The God of All Comfort

hummm….

Currently there is an uproar that our nation (and our world) is in right now when it comes to rights for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) people. I’m not even prepared to argue the pros and cons of the rights that they are fighting for: including Marriage, Hate-crime protection, and adoption rights; but I do want to address the topic from a standpoint that isn’t often heard:

What is the responsibility of the Church in regard to where things are today? Right now, much of the opposition for these changes in our laws and society is coming from Christian / Faith-based groups. However, I’m wondering if WE as the church are now reacting to the cries of GLBT people rather than responding the needs of hurting people that have been illigitimized and ignored for years.

What happens when we as the church DON’T comfort hurting people?

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. ” (NIV) 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Our God is the God of all comfort… as believers, he comforts us in all of the troubles of life… so that we can comfort others out of a personal understanding. I believe this to be a key part of our commission to the world… that we extend the love and comfort that God provides to a hurting people.

However, right or wrong, GLBT people have not been comforted (for the most part) by the church. Most of us have had the experience of ignoring something only to have it manifest in greater form later down the line. The fear, shame, and rejection that these people have faced in our society have forced them to organize, unite their individual power, and force their voices to be heard– by everyone.

It’s my belief that homosexuality stems from family and societal imbalances that as we grow up form in us a desire for the same sex. I believe that these are real and godly desires being expressed in ways that aren’t God’s intention for humanity. I believe that just as with anything else, we have a choice to act on those desires or not. But I also believe that finding healing and wholeness is a family and societal matter in much the same way that the issue originated.

When I read the Bible, I see God showing love and compassion for a hopelessly MESSED UP (read sinful) humanity… full of all kinds of situations that are less than his ideal for us. But just as we value our free-will, God upholds this gift in us but still gives us the option (through Jesus) to choose a different path– one leading to the original design. In his justice, he pays the price for sin through Jesus, and in his love he redeems us to our original design – the abundant, God-shaped life.

My hope right now is that we as the church take on the commission of compassion … that we be vigilant in offering hope and resources for two under-served groups: 1) Those who have same-sex desires, but believe change is possible or are seeking change and 2) for those who are self-identified as GLBT and are seeking to know Christ. I classify these groups differently even though some may fall into both categories. Jesus came to reconcile us to relationship with the Heavenly Father. If we’re going to stand in opposition of the rights that GLBT groups are fighting for, then we MUST provide alternatives and real support for those who these rights would benefit.

This isn’t a popular view-point, but it’s mine. One thing that I certainly have learned from the GLBT community is that it’s ok to be different and to speak your mind! (lol) So it’s my prayer that we begin to seriously consider how we can allow God to use us to reconcile relationships and restore people in the context of a society where GLBT isn’t going away anytime soon (at least not before Jesus’ return).

Agree or disagree, I hope to hear thoughtful response to any issues raised from this post. Thanks.

Friday March 10, 2006 – 01:23am (CST)

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