You Have Gay Blood on Your Hands

Have you come across this line?

Gays and lesbians are committing suicide in record numbers and it’s all because of people like you!

Now the context of such a comment matters immensely as to how one is to respond appropriately. But in recent conversations with other Christians, I’ve realised that many don’t know how to respond at all to this soundbite―and can even feel it’s a blunt form of emotional blackmail.

I’ve asked around and heard a few good responses - depending on the situation you find yourself in when this accusatory grenade gets lobbed your way. The type of response you should give when being shouted down to by a loud activist group should be marked by courage. Alternatively, the type of response you give when talking one-on-one with an individual who vulnerably approaches you should be marked by compassion.

Here are four possibilities that I’ve heard. I share them for your consideration:

The Put-Up or Shut-Up Approach. Ask for evidence. I know that this 'you're guilty' line has been used so much that it’s almost become a social media truism, but how many reputable studies (done by institutions other than Pink News!) back up this claim. Yes, it is true that people in the LGBT community have higher suicide rates than mainstream society. But it is quite a leap to then say that the reason for these suicides is because Christians express alternative views of gender and sexuality to their own. Scholarly studies are quite thin here.

When someone accuses you of having blood on your hands, it is not inappropriate to ask for reliable evidence which is a bit more solid than 'Well I knew this guy...'. Put-up or Shut-up. Justify your claim or don’t say such things.

The Go-Deeper Approach. ‘Respectfully I disagree. But if the reason that you are contemplating suicide is simply that I have different views on the purpose of human sexuality than you do, then I think there are deeper issues that need addressing. Why is your whole sense of security wrapped up in my opinion? Surely there are healthier ways to live.’

The Ju-Jitsu Approach. ‘I disagree with you that marriage can be between two people of the same gender. You disagree with me that Jesus rose from the dead. You choose to base your identity on the first belief, I choose to base my identity on the second. Why is it that you get to express a different point of view on Jesus (even if it risks disturbing my peace) but I don’t get to express my view on marriage (because it risks disturbing yours)?’

The Overlook & Listen Approach. Look past the accusation and ask, ‘Are you contemplating suicide? I’m sorry to hear that. Would you mind telling me more about that over coffee?’ This may be a good response if the person is being genuine with you and is not simply trying to beat you in an argument or guilt trip you into silence. 

Again, each of these may be appropriate depending on the individual(s) you’re speaking with and the context of your relationship with them. As always, pray, and ask the Holy Spirit to give you the words to speak when in such situations.

___________________
For more, please check out our book Elijah Men Eat Meat: Readings to slaughter your inner Ahab and pursue Revival and Reform 

Comments

  1. I agree, it's a challenging situation. And it's a great idea to know how we might best respond if the situation arises!

    I really like your fourth response. It seems quite graceful, and the one I'd attribute to a follower of a loving God. The first three methods feel like attempts to win an argument. The last one feels much more genuine.

    I'd also say humility and admission of guilt goes a long, long way. Because the truth of the matter is a lot of Christians, myself included, have done terrible things to hurt people in the name of "being personally right." Essentially in the name of pride. By starting with "You know, I'm really broken. I stand by my beliefs, but sometimes I don't express them in the best way. I still get frustrated and angry, and I hold out hope that God's working on me to make me more loving towards everyone" we get down off the high horse in front of someone. We don't act like the people they're probably referring to, who are more likely to throw back in their face "Oh yeah? Where's your evidence then?!" Or the underlying "you're a hypocrite" message of the third option listed.

    I think we forget that the people on the other side of the screen are not only super upset, but they are also children of God. They are hurting, and we have the option of helping heal that hurt OR of adding more hurt onto the pile. And it's quite difficult to make the self-sacrifice of ourselves in order to help them, but if that isn't the very people-saving act of Christ I don't know what is.

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