Friday, February 19, 2016


Nike called his statement "abhorrent," and abruptly ended its endorsement contract with him. Singer Aiza Siguerra called him an "ignorant, bigoted hypocrite." And even Vice Ganda, not exactly Filipino television's most respected figure but an outspoken proponent of homosexuality, said "Some people think they can judge people like God [does] just because they’ve attended a prayer meeting and read the Bible." In another tweet, he said, "we will pray for Manny Pacquiao."

(Well, I wonder which God Vice Ganda prays to? Not the God of the Bible, since Vice clearly puts
little stock in God's Word.)

It's not surprising that LGBTs like Siguerra and Vice would respond so adamantly to Pacquiao's comments. What's a little more surprising (but just a little bit) is how some popular professing Christians reacted. Gab Valenciano, while calling on people to "try to forgive" Pacquiao, offered some advice to Christians: "If you feel 'these people' have wronged you or God in any way, let them handle it. Stop being annoying. Stop meddling. Share the word, yes. Force it down their throats, no." Meanwhile, singer Yeng Constantino took it upon herself to apologize to the LGBTs who were offended by the boxer's comments. "Sorry po, in behalf of those Christians na who are still growing in compassion, na  maging katulad kami ni Jesus Christ."

Speak the Truth. In Love.

Although I don't agree with what Manny Pacquiao did, I agree with what he said. He just said it in the wrong way, at the wrong time, in the wrong context. Yes, homosexuality is a sin, and we shouldn't be ashamed to confront it. But in such a sensitive matter as this, we have to do it in a proper way -- "speaking the truth in love," as Ephesians 4:15 puts it. We have to be ready to tell LGBTs that they, too, are sinners who need to repent of all sins and believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. But we need to do it "with gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:15).

Personally, I'm happy for Manny Pacquiao. Standing firmly upon God's Word can only be good for his growth as a believer, as long as he responds to all the criticism in a prayerful and humble way.

I'm more worried for evangelicals whose grasp of God's holiness and Christian maturity is so flimsy that they can blurt out statements like, "I have found it in my heart to respect it [homosexuality] as a part of planet earth," or "Huwag n’yong hayaan i-define kayo [mga LGBT] ng sinasabing condemnation ng mga tao about you. God believes in you...."

What Evangelicals Need to Remember

What Bible Evangelicals always have to remember is that God will forgive any sinner who repents. And repent is exactly what a sinner who doesn't recognize he's a sinner is unable to do. Therefore, the most loving thing we can do for our LGBT friends is to speak God's Word to them. That means calling homosexuality a sin. That means calling them to repentance. But that also means saying it in a way that recognizes that we, too, are sinners, and that we, too, need grace just as much as they do.

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