In December 2016, while cycling in a new area, I came across a large night club in Fort Myers, Florida. Sensing it may be a gay bar I said some prayers as I rode by. The next day while repeating the route I again felt compelled to pray. This time I did so while taking seven laps around the building and parking lot.
By about the second or third round, I was definitely getting a distinct LGBT vibe and had mental impressions of the Orlando night club shooting! Then I noticed a rainbow on the big LED sign by the road. With this apparent confirmation, I was spurred onward. After the 7th round I declared Jesus’ name over the property and prayed for peace, safety and supernatural God encounters in that place (days later I sounded the shofar there as well). I know some believers may not think God would show up in a place like that, but I feel otherwise. Psalm 139:8 says God will be with us no matter where we go.
While watching the changing marquee sign I saw one phrase that said, “Southwest Florida’s Largest Gay Nightclub” which completely erased any doubts about my impressions. When I returned home and shared all this with my husband, Russ, he shocked me with the news that this very day was the six-month anniversary of the Orlando gay night club shooting and the story was again dominating the major media outlets. This was reportedly the deadliest mass shooting and worst terrorist attack in the USA since 9/11. There were 49 killed and 53 wounded by a Muslim identifying with ISIS.
After that I noticed we were having an unusual number of encounters with gay men; a waiter at a Thai restaurant, a lawyer who helped us with notarization, two Lowe’s associates (one kissed a male customer and declared, “You are a doll…”), and a male shopper with lacy, florescent pink panties (visible just above his jeans and noticeable because of the midriff top). Even while visiting friends north of the Tampa area we learned that half the main street of a nearby historic cigar-factory town, was given over to gay bars.
When God draws our attention to subjects like this, I realize it’s something close to His heart that requires searching out an appropriate course of action. The gay men we recently encountered seemed to be sensitive, talented, hard-working and responsible citizens. But I have also discerned that many in the LGBT community often struggle with anger, bitterness, and depression as a result of childhood sexual abuse and other emotional traumas. Such difficulties can be the very catalyst that launches them into their alternative lifestyle.
As noted in my recently published book, Calling Forth the Bride of Christ, the Catholic Church’s overwhelming complicity in countless sex abuse crimes against children must not be overlooked with regard to its effect on the growth of the LGBT movement. Rome has let God down and opened Pandora’s box. Perhaps the Church Universal needs to repent not just to God but to the citizens of the world. Maybe then the tide will turn and we will see an abatement of gender confusion and perpetuation of even more sexual abuse and exploitation. Despite the “gay” designation, I have found that these people are really not very happy at all. Perhaps it’s because they have a God—sized hole in their hearts that only Jesus can fill.
One homosexual I encountered twice along my favorite cycling route gave me an interesting word picture of their reality. His five—pound pet, Maxie, barked ferociously as we paused together at a crosswalk. The man warned that Maxie would bite until he got to know someone. Many Christians (for good cause) think LGBT people are threatening, like Maxie. Granted some are volatile, mean-spirited, predacious, agenda-pushing activists. And although these people may put on a mean face at times, deep down inside they might actually feel very small and just want to be understood, to be known and to be loved. But loving them does not mean agreeing that the LGBT version of sexuality is ok with God. It’s just not.
Even the beloved Dr. Ben Carson was bold enough to declared that LGBT people shouldn’t be redefining marriage to achieve special rights. But we can give them a special place in our hearts because they truly are special to God. So, Bride of Christ, don't be intimidated by the “bark” or potential “bite.” Rather than judging and condemning, we should get acquainted with these fragile souls crossing our paths and then love them into the Kingdom. Wouldn’t that best display our heavenly Father's heart?
If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. (Matthew 5:46 NLT)