On the sixth day, God said, let us make mankind in our image and likeness. So God created man, in the image of God, he created him, male and female he created them (Genesis 1:26-27). Before the fall, Adam and Eve were God’s perfect image. Their nature was very good, without sin (Genesis 1:31). They were like the image you see on a new mirror. But, when they sinned, they and all who came after them bore a distorted image of God. That is to say, sin destroyed man’s perfect nature. We became sinful, filled with imperfection, but still, we do have the image of God in us though not perfectly. The people in the LGBTQ community, too, are God’s image bearers. Like you and I, they were fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14).
The Christian duty is to view every man and woman as God views them. We are to care for and protect every single person on earth. Christ commands us to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us, to bless those who curse us and to pray for those who mistreat us (Luke 6:27). One of the ways to obey Christ is to view every person on earth as an image bearer of God. How much love would you share with people having in mind that they bear the image of God? Would you be violent against someone who bares the image of God? Wouldn’t you protect anyone who bears the image of God from harm? Scripture tells us not to be violent to anyone, period, because they’re made in the image of God (Genesis 9:6).
Abhor What is Evil
Upon believing, one becomes a child of God, born again into a living hope (1 Peter 1:3). You become a new creation; behold, the old has gone, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). To be born again means that the old nature of sin is removed and God puts instead a new nature that loves and desires righteousness. The old nature hated God and did not love to do good (Romans 3:9-12). The new nature, however, loves God and desires to do good. To be a Christian renders us followers of Christ; as such, we should hate what he hates and love what he loves. The Scriptures encourage us to hate what is evil and to hold fast to what is good (Romans 12:9).
We know that everything evil will be thrown to hell, and among those things/practices that are evil is sexual immorality (Revelations 21:8, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Sexual immorality refers to all sexual acts apart from what happens between a married couple of opposite sexes. In our hating, we must note that it doesn’t mean we hate the people who commit evil. It is, however, best to speak against the actions of those who commit evil and even move forward to see how best you can help them out of their evil ways through the gospel (Jude 22-23). Some people wrongly justify their immoral sexual desires on the basis that God created man, and he created our desires. We must, however, remember that our hearts were also affected by the fall and are hence deceitful and desperately sick (Jeremiah 17:9).
A holy hatred of sin is driven by God’s love, which is holy and perfect and only seeks the good of others. We should, thus, abhor evil and not even let any hint of sexual immorality or covetousness be mentioned among us (Ephesians 5:3). Still, that does not mean the people in these sins or practices are irredeemable. Therefore we shouldn’t be violent to people in the LGBTQ community because they are redeemable through God’s grace (1 Corinthians 10:13). So long as they are alive, there is hope, and with God’s love, patience and wisdom, we can approach them with the gospel to restore their souls (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Remember that even the Apostle Paul was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent person turned into a very committed Christian (1 Timothy 1:12-17). But the question remains: how are we to hate evil and still be loving to those who practise sin?
Love and Truth
Christians all through history have shown what I would call scandalous love. They have expressed their love to people who least deserve it. Christians are called to show love even to their persecutors, just as Christ did (1 Peter 2:21-23). He was whipped, spat on, and called names; as a lamb led to slaughter, they led him to Golgotha, where they nailed him and hung him on a cross like a common thief (John 19:1-37, Mark 14:53-65, 15:21-41). Yet on that cross, he prayed for all who reviled him, saying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing” (Luke 24:34). We see the same love Christ had for his persecutors in Stephen when he was being stoned. He, too, prayed for the mercy and forgiveness of those who were killing him (Acts 7:59-60). How much more are we to view other sinners, even those who are in the LGBTQ community, with love and grace?
As much as the LGBTQ community is sinning against God and promoting and recruiting people into their evil practices (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 1 Timothy 1:8-11, Romans 1:26-27), we should remember that as long as they are alive, God is full of mercy and grace to save them from their sins (Proverbs 28:13). It is not our place to declare them irredeemable. Instead, we are to be gracious as we share the truth from Scripture with them (2 Corinthians 5:18-21). How was Jesus able to confront the Samaritan woman’s sin and simultaneously share the Gospel with her? It was evident that she had lived a sexually promiscuous life. But after her encounter with Jesus and the forgiveness of her sins, she became bold and went to the city of Samaria and told everyone about Christ (John 4:29).
We should learn from our Lord. Even though he never compromised on the truth, he still lovingly called out sin and gave restoration. Jesus knew the Samaritan woman personally and didn’t go on and on about her sin or its horror. There is a lesson for us here. That is what the gospel of Jesus is about. The gospel doesn’t look to water down sin and its effect, yet simultaneously shows grace and mercy. We are all to share the truth, but we must do so in love (Ephesians 4:15). God demonstrated his love for us that while we were sinners, Christ died on the cross for our sake, according to Romans 5:8. This verse teaches us that God calls people sinners, yet he still loves them and has a good message for them. We must in wisdom, do the same as God in Romans 5:8 to those practicing an LGBTQ lifestyle. Note that this is done without violence. So before you reach out to the LGBTQ community, ensure that you genuinely love them. Be moved with love more than correctness, for love rejoices in righteousness (1 Corinthians 13:6).
Care for the Abused
The first-century Christians were known for their love towards one another and for caring for those not of their fold. Upon his death, Emperor Diocletian, who had persecuted Christians all his life, asked for Christians to come and pray for him on his deathbed, and they did. As much as he was the worst enemy of the Christian faith then, Christians cared for him.
Christ well defines a neighbour in the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37). The Samaritan, unlike the Pharisee (scholar of the religion) and the priest (a religious leader) who neglected the man in need, took this beaten and robbed man, cared for and provided for his needs. Likewise, anyone in the LGBTQ community who suffers abuse and violence is in need, and we should be the first to show them love and even protect them where possible from any harm. Despite their glaring sin, Christians must still seek to show them love and not violence and allow God by his Spirit to work in their hearts, for nothing is impossible with God (Luke 18:27).
In conclusion, Christians also should speak up and defend any LGBTQ person that is experiencing violence because they’re made in the image of God. But Christians should also call them to leave their sin and follow Jesus. This is exactly what Jesus did with the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11). She was going to experience the violent treatment of being stoned to death for her sexual sin, yet Jesus protected her and then said to her in a private moment, go and sin no more (John 8:11). Let us follow Jesus’ example.