How To Love Our LGBTQ+ Family and Friends

Posted by Jennifer Rogers, Contributing Writer, on Jun 01, 2024

How To Love Our LGBTQ+ Family and Friends

A recent survey revealed that 90% of young people today think a main identifier of Christianity is that it is anti-homosexual. For people in the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and others) community, it is a challenge to reconcile a message about a loving God with a feeling of rejection from the church. As Christ-followers, we are called to love our LGBTQ+ friends and create an inviting atmosphere for them in our churches.

No matter what our beliefs are about same-sex attraction and relationships, there are ways we can love our LGBTQ+ friends and neighbors well. Our actions can make a difference to their perspective on faith and God, and create a safe space where they can be real and experience the profound love of Jesus Christ.

Here are four practical steps we can each take:

  1. Be aware of the LGBTQ+ community’s struggles.
    Before we can build relationships with people within the LGBTQ+ community, we need to be aware of their unique struggles as they navigate faith and culture. While most of us struggle with sexual sin, same-sex attraction has different challenges because of the social stigma attached to homosexuality and the lack of our understanding of how and when our sexual identity forms.

    To love our LGBTQ+ friends well, we need to understand that many people in the LGBTQ+ community face rejection and alienation in their schools, workplaces, churches, and even in their families. Same-sex attracted Christ-followers often struggle with reconciling their faith and their sexuality, making them feel unsure of how to deal with the issues of intimacy and sex as they pursue God. They struggle with confusion as they hear the church talk about sex, relationships, and marriage while feeling attracted to their same-sex peers.

    Even for those who are committed to following God’s plan for sex and marriage, it can be a struggle to try to experience relational intimacy, especially in a culture that portrays sex as the way to achieve intimacy in our relationships.

    Being aware of the LGBTQ+ community’s struggles does not have to change our theology or how we view marriage. It can simply change our perspective of the people within this unique community. And perhaps gaining a greater understanding can lead to a greater sense of compassion and love.

  2. Build friendships within the LGBTQ+ community.
    We were created for community. We were created to have personal relationships to help us grow and transform. And those personal relationships should include those that have been marginalized, including the LGBTQ+ community.

    “When Christians jump straight to Bible passages or straight to theology and then stay there, it’s easy to treat an entire population like they are a category and not actual people. But when we have personal relationships, it puts a face and a story on our theology. All theology is personal.” — Chase Oaks Pastor of Arts and Cultural Engagement Greg Holmes

    One of the best ways to love our LGBTQ+ friends is to meet people where they are on their journey and allow each person to be themselves around us. We need to recognize each individual as a real person with real struggles and real hurts. We are all people dearly loved by God who share many of the same struggles and have the same needs, including the need to connect with others. We all need friends.

    Building relationships will open the door for conversations around the topics of sexual orientation and same-sex marriage. While having these conversations can be helpful for us, we need to remember to lead with love and grace, even if our friends do not agree with our views. We need to be willing to listen to their perspective and to their story. You never know how their story will impact you.

    “Conversations change when we get to know somebody’s story.” — Chase Oaks Transformation Pastor Eric Torrence

  3. Choose to love our LGBTQ+ friends no matter what.
    As we build meaningful relationships with our LGBTQ+ friends, we need to remember the point of connecting with others is not to change them. Whether they choose celibacy or to be in a same-sex relationship, we need to love our LGBTQ+ friends.

    40% of homeless teens are part of the LGBTQ+ community because we have failed to create safe spaces for them to explore their sexuality and faith. This staggering statistic shows how we need to fill the basic need of belonging for these teens. To have a sense of belonging means they need to experience love.

    We need to create spaces where our LGBTQ+ friends feel loved and secure; spaces where everyone can be themselves and talk about their lives and their struggles; spaces where they can experience empathy and compassion. And the only way to create these spaces is to show love no matter what—the same way Jesus loves us every day.

  4. Provide ways for our LGBTQ+ friends to experience community and intimacy.
    “We need to do a better job in providing community and that type of intimacy that they are not going to receive from a spouse. And what I mean by that is that emotional connection and that physical touch—those are needs that every person has.” – Chase Oaker Paul Martel

    As the church, we need to do a better job in coming around the LGBTQ+ community and finding ways to create community and intimacy within our doors. We should serve as an extended family for the many that feel alienated from their own family and friends.

    We need to talk about ways we can experience intimacy in our relationships with one another. We need to make room for our LGBTQ+ friends in our groups and social circles. And we need to create loving community without alienating the LGBTQ+ community.

    Most importantly, there should be room for everyone to feel at home in our church no matter their sexual identity or orientation. Anyone who feels open to God should feel right at home in our church. Where else would we want people to be? We are all on a journey. Everyone needs community. And each of us needs to be surrounded by people who encourage us to develop their relationship with God, serve others, and make a difference in the world.

Share This:

Recent Stories

Swipe to Discover more

Two Essential Back-to-School Checklists

Jul 15, 2024

BACK TO SCHOOL. Whether those words prompt panic or joy, we all want to make this year a great one for the kids. Use the following two checklists (one for “checking off” and one for “checking in”) to make sure everyone is ready to go!

Five of the Best "4th of July" Firework Displays in DFW for 2024

Jun 26, 2024

Nothing says “4th of July” quite like fireworks! Find some of the best and most spectacular displays around DFW, right here.

Where To Celebrate Juneteenth 2024 in DFW

Jun 12, 2024

Where in DFW can you celebrate Juneteenth 2023? Use our list of events to make plans in honor of this national holiday of freedom.

5 Interesting Facts About Juneteenth

Jun 12, 2024

Juneteenth commemorates the day the Emancipation Proclamation reached Texas. It's a celebration of hope and freedom for all peoples that followed years of struggle.

Reasons Why We Celebrate Father's Day

Jun 10, 2024

Every third Sunday in June, families gather together to celebrate their fathers. But surprisingly, Father’s Day began with controversy. Read on to learn the history behind this now-popular holiday.

7 Great Ideas for Inexpensive or Free Summer Fun

Jun 07, 2024

Making great memories with your family doesn't have to break the bank this summer. Look here for 7 great ideas for inexpensive or free family fun you can enjoy now!

How To Love Our LGBTQ+ Family and Friends

Jun 01, 2024

No matter what our beliefs are about same-sex attraction and relationships, there are ways we can love our LGBTQ+ family and friends well as we work to create community and intimacy within our doors.

Burnout: 13 Symptoms and Solutions

May 29, 2024

Burnout is a serious issue—but how can you tell if you've got it? Read about 13 key burnout symptoms and solutions, here.

Why and How To Set Personal Boundaries

May 28, 2024

What are boundaries, and why are they so hard to set? Learn more about this valuable part of any healthy relationship, here.

How Birds Can Teach Us To Pray

May 23, 2024

Let’s face it, prayer can be hard and frustrating. When our prayer lives feel stale or stuck, we can learn something from…birds. Read more, here.