The popular Christian same sex marriage activist, Ao Yang Wen Feng is currently back in Malaysia and travelling around various cities in the country with one message: Walk out from the closet; admit if you are homosexual; and the more people walk out and speak, the more acceptance of homosexuality will be received.
This has cause different kind of reactions among the churches in Malaysia. Emails and SMS are being forwarded to hail Christians to do something to stop his activities by petitions, phone calls, etc. Before all of us over react, let's take some time to ponder: What should our reactions be? How can we learn from Christ who came to look "for sinners and not the righteous ones".
Before we start throwing stones at them, should we not ask ourselves 'which among us has no sin'?
I am posting a response by a brother in Christ asking for a more compassionate approach of "extending grace and hope" and driven by "love", instead of "fear".
I read your mail forwarded to me by one of my friend. Firstly, I can understand your passion and upset of what is happening around Ao Yang, using christianity and his title as Reverand, to advance his gay-right activist campaign.He was here last Saturday in Penang, and I was there.
But, I am concern of your reaction to this whole issue.The main reason of gay-right activist is the outburst reaction to the un-compassionate, self-righteous, and one-sided criticism and condemnation, without offering reason and grace to homosexuals, in the pass. Many good Christians, who are homosexual oriented, live constantly,daily, in pain and guilt.
I observe the stages in the change of mind in them as follows:
1. Curious and fear of their tendency.
2. Deep sense of guilt.
3. Loneliness and isolation.
4. Doubt and anger to God creep in.
In the lowest point, they will find way to ease their pain by reasoning that:
1. I was born this way. Maybe it is God's will.
2. God loves me just as I am, so homosexual should be acceptable to God.
3. It is fine to live as a homosexual partnerships.
4. All other un-reasonable reasoning follows.
Ao Yang is right in certain aspect.
The redicule, condemnation of homosexual as the GREATEST SIN, persecution, despise,is unjustice, and in itself a sin. Ao Yang has to use Christianity. Because other than Christianity, it is difficult to build the dignity and intrinsic value of man.
Therefore, my approach and my suggestion to church, is extent love and grace to them, PARTICULARLYto homosexual Christians who living in guilt, fear and loneliness. I believe how we relate to them is determine by what stage of struggle they are in.
For the activist like Ao Yang, it is intellectual argument and debate (in gentleness). For those mind have not yet been changed to accept homosexual marriage as right, they need compassion, love, and counselling.
Redicule and condemn will only accelerate the process of becoming another Ao Yang. As a church of Christ,we need to learn from Christ how to love and be with sinners and tax collectors without condon to their thinking and behavior.
We need to give people like Ao Yang another option: Walk out from the closet to accept the love and grace of God, through support and warm fellowshipin the church, while admitting that homosexuality is the tragic consequence of the Fall, just like any other sin. By God's grace and Christ redeeming power, we struggle together in the road of holiness, both homosexualand heterosexual.
It is no point making effort to stop him from speaking. It is impossible. It is no point to curse him and swear at him. It will lead to no where and giving the wrong impression that Christians are incompetent to defence their moral law.
Apologia, as we have learned, is speaking the truth in love, for in love, there is no FEAR.