Posted on Tues, June, 04, 2019 at 10:48 p.m. (EST) &  June, 05, 19 at 09:18 p.m. (IST),  JUNE 2019 Edition

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“PRIDE Parades Prevent Perseverance”

Ramesh C. Reddy

When I was doing full time ministry, I counseled a friend who told me that he was struggling with homosexuality. He felt he was different from others. But, what I appreciated the most about this friend is his love for Jesus. Because, he loved Jesus so much, he did not want to give into being a practicing homosexual. I felt so bad for him and prayed with him for the Lord Jesus to give him the strength and endurance not to give in. He did not give in.

There is nothing wrong with coming coming out and identifying yourself as struggling with homosexuality. If anything it shows courage and humility which is the opposite of PRIDE.

Followers of Christ need to do a better job of not shunning those who are struggling with homosexuality.

When I was working on staff with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship - Pitt (IVCF-PITT), we had a practicing homosexual student come to large group each week. He came because we showed him love even though he knew that we believed practicing homosexuality was a sin and perversion in God's sight. It is our love for him that drew him to IVCF-PITT each week. That is never lost on me.

We even got to do a panel discussion together on 'Homosexuality and Christianity: Is there a compromise?'

I made a case against homosexuality while he made a case for homosexuality. It was attended by 7 Pitt News columnists including us.

What started the firestorm was that the Pitt News published a column by me entitling it: 'With love, homosexuality can be cured!'

People knew I loved those struggling with homosexuality because this is what we are called to do by Jesus, to love the broken and wounded. We all are broken and wounded by sin.

What touched me the most about the panel discussion was how highly the leaders of 'Rainbow Alliance' talked about me to others.

Their unison statement still resonates today hearing them say, 'Ramesh does not believe what we are doing is right but he loves us. He even hugs us.'

They understood that I was putting into practice, 'Hate the sin but love the sinner.'

They knew that I hated the sin of homosexuality but they also knew I was loving the sinner based on the Bible.

It was not just me but the IVCF-PITT chapter as a whole loved everyone and cared for them. This is what Christ called us to do to engage the campus in all its ethnic diversity with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We were called to love God, love people, and love the world.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ challenges us to move beyond our comfort zones and mediocrity. More than that we are challenged never to support sin. We can love those who are struggling with sin without supporting the sin itself.

When Jesus interacted with the Samaritan woman in John 4, he pointed out her sin in love without condemning her. This turned the woman and the village towards Jesus.

In John 8, a woman caught in adultery is brought before Jesus for condemnation.

Jesus responds by saying, 'He who has no sin cast the first stone.' In essence, he was implicitly acknowledging what the woman did was sin. Then, Jesus does something powerful by asking, 'Has no one condemned you? Neither do I. Go and sin no more!' Supporting our loved ones never means condoning their actions

When sin takes over our lives, we are wounded but Jesus wants to be our First Aid to overcome sin. Jesus wants to bring healing to the wounds of sin.

No matter the struggle of others we should be their to help them with Jesus instead of condoning their actions.

Have you ever heard of Alcoholics Support group where alcoholics come together to support one another to see who drinks more?

What exists is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) where those struggling with addictions hold each other accountable.

Have you ever heard of a Pornography Support group where pornographers come together to support one another to see who can watch more naked women and men?

What exists are  anti pornography accountability groups where those struggling with pornography can come together to be counseled and hold each other accountable in different ways.

Anything that is seen as a sin in the Bible, there are never support groups to condone the sin but accountability groups to overcome the sin.

What aches my heart is that the LGBTQ community exists to support each other to continue sinning instead of being an accountability group to those struggling with LGBTQ issues.

As a body of believers in Christ, we need to be at the forefront to those struggling with homosexuality by caring, praying, and sharing our lives with them leading them to the cross.

When we as believers in Christ think one of the ways to show love to the LGBTQ community is by marching with them in their PRIDE parades, we have done the opposite of what Jesus would want us to do.

As followers of Christ called to love, love can be shown without participating in the PRIDE parades.

Our interactions should be like Jesus' interactions with both women who were involved in sexual sin.

There is not a support group for sexual sin. It aches my heart so much when believers in Christ think they are showing love by marching in PRIDE parades. It is not showing the kind of love the Lord Jesus wants us to show.

The Bible says, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (Proverbs 27:6)

Yes, we may wound loved ones by not participating in the PRIDE parades but biblically we are helping them.

It is a fallacy to think the Lord would be okay with us for marching. By marching we are blatantly supporting a type of sexual sin.

It is not a march where those struggling with homosexuality are coming together to sing songs to Jesus and focus on Him to hold each other accountable.

On the contrary, it is rightfully called PRIDE parade.

Pride is thinking we know better than God and doing things our way for our own pleasure. This is not the way of the Lord.

What aches my heart more is hearing people say, "God is okay with me being gay because this is how He created me. Since He created me this way, there is nothing wrong to indulge in it sexually too."

This is far from the truth. Even though we are all born in sin and have different struggles in life that are sinful, we cannot give into them but keep the good fight of faith focusing on Jesus and confessing our sin like the Psalmist David did.

"But I was born a sinner from the moment my mother conceived me!" (Psalm 51:5, TLB)

"O loving and kind God, have mercy. Have pity upon me and take away the awful stain of my transgressions. Oh, wash me, cleanse me from this guilt. Let me be pure again. For I admit my shameful deed—it haunts me day and night. It is against you and you alone I sinned and did this terrible thing. You saw it all, and your sentence against me is just.  But I was born a sinner, yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.  You deserve honesty from the heart; yes, utter sincerity and truthfulness. Oh, give me this wisdom. Sprinkle me with the cleansing blood and I shall be clean again. Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. And after you have punished me, give me back my joy again. Don’t keep looking at my sins—erase them from your sight. Create in me a new, clean heart, O God, filled with clean thoughts and right desires. Don’t toss me aside, banished forever from your presence. Don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me again the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. Then I will teach your ways to other sinners, and they—guilty like me—will repent and return to you. Don’t sentence me to death. O my God, you alone can rescue me. Then I will sing of your forgiveness, for my lips will be unsealed—oh, how I will praise you." (Psalm 51:1-15, TLB)

We want to promote confession and perseverance instead of giving into sexuality sinfully. PRIDE parades prevent perseverance. If you are struggling with homosexuality but are celibate, you are not sinning but making the Lord proud!

Pride is the fall of destruction. Satan, Adam, and Eve all rebelled thinking they knew better than God, allowing pride to destroy. This is what pride does; it destroys. The first sin was the sin of pride. Sadly, the LGBTQ community labels their parade PRIDE.

When the Lord destroyed the world with a flood because of man's sinfulness, He later put a rainbow in the sky as a promise to Noah never to destroy the world with a flood. Everytime, I see a rainbow, I am reminded of God's covenant.

"I seal this promise with this sign: I have placed my rainbow in the clouds as a sign of my promise until the end of time, to you and to all the earth.  When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will be seen in the clouds,  and I will remember my promise to you and to every being, that never again will the floods come and destroy all life. For I will see the rainbow in the cloud and remember my eternal promise to every living being on the earth.” (Genesis 9:12-17, TLB)

Sadly, the LGBTQ community hijacked the rainbow to be their symbol.

What is also sad is everytime there is JESUS Week on campus to celebrate Holy Week, the LGBTQ community decided to have their PRIDE week. That is so sad but we are to love the LGBTQ community too showing them the love of Christ.

Jesus said, 'It is the sick that need the doctor not the healthy'.

We are all sick and in need of a doctor!

"That night Levi invited his fellow tax collectors and many other notorious sinners to be his dinner guests so that they could meet Jesus and his disciples. (There were many men of this type among the crowds that followed him.) But when some of the Jewish religious leaders saw him eating with these men of ill repute, they said to his disciples, “How can he stand it, to eat with such scum?” When Jesus heard what they were saying, he told them, “Sick people need the doctor, not healthy ones! I haven’t come to tell good people to repent, but the bad ones.” (Mark 2:15-17, TLB)

Struggling with sin is real but Jesus is real too. For our happiness, we should not give into sin but look to Jesus in our pain.

Where you can find hope is in Jesus because those who went before you struggled with what you are going through but overcame with the Lord's help. Those whose desires were not taken away, they too found their strength to go on in the Lord.

"Don't fool yourself. Those who live immoral lives, who are idol worshipers, adulterers or homosexuals--will have no share in his Kingdom. Neither will thieves or greedy people, drunkards, slanderers, or robbers. There was a time when some of you were just like that but now your sins are washed away, and you are set apart for God; and he has accepted you because of what the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of God have done for you. (1 Corinthians 6:10-11, TLB)

You need to ask yourself whether you will have perseverance for the Lord's sake?

“These trials are only to test your faith, to see whether or not it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests gold and purifies it—and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold; so if your faith remains strong after being tried in the test tube of fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day of his return.” (1 Peter 1:7, TLB)

"Or, you need to ask yourself whether you will have perversion for Satan's sake?"

"So God let them go ahead into every sort of sex sin, and do whatever they wanted to—yes, vile and sinful things with each other’s bodies. Instead of believing what they knew was the truth about God, they deliberately chose to believe lies. So they prayed to the things God made, but wouldn’t obey the blessed God who made these things. That is why God let go of them and let them do all these evil things, so that even their women turned against God’s natural plan for them and indulged in sex sin with each other.  And the men, instead of having normal sex relationships with women, burned with lust for each other, men doing shameful things with other men and, as a result, getting paid within their own souls with the penalty they so richly deserved.” (Romans 1:24-27, TLB)

When we see sin, we have to take a stand against it.

There was nothing wrong when Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin stated, “A reminder that Catholics should not support or attend LGBTQ “Pride Month” events held in June. They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals. They are especially harmful for children.”

What the Bishop was doing was asking Catholics to follow biblical Scripture in not promoting sin.

What  I am requesting my brothers and sisters in Christ to do is the same thing by taking a stand against  PRIDE parades for the sake of the Lord.

When Jesus joined Levi and other notorious sinners, Jesus did not join them to support their activities but to heal them of their sickness. Jesus is a friend of sinners. We need to be too to rescue them!

"Will you join me in taking a stand for the Lord?"

I love what my former Pastor Hugo Cheng shared when he told the story of a husband who wanted to leave his wife for another woman say, 'I prayed to the Lord about leaving my wife and the Lord is okay with it because I have a peace about it'

This is hogwash from the pit of Hell. Lord will not go against His Word. Don't deceive yourself into thinking PRIDE parades are okay for Christians to participate. They are not!

Let us take this month of June to pray for those struggling with homosexuality and those giving into homosexuality for the Lord Jesus to bring healing and restoration to their lives. Let us pray that the Lord will be enough for each of them without indulging in the sin. Let us pray that we can always be friend of sinners like Jesus is without compromising our Biblical principles. Let us ask for prayer for our own sins too for we are sinners too!

Remember, you are loved, you are loved, you are loved! You may feel like an outcast in need of a PRIDE parade but you don’t need it. You can persevere! You can persevere! You can persevere!

Jesus came for sinners just like you and me who have been outcasts one way or other. I love you! Jesus loves you! Come as you are and find hope, help, and healing in Jesus Name! When the Lord touches the hearts of those who turn to Him in brokenness, they will never be the same again, never be the same again!

In closing, my favorite song is 'Jesus, Friend of Sinners' by Casting Crowns which can be used as a closing prayer. I agree with 95% of the song but there is that 5% that I have a difficult time agreeing with.

"Jesus, friend of sinners, we have strayed so far away. We cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to swing. Jesus, friend of sinners, the truth's become so hard to see. The world is on their way to You but they're tripping over me. Always looking around but never looking up I'm so double minded. A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided. Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers. Let our hearts be led by mercy. Help us reach with open hearts and open doors. Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours. Yeah. Jesus, friend of sinners, the one who's writing in the sand. Make the righteous turn away and the stones fall from their hands. Help us to remember we are all the least of thieves. Let the memory of Your mercy bring Your people to their knees. No one knows what we're for only what we are against when we judge the wounded. What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and loved like You did. Oh Jesus, friend of sinners. Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers. Let our hearts be led by mercy. Help us reach with open hearts and open doors. Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours. You love every lost cause; you reach for the outcast. For the leper and the lame; they're the reason that You came. Lord I was that lost cause and I was the outcast. But you died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet. 'Cause You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever. You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever. You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever. You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever. Oh Jesus, friend of sinners. Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers. Let our hearts be led by mercy. Help us reach with open hearts and open doors. Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks Yours. And I was the lost 'cause and I was the outcast. Yeah. You died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet."

Songwriters: Mark Hall / Matthew West. Jesus, Friend of Sinners lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Essential Music Publishing, Capitol Christian Music Group

Reddy's Rhetoric takes you into the world of the LGBTQ community exhorting believers to love them and reminding believers 'PRIDE' Parades prevent perseverance!

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