How should you treat practicing homosexuals who show up for your worship gathering?
Should you welcome two people who are practicing homosexuals into your church? That was the question a couple asked me a few years ago. They attended a large church and were a little surprised to see two ladies holding hands walking into the sanctuary before the morning worship service. The couple was concerned about where the church stood on the controversial issue and how they should handle the conversation with their kids.
The way you answer this question says a lot about your perspective on grace, the mission of the church, and the power of God. Some leaders might be tempted to give a knee-jerk reaction and say, “Not in my church—how can you mix a sinful lifestyle with a Holy God?” Other leaders on a different end of the spectrum might say, “God loves everyone, and we’re all sinners—so welcome them with open arms.”
I’d love to hear your take on it in the comment section below, but here’s my response to the touchy question.
The simple answer is, yes. I believe the church should be a welcoming environment for everyone who walks in the doors—no matter what background, sexual orientation, or standing in the community or culture. I do believe that the act of homosexuality is sin according to the Bible—just like jealousy, greed, lying, or adultery—but that shouldn’t stop us from extending the grace of Christ.
In fact, it might make it even more necessary.
I don’t think we should take sin lightly. I know there’s a lot of cultural baggage that comes with homosexuality, but I believe if we elevate one sin above the others we’re actually taking our own sin lightly.
It’s good to remember that all sinners start on a level playing field until the grace of God shows up in our lives.
What do I mean by “welcoming”?
I see it as the act of engaging someone with the grace and love of Jesus without strings attached. The opposite of welcoming might be to stay at a distance, give them the cold shoulder, or worse, to confront them for their sin before building a relationship.