Last week, on the same day Eugene Peterson came out in favor of gay marriage – and later retracted – I (David) had a great conversation with a same-sex attracted young woman who came out of the lesbian lifestyle and surrendered her life to Jesus.
My conversation with her reminded me of how vitally important it is today for Christian leaders – like Peterson (and others) – to teach God’s word with abundant clarity on the issues of homosexuality and identity, because this young girl was still sadly confused.
My youngest daughter attended a Bible study this woman helped facilitate, and the topic of gay pride and the “equality” movement came up. Although she is now walking in full submission to Jesus’ teaching on sexuality, this young leader began to discuss her former lesbianism and her continued support for the gay pride movement. Naturally, it confused the girls in the room, and it startled the parents when we found out, including me.
When I arrived to pick up my daughter I had planned to sit with her and discuss what the Lord says about our sin and how His amazing grace not only saves us from our sin but also gives us a brand new identity. Yet when I walked in the door the first person I met was this young woman.
As soon as I saw her, my heart broke for her. I could tell she felt really bad for taking the liberty to inform our 11-year-old girls about the pride movement and her views on lesbianism, when we were simply expecting our daughters to learn foundational truths from Scripture. But her genuine humility grabbed my heart.
I could see in her eyes she was sorry, yet I could also see how confused she was. So I felt compelled to reach out and place my hand on her shoulder and say, “I see in you a precious child of God, one whom the Lord loves very much. And I see a woman who has chosen to follow Jesus and serve in the church by helping others surrender to Him as well. I’m so thankful for you.”
I didn’t get two words in before her chin began to quiver and tears started rolling down her cheeks. She could hardly make eye contact with me. God was speaking through me at that moment, which doesn’t happen often, and His words were landing directly in her heart. It was a special moment for both of us.
Yet because I felt true Christian love for this woman, I knew I couldn’t simply leave it at that – I had to speak truth to her so she could be set free from the bondage of confusion about her identity in Christ.
So I said to her, with my wife standing by my side, “When you said yes to Jesus your old nature died and is gone; you became a new creation. This is what being born again means. You’re not the same old sinner you once were – you don’t have to identify with it any longer.”
I then shared 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
And also Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”
I continued to speak to her, saying, “Although your spirit has been made new in Christ it takes time for your mind to catch up. Quite often, people that surrender to Jesus still think like they’re unsaved, so they continue to identify themselves as the old sinner they once were.”
“This is why God teaches us that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds,” I told her.
I then explained that my sin was no greater than hers when I came to Jesus, but that I refused to identify myself as a “liar” Christian because I lied often before I got saved. And I told her that I don’t call myself a “gossip” Christian or “angry” Christian either.
Because I am a new creation.
She got the point. It seemed as if a light bulb went on in her head as she began looking into my eyes, intently listening. I was engaging her mind now instead of simply ministering to her heart, and I could tell she was soaking it up like a sponge.
I shared with her how Ephesians 2:22 talks about the new “attitude” of our mind, saying, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
I also referenced 1 Corinthians 6, where Scripture says, “neither sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals … will inherit the Kingdom of God … but such were some of you. You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. …”
I focused on the word “were” for her so she could fully understand that in the attitude of her mind lesbianism was in the past and her new identity was that of a washed, sanctified and justified believer in Jesus.
Yet this didn’t mean she wouldn’t struggle with sinful temptations, attractions, leanings, or longings – we all do. But she no longer has to identify herself with them.
My wife then asked if we could all pray together, and as I put my arm around her I knew I needed to address her support of the gay pride movement in a short and simple way.
So I said, “All sin is sin – no one sin is different than another in God’s eyes. It all separates us from Him. But when was the last time you saw thieves gather and march through the streets on ‘Thief Pride’ day, or adulterers unite to write children’s books to be read in kindergarten classes promoting adultery?”
She understood the point.
I finished by saying, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. And because of your humble heart He is pleased with you.”
We then gathered in for prayer, thanking God He had given us all a brand new identity in Him!
Christian leaders, please be clear today and speak the truth in love. This young woman, and countless others like her, desperately need the only truth that sets them free.
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