Thursday, October 06, 2005

Taking A Bullet

Are there more people today that I would be willing to take a bullet for than there were last year?

Yeah, i think i can confidently say that there are. I've invested quite a bit of time over the past ten months building significant relationships, establishing new ones, and even nurturing a few existing relationships. (Sadly, no romantic relationships - yet!) Before, I never really considered the value I placed in relationships. Perhaps I was so focussed on not feeling connected with friends that I neglected to fully appreciate the friends that I did have. I guess you can say I took them for granted. Do I have the kind of relationships that I would be willing to die for? Take a bullet for? Place my life in harm's way for? Do I have relationships of substance that would absolutely devastate me if they were "gone" and I'd cry out "take me instead!"?

It's kind of scary actually to think how lonely I felt just a little over one year ago . . . .

It was a depressing time. It was also a self-focussed time. (And this was when I was in an ex-gay frame of mind - rejecting my sexuality!) But now that I have intentionally connected with people who would actively support me in my journey, I'm learning how powerfully transforming some relationships can be. These are good friendships with people who share similar passions, are refreshing to be around, and are willing to live out life together. These are friendships with people with whom I can laugh and joke around with, people I can establish Sunday or Friday traditions with, people with whom I can create history with. These are the kind of relationships that I value - that I'd die for - the kind that I chose to develop since they used to be so rare in my life.

It really was a choice for me. It was a choice for me to live out my faith in community with others. It was a choice for me to establish several different pockets of communities - people with whom I am the Church with and they with me. What better way to extend love than to live out a relationship with someone?

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers." - 1 John 3:16

Yet there are many people in the mainstream church unwilling to do such a thing for people like me - gay Christians. Many of them choose not to acknowledge people like me as their fellow brother in Christ - a Christian. They choose not to love. But would these particular mainstream "church"-ians take a bullet for me?

"We love because He first loved us. If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And He has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother." - 1 John 4:19-21

I heard last night from the pastor of ODM that "it's easy to have a harsh opinion of someone when you are not in relationship with the person". It's true. I've said before that "issues" don't get so black and white once it becomes personal - or in other words, it's harder to condemn a person when we know someone personally who is experiencing the issue.

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." - John 13:34-35

I think it's a choice for us all - to reach out and connect, to embrace someone we may disagree with, to establish a relationship with each other. It's this kind of lifestyle of love that we as the Church - the Body of Christ, a community of faith committed to living it out together - are marked by. Let's not simply proclaim that we'd take a bullet for our friends. As a community, let's live out our faith with each other as if we are taking a bullet for each other.

5 comments:

Angel said...

"I've said before that "issues" don't get so black and white once it becomes personal - or in other words, it's harder to condemn a person when we know someone personally who is experiencing the issue."

YES!!!! And this is exactly how God changed my heart.

JJ said...

I'd take a bullet for you, dude! *grin*

Eric said...

aww, thanks JJ, i know you would! I'd take a bullet for you too.

JJ said...

... nobody's shooting at you now, are they? Cause I'm kinda far away!

Anyway, just wanted to let you know that I sent you an email -- to the address that shows up when I get a comment from you, so I guess whatever address you have your blogger account registered to. Thought I'd let you know in case it ended up in your junkmail or something.

Matt said...

This is quite an insight, and really has made me think about relationships I've had, and those lost, including the one I have with God. I've fallen away from prayer for some time now, and this is making me realize how important it always was for me.