I was in my car the other morning, flipping through the radio stations, when I did something I wouldn’t normally do—I stopped at The Howard Stern Show. He was interviewing a woman over the phone about her 8-year-old son. She had taken him to a rally to protest gays, or as she and the boy called them, “fags.” Nothing specific … just their very existence was enough to infuriate this woman. She said she felt she had to get her son educated and protesting at a young age, because gays “are trying to get our children from the time they’re in kindergarten … in the cradle even!” As the interview progressed, the woman went on to say that homosexuals are recruiting and insinuated that most of them are child molesters. Whenever Howard called her on one of her views, the woman arrogantly snapped back with a cutting remark such as, “I don’t expect you to understand, honey. You hate God. You’re going to hell.”

Sadly, because of the actions of this woman and others like her, Christians are becoming more and more disliked in the U.S. A few ignorant people seem to ruin it for the rest of us. Unbelievers often view Christians as phonies; we preach the love of Jesus, then kick a few outcasts along the way. Instead of befriending the very people Christ was drawn to, we have pushed them away, or made them feel worthless and disgusting. We need to return to four very fundamental parts of living out our faith.

[JUDGE NOT]

1 Corinthians 5:12 says, “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. Drive out the wicked person from among you” (RSV). How can we expect an unbeliever to know how to live by God’s standards? That would be like expecting a dog to act like a cat, or a bird to act like a frog. This is why the Word commands us to love others, even others we disagree with. It’s not a suggestion; it’s a command. That way, unbelievers will see what we have and long for it.

“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). Who would long to be hateful and condescending? Sometimes what we perceive as holy righteousness is often self-righteousness, and a turn-off to the world. Before we speak, we must make sure we are speaking the truth in love, and for the glory of God. Besides, there is not a Christian on this planet who couldn’t use a little work.

[COME AS YOU ARE]

When you asked Jesus to come into your life, did you fix all your flaws first? No, you came to Christ as a broken human being in need of a savior, and you weren’t alone. We have all been broken, and we all need a savior. So why do we expect gay people to stop being gay before they take an interest in Christianity? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of Jesus dying on the cross in the first place? Our job is not to make people change their actions or their lifestyle. Our job is to lead people to the cross and let God do the rest. This topic can easily lead to an argument over whether or not homosexuality in itself is something a person chooses for their life. You don’t need to have all the answers (or act like you do); you only have to point people to the One who does.

[VALUABLE BY NATURE]

Christians need to send the opposite message of what they’ve sent in the past: People living the homosexual lifestyle are valuable. They are valuable because they are created by God and in the image of God. It’s a sad thing when we exclude people because they are not Christians. It’s even sadder when we think we’re better then unbelievers. You are no more valuable because you’re a Christian, and God loves homosexuals just as much as He loves you. We share a common thread: We are fallible humans. What is the only difference between us? We’ve accepted the free gift of salvation.

[IN BUT NOT OF]

Where do people get off talking about others like they are sub-human? I believe it’s a matter of ignorance. We are afraid of what we don’t understand. Ignorance turns into a cycle when we’re so afraid of what we don’t understand, we’re unwilling to pursue any knowledge of it. The woman on Howard Stern’s show did not mince words when she said she didn’t know any gay people, and if she did, she certainly wouldn’t befriend them. Christians need to be cautious about not getting dragged down by the world, but staying in our safe little Christian cocoon goes against everything Jesus did and stood for. We are called to leave our comfort zones. Jesus hung out with believers and unbelievers. Jesus loved “the least of these.”

We have been accepted into the kingdom broken and bruised, sinful and dirty, just as we were. Thank God someone was willing to hang out with sinners like us, whether it was our parents or a friend. Thank God we were not written off as hopeless scum. We are, to the Holy Father, diamonds in the rough. Somebody just has to show us where to go to get clean.

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