Michael is a pastor and disciple-maker in Maryland. For many years, he struggled with deep prejudice against the LGBTQ community. However, God sent Michael to reach out to them. Read Michael's journey of heart transformation after God brought Mary into his life in the story below. Also, watch Michael and Mary tell the story themselves here!
God Sent Me to the House of a Lesbian Couple
A few years ago, God began a deep work in my life when I was introduced to my friend Mary, who had been a Lesbian for 26 years. I was touched so deeply by what God did in Mary's life that it changed the way I viewed LGBTQ people entirely. It all began on August 29th, 2019. I was sitting in my office at church when another pastor came in and asked me to join him to visit a lady who just called from the apartments across the road wanting help. We went across the street to her house. She emerged from the house trembling—I could tell something was wrong. She said that she felt that her house was under spiritual attack. The house reeked with an oppression that aversely affected her family's sleep and daily activities. She had tried everything she could. I asked Mary a question I often ask when I go prayer walking: "If God could do a miracle in your life, what would it be, Mary?" "I would want Him to save my family," Mary replied, "I want to live right and get back on my feet. I want us to be able to function and be financially okay again!" We had never met before, so I asked, "Well, who lives in your home?" "My wife," she said, "and my daughter and her kids."
I Had to Swallow My Self-Righteousness
Immediately, unbeknownst to her, I was facing a stronghold in my life—a self-righteous attitude about gay people. I'll be really honest—I've been a believer for 38 years, but for a long period of time, the people I despised the most where from the LGBTQ community. I wouldn't give them the time of day, I placed myself above them. I'd think, "God says this, you reject that, so I reject you." I was as wicked as could be in my heart. Nonetheless, I figured that we should see what God would do. We walked into the apartment and noticed a bunch of people on the deck, smoking. Mary opened the sliding door, "I want all of you to come in here right now." She was tough. "Sit on the floor," she barked. They all obeyed—her daughter, her daughter's kids and fiancé, her wife, and her wife's friend. I will never forget what Mary said once they all sat down.
"We're either going to get God in this place, or all of you are going to get out..."
She continued, "And I brought these pastors here so they can tell us how we can know God."
They Were Itching to Get Into God's Word!
Since Evangelism is my gifting, my normal modus operandi was proclamation evangelism. I had only just been introduced to Discovery Bible Study (DBS). So, I shared the gospel with them, but none of them were ready to receive it yet. That is, except for Mary's daughter. She sat on the ground weeping, "I can't do this anymore—I need Jesus in my life." I led her to Christ that day. Then, the Holy Spirit said to me, "Okay, you've been learning about DBS. Why don't you just try it? Ask them if they would be willing to meet next week to discover what God has for them." I'll never forget that answer they gave me when I offered to do a DBS with them. "Yes! We want that. Would you please come back next week?" they said. Their response was the total opposite of what I expected. I never thought they would be interested in reading the Bible.
Loving LGBTQ People Unconditionally
We returned the following weeks to facilitate Discovery Studies on the Creation to Christ Scripture list. Once we got to Genesis 2, the rubber met the road. We read about God making humans as male and female, and how a man should leave his father and mother and be united to his wife. Once we went through the study, I told Mary, "This is where I am at. I want you to know that I love you unconditionally, but this is what I believe."
Mary's eyes narrowed. "It's nobody's business who I sleep with."
"Well," I replied, "I'm in this for the long haul. Just know that this is something I believe you need to face, and if you ever come across the street to our church, you are totally welcome. Just understand that we believe what the Bible says here. I will be gracious to you, but I can't guarantee that everyone else in my church will be." Stay tuned for the continuation of this story next week, or hear Michael and Mary tell the story here!
When reaching unbelievers, the love we show them is more important than anything. Later in the story, Mary told Michael, "Michael went above and beyond in being gracious to me. He made me feel like a daughter. He never for a moment let me forget that he was there for me." Michael's unconditional compassion for Mary and her family was key in her eventual surrender to Christ. Michael's story displays yet again that God chooses the least expected people in the world to be drawn to Him and His Word. Back then, Michael never imagined that any lost person would want to read the Bible, much less someone from the LGBTQ community which he hated. Never let your expectations dictate who you engage with the love of Christ.
How do we create a space where lost people can discover God?
We want to have conversations that lead our non-believing friends to discover God. But it can be difficult to get there. We need to create a safe space for them to actually want to engage in that way.
In this episode, Paul and Rebecca go over 3 ways to create those safe spaces: preparing by mobilizing prayer, building relationships with unbelievers through friendship and conversation, and creating space for open conversation.