Those people truly did not know what they were doing. They were as ignorant as we all are before God’s Spirit trains us out of that ignorance in a lifelong process (sanctification) which begins after the moment of salvation. And, of course, salvation starts with trusting in Jesus and inviting Him into our hearts to supernaturally apply His blood to our sin. Romans 10:9 describes the act or process this way: ”[T]hat if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Another point I would like to make is that I have come to reject the modern strain of evangelicalism that I knew growing up. I have labeled it “kamikaze, ticket-punch Christianity.” In this form of what they call Christianity, there is not much time spent on the potential subject of your “witness.” You don’t form relationships and simply love them and try to meet their needs first as Jesus did when he walked this earth, waiting for an opportunity to share God’s love when they are convinced that you love them and care deeply for their needs as proven by your acts of service to them before you say much of anything about what you believe. If you love and serve them first, then wait for the prompting of God to know when their hearts are ready to hear whatever word of Scripture (it may not be the plan of salvation), then they will be ready to receive what you say because they will know from your service to them that you are the genuine article. They will know that you are not being manipulative in order to "proselytize" then, and they will know that you are not some impatient legalist that just wants to tell you what they think and believe and then move on to some other toy, a kind of “fire and forget” version of Christianity.
I believe that the kamikaze, legalistic Christians of modern evangelicalism may not even be Christians but rather may be simply legalists pretending to be Christians. They may be the so-called tares that Jesus spoke about in Matthew 13:25-30 who look a lot like the real deal and can even be found among the real loving Christians, but they are false with none of Christ’s love in their hearts.
I’m not sure if it is the kamikaze/tare Christians or the real ones who did so, but modern evangelicalism has failed a lot of people. A major reason why they have failed so many and allowed our culture to slide into decay is that they were not following the true morality of love and were not guided by the Holy Spirit. They have not relinquished control over their lives and yielded to God’s plan for their lives, including how they should minister to others. Instead, they just devised their own plans which fit how they wanted to live out their Christianity, and it is nowhere close to what God wants of them. In the process of developing their own brand of Christianity apart from the guidance of God, they have developed a list of labels for people as they judge everyone else and have developed a list of rank-ordered sins which they use to judge people, among which are homosexuals. The modern church has probably failed gay people more than any other group. This is not to say that all churches get it wrong, but I would venture to say that too many are like those legalistic jackasses at Westboro Baptist who harass families at military funerals for the sake of opposing homosexuality.
Please don’t get me wrong. Homosexuality is most definitely listed as a sin in the Bible. But as to whether it is the chief of all sins and worse than all the other sins, I’m not so sure anymore. I think that in modern evangelicalism, we have made it out to be the worst of all sins, and I’m not sure why because I know of no verse in the Bible that says THIS is the worst of all sins. As a matter of fact, I know and can tell you what the worst of all sins is. The worst of all sins is…….drum roll, please………..my own sin. And you can, of course, say this to yourself as well: “The worst of all sins is my own sin.” When you get as close to God as I have, spending many thousands of hours in prayer, meditation, and Bible study, and when you start to see more and more from the lens of God’s perspective, you get less concerned about other people’s sins and more and more grieved by your own sin. Paul even addressed this phenomenon in his letter to Timothy. In 1 Timothy 1:15, This very godly man Paul called himself the chief (meaning the worst) of all sinners. There’s another very godly man that you know who also took this attitude. You’ve most definitely heard of John Bunyan who wrote the Christian classic Pilgrim’s Progress. His autobiography, which is another must read for Christians was entitled Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners. So, even this godly man, as devoted as he was to God, thought he was a low-life sinner, worse than anyone else.
Once you get close enough to God, as I have and as these two godly men had, you stop worrying about other people’s sins and become convinced that you are the worst of all sinners. Moreover, then you stop judging others and simply love them no matter what sin they are in nor how deep into it. This is when you realize, “There but for the grace of God go I.” And this is when you realize that “they know not what they do.” And this is when you realize that you are no better than them and become as I am, simply a beggar trying to show other beggars where to find bread, the Bread of Life, Jesus. You stop judging them, stop comparing yourself to them, and stop feeling so self-assured about your own righteousness as exemplified in the proud Pharisee that Jesus spoke about in Luke 18:11: “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.’” Instead, you become more like the humble tax collector who “beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’” (Luke 18:13). As Jesus noted in Luke 18:14, it was this last man (the tax collector) rather than the former (the Pharisee) who was justified before and accepted by God. Most importantly, when you get to this point, you begin to see these people and all others (sinners and saints) through the compassionate, merciful lens through which God looks at all of us.
How does this apply to our response to gay people? We should not judge them, scowl at them, label them, make fun of them, nor treat them harshly, but rather, we should love them with the love of Jesus and pray for opportunities to show our love to them so that they will be convinced that we are the real-deal Christians, that we are genuinely concerned about their welfare, that we do not see them as having any less value than anyone else, that they are loved and cherished by God, and that we do not see ourselves as better than them. We should pray for them as often as we think of them during the day, every day, that they would be delivered, and we should pray for God to open up opportunities for either us or someone else to share with them the good news of Jesus' love and redemption not only at the moment of salvation but also at all times of trial in our life. He is our Everyday Savior. But as far as witnessing to this or any other person, keep in mind that it may turn out that we are not be the best person to deliver any spiritual message, so we should not try to force the issue. Just love them, serve them, pray for them for deliverance and for healing of whatever has made them vulnerable to this sin, and we should wait on God’s guidance as to what to do or say next as we interact with this person.
I pray that you will be filled with God’s Spirit, Love, and Power to reach others and that you will be guided by Holy Wisdom in knowing how to serve others around you and when and what to say when the opportunity arises to share anything about the Bible, about Jesus, or about your own testimony.