[Note: This letter should be read and received by ALL pastors - not just Methodist ones. Sadly, many pastors while recognizing the sinfulness of homosexuality, choose to remain silent on the sidelines out of a misguided "fear" of offending. They fail to recognize that the gospel ... by nature ... is offensive. Read here what I wrote earlier.]
Dear Methodist pastors,
There are things I urgently need for you to know. And there are things I desperately need you to tell me.
I shudder to think where I'd be today if my pastor had not been bold enough to tell me the truth regarding homosexuality, a lifestyle in which I lived for thirty plus years. Methodist pastors, please take time out of your busy schedule to read my humble plea.
First, I need you to tell me in no uncertain terms that homosexuality is a sin. Show me what the Bible says and tell me that the Word of God is eternal and does not change with the times. Please don't tell me that you won't address it, or give me your own opinion on the subject. Because I want the truth, not your silence or your opinion. If I don't see homosexuality squarely as a sin, I will be headed for an eternity in Hell.
Methodist pastors, when I come to you seeking answers, I need you to boldly speak the truth in love. My very salvation depends upon it.
Next, please let me know that Jesus' death on the cross was enough to cover any sin I have committed, including that of homosexuality. Please tell me that every sin, no matter how minor or major it seems, is an affront to God. If you don't, I will feel like my sin, because it feels more embarrassing or shocking, is harder for God to forgive than the others and I will be left with the wrong impression that homosexuality is the unpardonable sin. It's not.
And last, I need you to tell me to repent. Please tell me that true Christianity calls for genuine repentance of all sin, including homosexuality.
And, Methodist pastors, if I try to make excuses to live in my sin, stand firm, because my eternal destiny hinges on it.
Then, and this is so very important, tell me that God's power, mercy and grace are more than enough for me to live in absolute freedom. If you don't, I will think that homosexuality is the only sin for which God's power isn't enough. It is.
When I was looking for truth and answers, I walked into a church, just like yours, for the first time in years. I started attending regularly, and started feeling the conviction of the Holy Spirit in my heart as I learned what it meant to be a follower of Christ.
I mustered up the courage to speak with my pastor and shared that I was homosexual, thinking it was an unchangeable fact. When I walked out of my pastor's office, I had received the unchangeable truth: Homosexuality is a sin. God hates all sin. God loves me. Jesus died for me. I needed to repent from all sin.
The cross was enough to forgive me of all sin. God's power delivers me from all sin. Jesus is enough, even for those that struggle with homosexuality.
Methodist pastors, speaking truth no matter how difficult, does not have to end with people running for the exits. I am living proof! I have completely renounced the homosexual lifestyle, am a devoted follower of Christ and live in truth, victory and freedom every day of my life!
I will forever be grateful to my pastor for holding to the truth of God's Word, and pastors, the congregants in your Methodist Churches will be the same.
With all gratefulness, humility and sincerity,
Linda Italiano, Ex-lesbian and Born-Again Christian