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First Thoughts

How To Help Your LGBTQ Friend

If you are an evangelical Christian, the odds are that you know someone in the LGBTQ+ community. If you don’t, you will. 20% of Gen Z identifies as something other than heterosexual.

Pretty soon, you will meet someone who has a partner of the same sex or “identifies” as something other than their biological sex.

What do you need to know as you minister to your friend?

This can be an overwhelming question if you are a Christian who believes the Bible. That is because two things are crystal clear: (1) the Bible teaches that the LGBTQ+ lifestyle is sinful and destructive, and (2) our culture is deeply hostile to anyone who would embrace what the Bible teaches.

That means you are going to get into some tense moments if you are a Christian seeking to be faithful to Jesus during these times.

There is much we could say that would be helpful to understand, but there is only one thing you must understand if you are going to engage with your LGBTQ+ neighbor on these tense topics with truth and love.

You need to know what a human being is.

What Is a Human Being?

The Bible teaches that human beings are created by God in his image as male and female to glorify him, and they are pervasively sinful and must be redeemed.

OK, that is a packed sentence. Let me unpack it and explain why it’s so crucial for you to understand as you engage with your LGBTQ+ friend on these issues.

Human Beings Are Created.

The Bible teaches a stunning and transformative truth about human beings: they are created. Look at the first four words of Genesis 1:27:

“So God created man….”

The implications of this simple truth are explosive in our cultural confusion. If human beings have a Creator, it means he is the one with the authority to define who we are, and we do not. We do not get to decide, fundamentally, who we are, or the nature of truth or reality. Instead, who we are is revealed to us in creation. We will either accept this or suppress it (Romams 1:18).

But that’s not all.

Human Beings Are Image Bearers.

The implications of this simple truth continue to unfurl. God does not simply define us by creating us; he also gets personally involved with us by giving us an identity. Look at the next words of Genesis 1:27:

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

If what God says is true (and it is!), then being a human being means being the image of God as male and female. This means our identity comes from God, not ourselves. My deepest feelings and longings, as real as they are, are not my identity. My identity is not found in myself. My identity is found in God.

This is controversial, yes. But it is also absolutely precious and beautiful.

This means that every human person is precious because they are made in God’s image. It means that God loves every individual human being and has given them an extraordinary purpose to glorify him. It means that both men and women are created by God with a fundamental equality and a glorious capacity to glorify him.

God gives us our identity.

But what if my deepest feelings contradict my God-given identity?

Human Beings Are Pervasively Sinful.

By now, you probably see how different the world of the Bible is from our culture.

The Bible says we have a Creator who authoritatively defines us. Our culture says that we can define ourselves based on our own experiences and desires.

The Bible says we have a specific identity as those created in God’s image to glorify him. Our culture says that our identity is a fluid thing that can change based on the experience of our desires and feelings.

But how does the Bible explain what we see in our culture? Isn’t it true that many people experience gender dysphoria and same-sex attraction? How can this happen if what God said is true? If God has designed us, it seems like human beings aren’t operating according to that design.

That is exactly what the Bible teaches.

The Bible teaches that after God created human beings and gave them their identity and purpose to glorify him as male and female, we rebelled against him and rejected his authority. Since that moment, sin has corrupted us pervasively – in every way.

Sin now corrupts our minds. This is how Paul explains it in Ephesians 4:18:

They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.”

Did you see that? By nature, human beings are darkened in mind. We are ignorant. We are hard-hearted. This means that we don’t think about life according to God’s design. Paul says in Romans 1 that we look on God’s design in what he created, and we suppress what we see and live in rebellion to it.

This is the answer the Bible gives for why people experience transgender feelings. It’s the answer the Bible gives for why people pursue a homosexual lifestyle. Sin has pervasively impacted human beings, and as a result, we rebel against God’s design.

Conclusion: We Must be Redeemed

This is why the last part of our definition is so important: humans must be redeemed.

The Bible teaches that freedom for human beings is not found in rebelling against God’s design to live according to our sinful desires. Instead, the Bible teaches that freedom from sin’s pervasive effects is found in trusting the only perfect human being: Jesus Christ.

This is what we have to offer our LGBTQ+ friends: hope through Jesus.

Yes, the Bible teaches that we are born with a corrupt mind that thinks and feels sinfully. But it also teaches that it is possible for people to be “renewed in the spirit of [our] minds” and to put on a “new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:23-24).

Through repentance and faith in Jesus – we can experience real transformation on the inside. Our LGBTQ+ friends can experience desires that align with righteousness and holiness.

Our culture is telling us that freedom and hope are found outside of God by reinventing and redefining our world apart from him. But it’s a lie. It’s found in Him.

The only way we can be free from the condemnation and guilt that we deserve for suppressing God’s truth revealed to us in his creation is found in Jesus Christ. He died on the cross to absorb our judgment so that there would be no condemnation left for us (Romans 8:1).

And the only way to experience freedom from the painful impact of this sin-cursed world on our bodies is found in Jesus Christ, who resurrected from the dead to set this world free from its bondage to corruption so that we would experience this dazzling reality called the “freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:22).

We have a great hope to offer our LGBTQ+ friends, and it starts with the answer to a very simple question with a glorious answer: what is a human being?

Human beings are created by God in his image as male and female to glorify him, and they are pervasively sinful and must be redeemed.

Spencer Harmon is the Nocatee Campus Pastor. He is the co-author of three books: Letters to a Romantic: On DatingLetters to a Romantic: On Marriage, and Letters to a Romantic: The First Years.

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