When it comes to many issues our country is facing today, the Church MUST be talking about them and encouraging Christian's on how to respond. For me personally, I believe that we are misdefining some verbiage that is being used, causing much misunderstanding. And we all know that when we misdefine something, we mishandle it.
If we misdefine something, we mishandle it
People are saying that Christians need to accept another’s chosen lifestyle, even if it is sinful. It is even being thrust onto us, becoming very visible, and yet Christians would not, nor would it be allowed for us to, try to force our lifestyle on society, in this same way. It is a double standard for certain.
Let’s talk about this word “accept”. The word “accept” is in the Old Testament a good bit, but is only used one time in the New Testament in Acts 24:3 where disciples were receiving provision from a man named Felix, and they were thanking him. That word “accept” means “to take or gladly welcome something that is offered”. It was offering thanks for a physical provision that they received. This word has nothing to do with being okay with a lifestyle that is clearly opposite of God’s desire and plan for His created.
Many believe that the Scripture in Romans 15:7 that says, “Accept one another” means that we are to take in and gladly welcome the ideologies and thus, the lifestyle of others. I’ve heard so many say, “We just need to accept them.”
Biblically, the original word in Romans 15;7 is not the word, "accept" but is the word “Receive” ; it means “to take in as friendship; to take one by the hand in order to lead and to offer kindness”. It is a loving command of God, that encourages us to lovingly “receive” everyone.
Based on this, God calls us to lovingly receive people in friendship for the purposes of offering them the loving kindness of God. And guess what? The Bible says in Romans 2:4 that it is the loving kindness of God that brings people to repentance.
So we are to receive people, even when they have chosen a lifestyle that we disagree with or even when they have chosen to act in ways that we believe are sinful and harming to them. However, we can love them and receive them without accepting nor agreeing with their choice of lifestyle.
We can love and receive others without accepting nor agreeing with their choice of lifestyle.
But this leads us to another word. The word is “tolerance”. This word is getting thrown around like the “flying rolls” at Landry’s (home of the flying rolls…they throw rolls to you). The word “tolerance” means “to allow the existence, presence, practice, or act of without prohibition or hindrance; permit.” It is more than just “to put up with.”
However, when the Bible uses “tolerance”, it actually means “self-restraint”. God is holding His wrath back from destroying those who choose to live outside of His plan.
So back to the Romans 2:4 verse; it says “Or do you hate the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” In other words, God has shown you His goodness (kindness), His forbearance (self-restraint), and His long suffering (patience) in hopes that it would lead you to repent; to turn away from your current way of living and live in the way He designed you to live. His way is the only way that you will ever truly be happy, fulfilled, and free!
I don’t have to accept your lifestyle. You get to choose your lifestyle, just like I get to choose mine. I can respect your choice while still believing it is an unhealthy and sinful one. And I can love you as God’s wondrous creation, while still fully believing that you are using your body in ways God never intended for you. It is not who you are. It’s not.
So I can receive you, I can love you, but I cannot accept, as in welcome, your lifestyle; you see, there is a separation between you as a person and your lifestyle choices. I can receive you and love you without accepting your lifestyle choice nor tolerating, as in allowing, you to force your lifestyle choices on me.
Yet there is a leap that has been made that if you don't agree with or even speak against same sex/transgender lifestyles that that automatically means you hate them as a person. That is just not the truth.
Isn’t this what you expect from Christians? To
live our lives quietly? You don’t want to accept my lifestyle choice to follow Jesus and you don’t want me to force you to have to align with my beliefs. The question is: can you love me and receive me, even in those differences?
You can’t have one set of rules for yourself and have a different set for those who differ from you.
So to the LGBTQ+, I want you to know that Christian’s love you as one who God lovingly created. We will receive you and show you kindness. But we cannot welcome nor allow your lifestyle choices to be forced upon us and our children and grandchildren.
Christian friends, I believe this is where we land: we love as Christ loves, and we receive, with the opportunity to show kindness to them and to lead them to Jesus. But we do not accept nor do we tolerate the sinful, unhealthy, and unnatural lifestyles that do not align with God’s plan for His created. And we must let our voices be heard about the blatant disregard for protecting the innocence of our children, because God expects us to take care of our children.
I believe this is our response to the LGBTQ+ people. We are responsible. Which means "response able"; we must be able to respond in a God-honoring way. I believe this is our most loving response, and we must choose to live this way. All of us.
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