A new article on Relevant Magazine poses this question and answers it with a great article by Todd Morrison. Below is an excerpt:
Jesus’ love was such a radical departure from the norm that even the most “notorious sinners” were compelled by something deep in their soul to be around Jesus.
The Church must be a safe place for “notorious sinners”—for people like me and people like you. The Church must be a safe place for people like my dad and so many others who are desperate for Jesus but have been told either directly or indirectly by “religious people” that the Jesus of the evangelical Church in America, along with many American evangelicals, has little time, compassion or love for people who are gay. The Church doesn’t exactly have a reputation for being a safe place for gay men and women who want to explore or pursue a relationship with Jesus.
When asked the question, “Would I be welcome at your church?” my answer has sadly been, “Honestly, you’d be welcomed by many, but not everyone.” I would love for all pastors to have the freedom to say, “Yes! You would absolutely be welcome here just as you are. This is a safe place for you to explore faith and encounter Jesus.” However, many pastors know that saying yes to gay people will likely cost them with those in their churches who strongly disagree with that “yes.” At the very least, it will cost them grief from some in the congregation who will text and email to express their disagreement. Their “yes” will likely cause some to leave their church. Answering yes to this question is courageous; however it may cost more than a few parishioners. It may cost a pastor his or her job. It’s definitely safer to stay away from “gay issues” altogether, unless we’re defining or defending marriage.
Well, it’s safer—but it’s also irresponsible.
Church leaders abdicate their calling when they play it safe on such questions as, “Would I be welcome at your church even though I’m gay?” This question isn’t asked by an issue; it’s asked by a person who matters deeply to Jesus. This question is the cry of every human heart: “Will you love me and accept me, or will you reject me?”
On several occasions, Jesus accepted and befriended “sinners” before dealing with their sin. Scripture tells us there is no hierarchy of sin. We have all sinned and fallen far short of God’s holy standard, and the “wages” of any and all sin is death. Yet throughout the years, Christians have operated as though there is unforgivable sin and there are untouchable people. We’ve made homosexuality fit both categories. Yet Jesus forgave the unforgivable and touched the untouchables who’d been cast to the fringes of society by religious people.
I love the last paragraph that Todd writes. In reality, none of us should be forgiven for the things we’ve done. None of us should experience the touch of God. The greater reality is, however, through the work and person of Christ, we are forgiven and we are touched by the love and mercy of God. So if we’ve been given this enormous blessing, isn’t everyone worthy of receiving the same, too?