6/1/16 Lamar about 20
While fueling up at a gas station I began a Gospel conversation with a young man named Lamar was surprisingly candid when I asked him about his beliefs in life after death. He said "I'm really not sure if I would go to heaven, because I'm gay. I've recently started to think about that and look into it and to read the Bible."
Wow. I wanted to help him on his journey without under-emphasizing God's holiness or overemphasizing a particular sin. I asked Lamar if we could put the issue of homosexuality on the back-burner for a minute. "Other than that issue, how do you think God would judge you, what would be His standard?" I used some of the Ten Commandments to help him see that he has lied, stolen, and disrespected God's name at times, and is a sinner in need of forgiveness just like anyone else. I explained how that forgiveness is found in Christ through the kind of faith that includes repentance.
After we talked about that a while, I returned to the issue of homosexuality. "I think the reason so many Christians seem to fixate on homosexuality more than other sins is that as a lifestyle it doesn't leave any room for repentance. I'd like to say that if I had same-sex desires I would choose to be abstinent. But I realize that's easy for me to say because I don't struggle with those desires. I know it’s a struggle for you, and it’s a struggle for me to know what to tell you. But don't give up pursuing a right relationship with God, He really does love you so much he gave His Son for you."
I usually carry with me follow-up literature appropriate for most of the wide variety of people I talk to. The closest thing I had for Lamar was a pamphlet entitled "Why Does a Loving God Allow Suffering?" For those who are sincerely struggling with same-sex desires, and I believe Lamar's struggle is sincere, I think there are some connections to be made with the question of suffering, and there is a real need for kindness and compassion as we reach out with the Gospel.