Social media is filling up with rainbow icons and articles about LGBTQ people and events, with companies jumping on the bandwagon to sell more electronics, beer, clothes, books, music, etc. June has become “Pride Month.” According to the Library of Congress, “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month is currently celebrated each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan. The Stonewall riots were a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States.”
June is now also a month during which Christian values and teachings are belittled, shunned, and shouted down. Catholic bishop Thomas Tobin faced online outrage when he tweeted: “A reminder that Catholics should not support or attend LGBTQ ‘Pride Month’ events held in June. They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals. They are especially harmful for children.” We would expand that to say, “contrary to the Christian faith and the Word of God.”
The Apostle Paul warns the Philippians, “Many walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. I told you about them often, and now I am saying it while weeping. Their end is destruction, their god is their appetite, and their glory is in their shame” (Philippians 3:18-19 EHV). Participating in events that promote a sinful lifestyle is not only an affront to faith and morals, it is an affront to God Himself. The First Commandment (You Shall Have No Other Gods) is violated whenever someone places their own thoughts above God’s Word.
Upholding God’s design for sex and marriage becomes increasingly difficult as our society continues its moral decline. Declaring month-long celebrations of sin does not make teaching Christian values any easier. However, God does not give us the option to simply be quiet and accept that celebrated immorality is the new norm.
Most of us know people caught up in one of these celebrated lifestyles. They might be longtime friends or our relatives. And it’s difficult to stand up for the truth when a friend or relative invites us to a Pride concert or to a gay wedding. We don’t want to offend them. We don’t want to cause a rift in the family or lose a friend. But something much more important is stake: eternal life—yours and theirs.
Giving in to societal pressures and participating in sin is denying our Savior. Jesus said, “I tell you, whoever confesses me before other people, the Son of Man will also confess him before the angels of God. But whoever denies me in the presence of other people will be denied in the presence of the angels of God” (Luke 12:8-9 EHV). It is not an option for us, as Christians, to participate in events that deny God and His Word. It is our duty to stand up for that Word, no matter the personal cost.
At the same time, we are reminded to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). Standing up for the truth in these matters doesn’t mean we stop loving other people. In fact, it is out of love for their eternal souls that we must speak the truth. Your friend or relative needs the truth of God’s Law. They need to know that LGBTQ lifestyles are condemned by God. But they also need to know that your Savior is also their Savior.
Jesus died for the sins of all people. The forgiveness He offers is for everyone. When the Holy Spirit moves our hearts to repent of our sins and creates faith in us, He also moves us to abandon sin. That doesn’t mean our lives will suddenly be easy. God doesn’t flip a switch in us and suddenly we are sin-free. Far from it. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul writes, “Indeed, I know that good does not live in me, that is, in my sinful flesh. The desire to do good is present with me, but I am not able to carry it out. So I fail to do the good I want to do. Instead, the evil I do not want to do, that is what I keep doing.” (Romans 7:18-19 EHV). The lives of all Christians are a constant struggle against the desire to sin.
God gives us the strength, though, to overcome sin. Bring your sins to the cross. There is no pride at the foot of the cross. Bring your sins of weakness and desire to give in to the pressures of the world. Bring your sins of doubt about God’s Word and what it teaches us. Bring your sins of sexual desire and the appeal to abandon God’s clear teachings. At the cross, we see our Savior’s great love for us. We see that the debt for our sins has been paid.
As we continue to see the crass marketing of rainbow-hued drink cans, clothing, and social media profiles, remember that this type of pride is not an emotion to be celebrated. Pride in violating God’s commands can only bring condemnation. May we all come before God in humility, repenting of our sins and, in faith, grasp the forgiveness earned for us all.
Rev. Paul Fries