My little children, let us love not in word and speech, but in action and truth. — 1 John 3:18 MEV
What struck me about this verse today was how it relates the current climate of evangelicals versus LGBTQ folks. As Christians we all “love in word,” as the verse says. We frequently say, “Oh I do love homosexuals. But I hate their sin.”
I think this is what John would call loving in word but not in action or in truth. If you truly love LGBTQ people, what have you done to show that love? Have you stood up for them when they were bullied? Have you lobbied for them to be accorded the full rights of other US citizens? Have you informed yourself of the injustices they face in other countries and supported charities that are supporting them? Have you taken any concrete action to show homosexuals that you love them?
This is why I think that whole “love the sinner/hate the sin thing” is bogus. It never works out that way.
Evangelical Christianity has been my tribe ever since I was a child. I am very familiar with the ways scripture can be used to beat someone down for their sins. But I don’t think that is loving (not even in word). The older I get, the closer to Christ I come, the more I realize it’s pointless to draw distinctions over sin, to exclude anyone on the basis of their behavior, to set ourselves up as “us v. them.”
Since the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, evangelical Christians have expressed their grief and their condolences, which is right and good. But has a single big-name leader come out and said, I’m sorry that the harsh teaching of evangelical Christianity has contributed to a climate where believers are afraid to stand with you, and where LGBTQ people are subject to victimization? If so I have not heard it.
For what it’s worth, from me, a nobody … I am sorry. I grew up in this, and I was taught it from the pulpit, and it was not until many, many years into my adulthood that I realized how harmful it was to be so condemning of one particular thing that we thought of as sin — to the point where people were self-destructing in shame and being destroyed by hate.
For what it’s worth, my LGBTQ friends, I am sorry. Jesus loves you, and I love you. If you ever heard anything different at church, I apologize. It was untrue.