If you have any compassion or love for hurting people — let alone kids — you won’t be able to watch this video without tearing up. Watching it made me think about what is the Christian message for this kid. As I thought about it, I realized that the churches (and here, I am referring to the traditionalist, evangelical church) response probably sounds radically different than Jesus’ response.
Here is the video, followed by the responses:
THE CHURCH’S RESPONSE:
“We love you. But we cannot accept you as you are. We must speak grace and truth to you. And the truth is that you are inherently flawed because you are attracted sexually and emotionally to other boys. These desires that you feel are unnatural and an abomination unto God. If you persist in this lifestyle, the Bible says you will not inherit the Kingdom of God… you will not be saved. But we believe you can — and must change. And if you change, you can experience the fullness of God in your life. And if you don’t change your desires, as long as you live a celibate life, we will welcome you into our community. We hope you don’t identify as gay… and that you are careful who you share your issue with, but you will always be welcome. There may be some leadership positions not open to you, and if you choose not to change or embrace celibacy, at some point we may need to ask you to leave in order to keep our community pure. But never forget we love you as Christ loves you. And we hope you will come to our church!”
“I am so sorry, my son. I am sorry that you have gone through what you have gone through. I am sorry for the way that others have treated you. And I am so sorry that you have struggled to love yourself as I love you. I love you more than you could ever know. I knit you together in your mother’s womb and I have known you since your were simply an idea in my mind. I love you as much as I possibly could — there is nothing you can do to make me love you more or cause me to love you less. I love you as you are. Period. Come to me, for you are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. I have not come to accuse or condemn, but to love and to save. I have come that you might have life and have it to the full… the full and abundant life. Know that nothing can ever seperate you from my love… neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate you from the love I have for you. So come follow me and I will give you a new purpose, a new perspective and a new joy. You are mine and I am yours… and the banner over you is love.”
The first response is not good news, it is not the gospel. It is counterfeit gospel. It is not grace with truth, it is graceless and truthless. It is religiosity masking as Christianity. It is fake and deadly and the enemy of the real gospel message and the real Word of God, who is Jesus.
The second response is pure gospel — good news. And I am glad I am a member of a church that has embraced the message of Jesus… even when criticized and attacked for it.