The most insidious temptation related to seeing others being persecuted is apathy. As Christians, when we see members of the LGBTQ+ community being persecuted, we have a responsibility to act. Jesus said, “Love your neighbor” (Luke 10:27). It doesn’t matter what our neighbor’s opinion is on moral or sexual ethics, the command applies. Loving those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community means, in part, we do not condone acts of persecution against them—we do not excuse violence, injustice, or any behavior that brings harm. Doing good to those in the LGBTQ community means we are proactive in aiding them in times of trouble.
In considering a response to persecution against the LGBTQ community, we must consider Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29–37). In the story, the Samaritan passes by a man, a Jew, who had experienced severe “persecution” in the form of being beaten and robbed. Rather than ignoring him as others had done, the Samaritan generously tends to the man’s wounds and cares for him, expecting nothing in return.
Jesus tells this parable to a lawyer, a devout and well-studied Jew who was likely a Pharisee. To the Jews of Jesus’ day, Samaritans were unclean, despised, despicable people. Samaritans were half-breeds by race and heretics in religion, and they were avoided at all costs (John 4:9). By and large, Samaritans returned those sentiments. As far as the Samaritan in the parable knew, the Jew he rescued might well have cursed and insulted him the day before. The man lying beaten and bloody in the ditch would have expected no help from the Samaritan, separated as they were socially, politically, and religiously.
The point of the parable cannot be overstated. The Samaritan had every reason to think the Jewish man hated him, yet he showed love, and Jesus explicitly said that we are to “go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37). Mere charity is not the point; it is charity even to those with whom we disagree. Jesus’ message in the parable of the Good Samaritan is that, when someone is hurting, our responsibility as followers of Christ is to pour out love, compassion, healing, relief, and resources to aid him. When members of the LGBTQ community are hurting, our responsibility is to give help and comfort. Agreement or disagreement in religion, morals, or opinions is quite irrelevant in the time of need.
Whether or not sin is involved is likewise immaterial. Jesus rescued an adulterous woman from the persecution of a mob without condoning her sin (John 8:10–11). To show compassion is not the same as endorsing a person’s lifestyle. Compassion does not require agreement or approval. Our response to persecution against the LGBTQ community should involve prayer, a rebuke of the persecutors, and charitable action. We are to love and overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).
When the LGBTQ community is the victim of persecution, violence, or other harms, Christians have a clear mandate from our Lord. Just as the Good Samaritan bound the wounds of a social and religious antagonist, we are to love our neighbors, whoever they are. For the Christian, there is only one proper response when those in the LGBTQ community are suffering persecution. We should come along beside them, show them mercy, and demonstrate the love of Christ.
“Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:35–36).