You’re at the supermarket buying ingredients for dinner, and suddenly into the isle walks one of them. It’s obvious that he subscribes to a different lifestyle than you, one that is unbiblical and immoral. You try not to make eye contact as you examine the prices of cream of chicken soup, but he comes closer. “Excuse me,” he says as he reaches past you for an item on the shelf.
What goes through your mind? Do you stand still, hoping you don’t have to engage him at all? Do you look for an escape so that you can get to an isle full of “normal” people? Allow me to pull a dated Christian phrase off the shelf: “What would Jesus do?”
We’re told to be in the world but not of it. We share this world with many different kinds of people, most of whom don’t agree with our religion or political views. It’s very hard for a “good church-going person” to live alongside these people in peace, especially in America where we have the freedom to speak our minds. The easy thing to do is have fights on Facebook and public demonstrations with signs and off-the-cuff sermons about evil through a megaphone.
What did Christ do when He encountered a sinner? We don’t have to look in the Scriptures for this answer. If you’re a Christian, then you already know from experience. When Christ found you broken in your sins did He pass you by with a disgusted look on His face? Did He look away uncomfortably and escape to hang out with “clean” people? He did none of those things. He died for you, adopted you, took away your filthy rags of sin and self-righteousness, and gave you His own clothes.
Does this mean we have to die for homosexual people? Yes. In what way do we die for them? By crucifying our disgust for them. By laying down our right to speak our minds, just for a moment, so that we can speak redemption. By putting to death our own reputation as a clean person and offering them a hand of friendship and love. By dying to ourselves and pointing them to the One who can rescue them and love them fully.
It sounds crazy. It’s exactly the opposite of what we in our self-righteousness would like to do. We’d like to stage a protest. We’d like to boycott every company run by a homosexual just because he or she is homosexual. We’d like to curl our lip at them, write our little angry Facebook posts, boil inside when yet another state legalizes gay marriage. And if we’re totally honest, in our most self-righteous moments we’d damn them to hell if we could.
We have to stop this. How can we be the light of the world when we don’t let them see the love of Christ? You see, to love Him means loving them. And to love them means to die for them.
The story is told of a young preacher in Wales in the mid 1800’s by the name of Robert Murray M’Cheyne. He served in the town of Dundee, which was filled with poverty and drunkenness. But he lived in such a way that as he walked the streets of that own, even the dirtiest drunks would tip their hats respectfully. When asked why they did this, they answered: “There goes the man that loves your soul.”
How much more effective, Christ-honoring is this? His gentle, loving witness accomplished more in that industrial town in a few years than shouting, angry Evangelical Conservatives have in the past few decades.
You’re still in the supermarket aisle with the homosexual young man. You don’t have to make friends with him. You don’t have to say anything. How are you reacting to him in your heart? Could you die for him?