Some Christians worry that affirming and supporting LGBTQ people might end up being the wrong thing to do. They wonder how they can be certain they are embracing the good and right position.
As someone who was not always affirming or supportive I can understand their doubts but I no longer have those doubts. I feel confident that affirming and supporting LGBTQ people, their relationships and their identities is the good and right position to hold.
My confidence and assurance is because I keep coming back to this …
The fruit doesn’t lie.
Good theology should produce good fruit and non-affirming/anti-gay/anti trans theology doesn’t pass that test.
Most of the time non-affirming/anti-gay/anti trans theology produces bad fruit in the lives of lgbtq people who try to embrace it wholeheartedly. Fruit such as depression, despair and self loathing are very common results.
We can almost always find a verse or teacher or book to match our beliefs, but … the fruit doesn’t lie.
If a theology is mostly producing bad fruit you know it isn’t the truth and should be abandoned, because … the fruit doesn’t lie.
In Matthew 7 Jesus said if you aren’t sure about something check out the fruit it is producing, because “every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit”
People were asking Jesus a lot of questions.
They wanted to know what they should believe – who they should follow – who they should emulate and support.
They wanted to know who was right – who knew the true way – what prophets should they trust – what rabbi should they follow?
Instead of answering with a list of shoulds and shouldn’ts, or naming names, Jesus offered a formula that would be useful to truth seekers throughout all of time.
Jesus advised those who were listening …
When you are not sure about a specific doctrine, or a certain theological point, or some Christian message you can simply check out the fruit that it is producing.
If it is producing good fruit then it is of God and true. Embrace and follow the teaching.
If it is producing bad fruit then it is not of God and not true. Abandon the teaching.
Scripture does not address most things specifically. Instead it gives us some guiding principles to live by. Then people come along and try to figure out how to apply those guiding principles to real life. When we get it right it mostly leads to whole, healthy, vibrant lives. When we get it wrong it mostly leads to broken, unhealthy, hopeless lives.
If a specific doctrine is mostly producing self loathing, despair, hopelessness, depression, isolation, shame, self harm and other such bad fruit then it’s a no brainer … it’s not good doctrine and we should abandon it.
We can twist scripture to fit with our own perspective.
We can cherry pick and only choose those scriptures that support our view.
We can ignore original language and historical context so that scripture seems to support our argument.
We can almost always find a verse to more or less say what we want it to say.
We can almost always find a Christian leader to teach what we believe.
We can almost always find a book that supports our point of view.
We can almost always find a church that represents our belief.
BUT … the fruit doesn’t lie.
I’m confident that anti-gay/non-affirming/anti-trans theology is wrong because it consistently produces bad fruit and I’m confident that affirming and supporting LGBTQ people, their relationships and identities is good and right because …
When you listen to and get to know LGBTQ Christians who are connecting with faith communities and theology that affirms their relationships and identities you will find they are experiencing a lot of good fruit in their lives. They are typically healthier in every way – relationally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.
The fruit doesn’t lie!
(If you would like to delve deeper into what scripture says and doesn’t say about same sex relationships check out this post which addresses the verses most often used to condemn same sex relationships.)
If you are the mom of an LGBTQ kid there is a great online community you might want to join. Go here to find out more about Serendipitydodah for Moms, a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids.