He was massaging my scalp and crooning a love song, twirling just a little in his high heels. My hairdresser, that is. Hot numbers from the karaoke all-time favourites list are his specialty. To make conversation I asked if he had ever performed in public (I meant outside of the hair salon). He confessed that he had considered showcasing his vocal talents at a popular local nightclub but was a bit embarrassed to take the plunge. I asked him why. The answer took me by surprise: “Well, I sound too much like a straight guy.” Gay pride clashing with down-to-earth reality—that was food for thought outside my everyday fare of “straight” assumptions.
In recent years my path has frequently crossed with gay guys–guys who enjoy makeup and tight clothes (on themselves), guys who openly flaunt their sexuality to other guys, and guys who seem ambivalent about their identity, sexual or otherwise. Some of them disdain me, a pastor’s wife, but some have become good friends. Some even enthusiastically attend events at our church. Until I had the opportunity to interact personally with some intriguing gay men, I always thought about homosexuality as something “out there”, something only to teach about from Romans 1 and Genesis 19, and definitely to be avoided or even shunned in public.
However, getting to know homosexuals on a friendship level has stirred my thinking about the spiritual needs of this subculture. I have been accustomed to being with people who respond to the sight of a homosexual by mockingly mimicking his effeminate gestures or cracking an in-joke. Could those reactions be motivated by fear? Or by ignorance? Shouldn’t we be motivated by the love of Christ for those who have never known that love? The truth is that whatever our sin, we are each desperately in need of Jesus to give us new life and new hope. Just because a guy (or girl) struggles with a sexual sin that the Bible soundly condemns does not mean that the person is unable to receive grace. On the contrary, isn’t a person who is bound by a life-dominating sin positioned perfectly to experience the boundless grace and mercy of God?
Homosexuals need our compassion not our condemnation. Condemnation they already have like everyone else who does not “obey the Son” (John 3:36). The gospel is for them just as it is for you and me. How do you react when you realise your waiter or your coworker or your son is gay? What are you doing to connect him (or her) with the love and mercy of God in Jesus Christ? I’d love to hear your ideas on how to overcome “gay” discomfort with the compassion and gospel of the Lord.