Witnessing to Homosexuals
How do you witness to homosexuals? The answer is, "Like anyone else," but perhaps for some that is an over simplification. Regardless, we can at least agree on two things. 1) The use of the law in witnessing does not change, and 2) The gospel does not change. As an aside, regardless of the person to whom I am witnessing, there is a particular format I utilize. It is simply, God as creator, God as judge, and God as redeemer. You can learn a bit more about that here. You can see an example of that here.
Years ago, my wife and I used to visit an area in San Diego, CA that was heavily populated by homosexuals. We made a routine visit to this area at least once per month to share the gospel. Personally, it was a rich time. I had some amazing conversations with those who embrace the homosexual lifestyle.
During that time, and since then, I have realized you have to be prepared to do two things while witnessing to some homosexuals. In part this was discussed in Rosaria Butterfield's book. Each of these things can tend to make you a bit uncomfortable, one more than the other.
In my experience, it almost never fails that homosexuals ask some version of the question, "Is my lifestyle sinful?" If you are reading this blog I hope we have the same answer; however, I am reminded of what my mother used to say, "It is not what you say but how you say it." You can respond with, "Of course it is! The Bible says..." or you can be more sensitive to the situation and brace, or prepare, that person for the answer so that you have a greater chance the conversation continues.
I have responded with the former enough only to know the conversation hardly remains after that point. Now, I say the same thing (yes, homosexuality is sin), but I attempt to prepare that individual for the answer by making a statement and asking a question prior to providing the answer. Borrowing from D.J. Kool, "It goes a little something like this."
"Is my homosexual lifestyle sinful?"
My response: "That is a good question to ask, and I intend to answer it, but you have to promise me that whatever my response we will still continue our conversation and even development a friendship afterward. Will you make that promise?" Depending on that person's response will dictate how I proceed in the conversation.
Some homosexuals have a hard time being your friend if they know you believe what they are doing is sinful. They cannot maintain that level of discontinuity in their relationships with others. Notice I said, "some." It is not all. Either way, I want to establish that we should not think less of each other, especially as image-bearers, though we do not have identical convictions.
The second area, which for some tops the charts with an astounding, "I will not do that," is one that I find extremely beneficial.
Invite them into your home.
Have you invited homosexuals into your home?
This probably raises all types of questions. "What if he brings his boyfriend?" "What if she uses inappropriate language?" "What if he wears inappropriate clothing?" They are sinners; what do you expect? Asking "What if" questions is the responsible thing to do, but often times it can lead you into doing nothing.
In my experience, homosexuals are not as terrifying as some sections of the media portray them. They bleed red like everyone else and they have a conscience. In fact, some homosexuals have told me that they know their lifestyle is wrong. They prefer to live this way because they enjoy it.
For some, inviting a homosexual into your home is much different than a heterosexual idolater or adulterer. For my family, it is not. By that, I do not mean to remotely infer that all sin is the same; however, my family has decided that we want to dine with sinners (i.e., unbelievers) of all stripes. In our home, drug dealers, prostitutes, homosexuals, bankers, professors, and homeless persons are all welcome. Or as one rapper put it, I want to hang out with the wild things.
Our children will grow up around all brand of sinners (i.e., unbelievers) in our home, but that is okay. Can it be dangerous? Should we be cautious? Yes! But in most cases, that caution has not stopped my family from befriending sinners and inviting them into our home in order to get to know them and share Christ with them.
Ministry is messy. All you have to do is read the Gospels. Based on my experience, if you are hospitable to homosexuals, like anyone else, that enables the potential for a friendship to develop and for conversations about the gospel to continue. This is what has worked for my family.
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