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Same Love

Dynamic ImageMain Point of Discussion: Christians do not have to compromise God’s truth to show the love of Christ to others. Christians must love homosexuals with the love of Christ.

The Song: Same Love by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, ft. Mary Lambert
Even if you didn’t watch the 2013 VMA’s, you probably heard about them, anyway. The show drew in 10.1 million viewers and was the #1 cable entertainment telecast of the year among 12-34 year olds, which means that many of your students were watching.

Lost in all the commotion over Miley Cyrus’ bizarre “twerking” and the NSYNC reunion, was the live performance of the song Same Love by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and Mary Lambert. The group’s song, which supports gay marriage and has a number of unflattering things to say about the Church, took home the award for “Best Video with a Social Message.”

Most of you are probably familiar with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis by now, from their hit singles “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us.” Surprisingly though, the most intriguing storyline might be the lesser-known Mary Lambert, a singer-songwriter who is also a self-confessed lesbian. Lambert’s story exemplifies the exact reason why this discussion is important for the Church and why it should also be handled with great care.

The chorus and the outro to Same Love were originally written for Mary Lambert’s song entitled, She Keeps Me Warm, which details her experiences as a lesbian growing up in an evangelical Christian church. Mary grew up Pentecostal, but when she was 6, her mother came out as a lesbian, and her family was ostracized by the church. Still, she says that she grew in her faith and remained in the evangelical church until she came out at the age of 17, at which point she gave up on her faith and The Church. The repeating line from both Same Love and She Keeps Me Warm, “not crying on Sundays,” refers to the way she used to feel after leaving church services on Sunday mornings.

Mary is an example for youth leaders of why it is sooooooo important to exercise great caution in how we address homosexuality. It is important to not compromise on biblical truth, of course, but it is also important to remember that there may be students in your midst who are struggling with this issue right now; those students need to hear about the transforming love and grace of Christ, rather than judgment and condemnation.

This is clearly a very high profile and sensitive subject in our society right now. It is extremely important to be careful with what you say during this discussion and to make sure that you conduct the discussion in a manner that communicates love and care for everyone involved.

Scripture is just as clear regarding same-gender sexual sin as it is regarding opposite-gender sexual sin; they’re both sinful; God isn’t cool with either action. Unfortunately The Church has justifiably gained a reputation as a gay-hating institution by, among other things, stigmatizing homosexual sin (and homosexuality in general) to a far greater extent. For more helpful info on dealing with homosexuality, check out this TRAINING TOOL.

Introducing the Song:
If you watched the 2013 VMAs, you undoubtedly saw Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ performance of the song
Same Love. Even if you didn’t watch the live performance, you have probably heard the song, which rose as high as #15 on the Billboard charts and #12 on iTunes’ Top Downloads. The performance Macklemore gave was moving and emotional, but how does it compare with biblical truth? Let’s listen to the song and then see what you think.

The Music Video:
The official music video can be found here:
(You may need to screen this video first. There are some scenes that church leaders may find offensive.)

The live performance of the same song is here:

Song Lyrics:

When I was in the third grade I thought that I was gay,
'Cause I could draw, my uncle was, and I kept my room straight.
I told my mom, tears rushing down my face
She's like "Ben you've loved girls since before pre-k, trippin' "
Yeah, I guess she had a point, didn't she?
Bunch of stereotypes all in my head.
I remember doing the math like, "Yeah, I'm good at little league"
A preconceived idea of what it all meant
For those that liked the same sex
Had the characteristics
The right wing conservatives think it's a decision
And you can be cured with some treatment and religion
Man-made rewiring of a predisposition
Playing God, aw nah here we go
America the brave still fears what we don't know
And God loves all his children, is somehow forgotten
But we paraphrase a book written thirty-five-hundred years ago
I don't know

And I can't change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
And I can't change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
My love
My love
My love
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm

If I was gay, I would think hip-hop hates me
Have you read the YouTube comments lately?
"Man, that's gay" gets dropped on the daily
We become so numb to what we're saying
A culture founded from oppression
Yet we don't have acceptance for 'em
Call each other faggots behind the keys of a message board
A word rooted in hate, yet our genre still ignores it
Gay is synonymous with the lesser
It's the same hate that's caused wars from religion
Gender to skin color, the complexion of your pigment
The same fight that led people to walk outs and sit ins
It's human rights for everybody, there is no difference!
Live on and be yourself
When I was at church they taught me something else
If you preach hate at the service those words aren't anointed
That holy water that you soak in has been poisoned
When everyone else is more comfortable remaining voiceless
Rather than fighting for humans that have had their rights stolen
I might not be the same, but that's not important
No freedom till we're equal, damn right I support it

(I don't know)

And I can't change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
My love
My love
My love
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm

We press play, don't press pause
Progress, march on
With the veil over our eyes
We turn our back on the cause
Till the day that my uncles can be united by law
When kids are walking 'round the hallway plagued by pain in their heart
A world so hateful some would rather die than be who they are
And a certificate on paper isn't gonna solve it all
But it's a damn good place to start
No law is gonna change us
We have to change us
Whatever God you believe in
We come from the same one
Strip away the fear
Underneath it's all the same love
About time that we raised up... sex

And I can't change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
And I can't change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
My love
My love
My love
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm

Love is patient
Love is kind
Love is patient
Love is kind
(not crying on Sundays)
Love is patient
(not crying on Sundays)
Love is kind
(I'm not crying on Sundays)
Love is patient
(not crying on Sundays)
Love is kind
(I'm not crying on Sundays)
Love is patient
(not crying on Sundays)
Love is kind
(I'm not crying on Sundays)
Love is patient
Love is kind

Transition Statement:
Macklemore’s song supports the (now) widespread notion that romantic love between homosexuals should be treated exactly the “same” as the love that heterosexual couples have for one another. But in his support of homosexuality, he also has some less-than-flattering things to say about the Church. In spite of his poor view of the Church or the Bible, Christians must love homosexuals with the love of Christ. Let’s discuss these ideas some more in our small groups.

  1. AROUND THE CIRCLE: Everybody take a second to share your name and whether or not you watched the 2013 VMA’s? Why did you choose to watch or not watch?

  2. ASK A FEW: I thought there were several positive messages in this music video we just watched. What were some of the good messages that you heard? (Leaders – He sang about the need to stand up for those who are oppressed, or those who “have their rights stolen”, defending the helpless and downtrodden, not stereotyping others, loving everyone, fighting against hate, etc.)

  3. ASK A FEW: Do you think God values these ideas, like sticking up for others, as well? (Leaders - Absolutely! It might be worth mentioning here that defending the poor, the weak, the oppressed, and the downtrodden is a theme that occurs repeatedly throughout the Bible. The Bible brings up this idea far more often than it does homosexuality. It isn’t optional for Christians!)

  4. ASK A FEW: From listening to this song though, how do you think Macklemore feels about The Church and how it has lived up to these ideals? What kind of things does he accuse The Church of?

  5. ASK A FEW: Do you think some churches deserve the criticism that Macklemore gives? Why or why not?

  6. Transition Statement:
    Some times in the past some Christians have earned this reputation by elevating the sin of homosexuality above all others. We’ve been so vocal and harsh when talking about it in the past, that to the outside world, we’ve come across as very judgmental and condemning. Some even label Christians as “anti-gay.” Does it have to be that way though? Is it possible to love the LGBT community without compromising God’s truth on the matter?

    Read the following passage:

      John 8:2-11

      2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

      But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

      9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

      11 “No one, sir,” she said.

      “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

  7. ASK A FEW: There is no way of knowing for sure, but just for kicks, what do you think Jesus was writing on the ground in this story?

  8. ASK A FEW: What words would you use to describe the way the Pharisees and teachers of the law treated this woman?

  9. ASK A FEW: What words would you use to describe the way Jesus treated this woman?

  10. ASK A FEW: Would you in any way describe Jesus’ treatment of the women as “hateful” or “bigoted?” Give proof either way.

  11. ASK A FEW: At the same time, did Jesus try to justify her adultery or tell her that it wasn’t sin? (No. In verse 11, He specifically says she has been living in a life of sin.)

  12. ASK A FEW: Do you think some sins are worse than others? Why or why not?

  13. ASK A FEW: What do you think Jesus’ response in verse 7 says about this? (Leaders – The point you are trying to drive at here is that Jesus was essentially telling the religious folks that they were sinners too and their sin was no better or worse than this woman’s. “All sin is equal” in that it essentially gives everyone equal status. No matter how “bad” the sin, it leaves all of us deserving of death; yet none of us are beyond the grace and forgiveness of Christ.)

  14. ASK A FEW: Imagine that the word adultery was simply replaced in this passage by the word homosexuality. So, instead of an adulterous woman, the Pharisees brought a woman caught in homosexuality to Jesus. How do you think Jesus would have responded? Why?

  15. AROUND THE CIRCLE: How does Jesus’ response to this woman affect the way you view and respond to people you know who are gay or struggling with homosexual issues?

Wrap Up:
In the charged atmosphere that exists today, a false dichotomy has developed. In most of the discourse on this issue, the unnecessary choice that is presented is that you are either (a) fully supportive of homosexuality and recognize it as a morally acceptable lifestyle or (b) you are a homophobe and a bigot, who hates gays.

Let’s be honest for a moment here and admit that while it may not be completely our fault, Christians have done a lot to create this environment. Some Christians have helped contribute to this perception by being unnecessarily harsh, judgmental, or condemning in their words and actions towards the LGBT community. They’ve also created this atmosphere by treating homosexuality as if it is some unpardonable sin that is worse than any other sin, much like the Pharisees treated adultery in the story we just read.

Jesus doesn’t react that way though. He responds to the Pharisees by saying “let any of you who are without sin, cast the first stone.” In other words, He reminds us that all sin is equal and that all of us are sinners. The woman’s sin is no worse than their sins of pride, or lust, or greed, etc. The Bible does make it clear that homosexuality is a sexual sin, but it’s simply ONE kind of sin among many (1 Cor. 6:9-11). We should respond to the LGBT community with the same attitude of love and grace that Christ showed the woman in our story.

Despite what most people are telling us, I don’t think that we have to make a choice between rejecting God’s design for sex and being a homophobe (someone who hates or fears homosexuals).

As Christians, we should be the FIRST to be against homophobia. We should be the first to stand up against the gay jokes and slurs at school. We should be the first to reach out to those who may feel ostracized or who are being picked on because of their sexual choices. We never have the right to make fun of anybody, to be condemning, or hateful towards anyone, on account of their sexuality.

At the same time, this does not mean that we have to compromise on what we believe to be God’s truth. It doesn’t mean that we should rationalize people’s sins or that we should lie and tell people that something is okay, when the Bible clearly says that it isn’t. Jesus didn’t do this either.

Jesus had this magnificent way of letting people know that they were loved, accepted, and forgiven by Him, while still being real with them about their shortcomings.

I wonder what a difference it would make for the Kingdom of God if Christians learned to treat the LGBT community with this kind of love. What if gays and lesbians felt more love and acceptance from The Church than they did from Macklemore and LGBT groups? What if they knew that the one group who would treat them with dignity and respect, despite whether or not they agreed with their choices, was Christians? What if they knew that Christians would stand up for those among them who were picked on and bullied at school?

If we could learn to love the LGBT community in this way—in the way that Christ did—maybe instead of feeling hatred and condemnation in The Church, homosexuals would find and experience the transforming love and truth of Christ that this woman in John 8 did.

That is what Jesus wants!

Close in Prayer

Written by Brandon McCarroll

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Comments on this post

   Sean         9/8/2013 8:43:59 PM

I want to chime in again to cover some stuff I didn't cover before, and just to say that, again, I find your post John to be quite excellent. Especially this part, "If homosexuality is a sin (which many believe) it shouldn't change how we relate to each other and it certainly doesn't change how God relates to us. If it isn't and our understanding about homosexual acts is flawed, then that only means God will work in us all to help us turn from all the other things we do that are sinful." I don't think I've ever heard a Christian put it like that, in fact I'd say many Christians would disagree with that. Especially the notion that you could actually be WRONG about homosexuality, well not wrong, but the word "IF" really sticks out. Your either being very clever since the old arguements against homosexuality are no longer being taken seriously, or you actually believe what you say. I don't even think Mr. David Smith would agree with this entirely. Well done either way. I still take issue with the idea that being Gay needs to be worked on, but I'm from a newer generation where most of us don't believe that. There's nothing wrong with being gay, and that's that. We've grown up around Gays and Lesbians, they are just like everyone else. And I hate to say it your going to find it hard to convince future generations other wise. We experience things by seeing and feeling. Homosexuality is something we can see and feel something about. Something we can easly point out if it's good or evil without any god. And there's nothing evil about it. It's just two people loving each other in different ways than you and I go about it. Your gonna find it hard to still tell the ""truth,"" and then send these same kids out into the world to experience this truth, to see it, to feel it, and expect them to just go by 5 or 6 sentences in the bible? It's gonna be really hard for them to sit there and say that it's WRONG. A sin maybe, the Bible says it's a sin. The bible says it's evil. But to actually experience it and call it's just not gonna work. The two ideas are incompatible. That's one great thing about being an atheist, I don't have to sit there and actually think, "man these two men are eating shellfish on sunday wearing plaid, and on top of that they're kissing. They are sinning, but I love them." With me, and the 46 million(and growing) Americans like me, it's just two guys eating shellfish on a sunday wearing plaid, who happen to be kissing. No right or wrong about it. They rob a joint, Bad. They kill somebody, Bad. They kiss? Who cares. That's why I find it hard to believe that if your god were to exist, or Allah, how that supreme being could actually care whether or not two men or women love each other and express them their love sexualy. Odin didn't care or Zeus. I believe he or SHE would have changed their mind on that by now. And if you notice it seems that Yahwey's issue wasn't gay sex, it was the fact that no offspring would come from it. Given the fact that the world has population issues, and many children with no parents at all, I don't think he's have much an issue with it now. That's what I "believe." I mean wasn't there are guy in the bible that god zapped by God for spreading his seed on a womens thigh instead of inside her? With that I sit here wondering about every Christian who even calls homosexuality a sin, while using a condom for sex. I think the issue for me, is that it's still an issue. IT hasn't gone the way of the other sins that nobody even talks about. I mean, you'll see more articles on homosexuality on this site or any other christian wedsite more than any other sexual sin. It's passing, though. I guess I just need more patience. "I hope you meet Jesus doing it," sigh. Again I've see Christians do good things, and I've read a good bit about Jesus. I believe he was a real man, and a real philosopher. Still, again that stuff doesn't usually work anymore. Believing someone's ideas, even trying to aspire to them, doesn't mean you have to believe they were the son of a god. There have been many great men and women throughout history, Jesus was just one of them. I'm a big fan of Alexander the Great, a General who actually existed, but I know he was no son of Zeus.

   Sean         9/8/2013 4:38:33 PM

Oh yes, I understand that sex and the love can be seperate, but most of the times it seems Christians do their best to show homosexuality as all about sex, not about love. That it's just about sodomy, and that's it. As if their love doesn't count. Which is BS. I like the rest of your post, and you explain it a lot better than most Christians. However, I read it my way, because I see that way a lot of the time. So many stories of love being used to turn destroy anothers love. Of a pastor welcoming a homosexual couple with love and kindness. Only for that pastor to eventually pull this couple aside and try to sway them from their sinful path. Going from "we love you," to, "we love you, BUT." To me that's disgusting, and makes you no different then a Westboro with a "I HATE FAGS," sign. Sexuality is also not always a struggle, and I really hope these lessons take into account those kids you may have that are happy with their sexuality, and Christian. I consider them very brave indeed to have to sit there, told their lifestyle is a sin, and still stand firm in their choice of sexuality and who they love. And I have seen the good works of Christians, and when Christians fight for the justice and the needy, they are the best people to be around. When they start bible thumping, and not letting their God do the judging, that's when they become a problem. I'm sorry I may have insulted all Christians, but that last part insults me. I'm an atheist, I don't believe gods. Not because I'm angry at Gods, or a rebel. I don't believe because there is just about as much evidence for any god believed to exist, as there is Santa Clause. I also don't like that last bit,because it forces me to counter it. I did come up with this, though. John, I hope you continue to fight for youth, for injustice, and those in need, and I hope you can one day do it without feeling the need for any God.

   John         9/8/2013 11:39:41 AM

First, this is a well-structured lesson. Thanks. Second, while I strain to understand why an atheist like the above commenter would bother with a youth ministry site, I'm glad Sean said what he did. He seems to argue that sex and love are the same. Not always. Ask a prostitute if the sex she uses is an expression of love. Ask the girl whose boyfriend manipulated her into having sex if that was love. The act of sex, while it can be used as an expression of love is not the same as love itself. It can be used as an expression of hate, oppression, and degradation. Sean's other point about calling Christians to love homosexuals the "same side of the coin" as scaring them with hell misses the point of this lesson entirely. By showing love instead of hate, we are doing exactly what Jesus did as opposed to the opposite of what Jesus did which is what so many Christians are guilty of. By loving instead of feeling the need to condemn we are introducing people to a loving Jesus who forgives ALL sin. By showing love, we are entrusting that person to Jesus and letting Him work out with them what they need to turn from and what they can continue doing. If God really wants them to turn from a homosexual relationship then God will do the convicting work. It's not on us to force it and certainly not on us to violate the love of God for that person with hateful words and actions. If being gay that's not the thing God wants to work on in a person then, as this lesson teaches, we should still love that person with whom we might not agree and not condemn them based on how we interpret the Bible. This is a lesson about showing love to those the church has done a bang up job of hating and, as a result, been terrible examples of Jesus Christ. Also, Sean seems to believe that by refusing to turn from a single sin we somehow negate the saving love of Jesus and force Him to kick us out of His kingdom. I get this from his comment "If these people continue with this Sin they will not share in the Kingdom." That is so far from the Gospel message! What I preach and what so many of my colleagues and friends preach is that we are all in need of God's grace which He freely gives. I may not be perfect when I die but because of Jesus, I don't have to be. I just have to love Him as He leads me to and in turn love others in His name. While I am to turn from those things that keep me from loving God and others all my life, my salvation is not dependent on that but on God's grace. This is the same with every gay Christian out there. If homosexuality is a sin (which many believe) it shouldn't change how we relate to each other and it certainly doesn't change how God relates to us. If it isn't and our understanding about homosexual acts is flawed, then that only means God will work in us all to help us turn from all the other things we do that are sinful. At no point will God reject those who love Jesus and show that love by following Him. Sean, good on you for posting to a site that so overwhelmingly disagrees with your view of God. I don't know what you hoped to accomplish but I wish you well. I would only ask that you not have such a narrow view of the Christian faith. What you think the faith is isn't the whole picture. It may be easy to paint us all with the same brush but that doesn't make you right. You, in fact, insult us all, especially those LGBT Christians who, just like everyone else are works in progress. Until you've stood with Christians who fight for others' rights, who are straight and gay, who serve the needy at great cost to themselves, and who work hard each day to love others even when we don't feel like it, you won't know what a Christian is. I hope you find out and I hope you meet Jesus doing it.

   Sean         9/6/2013 3:35:20 PM

I've always been put off by how Christians will speak of loving Gays and Lesbians in the hope they will see the transformative love and truth of JESUS. It you read between the lines it pretty much says this. "Hey it's not our place to judge the love of others, espeically a love that god deems sinful. Instead show these people kindness and respect, show them the love of Jesus Christ. Then perhaps if they learn about his love THEY WILL TURN FROM THE LIFESTYLE AND ACCEPT HIS WAY." Basically, the message is the same. Homosexuality is a sin. If these people continue with this Sin they will not share in the Kingdom. Same message. However instead of hate, you use love. Instead of scaring them into leaving their lifestyle, you use love in the hope they will see that Jesus is the way and that they will leave it on their own. Same side of the coin. Your ultimate goal to destroy a love your bible does not accept. And it is love. Good try, but the sex and the love are the same. Sex is used to express love, and gays and lesbians use it to express love the same as all the universes creatures. Your not the hero's, you've just found a clever way of doing things Jesus way, but with the same goal as those who were harsh and crude about it. Gays and Lesbians see through it too. They are happy your being nicer now, but don't think for an instant they don't read between those lines. It's so great to be an atheist, and to accept someone without any ulterior motive.


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