Ugh. I’m sorry. That’s what I want to tell you. I have known you were gay for a very long time. I…
Joy to the world
As a follower of Christ, He is my ultimate authority on how to live and how to love. In today’s churches, it is often an overlooked reality that Jesus was an ally to marginalized communities. Throughout his ministry, Jesus consistently demonstrated love, compassion, and advocacy for those on the margins of society.
Do you remember the kitschy bracelets from the ’90s, W. W. J. D? What Would Jesus Do? We can glean insight from what he would do by looking at what he actually did.
Jesus intentionally sought and engaged with individuals who were marginalized and considered outcasts of society. He dined with tax collectors and sinners, healed the sick, touched the untouchables, and welcomed those who were rejected by others. Jesus demonstrated that no one is beyond the reach of God’s love and acceptance. We see this on display when Jesus approaches the woman at the well (John 4:4-26). Jesus breaks all social and cultural barriers by just engaging in conversation with a Samaritan woman, doubly marginalized because of her gender and ethnicity. He reveals himself as the Messiah, offering her living water and spiritual transformation.
Jesus frequently challenged such societal norms and prejudices, advocating for justice and equality. He spoke out against hypocrisy and oppression, confronting religious leaders who prioritize legalism over compassion. Jesus valued the inherent worth and dignity of every person, regardless of their background and social status.
In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), Jesus challenges the religious expert’s understanding of who qualifies as a neighbor and teaches the importance of compassion and extending help to those in need, regardless of their background or social status. By elevating the despised Samaritan as an example of loving one’s neighbor, Jesus challenges societal prejudices and calls for inclusive love and care.
He offered his teachings and miracles to people from all walks of life, regardless of their ethnicity, gender, or social standing. Jesus extended his message of salvation and love to everyone, breaking down barriers and embracing diversity. In Luke 5:12-16, Jesus heals a man with leprosy, a disease that caused social exclusion and isolation. By touching the man, Jesus not only demonstrates his power to heal but also breaks the social taboo associated with leprosy, showing his acceptance and inclusion of marginalized people.
Jesus was an advocate and an ally to people groups whom society deemed unworthy. Paul emphasizes Jesus’ ministry in Galatians 3:28 when he writes; “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you ALL are one in Christ.”
So W. W. J. D? He would stand with the marginalized. Not just in word, but in deed.
This rings particularly true for the LGBTQIA community, which continues to face significant challenges in achieving full acceptance and equality. While many people claim to be allies, it is essential to examine our actions beyond mere words. Are you looking for ways to be a better ally? Here are some things to contemplate as you search out better ways to love your LGBTQIA+ neighbor and family.
Attending church is an opportunity for spiritual growth and community engagement. However, it is crucial to consider whether our chosen place of worship is truly affirming of LGBTQIA individuals. Throughout the Bible, we find affirming scriptures that call us to love and accept all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Are you attending and giving financial support to an institution that is non-affirming? Why? If you are an affirming believer who wants to be an ally, it is imperative that you seek out and support churches that prioritize love, acceptance, and equal treatment for all. Look for congregations that emphasize inclusivity, openly welcome LGBTQIA individuals, and affirm their full participation in the life of the church.
Money is always a touchy subject, but often churches do not shy away from asking you to loosen those purse strings. Because our financial choices significantly impact the causes and organizations we support. Are we contributing to institutions or initiatives that perpetuate discrimination or promote harm? Alternatively, we can redirect our financial support towards organizations that actively advocate for LGBTQIA rights and provide resources for their well-being. Rachel Held Evans challenges Christians to consider their financial contributions and the values they uphold. She wrote, “Generosity means sharing our resources—not just our money, but also our time, talents, and passions—to work together for the common good and to affirm the dignity and worth of all people, including those whom society often neglects or rejects.” As an ally it is vital that we prioritize supporting organizations that champion LGBTQIA+ rights, provide safe spaces, and promote inclusivity. In this way we actively contribute to positive change and affirm our commitment to be an ally.
In the wake of Christian Nationalism, it’s almost impossible to distinguish religion from politics. But whether we like it or not, our political choices have a profound impact on the lives of LGBTQIA folks. Politicians have made it an art to rally people around “click-bait” ideas so that we vote with our hearts and not our heads. In Florida, more than ever, it is increasingly dangerous for LGBTQ folks. It is critical as allies we are aware of a candidate’s stance on issues such as marriage equality, anti-discrimination laws, healthcare access, and transgender rights. Being an ally means supporting representatives who advocate for the rights and dignity of the LGBTQ community.
“If you claim to be someone’s ally but aren’t getting hit by the stones thrown at them, then you aren’t standing close enough.” ~ Stan Mitchell
Being an ally requires more than just words; it demands intentional actions. Being an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community goes beyond mere lip service. It requires us to examine our actions and align them with the example set by Jesus Christ. Throughout his ministry, Jesus demonstrated love, compassion, and advocacy for marginalized individuals. He embraced the outcasts, challenged societal norms, and offered inclusivity and accessibility to all.
As followers of Christ, we are called to emulate his example and stand with those who are marginalized. So let us go beyond lip service and truly embody the love, acceptance, and allyship that Jesus demonstrated. In doing so, we can contribute to creating a more just and inclusive society where all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, are embraced, valued, and affirmed.