I was going to write a Holy Monday post since it’s the start of Holy Week. But I think God wanted me to focus on something else that seems more important right now. If any of you know me, you know that I’m not really a big follower of popular culture or what goes on there. Most of it seems trivial to me. Pointless. I don’t usually care what the big song is on the airwaves, what Hollywood thinks of me, or what reality show is big today. But something caught my eye on Facebook, and absolutely broke my heart:
When I first saw this, I was initially confused as to what was going on, and why he was responding the way he was. So I did some research into who Lil Nas X is, and then it became apparent to me what was going on. Lil Nas X is an openly gay rapper and musician who is probably most famous for the song Old Town Road. I guess he also just released a line of “Satan shoes,” and it’s got many people who call themselves Christians in an uproar. But here’s the thing: If he’s responding with the tweet above, that’s a cry from someone who needs truly Christlike compassion and help. He’s hurting. He’s in pain.
The normal, but shortsighted way many Christians would react would be to get angry at the satanic imagery on the shoes, or anything satanic that he puts out in his music, but miss why he said what he said. That’s similar to what Jesus condemned the Pharisees for doing. He condemned them for fulfilling the letter of the Law, but ignoring or missing the heart of it. The Pharisees did all the physical, outwardly holy things to please God, but they ignored the people who were hurting. They ignored those who truly needed His compassion.
I confess that I am this way sometimes. I fail at showing Christlike compassion as much as I should. But I think God opened my heart a little bit. I know I’ll never meet Lil Nas X in person. But according to Jesus, he is my neighbor and brother. Just as every member of the LGBTQ community is my neighbor, brother or sister.
I do not understand why we can’t love everyone for who they are, as Jesus wanted us to do. I often miserably fail at it for a variety of reasons. But when I feel closer to God than I usually am, I am more aware of how often and how badly we mess up at it. I am a straight man, but I cannot imagine what LGBTQ people feel like when they’re attacked by people for who they are.
I have never been under the kind of social persecution that community has been under. I will never make light of their situation. But allow me to use an example. What some so-called Christians tell LGBTQ people, would be like someone telling me I have Cerebral Palsy and crooked legs because I am being punished by God, that He hates me for who I am, and that I am going to hell after I die.
That would strike at the very core of who I am as a man and human being, and would likely cause me to hate them and question or hate God! No wonder so many people hate Christianity when they’re treated that way! Where is the love of Jesus in the anti-gay message, or in my example? It’s nowhere to be found, and woefully misses the standard that Jesus set for us!
The supposedly anti-gay passages in Leviticus and the Sodom and Gomorrah story are NOT justification for hating, mistreating, or worse, physically harming or killing our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. I can practically hear self-righteous holy rollers’ heads exploding as they read this. But those parts of Scripture are not justification, because God hates every sin of mankind. Every single one. He despises our sins.
If you’re legalistic and hypocritical with your faith (i.e. only going to Church to be seen as holy or doing good deeds for show), God hates that. (Matthew 6:1-18)
If you condemn someone else for not following Christ in the exact way you do, or at all, God hates that. (Matthew 7:2)
A particular verse about people who judge and condemn others hits the nail on the head. These are words from Jesus’ own mouth:
“Before removing the speck from your neighbor’s eye, remove the log from your own eye.” -Matthew 7:5
I do not believe being gay or anything on the LGBTQ spectrum is a choice or sin. But if it is a sin, that still doesn’t give me or any other Christian any right to condemn them. We will have to answer for our own sins when we stand before the judgment bench of The Almighty. There will come a day where we will have to give an account of our lives to God. And I imagine quite a few people who condemned others in life possibly being shocked and blindsided at their own condemnation by God after death!
So while we are here, we should focus less on quoting and remembering verses in the Old Testament that condemn homosexuality, and more on loving our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. That means going to them with an open heart, and listening to them if they are hurting like Lil Nas X is, seeing them as we see ourselves, loving them as we love ourselves, and reminding them that Jesus loves them just as much as He loves us. We’re ALL broken, wretched sinners in need of saving no matter how “good” we think we are. We are not good enough and are doomed if we’re on our own.
Thankfully, four days from now we commemorate that saving sacrifice on Good Friday, when Jesus willingly took our place at Golgotha on the Cross. He willingly took our sins upon His shoulders, and reconciled us to God through His death. And He did this for everyone. Absolutely everyone. Out of His immeasurable, incomprehensible love for all of humanity. I just hope everyone chooses it. As long as you are alive, it’s never too late!