In being adopted into a family whose race is different than my own, I have had some very unique experiences and challenges that only those who have also been in interracially adopted, in similar circumstances can understand.
In the same way, I have no doubt that there are certain things about you and your life that only those who've had similar experiences can understand and relate too.
When friends or family who have not been through what we have try to commiserate with us or give us advice concerning our experiences, they may mean well, but they ultimately fall short because of an empathy gap.
However, when we receive comfort or counsel from a godly man or woman who has been in our shoes it makes such a difference and serves as a great encouragement.
Switch gears to the issue of non-believers with same-sex attraction (SSA) .
Can you see, given my example, how a person with SSA would rebuff someone who tries to give them godly exhortations because of a lack of common ground?
Any attempt at evangelism seems shallow and is viewed with suspicion because of a lack of common ground.
This "empathy gap" between Christians without SSA and non-Christians with SSA is the first problem.
The second problem is also the solution.
Let me explain:
I think it is painstakingly clear that the best avenue by which to reach homosexuals with the gospel message and explain to them a Christian outlook on sexuality is by Christians who themselves have SSA and are living out the Christian life, either in chastity or in committed heterosexual relationships, by the grace and power of God.
They understand the hurts and the trials that those with SSA face and the freedom and liberty that Christ can bring to those who are enslaved by the homosexual lifestyle.
This, I think, is not a novel idea.
The problem is that the local body of believers, young and old, especially in the more conservative sectors of Christendom, (of which I love and am a part) have not made the local Body a safe place to tell their stories and "come out" as Christians with SSA.
Strange, insensitive, and often incorrect ideas regarding the precise nature of Christians who have SSA have created an environment that many with SSA in our churches find hostile and unwelcoming.
You can see the problem: what non-believing persons with SSA need (like everyone else) is the gospel, and those who are the most qualified to bring it to them are afraid to come out in our churches for fear of being treated like freaks or looked down upon or even cast out of our ranks.
Earlier, I said that the problem is also the solution:
When our preachers, elders, deacons, and "laity" make a conscious decision that their local churches will be places where our brother and sisters with SSA can thrive, grow, and contribute in areas related and unrelated to their attractions we can begin the process of reaping the harvest of unconverted homosexuals in our communities AND giving hope to young Christians with SSA who feel hopeless and are confused about their feelings
Essentially, when the Church begins acting like the Church we will see people coming to Christ as a result.
I'm thinking of doing another blog post on how we can begin to effect a positive change in this area, but in the meantime search your own heart and see what you should be doing better in order to to reach out to those in your church who may be struggling with SSA.