Many of us know someone who identifies as gay, lesbian or bisexual, whether a co-worker, neighbor, or friend. We are often asked, “How do I witness to this person?”
The answer is simple: The same way you share God’s truth with anyone else.
9 Helpful Guidelines
- See A Person, Not A Homosexual.
Your friend is a man or woman with complex fears, hopes and needs. Look beyond the “gay” or “lesbian” label to the whole person inside. Rather than seeing your friend as a homosexual, think of him or her as a person who struggles with sexual brokenness/sexual wholeness. Be willing to listen. Many of those involved in homosexuality have been wounded by well-meaning but ignorant Christians. Imagine attending a gay pride parade and hearing insults shouted by church people standing on the sidelines. Would you want to follow a God like the one they’re displaying? Or imagine attending church and hearing derogatory language from the pulpit. Would you want to develop relationships with those people?
- Be Patient And Forgiving.
Many men and women with same-sex attractions have been wounded — by family members, peers and sometimes by Christians. In response, they may develop a protective shell or push people away — anticipating future rejection. You may need extra grace, forbearance and persistence to build relationship with your friend.
- Don’t Over-Focus On Homosexuality.
The main issue is their relationship with God, not their sexuality. Of course our relationship with God includes our sexuality, but it isn’t the totality. Learn about the whole person, and remember that all people struggle with relationships, identity and sexuality. However they label themselves, view your friend as a man or woman made in the image of God, not as a “homosexual” or a “project.”
- Point Your Friend To Jesus, Not To Heterosexuality.
Women or men caught in homosexuality cannot change on their own; they need the power of Jesus Christ working in their lives before the change will occur. Often, they have little motivation to change until God opens their eyes to His truths. As He begins the healing work in them, He will highlight areas in their life which must be surrendered to Him.
- Don’t Expect To Know All The Answers.
You don’t have to become an expert on all aspects of homosexuality before you can be a godly influence on your gay loved one. When discussing the issue, it’s okay to say you don’t know, but you will find out and get back to them later. (Then do it!) God’s love working through you will change his or her mind, not winning an argument.
- Be Open About Your Own Needs And Struggles.
Jesus was able to begin developing a connection with the Samaritan woman at the well because He asked her for a drink. He needed something she could give — a drink of water. Then He could offer something even better back to her — living water.
- Give Hope For Something Better.
Be the bearer of good tidings, not just the announcement that a certain lifestyle is sinful. Talk about what God has done in your own life. That “something better” isn’t just forgiveness of sins (although that in itself is an unfathomable gift) — it’s following Jesus Christ, learning to be like Him, being filled with His Spirit, and a life eternal with the Father — a life that starts today, if they put their confidence in Christ.
- Healthy Same-Sex Relationships Are A Key For Growth And Healing. Certainly men can help lesbian-identified women, and women can help gay-identified men to leave homosexuality and follow Christ. But a great deal of growth and restoration will occur as men and women with same-sex attractions learn to develop healthy attachments and healthy boundaries.See, for example, Dr. Henry Cloud, Changes that Heal, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, rev., 2003).
Much of this will come through healthy same-sex mentors, counselors, encouragers and friends.See Anita Worthen and Bob Davies, Someone I Love Is Gay, ( Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), ch. 10.
- Pray (Pray, Pray)!
There are thousands of men and women — who used to identify as gay — who now bear testimony to the power of prayer and a loving witness for Christ in their lives.