I recently read a news story about quicksand. If you were like me, you might think that this natural phenomenon exists only in antiquated stories from old prospectors of the Wild West. But it is still possible for hikers in Zion National Park, a place I’ve visited myself, to get caught in mixtures of sand and near-freezing water amid two separate snowstorms for 11 hours!
What do we all know about quicksand? If a person finds themselves to be stuck in quicksand, it is better that they expend no energy in their escape and instead, wait for someone from outside to help pull them out. As a person struggles to get out of their predicament, they will find themselves pulled in deeper. But if they are stilled, they can find salvation.
I recognize that this illustration is a bit on-the-nose, even in the spiritual implications, but the truth that it speaks of is foundational to our understanding of God and His interaction with mankind’s sin! If a broken person seeks salvation by trying their hardest not to sin any longer, they have missed the whole point (Ephesians 2:8-9). But if that same person has salvation offered from outside of their own moral striving, Jesus Christ – their Savior – pulls them from the mess they’re in (Romans 3:24).
Believe it or not, on a similar note, ministering to the LGBTQ+ community has been on my mind a lot lately. There are some in my family who struggle in this area. I have gay friends who I very much respect who differ with me on my views and I hate to see them in pain when views that I hold are weaponized against them instead of being used to bring hope.
That’s where I’m currently processing – what message exactly is the Church calling people to, regardless of their particular struggle? For the woman down the street who falls to the sin of gluttony. For the man next door who can’t resist the sin of envy. For your in-law who struggles with alcoholism or who stole money from their company. For your best friend who neglects their child. For me, the pastor who sees so many of my failings being caused by selfish pride or ungodly fear. What is the message that we preach to anyone struggling to see God clearly?
I’ve been so encouraged by pastors and ministry leaders who have lived LGBTQ+ pasts and, in finding Jesus Christ, have begun to communicate the Gospel message to this social issue in ways that the vast majority in the Church will never be able to contextualize. That is why I am thankful for them. While I, a Caucasian straight male, can present general messages of hope to any people-group through the presence of the Gospel, there are others whose voices should be heard that understand exactly how God reached them in their specific set of circumstances. And the news that these voices overwhelmingly declare is that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Messiah and Redeemer is the One who makes us whole (Psalm 103:3)!
A person’s sexuality can’t make them whole. A person who does not know Jesus Christ can’t save themselves by dropping their drinking habits cold-turkey. A person who does not know their Savior can’t save themselves by choosing not to prideful or arrogant. But by the grace of God, Jesus can certainly save a soul and make them whole (1 Peter 2:24).
This beautiful truth frees us up to worry less about converting someone out of their particular sin pattern and more about converting them to faith in a saving relationship with the One who gives them His own righteousness (Romans 5:1)! We are harbingers of hope (Colossians 1:27) and those who plead for others to recognize God’s perfect plan for their lives (Jeremiah 29:11), not deliverers of messages of death and destruction (Romans 1:16). I don’t know about you, whoever you are that is reading this post right now, but for me, this is wonderful and freeing news that heals my own brokenness, and that is a reality I also want to see God use in the lives of all people around me as well (2 Timothy 4:5, Luke 19:10).
God is not a god of quicksand theology. He does not wish that we strive for moral freedom when surrounded by our sins that will only cling to us all the more. He is the Author of everlasting life which is freely offered to us all so that we might not strive to save ourselves, but instead, to trust the One who loved us enough to pay our debt (John 3:16).
A good place to start to hear voices of those who understand this struggle and have found God offering His love and hope is with Jackie Hill Perry (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pc_s2xItSsI). If you watch this interview and would like more information about ministry in this context, please ask and I’ll get you in contact with others.
Love you all,
Young Adult Minister – Evan McNeff
 Hafuta, Karine and Morgan Winsor (2019, February 19). Arizona man rescued at Zion National Park after getting trapped in quicksand. ABC News. Retrieved from https://abcnews.go.com/US/arizona-man-rescued-zion-national-park-trapped-quicksand/story?id=61145775