So, the other day I headed out to the bank and then to the drug store and post office to do some messages and catch up a bit on some office work. It is summer here and so I attempt to spend more time outdoors gardening and reading. But, the weather was a bit on the cool side so I decided to do some necessary running around. I did, later in the day, have time to just sit and read in front of the fire pit in the side yard. But I digress.
As I entered the bank I was faced with – it was rather loud and obvious so confronted by – a huge presentation celebrating the diversity we have in Canada and focused on Pride month. June has been designated the month where we recognize this segment of our national population. June has been designated Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride month. Then, entering the drug store there were large posters pointing to this month’s special focus and special sales, of course. And, again, at the post office.
I am not against having a month to draw attention to all the issues within society regarding this segment of the population. And, I think it is good to come to know the history behind the movement and discover all the less-than-humane treatment that this group has suffered at the hands of general society. I believe, as well, that we need to take a look at how the Church in general has treated those who are part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer community. We don’t have a very good track record either historically nor in the recent past. In some cases, even today they are not understood or treated in a loving manner by the Church.
Some segments of the Church have elevated this lifestyle – and the Bible does consider it behaviour that is not in line with God’s plan – to the category of major sin. It is the sin that the Church is targeting, emphasizing, and condemning. However, I believe that it is simply one of many sins and that in God’s eyes all sins are equal (James 2:10). So, homosexuality is no worse nor better than drunkenness, divorce, gossiping, abortion, or dishonouring your parents. Yet, we have elevated this one specific sin to a special place and taken aim at it while ignoring many of the other sins very evident and rampant in the Church and in society.
I believe that Jesus loves sinners. And so should we. I believe that Jesus accepts sinners just as they are because He knows that if they begin to walk with Him that He will change them. We should accept them as well – unconditionally. I believe that Jesus forgives all sins (except blaspheming the Holy Spirit) regardless of the gravity of the sin or what the sinner is involved in. He loves unconditionally, He accepts us just as we are, and He forgives us totally.
That is what I call The LAF Principle. And, we would do well to remember that this is how God treated each one of us who call ourselves believers. And, that Jesus expects us to do unto others what He has done unto us. We are to treat others in the same manner that He has treated us. If we were to actually do this we would embrace all sinners and simply love, accept, and forgive them. We would not separate one sin and make it the BIG ONE for today. We would, as God obviously does, simply see sin as sin and love the sinner regardless of the sin.
This means we do not judge those who are in sin – recognizing the sin in our own life helps us not to judge others. We must not be critical of others and the lifestyles they choose to live. And, we must not reject them because Jesus died for them just as He died for us. We, the Church, must welcome all sinners and not fall into the traditional denominational tendency of having big and little sins – mortal and venial sins. Sin is sin and Jesus died for the forgiveness of all sin no matter how big or small, significant or insignificant we may consider them.
I am tired of the way we segregate people into “us and them.” We are all sinners and no matter what the sin is we are all saved by grace and faith. We must welcome all sinners without categorizing the sin and declaring one worse than another. Let’s learn how to love, accept, and forgive. And, in doing so, learn how to no longer judge, criticize, and reject.