HAVING A RIGHT ATTITUDE TO SINNERS

Arlington residents, students, and church members came together Wednesday night, only hours after shots rang out in Timberview High School in the Mansfield school district, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The suspected gunman, an 18-year-old student, was taken into custody by police after he began firing shots in a classroom. The alleged shooter, Timothy Simpkins, turned himself in with his attorney Wednesday afternoon.

Just hours after tragedy struck, one 15-year-old student from Arlington, Texas, joined her community in prayer not just for her four classmates injured by a gunman who opened fire in her school Wednesday, but for the shooter himself.

“I want to pray for the shooter, Lord God,” said Ashlyn Henson, praying through tears. “That you’d touch his mind. Touch his heart, Jesus. That you allow him to see his wrong. That you allow him to feel that remorse and that pain he caused. And that he fixes himself in your eyes, Lord God.”

Henson shared her grief during an evening prayer service at Cornerstone Baptist Church, where the youth minister, Al Curley, reminded the community that horrible things happen because of the sin in the world, urging them to turn to Jesus for solace.

He went on to urge fellow believers to “proclaim hope” in the midst of despair.

“And the hope is that God so loved the world that He gave His Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life,” Curley added, referencing John 3:16. “Yes, the world is fleeting and the world is perishing, but, for those of us who have the assurance of hope in Jesus Christ, we have the promise of everlasting life.

We’ve got to share that message with the lost, because the message of the Gospel, the message of redemption, is life itself, eternal life.

PRAY EXPECTANTLY

Do you pray expecting God to answer? In this prayer, note what David says after pleading his case; he watches expectantly. David expects God to respond.

Listen to my words, Lord; consider my sighing. Pay attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for I pray to You. At daybreak, Lord, You hear my voice; at daybreak I plead my case to You and watch expectantly. Psalms 5:1-3

Notice how specific David’s prayers were and how specific God’s replies.

And David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I pursue after this band? Shall I overtake them?” He answered him, “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake and shall surely rescue.” 1 Samuel 30:8

After this David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?” And the Lord said to him, “Go up.” David said, “To which shall I go up?” And he said, “To Hebron.2 Samuel 2:1

God always prepares His servants, His people to do the job He calls them to do. Note, how God prepared the people to follow Joshua just as they did Moses. Likewise God will prepare you and all those that are to work with you, to do the job He has called you to do.

The Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.Joshua 3:7

Just as God had Moses part the Red Sea to allow the Israelites to cross, he also had Joshua part the Jordan River to allow the Israelites to enter the Promised Land.

Then Joshua told the Israelites, “Come closer and listen to the words of the Lord your God.” He said: “You will know that the living God is among you and that He will certainly dispossess before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites when the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth goes ahead of you into the Jordan... When the feet of the priests who carry the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, come to rest in the Jordan’s waters, its waters will be cut off. The water flowing downstream will stand up in a mass.” Joshua 3:9-13

There is power in prayer. When men work they work but when men pray, God works,

Just as David is a great example of how to pray correctly, sadly he also shows us what happens to our relationship with God when we sin as grievously as David did. First, we notice it separates us from God. God uses Nathan to tell David about the extensive consequences of his sin of killing Uriah and taking his wife Bathsheba.

Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbour, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child who is born to you shall die.” 2 Samuel 12:10-14

Note this prayer of thanksgiving by David well after the grievous sin involving Uriah and Bathsheba. He had learnt an important lesson: “kept myself from sinning“.

He (Lord) rescued me from my powerful enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my distress, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out to a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me. The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; He repaid me according to the cleanness of my hands. For I have kept the ways of the Lord and have not turned from my God to wickedness. Indeed, I have kept all His ordinances in mind and have not disregarded His statutes. I was blameless before Him and kept myself from sinning. So the Lord repaid me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in His sight.” 2 Samuel 22:18-25

HOW WE FIND SPIRITUAL REST

How Can We Find Spiritual Rest? | by Samuel Annesley (c. 1620–1696)

How can we live with a conscience that is brought to a place of peace/tranquillity by the shed blood of Christ?

Christians, be persuaded to practice these:

1. Deal with SIN, count no sin small.

2. Know the healing and practice of repentance.

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3. Live Eternal Now, ready for Jesus return. You cannot deceive Him, for He is Infinite Wisdom; you cannot fly from Him, for He is everywhere; you cannot bribe Him, for He is Righteousness itself.

4. Be serious and frequent in the examination of your heart and life. This is necessary to the getting and keeping of a right and peaceable conscience, that it is impossible to have either without it. 

5. Be in prayer, in all manner of prayer, but especially in private prayer. 

6. Let your whole life be a preparation for serving in Jesus soon coming Millennial Kingdom. Divest yourself of today’s religion and its practices. Pleasures may tickle you for a while; but they have an heart-aching farewell. You may call your riches good; but ultimately what good will they do you? Men may flatter you for your greatness; but with God your account will be the greater. 

7. Live more upon Christ than upon inherent grace. Do not venture upon sin because Christ has purchased a pardon; that is a most horrible and irreverent abuse of Christ. 

8. Be, every way, nothing in your own eyes. It is the humble soul that thrives exceedingly. “And, indeed! what have we to be proud of?

9. Entertain good thoughts of God. We never arrive to any considerable holiness or peace till we lose ourselves in His divinity and all that encompasses.

10. Do all you do out of love for God. Spiritual love-sickness is the soul’s most healthy constitution. When love for God is the cause, means, motive, and end of all our activity then the soul takes flight towards rest.

O my soul, you are so little, why won’t you open all your little doors; why wont you extend your utmost capacity, that you may be wholly possessed, wholly satiated, wholly ravished with the sweetness of so great a love? 

O, therefore, my most loving God, I implore you, tell me what may most effectually draw out my love for you, considering all that you do for me, the positive good things I receive from you, infinite in greatness, infinite in multitude!

Extracted from an article by Puritan Samuel Annesley (1620-1696). The English has been update (thou and thee and some words e.g. impious changed). I amended 6. from preparation for heaven to preparation for serving in Jesus soon coming Millennial Kingdom.

THE PROBLEM OF SIN

Most people are comfortable even happy with their life of SIN. If you are a Rock Star earning lots of money with lots of young girls wanting to be with you, regardless of the cost, then why would you want to repent? The Gospel is not good news to this Rock Star not unless the Holy Spirit convicts him of his SIN.

Nevertheless, as ambassadors of God, we are called to beg people on His behalf to turn from their SIN, to come back into relationship with Him but on His terms. They need to know their eternal destiny is at stake. However, we must also convey to them the extent of their Creator’s love for them (Jesus died that they might have life).. But, ultimately they must want to be in relation with God, to love Him as He loves them and as a result are prepared to repent i.e. turn from their sinful life and keep His commandments.

SIN IN THE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM

“Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection.” Revelation 20:4-5

The most unexpected aspect of Jesus coming Millennial Kingdom on this earth is Satan’s part in the story. We are told an angel seizes him and bounds him with a great chain, throws him into “the bottomless pit”, shuts it and seals it over him. Note that only another angel was needed to do it. My guess is the angel Michael. Satan is bound for almost the entire 1000 years.

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.Revelation 20:1-3

Why must Satan be released?

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed themRevelation 20:7-9

Jesus and the resurrected Saints have been ruling and reigning for 1000 years. Mind you, we are told they rule with a rod of iron. Even with Jesus ruling and Satan bound, Sin is still a major problem. It is a heart problem, people still want to be God and not have anyone, even their Creator to rule over them. Remember, despite being in the presence of God, Satan and a third of the angels rebelled against God. It will still be a major problem with Jesus and the Saints ruling and reigning in the Millennium. The number that rebel is like the “sand of the sea”.

The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.” Revelation 2:27

FACING SIN REALISTICALLY AND HONESTLY

Sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, cost you more than you would ever want to pay.’ This quote was made by Ravi Zacharias.

In the Bible we have the story of King David as a perfect example of the truth of Ravi’s words. Starting with neglecting his duty by not being with his army during a significant battle, then adultery, betrayal, deceit and ending up with murder.

I wonder, now, if Ravi didn’t speak these words as an echo of his own broken soul. I think he was a man who wanted to honour God with his life. But he was also a man in whose heart sin had wreaked all kinds of havoc and Ravi had somehow justified his behaviour in his own mind.

Sadly, this is a common pattern for many ministry leaders today. They enter into ministry as normal men with flaws, sin patterns, and areas in need of sanctification, just like anyone else. They are trained to understand and exposit the Bible, to lead the church, and to build the ministry. And, along the way, the institution assumes their personal, emotional, and sexual health are all growing at the same pace as their ministry capability. 

The truth is; that their soul—like all of ours—is still desperately in need of being discipled and trained into wholeness and holiness. The only catch is, for the leader, this permission—this pathway—does not exist. Once the leader is in place, the institution expects him or her to have it all together and to lead his congregation well, and certainly not struggle with sexual sin. And if they do? Well then, at this point, the easiest thing to do is hide it or lie about it. The environment that has been created in Christian ministry inadvertently encourages the leader to perform well and hide the negative issues of their personal life.

Nearly 100 years ago, German Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wisely stated:

The pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everybody must conceal his sin from himself and from the fellowship. We dare not be sinners. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy. The fact is that we are all sinners.” (Bonhoeffer, Life Together, p. 110. HarperOne, 1954.)

Every leader needs to have mentors, a place of true accountability. True accountability means that the leader has a safe, trusted group of peers they purposefully choose to go to with everything.

Culturally, even within the church, the following questions are never addressed. Why is our sexuality holy? Why is gender important? Why does intercourse illustrate the same kind of oneness God desires to have with us? Why is marriage sacred? Why is repentance so important?

Parents also need to understand a 15 year-long conversation about sex is far more effective than several “talks” at various stages of life. There is no shame or embarrassment in talking about something God created.

Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.” Mark 9:42

RIGHTEOUS BY FAITH ALONE

Anything that is not birthed out of faith is fatally flawed by sin.

“For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” Romans 14:23

According to Isaiah without faith even our righteous deeds are “like a polluted garment”.

We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.” Isaiah 64:6

The reality is that anyone outside the saving faith of Christ are dead people, spiritually dead and therefore only capable of doing wretched, sinful things. From birth this is the reality for us all. We need to be clothed in His righteousness and this can only be done when we repent and put our faith in Jesus, the only one who can make us righteous, and that is by being clothed in His righteousness.

None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” Romans 3:10-12

The book of Job teaches us much about faith. Believing that God is good despite the apparent evidence to the contrary, Job rested in faith alone. In the depths of agony he could still proclaim, “I know that my Redeemer lives” (Job 9:25). In the end, God silenced all discussion with the truth that He alone is wise (chs. 38–41). Yet, He vindicated Job’s trust in Him (ch. 42), proving that genuine faith cannot be destroyed.

The gospel is the power of God for salvation for in it the righteousness of God is revealed but it is by faith that we live the Christian life.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes… For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith (or beginning and ending in faith), as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17

CHRITIANS NEED NEVER FEAR DEATH

Those in Christ should never fear death. The love of God continues from temporal life through to eternal life.

The church is the only society in the world that never loses any of its members, even by death.John Blanchard

“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” Psalms 116:15

The death of God’s people is safeguarded, watched over, protected, and secured. Much as we safeguard something highly valuable, so God safeguards His people when they die. As Jesus protected His disciples in life, so God protects them in death.

While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.John 17:12

For He delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. From oppression and violence He redeems their life, and precious is their blood in His sight.Psalms 72:12-14

When the wrath of God is poured out on an unrepentant world we are told that the lost will seek death but it will elude them.

And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them.Revelation 9:6

If you are an unbeliever and you are reading this post I hope you will repent of your rejection of God and His values and seek to know what Jesus Christ has accomplished for you when He died on the Cross over 2000 years ago. He died to pay the penalty for your sins so that you might inherit eternal life and not fear death.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” John 3:16-18

JESUS – THE WORD OF LIFE

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.1 John 1:1-4

What an amazing Scripture. Do you want life, eternal life? There is only one place you will find it – JESUS.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.1 John 1:5-7

It is only His sacrifice on our behalf, His blood shed for you and me that cleanses us from SIN

What is the matter with the world? War, violence, turmoil, unhappiness ,,, There is only one answer – SIN.

The renowned theologian Martyn Lloyd-Jones reveals addictions provides a picture of all SIN patterns. At first the happiness it causes seems to outweigh the misery. But eventually the periods of misery increase and the periods of happiness fade. This is called the law of diminishing returns. Life is promised; death is delivered. Every drug, alcohol, and pornography addict is living proof the next high is less satisfying than the last.

If insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results, SIN not only leads to insanity – it is insanity. Regardless of your drug of choice, materialism, cocaine, pornography, power, anger, slander – the nature of any SIN is saying. “This time it will be different.” Yet it just keeps killing us – all in the name of happiness.

The only answer to the SIN problem is Jesus. Repent of your SIN problems and ask Him to takeover your life as Saviour and Lord. Find meaning and purpose for your life, knowing you now have eternal life.

Martin Lloyd-Jones share these gems on SIN in his book Life in Christ in 1 John

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ORIGIN OF EVIL/SIN

The Bible reveals the origin of evil was before the creation of man. The story begins with the dysfunction of a mighty and beautiful angelic being referred to in the Latin translation as Lucifer (Morning Star). Also more commonly known as Satan or the Devil. Other names, Abaddon (destroying angel), Revelation 9:11, Apollyon (destroyer), Revelation 9:11, Accuser of the brethren Revelation 12:10, Adversary (opponent), 1Peter 5:8, Angel of light (messenger of light), 2Corinthians 11:14, Antichrist (possessed by Satan), 1John 4:3, Beelzebub (ruler of the devils), Luke 11:15, Dragon, Revelation 12:7, Father of Lies, John 8:44, God of this world (god of this age), 2Corinthians 4:3 – 4, Great fiery red dragon (serpent), Revelation 12:3, Man of sin (man of offense), 2Thessalonians 2:3, Liar (a falsifier), John 8:44, Power of darkness (power of obscurity), Colossians 1:13.

You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created, they were prepared. You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire, you walked. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you. In the abundance of your trade, you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. Ezekiel 28:12-17a

We are told Satan and the angels that followed him (1/3 of the angels) are eventually (God’s appointed time) cast into the Lake of Fire. As are unbelievers after the White Throne Judgement.

How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground,
you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God
I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit.
Isaiah 14:12-15

I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you. By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your trade, you profaned your sanctuaries; so I brought fire out from your midst; it consumed you, and I turned you to ashes on the earth in the sight of all who saw you. All who know you among the peoples are appalled at you; you have come to a dreadful end and shall be no more forever.Ezekiel 28:17b-19

The Bible, in eight of its chapters, records seven fascinating and distinct times Satan the devil has spoken. We learn a great deal about man’s greatest enemy right from his own mouth! The first instance the Bible records of the devil speaking is, of course, his tempting of Eve in the Garden of Eden. His subtle deceptions foreshadow the craftiness he will later display in his effort to get Jesus to sin.

Adam and Eve cast out of the Garden of Eden

Now the serpent (the devil) was more cunning than any creature of the field which the LORD God had made. And he (through an animal who could speak) said to the woman (Eve), “Is it true that God has said, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?'” And the serpent (the devil) said to the woman (Eve), “In dying, you shall not surely die! For God knows that in the day you eat of it, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be like God, deciding good and evil” (Genesis 3:1 – 5)

The devil’s perverted thinking and rebellious spirit spread to the human race by enticing the first humans to think as he does. The apostle Paul wrote about how disobedience and suffering entered the world when he stated, “Therefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and by means of sin came death; and in this way, death passed into all mankind” (Romans 5:12).

God, as the all-powerful Creator, has a right to determine what is right or wrong (good or evil) for the entire universe. He told Adam (Genesis 2:16 – 17) and Eve (Genesis 3:1 – 3) that it was good to eat from the trees in Eden with the exception of just one tree and the consequences of eating from that tree was death. (Genesis 2:17). Adam and Eve’s test was whether they would believe what God had said or reject His instruction and sin by believing Satan, the Deceiver. We are suffering the consequences of their decision.

Thankfully, God knew beforehand the outcome and He already had a plan to redeem mankind from the curse of evil. It is 2020 years since Jesus our Redeemer came and from Biblical prophecy, we know His return to rule and reign for 1000 years is not too distant. During Jesus Millennial reign Satan is bound but when released is still able to deceive a multitude to mount an army to come against Jesus and the Saints.

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him so that he might not deceive the nations any longer until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be released for a little while.” Revelation 20:1-3

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” Revelation 20:7-10

DECEPTION IN THE LAST DAYS

Jen Hatmaker, Christian pastor, speaker and author faced backlash in 2016 when she departed from traditional Christian teachings and declared same-sex marriage to be “holy”.

One of her daughters, Sydney recently revealed she is gay. At the introduction of the lengthy conversation between Hatmaker and her daughter Sydney, the “For the Love” podcast host said the episode was not “an announcement,” because her family has known for quite some time that Sydney is homosexual. It was, though, the first time she’d shared the revelation with her listeners and readers.

Sydney Hatmaker , with the agreement of her mother, said it’s “not enough” for pastors and Christians to just love LGBT people; they need to also fully embrace their lifestyles.

Hatmaker explained that it is “maybe even more cruel” to love LGBT people while also believing homosexuality to be contrary to biblical teaching.

“It is not enough, Christians, to say, ‘Well, we love you, anyway,’” she said. “I don’t want to be ‘loved anyway.’”

All of this comes on the heels of the release of Hatmaker’s newest book, “Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire: The Guide to Being Glorious You.” She wrote in the book that she has largely exchanged evangelical theology for “the wild terrain of the wilderness.”

GOD MAKES IT CLEAR HE LOVES SINNERS BUT HATES SIN. JESUS IS THE ANSWER TO THE SIN PROBLEM. HOMOSEXUALITY IS A SIN PROBLEM ALONG WITH ALL THE OTHERS.

Sydney explained a particular moment, which Hatmaker described as “a terrible day,” when she picked up a book by an unnamed pastor who “didn’t know where he landed [on homosexuality] but knew that he loved the gay people in his life, systematically going through the Bible and, verse by verse, coming to the conclusion that gayness is sin.”

“That was just — destroyed me,” she told her mom, recalling having a “full meltdown” that day. “[I] read the whole thing in one day, just fully feeling in that moment like God didn’t love me.”

Hatmaker argued many pastors preach as if only heterosexual people are in their congregations, when, in reality, “every single church is just filled with gay kids and gay moms and dads.”

“It’s just so irresponsible to break their hearts,” she added.