Over the past 4 or 5 years I have observed a number of memes, comments, and articles posted by Christians that make fun of and sarcastically mock gay, lesbian, and transgender people. These posts both sadden and concern me. Let me share 5 reason why I believe Christians should exercise greater discernment and carefulness in what they post, particularly concerning these topics.
1. So unbelievers will see our love, integrity, dignity, patience, and gentleness, and so God may perhaps use our life to grant them repentance, knowledge of truth, sanity, and salvation. I have never heard the testimony of someone who was won to Christ through the mocking of their sin. Maybe it exists somewhere, but I don’t think it’s the norm. People are won through the preaching and sharing of the truth with confidence, authority, and love.
II Timothy 2:24-26
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
2. Mocking sin, can cause those inside the church who are struggling with that sin, to not openly seek the help that they need for fear of a condescending response, rather than a gracious one that points them to Christ. While you may have never met a brother or sister in Christ who struggle with their gender identity or same-sex attraction, I promise you, they exist. Always ask yourself the question, “if another believer in my church were to read what I was posting, and they were struggling with this sin, would they feel that I would be a person who would be able to speak truth into their life in a gracious, loving, informed, and intelligent way, or would they instead be terrified that I might find out their struggle?” We are to communicate the truth in love for the purpose of spiritual growth, spiritual equipping, and building the body up in unity. The end goal of our speech or posting is to minister grace, not to shame or condescend.
14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love…
29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
I Corinthians 13:1-7,13
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things…
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love
3. Mocking these sins makes the world’s message appear that much more attractive and clouds the churches gospel message. It may be helpful to understand that there is an incredible amount of shame that many who struggle with sins of same-sex attraction and gender confusion carry, even for unbelievers who haven’t felt the conviction of the Spirit. The message of the world and culture is a tempting one for those who struggle with SSA or gender dysphoria. The world says that their shame is a product of an unhealthy societal and religious message, needing to be thrown off, and that their sexuality and felt gender should be lived out with pride and openness. The churches message is that the shame we rightly feel for our sin was taken by Christ and in Him we will not be put to shame!
We are to help these individual see and deal with their shame through the light of what Scripture says about it, but adding to this shame and fear, through mocking, is the last thing a struggling or searching person needs from the church or from your Facebook page or twitter feed. Don’t let your comment, meme, or sarcastic article be the stumbling block that keeps the struggling silent, or the thing that pushes them towards the worlds message. Instead, be the voice of love, truth, compassion, and the speakers of the gospel that says, Christ takes our shame, Christ makes us new, Christ takes us in all our brokenness and loves us even when remnants of our brokenness remain, and Christ will one day forever, completely, and gloriously fix our brokenness. This is the message of hope and love that we should be speaking, as a church and as individuals who are part of that church. Most will still choose the world’s message, but let it be because they chose one message over the other, and not because we shamed them out of our churches into the arms of the world.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
33 as it is written,
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense;
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
4. It is evidence of pride in the mocker and encourages pride in all others who join in the mocking.
We have nothing that we have not been graciously given by God. Our response when we see a world mad with insanity and sin should be humble gratitude driven by an understanding that the only reason we don’t think the same way the world does, is because of God’s grace. Let us with Paul humble ourselves and take on the attitude of dubbing ourselves the chiefest of sinners, understanding that we were not chosen due to any wisdom or strength or goodness in ourselves, acknowledge that we have nothing good in ourselves that we did not graciously receive from God, and make our boast and our posts more about Christ and what he has given us, and less about how the sin of others is so bad, funny, crazy, or ridiculous.
I Timothy 1:12-17
12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
6 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.
I Corinthians 4:6-7
6 I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. 7 For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?
5. The world already sees the conservative church as being an unloving and unhealthy place in general, but especially for LGBT person’s to be in. In many cases they are wrong and much of their perception is based on lies or just the unfortunate reality that they disagree with truth even when it is spoken in love. But I would plead with you, do not give them even one shred of real evidence that they may be right. Let’s not let them be even a little tiny bit correct in their accusations.
Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, 8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us
You may, at this point ask, “What about Elijah mocking the priests of Baal?” (I Kings 18)
There may be a time and place to mock sin. Elijah was a prophet of God; God used Elijah to speak directly for him. God is allowed to mock sin. He is God. He is allowed to do many things that we are not, because he is holy and sees all things. We are not holy; we do not see all things.
As New Testament believers, we are never commanded to have the general attitude of mocking those outside the church for any reason. I Peter 3:13-16 instructs believers to share their hope with gentleness and respect
13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
Given this Scripture and so many others that I have already posted about how we are to act towards unbelievers and believers, I will rest my case.
So What SHOULD I Post?
My suggestion for those who feel they need to post anything about the topics of homosexuality, SSA, gender dysphoria, transgender issues, or any other sin outside this category, is to pick up a book, or read insightful articles that help you understand these topics from a biblical and counseling perspective. Take the time to learn about the sins you feel the need to mock and start posting helpful quotes about these issues. I guarantee you, those brothers and sisters struggling in your church will see those posts and breathe out a sigh of relief that there are people with whom they worship that are safe; people who care about understanding them and maybe, people who are equipped to help them with grace and a level of understanding and skill.
What About Political Posts?
These particular sins just so happen to be in the political spotlight at the moment. I understand and I see some of the baffling and disturbing directions and agendas that the far left is pushing. I understand the implication for this next generation being told to live out their felt sexuality and make insane decisions about their gender at extremely early ages. Kids are being exposed at a very early age to all sorts of sexual information and I have no doubt that the normalizing of homosexuality and transgenderism will have its affect on this next generation. I predict that we will be seeing more and more men, women, and teens in the church who have been affected by these issues and are in need of compassionate counsel.
I get the desire to expose the insanity and speak against the political agendas of the far left. With that being said, I simply suggest that if you find yourself with a zeal to argue against gay marriage on a political level, or speak out against the transgender or gay political agendas, I would urge you to remember that there are real people, with real stories, experiences, pain, insecurities, and lives that have been touched, in some way or another by this topic. Some of these people are in your church. If you want to post politically, I would encourage you to, as I stated above, take the time and do the work to understand the problem on more than just a political level. Read books that will deepen your understanding and compassion for the faces and people behind this political problem.
Additionally, remember that as a believer you first and foremost, represent Christ, and your first priority should not be the political state of our country, but should be the testimony of love, truth, and grace to those in your local church and communities. Ask yourself this question: if a struggling believer or searching unbeliever in my church were to browse my Facebook page, would they conclude that I truly care about them as people, or would they conclude that I view them as sexual or political problems?