For many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual (LGBT) advocates, people are either allies who support the LGBT agenda or enemies who oppose them. There is no alternative.
But recently, Assemblies of God U.S. missionary Linda Seiler, the Chi Alpha director at Purdue University, led the "Compassion Without Compromise" outreach at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, during which Seiler shared a Christian response to homosexuality coupled with her personal testimony of having been set free from transsexuality. The event was nothing more than her speaking in a public forum but was one Seiler knew would be steeped in deep emotions and had the potential to turn ugly.
Seiler's message presented the LGBT community with a bit of a quandary: someone who believes homosexuality is morally wrong yet demonstrates Christlike compassion toward those who practice homosexuality, since Seiler knows what it is like to feel like she was born with same-sex attractions and could not change apart from the grace of God.
"I could sense the Spirit's leading and His peace," Seiler says. "The Lord gave me unusual grace to speak with compassion to the point that several of the pro-gay advocates commented on my kindness during the Q&A. In fact, they said my compassion was incongruent with my message because they expected me to come in a spirit of hate."
However, Seiler doesn't take any credit for the success of the evening. She attributes that to God and to the prayer and fasting led by the Carbondale Chi Alpha group weeks in advance, in addition to intercessors praying on site and across the country the night of the outreach.
She also believes the 4 1/2 hour training seminar she led to train workers prior to the event helped create an environment where God's message of "Compassion Without Compromise" could not only be heard but experienced through the body of Christ reaching out to the LGBT community that evening.
"Many commented on how imperative it was to have that training prior to the outreach," Seiler says. "Prejudices were exposed, and God gave them greater compassion and understanding for those who battle same-sex attractions and how to pray and respond accordingly."
During the forum, Seiler shared her own personal testimony, which she could tell resonated with some of those attending.
"I shared why I came to the conclusion same-sex attractions were not God's will for my life and how Jesus changed me from the inside out," she says.
Yet, it wasn't just the LGBT community that was presented with new understanding. During the event, Seiler also had a revelation. Much like those deep into the drug scene or involved in a cult, people may want to change, but the upfront cost can be prohibitive.
"I suddenly realized that even if they [LGBT members] wanted to seek change, some of them are so entrenched in the gay community, they would be persecuted for seeking an alternative," she says. "Freedom could come at the potential cost of losing all their friends and support network. That ought to grieve our hearts and inform our prayers, let alone our actions."
Seiler says that experiencing the presence of God at the event and seeing Him begin His work in lives has greatly encouraged her.
"I just ask for prayers for the Carbondale Chi Alpha group and myself, that God would guide us and protect us from any backlash," she says. "Prayer after such an event is just as important as before."