For the Bride: You Are Loved!

If I were asked to name the #1 struggle that LGBTQ+ people have, I would say it is their struggle to believe God loves them.  If I were asked to name why they have this struggle, I would say because of what they have been told the Bible says about them, and how they have been treated–by Christians.  We saw this played out at the recent General Conference of The United Methodist Church.

I write today for you, if you are an LGBTQ+ person–and I write for you if you are a heterosexual person who is an ally with LGBTQ+ people.  I write to say one thing: “God is not mad at you. God is madly in love with you.” You are loved!

YOU—exactly as you are.  We are all made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-28). We are sacredly and variously made in marvelous ways (Psalm 139:14).  We are not a mistake; God does not make mistakes.  Being heterosexual is no virtue, and being LGBTQ+ is no vice.  We are all human, existing on a spectrum of humanity. [1]  YOU are loved!

ARE—right here and right now.  Not when you become someone other than who you have been created to be, and are.  Not when you have been healed by “conversion therapy.” [2]  Not when you find your place in a congregation as a second-class disciple, and don’t ask to do more than attend.  Not someday, today.  In this moment. You ARE loved.

LOVED—with a love (hesed/agape) that is overflowing, never-ending, universal, gracious, merciful, kind, faithful, and forgiving.  This is God’s nature (1John 4:8) and it is God’s behavior toward everyone (Jeremiah 32:24; John 3:16).  It is radical, universal love seen in the Bible through what it tells us about the creator, the creation, the covenant, the Christ, the church, and the consumation. [3] You are LOVED.

You must not allow five passages in scripture to carry more authority than what sixty-six books of the Bible reveal.  And what it reveals is this: You are God’s beloved child.  You always have been. You are right now. And you will be forever. “Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:38).

Of course, we all must honor God with our lives (e.g. Romans 1:1-2).  But the Good News is that ALL OF US can–all of us can glorify God, and do it in singleness and in marriage.  All means all!

You are loved.  Full stop.  End of story.  The Story. No substitute stories allowed.

[1] There are multiple pairings in the first creation story, but no pair is a “two.”  Every pairing is a spectrum of multiple manifestations.  This reality is strengthened by the repetition of the word ‘ kind’–which we would today call ‘species,’–a number beyond calculation, but estimated to be roughly 8.7 million.  The reality is further strengthened by the plural words in the first creation story.

[2] Let me be clear, so-called “conversion therapy” is pseudo therapy, junk science.  It is a form of spiritual abuse.  It is to the shame of the Church that some still believe it is genuine.

[3] I spoke recently about these six meta revelations in an address entitled, “All Means All.”  I have shared a link to it, and an outline of my talk in two previous posts here on Oboedire, now archived in the “For the Bride” category.  About the video–don’t panic when you see the 2hr, 20min tag.  The video started early and ran after the event was over.  I spoke about 45 minutes, with an additional 30 minutes of interaction with the attendees.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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