When you “share the truth in love,” are you the lone person offering a new perspective? Or are you just piling on?
When it comes to gay people in our culture, I can guarantee you that you’re piling on. There is not a single gay person in the United States—no matter how many affirming friends they have, and no matter how liberal an area they live in—who hasn’t already heard time and time again that many Christians believe them to be abominable. If people get irritated about being reminded of a silly pimple, how do you think they feel about being reminded that others believe they’re going to hell?
I know I find it painful. And I’m a Christian who actually cares about this stuff, so if I’m sick of it, you know my agnostic, atheist, and other non-Christian friends are ready to pull their hair out. (I have an advantage in that my hair is already out.)
It’s no secret that I don’t think being gay is a sin or that gay relationships are sinful. But if you do, and you’re concerned about my eternal destiny, a strategy where you keep your emotional distance and regularly remind me of your disapproval isn’t going to change my mind. If anything, it’s going to make me less likely to believe anything you say, and less likely to be interested in being a Christian.
“Tough love” is a good strategy sometimes. But this isn’t an intervention for a drug addict, and if you don’t see the difference between drug addiction and being gay, you haven’t spent very much time listening to gay people.
The irony, you see, is that the person who is supposedly “loving me into hell” by just being my friend and showing me the grace and love of Christ is the person I’m much more likely to listen to when it comes to big decisions in my life.
But in the end, if I don’t ask them for their opinion on the issue, it ultimately won’t be because they were too loving. It’ll be because I’m so sick of hearing the ungracious messages from the “truth-telling” crowd.
Great read, as always, regardless of your perspective on this question.