A note from Kelly King: I continue to see the need for churches to face the reality of ministering to families who are struggling with sexual identity issues. While Kaye’s article is not written to cause anyone pain, women’s ministry leaders must be able to articulate biblical love and compassion to everyone because every person is created in God’s image. Maybe today’s article will spark a conversation and open the door for honest dialogue and prayer for one another.
If you live north of the Mason Dixon line, then June is an important month primarily because it marks the beginning of summer. Summers up north are celebrated and practically sacred! (I’m a yankee so I speak with authority on this!)
June is summer fun!
June is also a very popular wedding month. If you are a fan of the Hallmark Channel, then you are enjoying a month of sugary, romantic wedding movies.
June is summer weddings!
June is also Pride Month. Pride Month is the month-long celebration honoring those who identify with and/or support the LGBTQ community and their impact and influence on our culture.
This post is NOT a debate or my personal opinion of this issue. For many, this is an uncomfortable issue. For others it is an extremely painful issue. I think we can all agree that there is pain and wounding on ALL sides. The pain and hurt and how we minister to women around this issue will be the focus of my thoughts.
If you are struggling with same sex attraction or gender identity, if you are the parent of someone struggling, if you aren’t “struggling” but feel judged, rejected, or hurt by the church, may I say, I am so sorry for your pain.
If you have the privilege of ministering to individuals or families hurt by this issue, here are a few helpful tools:
- Please acknowledge their pain—whether you agree with their views or not. We have discussed before the importance of listening well and loving well and both involve suspending judgment. Please suspend judgment. Let’s tend to people’s pain first.
- Educate yourself on all sides of the issue. Please don’t only read books or articles that align with your beliefs; read what others are saying as well. Educate yourself on current cultural trends. For example: did you know that 69% of teens do not see a problem with a person who identifies as transgender? (Axis: The Culture Translator, Vol 4, Issue 23)
- Love everyone always. Please let this be more than a clever slogan; let it be the platform we stand on. Jesus taught it, and Jesus lived it. And if in loving people you find yourself with the privilege to speak into their lives, do that with love as well.
- Never shame!
- Talk less; listen more.
If you are looking for excellent resources, here is a place to start: People to be Loved: Why Homosexuality is Not Just an Issue by Preston Sprinkle. Also, visit LeadThemHome.org and check out their “Guiding Families” resources. If you want to read something that will challenge your thinking try, Torn by Justin Lee. Justin shows how people on both sides of the debate can respect, learn from, and love one another. (Note: Leaders are learners. Please don’t only read material that you agree with! As always, these resources do not necessarily reflect my opinions or are in any way an endorsement by LifeWay.)
Gender identity issues are complicated. Can we agree that we don’t have all the answers? Can we acknowledge that sometimes we’ve done more harm than good? Can we commit to learning, listening, and loving well ALL people who are hurting? I so want to get this right, I believe you do too, let’s pray to that end!
Kaye Hurta has a Masters Degree in counseling from Liberty University and is a crisis counselor for Women’s Events through LifeWay Christian Resources. Whether speaking, singing, or listening, Kaye’s passion is to help others find intimacy with Christ and soul transformation through the living pages of His Word. Kaye met and married her husband Chris in Austin, Texas in 1987. They have two daughters through the miracle of adoption, Madison and Cami. They live in the Chicago burbs where they are both on staff at Willow Creek Community Church. Kaye is also a contributing author for the LifeWay resource, Women Reaching Women in Crisis.