7 Things Christians Should Consider during Pride Month When it Comes to Loving Others

Clarence L. Haynes Jr.

Contributing Writer
Updated Jun 18, 2024
7 Things Christians Should Consider during Pride Month When it Comes to Loving Others

How do you love others? While the question seems simple, living out the answer may not be. Jesus said the two greatest commands are to love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself. Though this is a straightforward command, reality tells us living this out is something far different. Loving someone you agree with can be hard enough, but how do you love those who you don’t agree with? Better yet, how do you love them as yourself?

Many Christians face this dilemma, especially during months like Pride Month. However, when it comes to loving others, Pride Month should really be no different from any other month. The fundamentals of loving people remain the same regardless of who the person is.

The challenge we face is understanding how to love people the way Jesus did. This is critical because this might have more impact on someone’s life than possibly anything else we could ever do. This does not mean you must endorse someone’s lifestyle to love them. You don’t. It also doesn’t mean everyone will come to know Christ. What it means is we must remove the barriers that prevent people from hearing the truth of God’s Word and the truth of the gospel. The way we love people can be one step to making that happen.

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Here are seven things Christians should consider during pride month when it comes to loving others:

global love heart shaped globe in green grass

1. God so loved the world; you should, too. 

John 3:16 is possibly the most famous verse in the Bible. This verse begins with for God so loved the world. When the Bible says world, that includes everyone in it. This means we can’t discriminate between who gets included in this group and who doesn’t. To take it a step further, you can’t decide which neighbor you are going to love and which ones you aren’t. Our mandate is to love the people in the world. You may not like or agree with everything people in the world do, but that does not diminish your responsibility to love them.

2. You can show love to those you disagree with.

In Luke 10, you find the story of the good Samaritan. In summary, a man, who was most likely Jewish, was going from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he was beaten, robbed, stripped, and left for dead. The priest and Levite overlooked the man, but the Samaritan cared for him. This matters because Samaritans and Jews did not like each other. Jews considered Samaritans to be 'half-breeds;' yet, it was the Samaritan who loved this Jewish man and the Jews who ignored him. This is a further reminder that we don’t need to agree with someone to love them. Love does not mean blanket approval or acceptance, but it means you care about someone, even if you don’t agree with the way they live.

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women talking in coffee shop

3. Think about the individual, not the group or the movement.

In Matthew and Luke, Jesus said if a shepherd has one hundred sheep and he loses one, he will leave the ninety-nine to go after the one. A key to loving others is to think of them individually. Our society likes to put people into groups or categories, which makes it very easy to dismiss the group as a whole. However, what happens when, instead of thinking about the group, you think about the one person? To make it more personal, what if that person is your child, your relative, your co-worker, or someone else who is close to you? I believe your response towards them would be more like the Samaritan and less like the priest or the Levite.

The Samaritan did not see a Jewish man lying beaten on the side of the road. He saw a man beaten on the side of the road. When you see people as individual people, it becomes easier to show them love.

I was talking to a parent recently whose child had made some choices they were not thrilled with. They were not sinful choices, but they were concerned it was not in their child’s best interest. In conversation with this parent, they said, despite their decision, I must keep loving them. You might say, well, that is a parent loving their child, that is what they are supposed to do? Well, isn’t that the same type of love God shows towards us? The Bible reminds us that God is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love (Ps. 103:8). If God is like that toward us, then we should be that way toward others.

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4. Sharing the gospel is a relationship issue.

When you look at the model Jesus left for us to follow, you will see that he made a habit of eating with sinners and tax collectors. 

"While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: 'Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?' On hearing this, Jesus said to them, 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.'” - Mark 2:15-17

Jesus knew the key to reaching people with the gospel is by building relationships with those who need to hear it. Many people treat sharing the gospel like a hit-and-run exercise. You hit people with the gospel and if they don’t accept it immediately, then you run to the next person. However, we should see sharing the message of the gospel like planting seeds. Think about how seeds grow. They must be planted, watered, and nurtured before the seed produces fruit. Our job is to plant and water and then allow the Holy Spirit to nurture that heart and hopefully bring them to Christ.  

With things like Pride Month, many Christians struggle with how to approach people within this community and build relationships. Part of that is because you may worry about blurring the line between love and acceptance. The other issue is not knowing how your actions will be received by other believers. Does building a relationship mean you agree with how they are living? Even though the answer is no, this becomes a conundrum for many people.

In these situations, I encourage you to follow Jesus’ lead. He built relationships with tax collectors and sinners because he realized those were the people who needed him. He did this knowing that the religious community of his day would criticize him. Yet he did it anyway, without ever validating their sin or lifestyle. I can almost promise that if you attempt to do the same, you may face criticism, too. However, Jesus’ desire to reach people overshadowed any criticism he might have received, and ours should, too.

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5. If you listen to someone's story, they may listen to yours.

5. If you listen to someone's story, they may listen to yours.

One thing I have learned in life is everyone has a story. There is a reason they make the choices and decisions they make. What I have also learned is the less you know about someone’s story, the easier it is to judge them. For example, how many people do you know who don’t know Jesus? You probably know quite a few, and some of them may even be in your own household. My suspicion is you probably treat them far differently than those people you don’t know.

It’s easy to proclaim judgment from a distance with people you never engage with. However, with people you know, usually your first instincts are to reach them and not to condemn them. When you get to know people and you listen to their stories, it builds a level of trust. When someone trusts you, then you create opportunities for them to hear what you have to say. This may not create the initial change you want, but it creates scenarios where you can tell them the truth and plant seeds because they know you love them and care about them.

6. Focus on drawing people closer, not pushing them away.

The people who complained the most about Jesus eating with sinners were the Pharisees. If it had been left to them, no one would have ever gotten saved. We can’t afford to be like the Pharisees. When we act like they did, we push people away and close doors. However, when we love like Jesus, we draw people close and we open doors. A few chapters after the dinner at Levi’s house, here is what you discover.

"Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, 'This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.'” - Luke 15:1-2

Jesus accomplished his goal. He opened a door so that those who were apart from him could hear him. Notice again who were the complainers…the Pharisees. The more we reach out to people and build relationships, the more open doors we create. This does not mean they will all come, and it doesn’t even mean you approve or agree with their choices. It means you care about them enough that you do everything you can to reach them. The fact remains that if we approach this like the Pharisees, then we have no shot at reaching anyone.

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Man praying with Holy Bible outside

7. You are called to be an ambassador for Jesus.

"We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God." - 2 Corinthians 5:20

You cannot reconcile anyone to God unless you love them first. While you are responsible for telling them the truth, you must do it in love. The very reason salvation is even possible is because of God’s love. Remember, for God so loved the world, which means you and me. He also loved us while we were still in sin and far from him. Jesus didn’t wait until you were ready to deal with your sin to die on the cross. He died when you were deep in your sin to provide a way of forgiveness and reconciliation back to the Father. As Jesus’ ambassadors, if we are going to reconcile people to Jesus, then we must love them like he does.

I am going to close this by reminding you that it is not always easy to love people, and it is even more difficult to love people the way Jesus did. Yet, this is what we are called to do. Loving others like Jesus may require you to go against the grain, and sometimes, your actions and behavior may not always be welcomed or even understood by others. However, this just may be the price we must pay to love people as Jesus did.

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Clarence Haynes 1200x1200Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club.  He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. His most recent book is The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. Clarence is also committed to helping 10,000 people learn how to study the Bible and has just released his first Bible study course called Bible Study Basics. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com

Originally published Thursday, 13 June 2024.