Dear Phobic Christian,
I’m not sure how you ended up here.
I don’t know how you ended up deciding that anyone else’s body, their gender identity, or their sexual orientation were any of your business.
I don’t know who told you that you had any right to tell another human being who they could be attracted to or find contentment with, or what pronouns they should use for themselves or how they should dress, or who they could marry or what restroom they had to use or if they deserved to adopt children or not.
It certainly wasn’t Jesus.
I know you like to pass the buck to Jesus in your treatment of LGBTQ people, but I also know that he never asked you to do any of it. You weren’t given the authority to judge their moral worth, you weren’t given permission to trespass into their bedrooms, and you weren’t authorized to police their physicality.
On matters of sexuality, Jesus was largely silent, and so how you found yourself being so loud about it, is probably something you should pray on. That may be a you problem.
What I do know about Jesus, is that he told you to love people as yourself; with that kind of regard and respect and gentleness.
I know he told you not to cast stones or insults or condemnation at anyone until you’re fully sinless yourself.
I know he told you that as you treat the marginalized and the forgotten and those already suffering—you treat him.
And I also know that he never once criticized or condemned anyone for their identity or orientation—and he never said you should or could.
In fact, in his most popular sermon, Jesus was quoted as saying:
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s or sister’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
How can you say to your brother or sister, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s or sister’s eye.”
Dear Christian friend, what Jesus is saying to his followers (including you), is that you could spend every waking moment you have left here in this life, expend every ounce of energy, use up every last breath of your life, just working on the putrid mess of your own house—and still be way behind.
That means, that if you have sermons to preach or fingers to point or damnation to dispense or sin to call out, you should do it in the mirror or shut your mouth.
Because even if the Bible said that being gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgender was a sin (which it flatly doesn’t), that would still be between an LGBTQ person and God—not you. You don’t get to meddle with people’s bedrooms and bathrooms and body parts. That’s way above your pay grade and outside your jurisdiction, and there’s simply no Biblical way around it.
Your job, should being a Christian really matter, is to love people as you desire to be loved. It is to be peacemaker and caregiver and wound mender.
(And please, friend, don’t give me that hackneyed, tired nonsense, that you are loving LGBTQ people by doing the things you do to them, because that’s an insult to all of us. If you’re going to tell me with a straight face, that ridiculing them in the streets and excluding them from your churches and passing legislation to take away their civil rights and prohibiting them from being fully authentic—is loving them—I’m respectfully calling bullshit. The day you convinced yourself that this was love, you lost the plot completely.
No, Jesus commanded you to love people as you desire to be loved.
As you desire to be loved.
I wonder how you desire to be loved?
I imagine you desire to be loved, by being seen as a complex human being with dignity and worth.
I imagine you desire to be loved, by being allowed to be the most qualified person to tell your story and share what it’s like to be inside your skin.
I imagine you desire to be loved, by having your journey respected as yours alone.
I imagine you desire to be loved, by being able to choose the person you spend your life loving and how you show affection and find companionship.
I imagine you desire to be loved, by being allowed to live.
In light of this, you need to leave the LGBTQ community the hell alone.
They are trying to live, work, raise families, worship, and love in peace—and for some reason you have decided that you get to prevent them from that.
They, like you, are doing their best to make their way through this painful, difficult, exhausting life, and you are making it all much more painful, difficult, and exhausting.
You are a source of grief and creator of pain and a doer of damage, and there is nothing redemptive or God-honoring in it.
You are wasting your fleeting daylight here on wars Jesus didn’t ask you to wage, you’re squandering relationships you could be nurturing, and you’re irreparably injuring people made in the image of God.
This is reckless, it’s irresponsible, and yes, it’s sinful.
You need to start emulating Jesus, start treating people as you’d like to be treated—and stop being horrible in the name of God.
And actually, friend, I’m setting the bar really low for you.
Honestly, as a Christian (and as a decent human being) you should be doing far more than simply letting these people be, friend. You should be including them fully in community, you should be welcoming them into your churches without condition, you should be celebrating their marriages and their families, you should be loudly demanding they have every right to life, liberty, and happiness that you do. You should be standing between them and the bullies, instead of partnering with them.
You should be deeply and fully and lavishly loving them. That’s what they deserve.
But I know that’s probably much too much to ask of you right now, because of the hubris you’re struggling with.
Given that reality, as a person who loves LGBTQ people dearly, and as a longtime caregiver who’s heard them tell horror stories of your everyday cruelty, and as a veteran pastor who’s had a front row seat to the unnecessary pain you’re causing and the wedge you’re driving between them and God—I can only plead with you:
If you really believe you’re called to love and not to wound people—
Leave the LGBTQ community alone.
Get John’s book, ‘HOPE AND OTHER SUPERPOWERS’ here!