Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Choosing to Love

This is a letter written by my straight Journey Christian friend Becky to a pastor in response to a comment he had made about gays:

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The truth is, you never know how you are going to react to something until it is close to you.

Whether or not I think being gay is right or wrong is not the issue. This is an issue of love. How we choose to love and respond when people are being hurt and treated as being something less than human . . . .

There was a day when I had to make a choice. I chose to listen to the stories. A story about a young man just beginning his life who was hung on a fence post to die. Why? And what makes it even more horrifying is that "Christians" to this day still protest saying this boy is now in HELL...I refuse to believe that.

Then there was another story about a friend of mine who loved the LORD with all of his heart, who had to leave his church and the youth group he loved..for many reasons... but mostly because he feared the reactions of his fellow Christians should they find out he was gay.

There were friends who do not want to leave their house because of how they have been treated. Humans who believe that they should not be on this earth!

There was a close friend who lived in fear, every day of his life. Fear that he would be "found out", always looking over his shoulder if he chose to go out with friends. Who might see him in the "gay" district. I began to ask myself why there was even a "gay" district in cities. I related it to biblical times when so many Christians were persecuted and had to go live in groups together in hiding to get away for the hatred and abuse. They could not tell anyone who they were for fear of losing their lives.

So, therefore I chose to listen and be a positive force in place where people feel like darkness sounds them everyday. I chose to be light in the darkness. I want to make the darkness and pain go away for my friends. I want to go to the places I believe JESUS would be. HE would be with the broken, hurt and suffering. HE would be with the people who have been abused, and all in the name of the Lord.

I had to make a choice a number of years ago when 3 very close and dear friends of mine all came out to me in what seemed a matter of days. I had two options, one was to hurt them, alienate them and leave them alone. The other was that of LOVE. That no matter what, I would love them through my actions, to accept them and everyone right where they were at. Was it right or wrong? I don't know, but I would allow God to be God and if it were wrong then He would convict my friends. My job was to have no agenda, to love them right where they were at, as hard as that may be. What grew out of that decision, both filled me with love and also shocked me.

One time I accompanied my friend to the "gay district" and I met a man who told me he hated "Christians", hated everything about them. I told him that I was one of those people he hated. He asked why I was there then? I explained to him how I had no agenda, that I was there with my friend, to support him. It was amazing how that turned him around and we talked for hours about everything. I questioned him and began to dig deeper, and found out that he had a great sense of who God was and knew that God was bigger than the universe. Before we went our separate ways that night he said to me that I seemed "different", a good different, different than most people. I just smiled, knowing what it was. It was an 'aha' moment for me, I felt shalom come over me. That is exactly what I wanted. I want to be different, I want to be a Christian without ever having to say I am. Without ever having to quote from the Bible. I just want people to see something different in me, and that being Jesus Christ.

That was not the only occasion, afterward gay people seemed to be everywhere. I had to reexamine what I was forced fed. Here is what I know, I believe that everyone was created equally in God's image. That He loves everyone the same, and that it does not matter what someone has done, is doing, or will do for He knows all.

I have become extremely passionate about erasing the stereotypes that are often held against the gay community. Yes, there are gays who do go out the bar, just like many straight people. There are gays who do sleep around with many sexual partners, just as do many straight people. There are gays who refuse to walk in the way of the Lord, as do many straight people. So why does our society deem it "normal" when straights do these things and "perverted" of gays?

In the end, it does not matter to me if a friend of mine is gay or straight, they are my friend. Unless of course they were endangering their life, I would let them know and beg them to stop, gay or straight.

I have come to realize that people are people, no matter what their sexual preference may be, no matter what their denomination or religion, no matter the color of their skin.

I contend that if my beliefs are wrong that I will be shown that in one way or another from God. I believe that HE is the ultimate judge....it is up to HIM, not me nor any other human being.

The Pharisees are mentioned many times in the Bible. I remember the story of one of the Pharisees inviting Jesus to dinner and the Pharisees being upset because Jesus did not wash before the meal. Jesus tells them that they clean the outside but the inside is full of greed and wickedness. In many ways that is not too far off from so many Christians of today. We look great and "clean" on the outside, we go to Church services on Sunday and forget about "Church" the rest of the week.

I recently watched a movie called Prayers for Bobby! It was a true story about a young gay boy growing in a conservative Christian household, with a mother who was misguided by what she was taught. She made her own son feel like he was nothing. She would tell Bobby he was going to hell, and that she would never accept him, ever and neither would GOD! After years of struggle, Bobby ends up taking his own life. It is not until after his death that his mother realizes what she had done. She found his journal and read of the struggles he had, how he prayed endlessly to change and how he questioned GOD. It was then that she too began to question, how could a beautiful, loving boy like her son be damned to hell? In the end she realizes that the judging should have been left to GOD, not her, nor any other human. She knew she was partially responsible for what happened to her son because of her close-minded thinking. Her fight to change that thinking continues to this day.

In the end, it does not matter what I think or what anyone else out there thinks. To me it only matters what GOD thinks. I believe that JESUS loves us all the same. His love is unchanging for everyone. I think that if we focused on what we had in COMMON with one another, instead of the differences, then we could live in true COMMUNITY as we were meant to live! I do not know what made GOD lay this topic on my heart? But, he did and I can feel in the core of my bones. It has allowed me to learn so much about myself and who I was created to be. To understand what it means to be a Christian and love one another unconditionally. To show people love through my actions. I believe that love really does win!!!! Love is a choice and I choose to love! Love wins.

Becky O F

Romans 15v4-6

"If you judge others you will have no time to love them."~ Mother Teresa

"Before you echo 'Amen' in your home or place of worship, think and remember...a child is listening." Mary Griffith.

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If you are a straight Christian who, like Becky, thinks that expressing genuine love is more important than the divisive politics of the Church's homosexuality debate, then join us at Two World Collision Collaborative Christian Community and find out what it means to be a "Journey Christian."

3 comments:

Earl said...

Wow!!! Thanks Eric for printing this powerful letter!!! And Becky...God bless you!!! Thank you for speaking up for love!! ((hugs))

Earl

Jae said...

Whilst I'm not a question I am gay and it's refreshing to see some Christ like behaviour, it is sadly so rare.

gentle lamb said...

A very touching sharing.

This will be rather rare in Singapore, where Christians are generally very vocal and militant against gays.

God bless and take care.

gentle lamb
http://www.psa91.com