If we believe someone is living in deception, isn't it our duty as Christians to correct this? To distinguish what is true from what is false?

Dear Sam - thank you for taking our questions here. Your time is greatly appreciated!

I just today listened to one of your Q&A sessions. First off I thank you for not giving any credence to the “born this way” justification accepted by many, including in the church, to conclude God made homosexuals. I respect your answer, as I understood it, that though you have no explanation for your orientation early on, (a normal upbringing) it is not that God made you that way, but that all, every one of us is born flawed, not according to God’s original design for us. I see then, we spend our lives searching for our true authentic selves, our identity, until Jesus rescues us. If that’s so, (and it sure is for me) isn’t it a mistake then for us to join in with attaching more wrong labels of LGBTQ (and then some more added still as I just looked it up) to some people? I see someone in that confusion, no different than the darkness I was in, but what I did was Not who I was. What I needed was the truth. I do believe the church should make the distinction. What do you say?

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Thanks for listening to that Q&A and for asking such a great question.

The issue of language is so important, and often not very straightforward. You’re right to say that all of us is trying to look for our true selves, our authentic identity. If the credo for the 90s was “Find yourself.” today it is “Express yourself.” We assume we can know our true identity by looking inside our hearts. As you show, it is always wrong-headed: we can’t truly possess knowledge of ourselves without being known and found by God himself.

So, yes, the proliferation of sexual identity labels is not going to be helpful. We know that sexual attractions are not the core essence of what makes us who we are. Identifying oneself primarily by sexuality is not an authentic, biblical way to ascertain who we truly are. The same is true for us all. By nature we all miss-label ourselves, basing our primary identity in something it is not meant to be found in.

However, it is still helpful to have terminology to describe our general attractional patterns. If a Christian discovers he is sexually attracted to someone of the same sex, it is useful for him to have a way of explaining that if he is to find encouragement in following Christ. For many of us, the language of “same-sex attraction” serves that purpose. It is not intended to be language of personal identity, but a description of a temptation. Wonderfully, not everything that describes us defines us.

We also need to reckon with the fact that if we are to reach those who are not believers, shunning all terminology used by them is not going to be a practical starting point in our evangelism. We probably need to start with the language they are used to. It will help in forming a point of contact. If we come with only unfamiliar language and alien concepts it will be hard to get anywhere. So I don’t think it is always necessarily wrong for Christians to use the terminology of LGBT+, even if we aren’t ultimately beholden to that is often meant by that acronym. Prov 26:4-5 reminds us there are times when we need to run with a non-biblical concept in order to have opportunities further down the line to commend biblical wisdom. (The same passage also reminds us that if we become too comfortable with such a concept, it may ultimately result in us joining the world, rather than the world coming to Christ.)

So in all this, we need great wisdom from above. Let’s keep praying for it!