Witnessing to Homosexuals
(Editorial cartoon by Nick Anderson)
Homosexuality is a hot topic these days, and emotions run deep on both sides. Christians and gays each see the other as the enemy in the culture war, and unfortunately many homosexuals would see the above cartoon not as a caricature, but as a dead-on accurate portrayal.
So how do we Christians go about winning these "enemies" to Jesus?
First, we do what Jesus commanded and love our enemies. Not the mushy kind of love that says "live and let live", but the tough love that balances hard truth with gentle humility ("clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." -Colossians 3:12). At the very least that means treating homosexuals with respect and simply listening to what they have to say, even if we strongly disagree. In the few encounters I've had with homosexuals, as soon as the conversation turns to religion you could cut the tension with a knife. In order to have a chance at being heard, I need to bend over backwards to be polite and friendly and show a genuine interest in understanding their point of view--even if it is dead wrong.
Second, listen sincerely but don't get roped into a debate about homosexuality. Avoid it like the plague. They will be ready with gloves on. Instead, remember that their urgent need for salvation is much bigger than just that one individual sin. There are still nine other commandments that they are guilty of breaking. Focus on them and set homosexuality aside. Help them to understand that they need a Savior not because they are homosexuals, but because they are sinners (as we all are). The ground is level at the cross.
Third, remember that while it may be our job to catch the fish, it is the Holy Spirit's job to clean them. We don't get our lives straightened out first and then come to Jesus. Rather, we come to him as humble and broken sinners and then He starts the life-long process of growing us in holiness. This may mean starting with the small sins (i.e. lying and swearing) and then working up to the bigger sins (i.e. homosexuality). I know of former homosexuals who still struggled with the gay lifestyle for several years after coming to Christ before they finally found freedom.
There are no simple answers or silver bullets. But these tips can help to keep a highly charged situation from blowing up in your face.