When It Doesn't Go to Plan

Ashleigh Hull 1 month ago
Blog 3 mins
Found in: Sexuality, Culture

Hopefully, after parts one and two of this blog series, you feel a bit more encouraged and equipped when it comes to having conversations about sexuality. You’ve faced your fears, considered how you can listen well, and seen how the gospel applies to these conversations.

The trouble is that even with the best will in the world, things won’t always go to plan. Your fears may actually come true. People may disagree with you, dislike you because of your beliefs, call you homophobic or intolerant. Conversations may start well but somehow descend into hurt or anger.

Jesus told us, ‘If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you’ (John 15:18-19).

We don’t live to please the people around us or the world they belong to. We live for an audience of one.

When they hear what we believe, some people might go ‘Oh okay’ or even ‘Tell me more about Jesus’. Others will respond differently. That’s to be expected. And that’s actually OK. We don’t live to please the people around us or the world they belong to. We live for an audience of one. And he is one who doesn’t dismiss your fear, or the pain of the cost when you stand firm on this truth. He is the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3), and he weeps with you. He is the God of all glory, and his good word will be vindicated.

Peter gives us some good advice on how to conduct ourselves in this world we don’t belong to – this world that will hate us.

‘Live such good lives among your unbelieving neighbours that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us’ (1 Peter 2:12).

Our training director Andy Robinson summaries this as ‘our aim is to baffle people’.

We want people to be saying things like, ‘Your beliefs are harmful to gay people – but you’re so kind, and you love your gay friends just like you do your straight ones. I don’t understand!’

Or, ‘I thought you hated trans people – but I just watched you treat that person with respect and care. I don’t understand.’

Our world believes that to disagree with someone is to hate them. We can show people that that is just not true. We can disagree on sexual ethics, the purpose of sexuality, even the whole point of human existence – but we can still love the people we disagree with.

As you engage in the hard and joyous work of having conversations about sexuality, know that you aren’t doing any of this on your own. As Christians we are surrounded by brothers and sisters in the Church who can help us, encourage us, support us, and comfort us.

Far better even than that, Jesus himself is with us.

Far better even than that, Jesus himself is with us. He will give you the wisdom and the words that you need to have these conversations well. Jesus has gone before us, already knows what it is to be hated by the world, to be misunderstood and shouted down.

So, face your fears. Explore and get excited about the goodness of biblical sexuality. Think about the kind of questions the people around you are already asking. Practice listening well, offering the better story, and turning the conversation towards Jesus. Be prepared for some backlash, the hatred of the world. Wrestle with those implications and choose to stand firm on the truth anyway. Lean in to the prince of peace, the God of all comfort, the only way and truth and life.

And look forward, as always, to the day when all of our struggles will cease, when we will be with him forever, and when all of our conversations will be completely glorious.