The Gospel Bridge

Our Gay Neighbors

We are called to love our neighbors as ourselves. But all too often we reserve our love for people who are like us or those whose behavior we approve. But is that how Jesus loved? Is that how lives are changed? In this 20-minute video from The Gospel Coalition, Mark Mellinger sits down with former lesbian and university professor Rosaria Butterfield to talk about homosexuality and the humility of the gospel. 

Before her conversion, Rosaria only experienced condemnation from fearful Christians. Can you relate to her experience in any way? When have you been around people who bullied with the Bible and refused to show mercy? How did that impact your faith?
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Rosaria said, “The strength of your words needs to match the strength and integrity of your relationships.” When has this proved true in your own life? How do you respond to the counsel or accountability of trusted friends and mentors? How might you respond to the same counsel from someone who does not know you? Why?
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What has been your experience building relationships with people who are different from you? Who are the most difficult for you to get to know or accept? Why?
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Rosaria encouraged us to see that homosexuality is the fruit of another root issue. Before we ask our gay neighbors to repent of their behavior, she said we should seek to discern deeper heart issues. Read Romans 1 before considering the following questions. 

Romans 1:21-25 (ESV)

21For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools,23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,25because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Rosaria said that this passage shows us that the root of homosexual practice is, “a heart, mind, and identity that rejects the idea that God is author and that the Bible has the right to interrogate.” 

Have you ever rejected or ignored God to satisfy the desires of your flesh? What about unbelief and idolatry? Where do they manifest in your life, and what do they look like?
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How does this understanding of “root sin” cause you to think differently about the “fruit sin” you see in your own life and in the lives of your homosexual or unbelieving neighbors? How could you grow in mercy toward all of your neighbors?
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Rosaria said, “The Christian Church has a lot to learn…about standing with the disempowered and being good company for them.” In what ways does your church stand beside and support the disempowered in your community (the poor, marginalized, abused) and your congregation (the singles, minorities, elderly)? What else could your church do?
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Now is a time of opportunity for the church…a time to come alongside our neighbors–gay, straight, believing, and unbelieving–and bridge our differences with the gospel of Jesus. The Spirit will do the work in people's hearts that even our best efforts in love cannot. 

To learn more about The Gospel Coalition, click here