus’ love.

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      I believe our generation will be able to usher this in, I pray anyway.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brandi.henson.9 Brandi Henson

    Amen!!

  • http://jasonjdotbiz.wordpress.com/ JasonJ

    Simple, strong, nice!

  • Julie

    “It’s a too-small band-aid on a complex issue representing real people
    with real stories and real lives with political and daily life
    implications we can’t even guess from our gated communities.”….This is me, this is my life. I am a 50something white evangelical woman who has a gay daughter who loves Jesus with all her heart. And the church has nothing to say to her or me or my family that is anywhere close to useful or loving. I have read, especially during the election season, the most incredibly hurtful and ignorant things on FB from friends about ‘those people’ and I feel like screaming to them “Do you have any idea that there are real people who you supposedly love who you are saying those things about?” That is why people like you and Justin Lee and Rachel Held Evans are so important. You make me feel somewhat hopeful about the future, that over the years, after ‘our little secret’ is known in a wider circle, we will not be alone. I do not have any answers as to why or what now. I do not know how to reconcile what the majority of the evangelical church says the Bible’s position is on the subject with what I know my daughter to have been born to be and how she is to live her life in light of who she is. All I know is that she did not choose to be this way, I did not make her this way by bad parenting. She pleaded with God for years to take it from her, finally accepted herself (after years of depression and self-injury) and set about to decide for herself what the Bible really says. She would give anything not to live with the reality that she will be ostracized and rejected by segments of society her entire life, including most likely members of her family. I am incredibly proud of her for still having a faith at all and not despising the Bride of Christ. This I know….She is the same person now as the day she was born, as she was 5 minutes before she finally had the courage to tell us at the age of 20 what I had instinctively known for years. You are exactly right. Besides whatever ‘truth’ there may be on this subject, this I know to be truth also….God says to my daughter “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.You are cherished.You were
    chosen even before creation. Your hairs are numbered. You were knit
    together in your mother’s womb.” That’s who I know my daughter to be. And then I rest in truth of His grace. These are the truths I cling to.

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Julie, I want to wrap my arms around you and your daughter right now. Bless you, sister. We’re learning, I pray we’re repenting, and I had stories like yours in my mind when I wrote this. Thank you for this beautiful sharing of your stories.

    • Jeff

      A great little book to help you and your daughter reflect on what it means to be one with same-sex attraction and a faitful christian is ‘Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faitfulness and Homosexuality’ by Wesley Hill. May God grant you grace and discernment as you live in the midst of Christ’s Bride who still imperfect, and yet waiting to be fully sanctified and made whole.

    • Frank

      God does not make anyone gay. Sin does, So we have a choice, accept God or accept sin. We cannot do both.,

  • http://www.facebook.com/valerie.vankooten Valerie Van Kooten

    Thank you for this. Jesus says that a good tree brings forth good fruit. So much of what I see in the church today is not good fruit. It’s rotten fruit that has hurt our LGBT brothers and sisters immensely.

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      And so how much we rejoice when we find good fruit!

  • Carol Kuniholm

    Prism magazine (by Evangelicals for Social Action) devoted most of their current issue to homosexuality and the challenge of loving, honest dialogue in our current toxic climate: http://prismmagazine.org/currentissue/ They’ve managed to include a wide range of voices and experiences –

    We are all broken people, living in a deeply broken world. Our understanding of sexuality is broken, and our experience of love is broken, In this broken world, “. . . tough love means going down deep, to battle our own selfishness, our own anger, our own frustrations, our fears, our temptations to choose being right over being gracious, to give up on having he last word, to stop convincing by arguing and harsh invectives, pinches and pricks, to win at all costs. Tough love means Christ will win in me.”

    I’ll be praying for that kind of tough love, in myself, and in our broken communities.

  • kt_writes

    Oh yes, there is far too much of this in the community of people who identify as Christians: “one-dimensional bumper sticker lower-case truth.” And you are exactly right—”truth and love are not mutually exclusive.”

    I’m going to be writing more about this at my blog today, but I was really blown away last weekend when Scot McKnight visited our church and shared his definition of love (well, it really isn’t his definition, it’s what he sees as God’s definition of love, as exemplified throughout the Bible): A rugged commitment to being WITH someone and FOR someone, unto divine ends.

    How about if we try applying *that* definition of love to all the people around us?

    • Frank

      The divine end in this case is a rejection of homosexual behavior.

  • Monique Christiane

    I just can’t get over your paragraph about tough love being relaxing. That is so profound, so very, very true, and something I could spend my whole life trying to fully comprehend. Thank you for that, and for all of this. This makes me remember why I actually do want to be associated with the Christian world.

  • Raylee Butler

    Your post brings up a lot of thoughts in my mind. I appreciate your heart and passion for the LBGT Community and I am searching to understand more of your perspective, but I don’t think the real problem is too much truth telling in love or otherwise. I don’t think there is enough. I look at the prophet’s of the Old Testament. They were truth-tellers. They had such an amazing calling from God that they spoke the truth regardless of the political climate or popular opinion. They spoke up when they stood all alone. They did not play favorites with a certain group of people. They spoke out against the religious elite who were leading the people away from God and they spoke out against the pagan kings. They spoke the truth and not always in love. But the thing that sets them apart was they truly spoke the very words of God, not simply how they wish things could be or their own opinions. This is were I think we as a Christian community have missed it. We speak on both sides how we wished it was as the very words of God instead of allowing God to speak through us. We want our opinions on both sides to be heard because our intentions are pure and good hearted, but they are not the very words of God. And because we are not using the very words of God on both sides, we hurt each other. We make the other side misunderstood which then leads to anger and bitterness. I think about the prophet of Jonah and how once he finally made it to Ninivah. He spoke the very words of God and people received it and repented. And God was glorified. I believe our answer to true understanding in the Christian Community it not simply more love, but the very words of God coming down to prophets of this generation. Prophets that will not have their own agenda or allow their opinion to influence how they treat people. But that they will speak the very words of God to all people regardless of what group they are in or how the culture see’s them. This is my prayer that the prophets will rise up and share the very words of God that will bring healing to our Christian community.

  • Sarah Westphal

    Thank you so much for sharing. I have gay & lesbian friends and only recently converted and had wondered what the feeling was out there about this issue. Glad to see your view is the same as mine. I don’t care. Why should we? I love them no differently as a Christian than I did two months ago not being one. Why should I? I found it interesting that this whole Christian issue is due to one line in the OLD Testament and on the same freaking line as adultery for crying out loud! And I don’t see them being prosecuted like this. How are these people forgetting the “Judge not lest ye be judged”? (or whatever that exact line is). Can you imagine Jesus treating gays/lesbians/sexual minorities any different than he did the orphans, widows or Samaritians? Seriously people, pick up the book and read the actual TRUTH. [You know, the NEW covenant? The Gospels? and read the OLD covenant with your Jesus glasses on.] And leave the judging to GOD.

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.hyun Michael W Hyun

    WOW. How Beautiful! (…are those who bring good news, and their feet too) That is the most refreshingly truthful Christian commentary on this topic that I have ever read. It’s about time. Thank you so much for putting into words what my heart, my Spirit had longed to, but was unable to say. I am convinced that the sin which God would have me to detest the most is my own. May God Bless you richly Sarah!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=624894912 Keryn Bruister Page

    Here from EO. I love this, too. :)

  • KSM

    Yes it is important to tell the whole truth, which, of course, includes the message of God’s Love.

    I keep hearing about how the church needs to stop hating homosexuals. Yet in the last 30 years of being active in the evangelical community I have had only one experience where a believer (in this case a Catholic) spoke hatefully about homosexuals. And he was immediately rebuked for his words and told that he wrong wrong to have that attitude.

    And talking about telling the whole truth:

    How much of the perceived ‘hatred’ toward homosexuals comes from immature Christians, or is a fabrication/distortion of the mass media and mainstream ‘Hollywood’ culture? Painting all authentic Christians as homophobic bigots falls right into their narrative. My guess is that most of it is that. It sure doesn’t come from the people in the kinds of churches I have attended. Unless, of course, you consider it hateful to tell people (lovingly and in the spirit of love) what the scriptures actually say about sin.

    Do Christians need to show more love? Of course. Do we need to balance truth with grace? Always!!! Should we be faithful to scripture while we do so? Absolutely. Is doing this hateful? No way.

  • Erin

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You’ve beautifully articulated the thoughts that have been coming together as I’ve been ruminating on this subject quite a bit.

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  • Maureen McCarthy-Koth

    in which i am without words having read your post..i do feel the immense relief and gratitude i feel when i feel “true north” peace and grace to you

  • http://twitter.com/HeatherCaliri Heather Caliri

    Thank you for posting this. I would love to see the Christian community engage people in love no matter what “truths” people might find in the Bible.

    • Frank

      There can be no real love without truth.

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  • Janelle T.

    It seems many Christians have decided which sins are too much for God to forgive, and which ones are socially acceptable, therefore forgivable by God. Though I’ve not been personally touched by homosexuality, I do have a sibling in prison, and let me tell you, we’ve had plenty of hurtful things said, judgements passed, by Christians. Jesus died for all sins, period. Jesus loves us when we are unsaved sinners, and saved sinners. God sees us for who we are in Christ. We need more love in this world, the love that Jesus came to bring, boy the amount of people we would win over for Christ if we were more like Him.

    JanelleT.com

    • Frank

      God will forgive all who confess and repent, including those engaged in homosexual behavior. But they have to confess and repent not succumb to their desires.

  • Frank

    There is nothing loving about accepting, condoning, affirming or remaining silent about sinful behavior. That’s what hate is.

    You cannot live in truth and love if you do not accept truth and love.

    James 4:17
    So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

    James 5.19-20
    “My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and is brought back by another, you should know that whoever brings back a sinner from wandering will save the sinner’s soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins” .

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001248186935 Karl Winterling

    I’m a conservative Reformed Presbyterian, but I think you’re on to something. The main problem with this whole issue is that (progressive, “emergent,” and evangelical) churches have is that they view the Bible as a sort of blueprint for the “changed life” rather than dividing it into Law and Gospel. Ministers should preach the Law to condemn ALL of us for our sins (and convince us that we’re really, really, really bad) and offer the Gospel (Christ’s penal substitutionary death for sinners) as a remedy. While it is possible that some of our evil desires (whether homosexual or not) will go away completely, most people will struggle with something all their lives while still having the assurance that they are saved.

    Self-righteousness is totally not cool, bro’s and sis’s, don’t do it.

  • Mallory

    Very late on this, but I think this is a well-reasoned response to the question of why the Church is fixated on this issue.

    http://timothytennent.com/2012/11/26/why-the-church-is-so-concerned-with-same-sex-marriage-and-homosexuality/

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  • rebecca @ altared spaces

    Love this line: “my Bible talks more about the sins of not caring for the poor and
    orphans of our communities, about our pride, about idolatry, than it
    does about homosexuality” I don’t see a lot of “truth-telling” about orphans or the poor either. But that felt good to hear you say it.

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  • Anonymous

    Mark 9:40″ … for whoever is not against us is for us.” Jesus calls us to love others, not to judge. All judgement is in the Lord’s hands, and this frees us up to love others because we do not have the responsibility of judgement.

  • Shari

    Thank you so much for this, I am sharing and hope others will hear, really hear. Blessings!

  • Leslie Kelly

    Dear Sarah,

    Ironic, that my daughter, my princess is the one who is in this situation. She who was called by God, his princess, struggles. She, who has always struggled with her identity. She who doesn’t know how deeply she is loved, so is searching and has found it in an emotionally dependent relationship with another woman, Elizabeth- meaning I am God’s daughter. Sarah has been called to go and rescue women who are in bondage in the sex trafficking industry. Ironic, again. But I am coming to realize that God is a God of irony. One who uses the very thing we are most indignant against; the most afraid of; the most painful, to bring us the most joy. Sarah, His princess is living a gay lifestyle. And I, as her mama am in the most pain I never imagined. But I am in the most joy and the closest to God that I have ever been in. I am so in love with Him. So dependent for my very breath. And so full of Hope in Him. Not that she will change, but that He will change me. Yes, I pray for her deliverance. But not so soon that we (me, Sarah, Beth, and our collective families) will learn all He has for us to learn. That we will digest it, and it will permeate every cell in our bodies. And that I could continue to love her and Beth. Even when she doesnt want to be my princess anymore. She who wants to be called Judah, and is taking testosterone treatments daily to become the man she has been deluded to believe she must be to be happy. To be who she is, on the inside. She, who dreams about having surgery to alter the beautiful body God gave her to become more manly on the top half, so she can be accepted by the world as who she feels she was created to be.

    My heart is grieved. For all those who are hurting like my daughter. For the parents who love them. And for the parents who just dont know how to manage the pain. Like a constant death. Over and over. Satan desires to snatch them. Wants us to deny the love that He has for them. When the truth is, if we cannot love them, who will? I will be the one. I will deny myself and identify with Christ in his pain on the cross, and love them. I will. I do. I can do all things…..

    I am starting a ministry at my church for those who love ones who have chosen this lifestyle. It is not to condemn, but to help us struggle together to love. To choose to lay aside feelings and hurts, deal with the pain, and move forward with Christ. To depend on Him alone, rest in His ability and learn to be a conduit of His amazing grace. Join me at http://www.damazingmama.blogspot.com and leave a comment in the comment section if you want to join me in a cyber group. We need each other. Community, true fellowship in The Beloved is the place where healing can begin. And I am the one who needs a healer to heal me of my judgmental spirit and undo me. Teach me, radically change me. As He is. And help me to see people through His eyes.

  • Brian

    So what is *all* the truth that should be told? What message encompasses *all* that needs to be said?

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  • http://www.josiahsprague.com/ Josiah Sprague

    You lost me at quoting Jeremiah 29:11 as if it applies directly to the present day. Props for challenging the status quo though.

  • Jeff Snively

    First of all, just wanted to re-introduce myself. Jeff Snively from ORU
    days. We knew each other back then. Heard about your book “Jesus
    Feminist” through another acquaintance from ORU. This is an
    interesting blog and I congratulate you on your book.

    I like this
    blog because I feel it tells the truth from God’s heart. I was
    actually asked once if it were possible for a homosexual to be saved.
    It is interesting we put so much weight on homosexuality that we forget
    the most important thing. It is through FAITH that we are saved, not
    by WORKS. Therefore as I see it, to say that a homosexual can not be
    saved must mean that we can only be saved by works. Works can not make
    us righteous nor can it keep us from being righteous.

    The only thing that we are judged by God about is what we did with his blood sacrifice (Jesus)…. do we accept or not?

    Sarah, keep up the good work. Glad to see things are working for you.

  • Stephanie Rush

    Amen girly! A lot of people have a rough time telling the truth. They like to sugar coat things and make it more “appealing” to hear, because people might get “offended”. What most don’t understand is, this world doesn’t need more sugarcoated truths, they need the truth as the truth. Sometimes we won’t be comfortable hearing it because it’s something we might have to change about ourselves. I believe with conviction comes change! You go girl! Keep spreading truth!