How to Effectively Address Homosexuality as a Christian: Insights from God’s Word

Learn practical tips and biblical guidance on navigating conversations about homosexuality while remaining faithful to your Christian values.

It’s challenging to tackle complex issues while preserving our Christian beliefs, especially regarding homosexuality. This is where our guest, Matthew Karchner, comes into the picture. From his past as a homosexual to his present as a Christian missionary in Cambodia, Matthew’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of faith. We will delve deep into how Matthew managed to navigate these waters, proving that through understanding and compassion, balance can be achieved. Join us as we explore this fascinating journey with Matthew.

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  • Acknowledge Your Journey
  • Understand the Cultural Context
  • Show Love and Compassion
  • Stay True to Biblical Principles
  • Develop Personal Relationships for Outreach.

1. Acknowledge Your Journey


Matthew Karchner’s personal narrative is a compelling testament to transformation and acceptance. His experience as someone who once identified as gay and later found salvation in Christianity is the backdrop that shapes his views on homosexuality and faith. His struggle with same-sex attraction, followed by his spiritual awakening and subsequent venture into mission work, presents a unique example of acceptance, change, and fortitude. With his transition from a corporate career to becoming a missionary, Matthew has exchanged his life of familiar comfort for an uncharted path of service driven by his convictions.

In the conversation on Faithfully Engaged, Matthew Karchner sheds light on the crossroads he encountered in his professional career, ultimately leading him to his true calling: serving God through his mission work in Cambodia. His corporate responsibilities of promoting LGBT inclusivity clashed with his conviction and past experiences, causing him an internal conflict that he could no longer ignore. In response, Matthew forsook his corporate career and embarked on a mission to develop a non-profit organization called Castaway Ministries. His work in Cambodia consists of various ministerial activities, from teaching children every Sunday to fostering relationships with families in his neighborhood to establishing a church community.

Despite the complex challenges presented by cultural and language barriers, Matthew finds fulfillment in serving others in their pursuit of faith. He stands as a living example of fearlessness, tenacity, and faith. Matthew Karchner’s journey underscores the importance of acknowledging our history as we navigate the ideological terrain of faith and its interface with our identities. His transformation from a corporate professional to a missionary in Cambodia symbolizes a journey of self-realization and acceptance.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

— Matthew 28:19-20

This story proves how one’s journey can deeply enrich one’s faith, understanding, and inclusivity perspective. It’s a testament to the transformative power of embracing our truths, relinquishing judgment and knowledge that our paths are all interconnected in the grand journey of life. It highlights how we can utilize personal experiences and profound change to broach complex issues, such as the intersectionality of faith and sexuality, and serve as crucial reminders that change is possible and can lead to newfound purpose and belonging.

picture of the skyline of a city

2. Understand the Cultural Context


Understanding the cultural context surrounding various topics, particularly sensitive ones like homosexuality, is a nuanced and challenging task but vital. It allows us to gain a more excellent grasp of the perspectives of individuals within those communities, fostering empathy and, subsequently, better communication. To navigate sensitive discussions around sensitive topics such as homosexuality, as approached in this podcast episode, one must understand the implicit biases, stereotypes, and discriminatory attitudes that might unconsciously influence the situation. This knowledge transcends just the individual level—it equally applies to communities, societies, and even corporate bodies, where disparities can wear a more systemic complexion. Solving these disparities and creating an open, accepting environment for rational discourse requires a conscious effort to dismantle these unjust thought structures.

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

2 Timothy 1:7

Approaching from Matthew Karchner’s perspective, his journey brims with instances that underscore the criticality of understanding cultural context. As he shares his experiences, it becomes evident that cultural context is an underpinning factor governing actions and reactions in various circumstances. From issues promoting LGBT diversity and inclusion in his corporate environment, which conflicted with his faith and beliefs, to the daunting task of door-to-door evangelism in Cambodia, where language and cultural barriers interjected, the cultural context plays a vital role. Matthew also had to grapple with understanding the cultural dynamics specific to the LGBT community, which enabled him to connect and minister effectively. One must uphold the importance of understanding the cultural context when addressing sensitive subjects. It moves the needle on the reception and effectiveness of communication and enables people to establish respectful, empathetic relationships. Lack of understanding often leads to prejudice and stigmatization, which erect barriers to effective communication.

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In contrast, complete comprehension allows one to speak, listen, and understand the other side. It helps create an environment where people feel seen, heard, and understood. By fostering this understanding and empathy, we can bridge gaps, dismantle stereotypes and prejudices, and build stronger, more inclusive connections. On a broader scope, it allows us to create spaces— in individual interactions, corporate arenas, or society—that champion equality, inclusiveness, and mutual respect. It’s a difficult journey, no doubt, filled with introspection and unlearning, but its benefits in creating a healthier and kinder society are immense.

3. Show Love and Compassion


Matthew Karchner’s account serves as a reminder that the ability to exhibit genuine compassion and empathy can be a profound tool in understanding and communicating with individuals or communities that hold different beliefs and lifestyles from our own. This is particularly applicable when discussing sensitive subjects like homosexuality, as Matthew’s experience suggests. He found himself in a position where he could not support a corporate effort promoting diverse lifestyles due to his convictions – this marked a turning point in his career and ultimately led him to a path of missionary work. Matthew’s approach to his mission in Cambodia is characterized by his ability to consistently show love and compassion to people irrespective of their beliefs, lifestyle, or struggles.

hands holding a heart

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:13-14

We are all made in God’s image. Because of this, all people deserve to be treated with compassion. His philosophy reflects his interactions with local communities and individuals, many dealing with issues like Buddhism or language and cultural barriers. Rather than shying away from these challenges, he adapts to the complexities by extending understanding and patience, especially in his outreach to the local LGBT community. Matthew underlines the necessity to approach these scenarios with open-mindedness and a genuine desire to understand the lived experiences of people different than oneself. The importance of his approach lies not merely in its success in building bonds with communities but also in its broader implications. It’s a powerful reminder for all, not just missionaries, that differences should not dilute the expression of love and compassion.

Even in challenging environments or sensitive circumstances, the ability to share empathy with others can lead to deeper connections and maybe even transformations. Ultimately, it’s an approach that encourages acceptance, fosters understanding, and enables harmonious co-existence. Matthew’s story vividly identifies showing love and compassion as an essential tenet not just for missionaries but for everyday interactions as well. Growing understanding through empathy can lead to more unified communities and a shared experience of the world.

Bible held open by the lake with a sunrise

4. Stay True to Biblical Principles


Matthew’s journey offers insight into the crucial balancing act of staying true to personal convictions and teachings of the Bible while navigating complex socio-cultural landscapes. This holds especially true when addressing contentious topics such as homosexuality, particularly within corporate environments and diverse global communities. Matthew was tasked with promoting values that conflicted with his faith, leading to ethical dilemmas he could ultimately not reconcile. He realized his purpose lay elsewhere, away from the corporate world and closer to serving God.

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Reflecting on the podcast, Matthew provided various examples of his struggle with societal pressures to conform to certain beliefs and lifestyles. In the corporate environment, his convictions clashed fiercely with the institutional agenda.
Moreover, he navigated a tricky path within his Christian community, dealing with resistance towards his faith-based outreach. After a relentless pursuit, he found a way of serving God through his self-founded non-profit, Castaway Ministries, free from excessive control or stringent norms. Understanding Matthew’s critical step is essential as it underlines a universal struggle – adhering to personal beliefs while living in a world where these may not always align with collective or mainstream values. He chose not to compromise his faith when confronted with conflicting societal or corporate norms.

Several passages in the bible address homosexuality.

I will list a couple here.

“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” Leviticus 18:22

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

Keeping to this biblical wisdom takes work. The culture we live in does not believe in this. Through his experience, we realize that staying true to one’s values often requires tenacity and courage. It might sometimes require stepping away from something familiar and comfortable, as Matthew did, leaving his corporate job to start a ministry in a foreign land. His journey underscores the power of steadfast faith and conviction, providing strength to navigate life’s winding paths and always staying true to personal beliefs.

5. Develop Personal Relationships for Outreach.


Developing personal relationships is a guiding principle for effective outreach. Such relationships form a solid basis for sharing experiences, perspectives, understanding, and mutual respect. When it comes to sensitive issues like homosexuality, establishing personal connections becomes even more crucial. Like Matthew Karchner’s, personal testimonies are transformative in outreach development. They humanize the problem, allowing others to see and understand the struggles, hopes, and growth within individuals’ lives. This empathetic approach forms a common ground where honest and meaningful conversations can transpire.

Besides, these connections also pave the way for mutual learning experiences that promote enrichment and growth for both parties involved. Matthew Karchner’s journey from a corporate career to full-time mission work in Cambodia embodies this relational principle. Dealing with challenges regarding conflicting values, he consistently witnessed his Christian beliefs clash with corporate responsibilities. These experiences strengthened his resolve to engage more directly with those he yearned to serve. To do so, he planted himself within the Cambodian community, teaching children and nurturing relationships with local families.

Despite facing hurdles such as cultural differences and language barriers, Karchner found great fulfillment in this hands-on approach to his mission work. For him, it was more than just spreading the gospel; it was about building trust, understanding, and genuine connections with those around him. The critical step of developing personal relationships for outreach is integral since it provides a more robust platform for dialogue and an understanding built on empathy and respect. This approach, as illustrated by Matthew Karchner’s experiences, helps overcome barriers and enables deeper assimilation of values and perspectives.


Personal relationships bridge the gap between differing worldviews, allowing individuals to engage in honest and meaningful exchanges about essential issues like homosexuality. It becomes less about converting or convincing others and more about inviting them into shared experiences and life narratives. This deeper engagement fosters a sense of relatability and trust, making sharing transformative experiences like Karchner’s more impactful and effective. By forming genuine relationships, outreach efforts become more than an impersonal task but a shared journey of mutual understanding, acceptance, and growth.

Conclusion

Addressing the issue of homosexuality while remaining true to one’s Christian faith can be a challenging task. However, it’s a topic of significant importance, highlighted in our engaging conversation with Matthew Karchner. Following the steps we discussed, you can bridge the gap between faith and understanding, fostering interesting conversations and meaningful relationships within the LGBT community. Recognizing your journey, understanding the cultural context, showing love and compassion, staying true to biblical principles, and developing personal relationships are integral to this process. As you implement these steps, remember the powerful transformation that can occur when we approach others with humility, love, and understanding. Let Matthew’s testimony serve as a beacon of hope and inspiration as you navigate these sensitive discussions.

What other steps are you taking? Comment below and let me know.