I have always cared deeply about what people think of me. I don’t know why, because if you know me, I cause lots of trouble because of the way I think. One would assume that if I truly cared about others opinions, I would tamper my thoughts and ideas to become more “normal”, but for some reason, I can’t seem to do that either.
Last night my FB inbox was flooded with messages all of which let me know that I had disappointed the person writing me. They explained that my ideas of how American Christianity being partly to blame for the events in Orlando was inappropriate (I also blamed all religion, but...).
Maybe it was…
But it doesn’t make the idea false.
I imagine it's easier to put all the blame on the actual man holding the weapons, rather than reflect on how our society and religions and broken systems have failed even the shooter.
It’s easy for us to become upset with someone when we don’t know their story—when we don’t understand why they think the way they do. So I will explain my story.
I’ve had 13 years to become inappropriate to my Christian counterparts. I have had 13 years of struggle and pain to think deeply about homosexuality and how God may or may not feel about it. Why? Because 13 years ago, in my parent’s house, I found my baby brother strung out on drugs. We were alone. My mother and father were in the hospital where she had just had a major surgery. My husband was deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and I had flown home to help my family. Standing in that bedroom with tears streaming down both our faces, I screamed at the top of my lungs a question to my brother that I already knew the answer to. “Are you gay?”
He crumbled. He gave up. He let it all fall away because the self-loathing was too much. The pain was too heavy. The fear was overwhelming. He whimpered and sobbed and nodded his head.
I remember calling my female friends back in California that were part of a family readiness network within the Marine Corps. I know I called them because I was sitting in my car outside in the dark and that pain and confusion in that moment has burned itself into my memory. I was crying. I don’t even remember why I called. I think I desperately needed to talk to my husband…I can’t remember…
But I was very much alone and scared to death.
I drove to the hospital and walked into the room where my parents were still awake. I cried. I told them what Matthew had said. They already knew. They loved him. It was just going to take a long time to convince Matthew of that…and to help him begin to love himself.
I still believed that homosexuality would send my bother to hell. I grew up in a very religious conservative environment. I researched Christian conversion programs and asked my brother if would consider attending, for me. I am so glad he never did because those programs are evil. When I finally got back to California, I remember being prostrate on the living room floor and sobbing uncontrollably. I was grieving the loss of my brother. I was begging God to save him and not send him to hell. I begged, I pleaded…
And then sudden silence came over me.
As clear as if someone had been standing in the room, I felt as if God told me, “Stop it. How could you possibly believe your love for your family is stronger than my love for them? Matthew is my creation. He will always be mine. Now stop.”
And I had incredible peace.
But notice God didn’t give me any answers. He didn’t tell me a word about homosexuality. He didn’t clear any of my questions up. He just told me that His love was strong and capable and would never go away. There was no condemnation. There was no shame. There was no promise that He would “heal” my brother…
Christians, I don’t think homosexuals are separated from God. They are not condemned to hell. They are not living a “lifestyle” that you can pray away. And you are destroying their self-worth by continuing to peddle these ideas that you have no positive proof of.
I need you to stop.
I need you to let it go.
I need you to truly seek the Lord with as much skin in the game as I did that day alone in my living room.
But you won’t.
So you will keep telling people like me that we are wrong. You will keep repeating, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” Or, "I don't have to accept a lifestyle to love a person,"
That's garbage. No one says that about you--equally loved and accepted by God.
YOU will be the one to keep heaping shame upon their heads with your counterfeit grace and fake compassion. You are the one belittling God's sons and daughters, the beautiful humans HE created with as much love, tenderness, and rapture as He did you.
You have no idea what you are talking about.
Take thirteen years to seek God’s face on his matter.
Take thirteen years to be in relationship with a gay person who, because of self-loathing, has tried to kill themselves multiple times.
Put a little of yourself into the conversation.
Actually study and learn and hear and listen…
Just maybe, ask yourself if there is more to all of this than what your bible says.
Because I know you’re not sending the women in your home to sleep in the backyard when they’re menstruating.
I know you’re not offering animals up on an alter to redeem yourself of your own ugly sin.
I know you’re not stoning folks or gouging out your eyes when you lust…
There is absolutely nothing about you that has made you right with God. Nothing. You are the exact same as they are, and you need to begin to truly treat them that way.
Last night, I had one nice and encouraging message from a dear friend. This is what she sent me:
There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.
It has to be okay to hate what God hates.
This is the only complete list I know of though.
So if you don't see it on this list, and you believe there is a God, then you might want to mind your manners about things like flags or skin colors or legal statuses or immigrants or homosexuals or vegetables or cats or anything that you want to hate. Funny thing about hate; it tends to lead you into doing the things on this short list of things God hates.
Friends, what exactly is your motive? Are you bringing healing and unity? Are you letting people into your “club” how they are? Or are you expecting that their supposed “sin” defines them, but yours doesn’t define you? Are you separating them from God?
I think you are.
And it’s inappropriate.
And I really wish you’d stop.
I know what I’m talking about.