June 9th, 2023

This devotional is going to be a little different and I feel strongly enough about it to tackle it head-on. Last week began pride month for those in the LBGTQA+ community. Since then, I’ve seen a lot of Christians make disparaging remarks about the community as a whole based on broad generalizations and stereotypes. In the below verses, you’ll see how God defines love, who he tells us to love, and the limits of that love. Hint, there are no limits.

What is love?

1 Corinthians 13:1-8 CSB – If I speak human or angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give away all my possessions, and if I give over my body in order to boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends…

1 John 4:16-29 CSB – And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him. In this, love is made complete with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because as he is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears is not complete in love. We love because he first loved us…

Colossians 3:12–14 CSB – Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive. Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

Who are we to love?

  • The Lord your God
  • Your neighbor.
  • The hungry.
  • The thirsty.
  • The stranger.
  • The naked.
  • The sick.
  • The prisoner.
  • One another.
  • The widow.
  • The fatherless (orphan).
  • The resident alien (immigrant).
  • The poor.

Matthew 22:36-39 CSB – “Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.

Matthew 25:35-40 CSB – “‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me; I was in prison and you visited me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and take you in, or without clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick, or in prison, and visit you?’ “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Zechariah 7:8-10 CSB – The word of the Lord came to Zechariah: “The Lord of Armies says this: ‘Make fair decisions. Show faithful love and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the resident alien or the poor, and do not plot evil in your hearts against one another.’

I have several friends in the LBGTQA+ community and as our friendships have developed over the years, they have gained enough trust in me as a person, by how I treat them, to be open to me witnessing Christ into their lives. A seed has been planted that otherwise wouldn’t be there. It wasn’t always this way for me. The church I was raised in was pretty harsh towards the LBGTQA+ community and the result was I had the same attitude as I grew into an adult. The person that changed my view was a man named Terry Morrison. I worked with Terry at my first IT job. When I met him, he was in a relationship with a woman, was a Christian, and became a great friend and mentor to me. At some point, his relationship failed, and one day he announced that he was gay.

My shields were immediately up and the attitude of my church overrode my previous personal feelings towards Terry. I began to treat him less than human and our friendship failed. A few months after that, due to some construction, Terry and I were placed into a windowless office by ourselves. I immediately complained to HR because I didn’t want to be in the same room alone with Terry because I didn’t agree with his lifestyle and I knew that it would make me uncomfortable. Do you know what happened? HR told me to suck it up.

At first, things were really hard. Terry was uncomfortable, I was uncomfortable, and that was that. After a month or so of not really talking to each other, Terry broke the ice by cracking a stupid IT joke. We both laughed and it was like the pane of glass between us shattered. Terry had chosen the path of love and wanted to repair a friendship that I broke because of my judgment of him. It was a humbling moment for me. Over time, while I still didn’t understand his lifestyle, I realized that Terry was still Terry. He was still the great friend and mentor that I met years prior. He has since passed on, but I’ll never forget him.

I say all of that, to say this. Whatever a person’s situation or lifestyle or belief system is, I choose to love them. “But the Bible says this or that or whatever…” At the end of the day, loving people is the most important thing. God commands us to do it. When you focus on loving the person first, all that other stuff tends to become less important. Love the person, the whole person, and you’ll show them a visage of Christ.