Question: "How should a Christian act toward a friend who comes out of the closet (as gay)?"
Answer: As Christians living in a fallen world, we will naturally have friends and/or relatives from various walks of life. In today’s culture, it is increasingly likely that some of our unsaved friends will come out of the closet as “gay,” and we need to respond appropriately.
We must realize certain facts about God and the human sin nature so that we will have a proper perspective toward those around us, including friends who come out of the closet. As Christians, we recognize that all people need love and grace, including friends who come out of the closet. And, as Christians, we are ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). Through Christ, we have a relationship with the living God and have the hope of eternal life that we can offer to others.
We should not cut ties with unsaved friends who come out of the closet as gay. Jesus freely associated with sinners, including prostitutes and the pariahs of His society (see Luke 5:30; 7:34). Jesus knew His Father, and He knew what was in man (John 2:25). This made Jesus well-prepared to guide those who were far from God to salvation. We, as Christians, can be ready also, if we study the Bible and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.
It’s important to keep in mind that God is absolutely righteous and at the same time absolutely loving (Exodus 34:6–7). God cannot forgive sin without the atoning sacrifice of His Son. Every sin that a person commits must be accounted for, and it is impossible for a human to account (or pay for) his or her own sin. Only through Christ is there forgiveness of sin.
Also, we are to follow Peter’s command in dealing with those God sends our way, including friends who come out as gay: “In your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience” (1 Peter 3:15–16). So we are to be prepared to present the truth about God, sin, and salvation; we make the presentation with “gentleness and respect”; and we honor the Lord Jesus Christ above all.
Friends who come out of the closet as gay should understand that our position on homosexuality is the Bible’s position: homosexual behavior is sinful (see Romans 1:26–27). They should also understand that the Bible does not describe homosexuality as a “greater” or “lesser” sin than any other. And they should know that, according to the Bible, God’s forgiveness is available to all. The gospel is “the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).
When a friend comes out of the closet, we should show that person love and respect without condoning his or her gay lifestyle. We should pray “in the hope that God may grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 2:25). We should make sure we are filled with the Holy Spirit and exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit. We “revere Christ as Lord” (1 Peter 3:15). And we take care that our “conversation [is] always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that [we] may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:6).