During the 1990s, I awakened one autumn morning with an urge to visit the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Center at the Iowa State University Student Union. I thought to myself, this ought to be exciting!
I put on my bright red cap with a white JESUS logo on the front and headed out the apartment door.
Ten minutes later, I walked into the LGBT Center. Eight or 10 students were checking out a bulletin board. A young lady sat at the receptionist desk.
“Hi. How is everyone doing today?” I said with a big smile on my face.
All of the students turned toward me. Their eyes instantly zeroed in on my baseball cap. Three or four started pointing fingers at me and speaking in loud voices.
“Whoa there! Relax. I didn’t come here to start an argument. I came to introduce myself. I’m Larry Nevenhoven,” I said, holding out my hand.
These young students came mainly from the Midwest and had parents who raised them to show respect for others. So, each shook my hand and told me their names.
One young man asked, “Do you think homosexuality is a sin?”
“I’m a Bible believer. So, of course, I believe homosexuality is a sin,” I said. “But let me ask you a question, OK? Do you think pride is a sin?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Did you notice any pride in me when I walked in here?”
He laughed. “Yes, it was dripping off you,” he said.
We all joined in laughing along with the young man. Someone asked why I had really stopped at the LGBT Center.
“I came to tell you about God’s grace. It’s so amazing that it saved the worst sinner I know – me,” I said.
I gave a quick testimony on how the Lord had saved me on the day I was planning to commit suicide. Some listened, but a few walked out the door shaking their heads.
My eyes locked onto the eyes of a handsome young man named Tony, who was holding hands with his boyfriend. In that instant, I had a quick vision about him.
“Did you give your life to the Lord when you were 10 or 11 years old?” I asked.
“Yes. How did you know?”
“I just had a quick vision about you. But I also saw an older woman prophesying over you and saying that God had called you to preach the gospel to the nations. Is that also true?” I asked.
“Wow! That is true.”
“Well, I have some good news for you. The grace of God is still waiting for you to walk in your calling and be all that you can be for Jesus Christ.”
What do you think? Were my words to Tony accurate about God’s grace? Or had Tony somehow forfeited his salvation and divine calling by committing the “unpardonable sin” of homosexuality?
In his book, “From Eternity to Here,” Frank Viola wrote:
“Therefore, the next time you feel condemnation over your past, please remember this one thing: The first person to lay eyes on the resurrected Lord was a former prostitute.
“God chose Mary Magdalene from the foundation of the world, knowing the kind of life she would live. And He chose you and me from the foundation of the world knowing full well all the mistakes we would make this side of the veil.”
Like Viola, I believe God looked into the future and saw Tony on his worst days and still decided to accept him as His son.
Now, this probably causes a major dilemma for most of us.
On the one hand, we have to respect Tony and other gays like him who have given their lives to the Lord at one time or another with godly esteem. Why? Because the Lord lives in them.
But on the other hand, we have to love gay believers enough to help get them free from their homosexual lifestyle.
How can we accomplish this?
My little children, for whom I am again in [the pains of] labor until Christ is [completely and permanently] formed within you … (Galatians 4:19 AMP)
Christians need to understand that we are fighting a spiritual war over the LGBT issues in today’s America. One side or the other will win, but the only way believers can win is by using God’s weapons of warfare. Continuing to shoot off our mouths and lobbing biblical hand grenades filled with “Thou shalt not commit homosexuality” verses at the gays will never produce victories for the kingdom of God.
So, let’s instead follow the battle plan the Apostle Paul laid out in Galatians 4:19 by fasting and praying for the thousands of believers who are caught up in the LGBT lifestyle. Let’s pray that Christ is completely and permanently formed in each one of them.
Who knows for sure? But maybe God will set these captives free so they can help set others free in their LGBT communities. It could be the start of a major move of the Spirit in cities like San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and L.A.
If you can, join with me on Tuesdays in this spiritual battle.