If we love God and our neighbor then we must share the truths that God has revealed in our lives. We are called to tell others of our struggles and our victories. We have a Christian duty to challenge our brothers and sisters in the Church who have lost their convictions. Loving our brothers in Christ does not mean not burdening them with our sexual struggles--it means confronting them with their own fears and prejudices. Love implies relationship, dialogue and real effort. When I told other Christians of my attraction to boys, I had to love them enough to be patient with their questions, and they had to trust God enough to know that I would answer them honestly.
     However, I think we need to guard against playing the victim in this drama. We shouldn't let ourselves fall into a mindset where we become "the persecuted." God has given us this great gift, this vision to see the world with different eyes. We are to use this gift to lift up others who are on the fringes of Christianity. As God gives us strength to grow and share our journeys, I believe that he will use us to help the Church discover how better to love, with God's help.

     "You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men."
     "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."

--Matthew 5:13-16

     Questions of Christian ethics must be asked and replied to in the context of this love and grace. I do not understand the people who would ignore the premarital sex and condemn the homosexual. I can't understand the wealthy person who would sincerely consider sins of sexual conduct to be more significant than his choice to not share with his brothers and sisters in need. I am not able to ignore the BLs at CBF when they imply that they are more holy, more deserving or more moral than the BLs elsewhere.
     I am a Christian. I choose to follow Christ. I do not follow Him because I am scared of Hell. I do not follow Him because I want to be a good person. I do not follow Him so that others will think I am an upstanding Christian. I follow Christ because I love Him. I obey God's will for my life out of love. It is
I who chose Him, after He chose me. And in this love affair, I want to do everything His way. There is no place for fear in this paradigm.

     For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

--2 Timothy 1:7

     I told a non-Christian friend of mine that I agreed that Christians are judgmental. And that "love the sinner, hate the sin" is exactly that--an act of judgment. Hating sin is not so much for God, as for ourselves. We must hate the sin, because we are fearful that our faith is not strong enough to withstand it. If we were full of love, we would not fear temptation. As I said at the beginning of this missive, we are in a broken world, and we are a broken people. Temptation is real. But with God in our lives, we should be able to cast out fear, and embrace love. We should be able to truly love the sinner, who is our neighbor and ourselves, and that sin will have no hold on us. And so when we judge, we let ourselves become distant from God, and we no longer feel His love.
     I was asked by another Christian BL, "If I decide that another person's opinion, whether he be Christian or non-Christian, is not consistent with God's teaching, am I not judging him? Even if I don't ask or expect him to live by that standard because he is not a Christian, am I not still passing judgment? But if I were to not state my position, thereby not offending anyone with my beliefs (or judgments?), I would not be true to my own beliefs, and would actually be lying if I let him believe I didn't think anything was wrong with his beliefs or actions."
     This is a paradoxical tension. I use the word "paradox" because when I read the Scriptures I find this kind of juxtaposition coming into play in more than one place. Christ was offensive. He absolutely went against the religious authorities and practices of his day. To suggest that love equals inoffensiveness is not consistent with my reading of the Gospels. I think that if my reference is love, then I am working in a "positive frame of reference." We seek to be truthful with our brothers in Christ because we feel a barrier when we are not able to share our full personhood. How did Christ make his "standards" known? It seems to me that Jesus' and Paul's styles were quite different in this sense. It is a contrast that I am seeking to resolve in my own journey.

     So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

--1 Corinthians 10:31

     To help us deal with this tension, I think it's helpful to ask, "Does this action bring glory to God?"  In my own journey, telling fellow Christians of my attraction to boys made a positive difference in my life, and theirs. Other BLs may not have that experience. I know of some BLs that shouldn't share about their attraction in their church context, and I have no problems with that.
     In the same way, if we are participating in BL communities that are not necessarily Christian, we should meditate on our reasons for participating, and what we hope to achieve, and whether these goals are bringing glory to God. There is much work to do--many of our brethren are searching and longing for meaningful lives.

     Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you--who are you to judge your neighbor?

--James 4:11-12

     Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.

--1 John 3:13-14

     Keep the Law--love Your neighbor. This is the Gospel of Christ.

John Bach has worked for church agencies in projects related to youth groups, street youth, refugees, and international youth exchange programs.


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© 2002 Paraklesis

Email:  paraklesis@cblf.org