Well, it’s been a bit of a sandstorm lately in my life. For the past few weeks, regardless of the direction I was walking in, I could only see six inches in any direction. Taking each second, each moment at a time and thank God for the love in my life.
I’ve been contemplating on unconditional love and if humans are even truly capable of it. I mean, if I am being honest, I withhold my love from others all the time because I don’t agree with them, because they made me upset, or even just because I don’t know how to relate –so I retreat. As I’ve been confessing this messy style of relating to Abba Father, I’ve noticed that these behaviours are the exact ones I am most hurt by from others.
This week, in the middle of a depressive episode directly related to sexuality, identity, theology and acceptance–my mom was rushed to the emergency room for surgery (spoiler alert, she’s fine). In the middle of the chaos, I was afraid to reach out to others. I did reach out to a few close people, and to my prayer chain in my church, but I paused because I didn’t want to invite people into only one portion of my life. I feel like to know me, one must know all of me and to accept me–the same is true. Perhaps I’m wrong?
Acceptance isn’t support. In order to accept someone who has a different theology than you, you don’t need to endorse their belief system…nor do you need to try and convert them to yours. I believe that the same Holy Spirit that is alive and active in me convincing me of the truth of God’s word, the person of Jesus and His love for mankind is capable and willing to do that in the lives of all His children. I do not believe that it is my job to change people’s theology–before you ask “Well, what about iron sharpening iron and all that?” hear me out with a less contentious illustration,
Many Christians believe that Abortion is not God’s plan right? (They have varying levels of passion on this belief but many would say they are against it in most circumstances.) Yet, many Christians…many many Christians take oral contraceptives (birth control) which in it’s nature is abortive. It prevents the fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall. (If you know of one that prevents the egg from being fertilized please post it in the comments below.) I am personally against oral/chemical contraceptives for this reason—do I inform each believer whom practices different than me that they are murdering unborn children? No I do not because that is not where their heart is. We have a different understanding of the issue and grace and love cover the differences.
I believe that the LGBTQ Christians fall into a similar group. There’s a difference between sexuality and sexual behaviour. For example as a bisexual person, I do not go out and have promiscuous encounters with people of the same gender…heavens, I don’t even hold hands with people. I still believe that sex before marriage is sin, I still believe that lusting after another is sin, I still believe in the Side B stance of celibacy or traditional marriage–but I refuse to ostracize those people of faith who believe differently than I do.
In this journey, my mother has been my biggest supporter. She’s asked me questions that got me thinking like: “Why does it matter to other people so much who you love?” and “Why does it matter to you so much to stay in an environment like that?” I think it’s love for one another that causes us to sometimes do and say some very hurtful things. Out of love and concern for each other’s spiritual wellbeing we exhort, admonish and preach one another right out of fellowship. At some point, there needs to be an “agree to disagree” moment. Yes, I realize this means that some places of faith will not allow leadership roles to LGBTQ believers, that is their right. They are standing by their principles and I applaud that. How can we extend love to the out and closeted LGBTQ people in our churches? Whom by the preaching and teaching of the church feel like their existence itself is sin (even when they are not practising sexual behaviour) feel unable to be connected to a faith community.
There’s a great exodus taking place as 49% of young people (read on a BuzzFeed survey recently) identify as LGBTQ+ do not find a place for themselves within contemporary church. When is enough enough? When is love more important that religious rules? When can we accept God’s role in changing people and love them where they are at? My mom does a great job of it.