America in 2016 is vastly different than America in 1950 in regards to the LGBT community. The Supreme Court has legalized same-sex marriage. The White House has issued a warning for all schools to allow students the use of the bathroom with which they personally identify in efforts to create a more comfortable environment for transgender people. Spousal insurance coverage and bathroom rights—both previously irrelevant—are now polarizing issues in our country. Instead of seeing this highlighted community as a problem or an agenda, I challenge you to see them through Christ’s eyes and reach them with Christ’s heart.
I want to change the question, “How do I witness to a homosexual or a transgender?” If we’re seeking Christ’s eyes and Christ’s heart, is a homosexual person or a transgender person any more separated from God by his sin than a prideful person or a person who consistently has cruel thoughts or a person who’s known for being selfish? Why do we put the sins of one person above those of another? Yes, the LGBT lifestyle is sin. Passages such as Romans 1:26-27 clearly declares it so. But every other action, thought, or attitude that falls short of God’s perfect standard is also sin. Christ rebuked the Pharisees and scribes of His day for having a self-righteous attitude. He explained that sin comes from the heart: “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornication, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matthew 15:19). Jesus Christ, the very Son of God, lists evil thoughts in the same breath he mentions murders and fornication. This is a valuable lesson for us today.
Sin is sin. When it comes to witnessing to anyone in the LGBT community, you approach that person the same way you would approach anyone else. There are three things a person—any person—must understand in order to comprehend the salvation message:
First, one must understand that he is a sinner who has broken God’s commandments. One person sins in one way and another person sins in another way, but we all sin: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The penalty for that sin is eternal separation from God.
One must then understand substitution in that someone else took the punishment in his place. That person was the altogether perfect Son of God. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God punished Christ where He should have punished us. The third day He rose again, proving that He had conquered sin and the grave.
Next, one must understand the need to receive by faith what Christ has done by trusting Christ as the one and only way to heaven. One of the simplest statements Christ ever made was in John 6:47: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.” The moment we trust Christ alone as our only way to heaven, God gives us eternal life as a free gift.
So sin, substitution, and faith are the three things that every sinner—homosexual, transgender, or otherwise—needs to understand. All three need to be explained with grace and truth to anyone anywhere.
Once they trust Christ, we as believers need to begin discipling them with the care and concern a nursing mother gives to a baby and a father gives to his son (1 Thessalonians 2:7–11). As the Holy Spirit works in their lives, God will show them the need to refuse sin and pursue righteous living. Only through the power of the Holy Spirit do we grow as Christians. Through Him alone, we are able to break free of the cords of sin: the homosexual lifestyle, the transgender lifestyle, unkind thoughts, greed, selfishness, alcoholism or whatever sin it is that has consistently marked our lives. Praise God that He still reigns as the Redeemer!