In part one I reflected on a scripture from 2 Corinthians Chapter 1 where we lean how God is the God of All Comfort. I belive that it’s part of our commission as the church to reach out and comfort those who are hurting. Specifically I belive that those with same-sex attractions as well as the self-identified Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) community, should able to come to the church for comforting and healing.
Now I’m looking again at God’s message of Hope to all people. It’s a message that reminds us that if we use our free-will to choose HIS WAYS that there is hope for these hopelessly human lives that we now live. I’m challenging us as the Chruch to find ways to open God’s real-life love to people who live in our current soceity.
This is God’s message to his people concerning those who choose to come to Him:
“Make sure no outsider who now follows GOD ever has occasion to say, “GOD put me in second-class. I don’t really belong.’ And make sure no physically mutilated person is ever made to think, “I’m damaged goods. I don’t really belong.'” (Isaiah 56:3 The Message)
God who looks out for everyone addresses those who are already ‘his people’… this could be looked at as the Church today. He wants the ‘outsider’ not to feel like ‘an outsider’ when they are among us. I’m not saying that this is an easy task. But who is going to minister to the mutilated? So often we talk about people with tatoos, with extreme piercings, and even the transgendered… and we do so with such disgust… but how will we make them feel that they could ever have a place in the church? Some changes are permanant– they are mutilated if you will (for the sake of the scripture). But God says that these too should be made to feel they belong.
I’m challenging myself to ask these hard questions because it forces me to confront myself in how I view people.
In my previous post, some were concerned about the issue of repentance. I believe it’s clear that God does call all of humanity to repent, to turn away from sin… this is a process that is prompted in our hearts by God, but we RESPOND to him with our decisions.
For GOD says: “To the mutilated who keep my Sabbaths and choose what delights me and keep a firm grip on my covenant…” (Isaiah 56:4 The Message) (Emphasis Added)
Yes, we can choose how we RESPOND to our feelings and desires… EVEN if we didn’t choose to have those desires or feelings. This isn’t the old message that has been echoed by many of condemnation and rejection. God is welcoming all people to himself… it’s my prayer that we join in the grand welcoming party in our churches and figure out make that real in our ministries.
I’ll bring them to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. They’ll be welcome to worship the same as the “insiders,’ to bring burnt offerings and sacrifices to my altar. Oh yes, my house of worship will be known as a house of prayer for all people.” (Isaiah 56:7) (Emphasis Added)
People are hurting and rejected in the very place where they should be healed and accepted. As the Church, we must move beyond REACTIONS to the GLBT demands in the political and social marketplaces, and begin to RESPOND in a way that will welcome people to reconcile their relationships with God and with others. It is in relationship with God that I belive we find deliverance and change — as God works this out in our lives… in his own timing. Who could convince you better than God if your sexuality is being expressed in its ideal form? In openness, honesty, and freedom we find out that God’s grace really is sufficient and that we can become all that God desires for us.
This is a beatuful passage of scripture, please read Isaiah 56 at BibleGateway.com
Again, the comments section is open to thoughtful comments and questions — if you agree or disagree, your views are welcome! I’m working out my salvation… join me in my journey- we can learn something together!
Saturday March 11, 2006 – 12:55am (CST)