Bridge of Grace and Truth Principles of Support

Our goal as a group:

What is God’s desire for each of us as we move forward together in step with Jesus?
“It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge, our job to love.” – Billy Graham

Looking back - We as individuals and as a Church, have a history of getting our roles wrong. We have assumed roles that are not ours. Christ said “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35). We are painfully aware that we have fallen short in this, particularly toward LGBT+ people, and have often been more hateful, bigoted, homophobic than loving, open-hearted and welcoming. We regret as a church and as individuals the rift between us and seek forgiveness and reconciliation.

Looking forward - We are committed to extend love and care to all people. Our desire for LGBT+ people is the same as for ourselves and all people: Our purpose is to exalt Jesus Christ by making disciples who... Love Jesus, Grow with others and Serve the World. Our desire for each of us is to encounter Christ where we are and to walk more and more in step with him in all areas of our lives. We aim to work together to grow in faith, mutual trust and community as we each commit to:

• Listen – with open hearts to understand the other person’s experience. By listening attentively to each other’s concerns we hope to establish the respect and trust necessary to open the door for each of us to share more deeply our experiences, hurts, hopes & desires. “Be quick to listen, slow to speak” (James 1:19).

• Empathize – identifying with another person’s joys and pains even when our experiences are quite different. Growing in our ability to validate the experiences and convictions of others, even when they differ from our own.

• Agree – find common ground. We will never agree on everything – whether personal, theological, political or social -- but we are confident that we will continue to find more common ground than we ever imagined.

• Partner – together, move forward in our journeys toward and with Christ as we commit ourselves to give loving support to each other, especially when it is really hard.

• Share – the purpose, peace, hope and love that God reveals to us, with all who care to hear.

 

Our principles represent what we are striving for: our touchstones and aspirations as we journey to come to a full Biblical understanding of LGBT+. This is our belief system regarding universal, necessary truths of scripture that guide and strengthen our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors when life brings us this particular challenge.

1. We will see all individuals, including ourselves, as God’s very much loved, unique creation, yet broken/distorted by the presence of sin in each of us, and in our world, and are very thankful for Christ’s work of redemption offered to all. 1 John 4:10

2. We don’t have all the answers, we don’t even know all the questions. But we know Christ does and desires to show us the way.
1 Peter 1:15-16, Proverbs 3:5-6

3. We aim to grow in our ability to love and treat each other as Jesus loves and treats us: in a perfect blend of both Grace and Truth.
John 1:14,17; Phil 1:9-11

4. We find strength and understanding in sharing our journeys and listening to the journeys of others. Gal 6:2

5. We reject stigma in ourselves and others and acknowledge that ridding ourselves of prejudice is a process, not an event. We affirm the value and dignity of every person, thankful that Jesus unites us as “one people”. James 4:12, Eph 2:14

6. We won’t consider anyone’s pain to be less than our own. Phil 2:30

7. As God forgives us, we forgive ourselves and others, and reject guilt. Matt 6:12-15

8. We are not here to debate. We acknowledge our differences and share in a non-confrontational manner.
2 Tim 2:23, James 1:19, Eph 4:1-3

9. We accept we cannot resolve all problems and disagreements, or change other people, and so place them in God’s hands.
1 Sam 16:7, Romans 8:26

10. We expect a better future in a realistic way. Romans 8:28, Eph 3:14-21, Phil 4:6-7

11. God never gives up on us, so we will never give up hope for ourselves and others. Romans 15:13; 8:31-39, Eph 3:14-21

12. The personal information we hear at our meetings, stay at our meetings. We share in confidence that what we say will go no further. Proverbs 11:13

map-footer 7393 Pearl Road
Middleburg Heights
Ohio 44130

P: 440.243.4885
F: 440.243.0297
E: gracechurch@gracecma.org