During this time of “lockdown” I have been watching a daily vlog posted by Charlotte Gambill of Life Church, Bradford, under the title – “Today I Choose.” Each day Charlotte considers how we can respond to the situation around us by choosing our attitudes, giving thought to how we react and respond both to others, and to the situation we find ourselves in. For me, this has been a source of encouragement as well as a challenge which will transcend this time of lockdown. It is good to remind ourselves that as Christians, we choose a different path from the rest of the world each and every day. Sometimes walking that path can be difficult, yet we choose it because of the benefits of knowing Christ personally and because of the hope and promise of a better life now, and eternal life to come.
Whoever you are, whatever your role in life, every day you can choose to be an upholder of God’s truth. And specific to this Ministry, we all have opportunities to challenge attitudes and behaviours, to encourage those who walk in truth, to uphold Scripture within our churches and denominations. We all have opportunities to give our testimony, share our faith and to champion the voices of the silenced.
My challenge, through listening to Charlotte, has been to look to my own life and see what new choices I can make to help others to walk in freedom from homosexuality and transgenderism. I pass this mantle on to you and encourage you to join me in talking to God about what he wants us to do to break the stronghold that homosexuality has in many churches, and to make our churches, safe, welcoming places for members of the LGBTQ+ community to come and enjoy community, whilst learning more about what relationship with God looks like.
I say this because Bible teaching is important if we are to understand for ourselves exactly what we believe and why we believe it. Helping people to know God better, through Bible teaching, satisfies a deep need that we have to recognise for ourselves who God is. This recognition of God's holiness and His character as a loving and compassionate God, leads to a deep desire to worship Him and a deep desire to be obedient to His word. If we are to show people who God is we must direct them to Scripture and then have faith to sit back and allow God to convict each and every one of us of our sins and of our need for change.
If we simply demand that people change, without giving them space to meet with God and learn of His ways, there will be no success. It took me 6 months from returning to church to being convicted of my sin. Some people take less time, some take more, so it's essential that churches are loving and non condemning places as each of us find out for ourselves why it is we want to commit our life to God and to recognise what that means for us personally. Getting the balance right between being welcoming and loving communities and upholding the authority of Scripture is without doubt a tricky thing to do, yet one we need to consider closely if we are to be successful in reaching an important sector of our community.
We would love to hear from you if your church has managed this balance well, let us know how you addressed this - firstname.lastname@example.org