From the beginning of the Holy Scriptures in the Book of Genesis, the family is the cornerstone upon which God’s people live. As we read throughout the Book of Genesis, we find the Creator talking and interacting with the patriarchs (Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph) and their partners (Eve, Naamah, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah and Asenath). God’s future plan to bless all people, all families, through Abraham’s descendants would come through the generations of families of the Hebrew nation. The family unit continued throughout the Old Testament to be crucial for the survival of the Hebrew nation. Each member had responsibilities to ensure the survival of their family. That has not changed. Whether it be in straight family or LGBTQ family, God still moves and blesses the family members as they faithfully fulfill their responsibilities.

No where in the Bible does it say that God does not love LGBTQ people. God’s Law in the Old Testament was to lead and guide God’s chosen people, the Jews, in their life, giving them guidelines on how to worship the Creator and to treat their neighbors. Fulfillment of that was best exemplified when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was and, he said in Matthew 22:36-40, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And the second is like it: “you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (NRSV). Which means we are to love all people, our neighbors and our families (blood or chosen collective of friends), whether they be straight or LGBTQ, and whether we get along or not.

Granted, loving all people is not easy, especially for LGBTQ people, as we have been attacked, beaten up, harassed and killed for being our true selves. It would be easy to exact revenge for the hurt we have suffered. But the Holy Scriptures tell us we are not to do that as it says in Matthew 7: 12, “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets” (NRSV). Whether our family is defined by blood or by a chosen collective of friends, we are to treat everyone with love and respect as we would want them to treat us. Many LGBTQ folks do not have a good relationship with their blood families because they have been abused, lied to and hurt. God knows that, and will bring judgment upon those individuals on Judgment Day for the hurt they have caused us. However, for now, we are called to love all people including our blood family. That means if we cannot have a civil relationship with them, we are to pray for God to change them and forgive them, for Jesus said in Matthew 5:44, “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (NRSV). We can’t love and pray for those who persecute us without the strength of God. The Apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Because we are human, we will fail in our attempts to pray for those who hurt, but we are told that God will bless us for our efforts.

LGBTQ people are God’s people as are all created people. The promise made to the Hebrews in the Old Testament is also for the Gentiles, including LGBTQ people. In the Book of Acts God revealed this promise to the Apostle Peter in a dream about both clean and unclean animals in which God told him to get up and eat. God did not distinguish between the clean and unclean animals. This exemplifies that God’s love and promises were for the Gentiles, as well as the Hebrews, for previously the Gentiles were considered unclean. This means we are all, straight and LGBTQ people, one family under the Creator.

When family situations get unbearable, hold tight, and seek strength from the Lord. The Lord will never leave us. Always remember what the Prophet Jeremiah said in Lamentations 3:22-25, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’ The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him” (NRSV).

info: Rev. Dawn Flynn is the pastor of New Life Metropolitan Community Church in Gastonia, N.C.