Dear Gay and Lesbian community,
I am a Christian. I love Jesus and I do my best to live like He did. But so often I fail. In fact every moment of every day I am so far away from what Jesus was like you would be forgiven for thinking I wasn’t a Christian. Or maybe not. Maybe if you knew me you would think that I was the perfect Christian. Judgmental, sometimes I lie, I gossip, I swear, I hate it when someone doesn’t see my point of view, get nervous around people that are different than me, do the direct opposite of what I claim to believe. Yep, sometimes I am pretty sure I would fit right into the idea you have of what a Christian is like.
But like I said I don’t blame you. Because that’s what we are like sometimes…well not all of us…but…sometimes a lot of us….eh..a lot of the time, me. And for that I am sorry. I am sorry that this past week when Anderson Cooper came out publicly, many people who profess that Jesus is their Lord attacked him. I am sorry that we were not caring. I am sorry that we judged who he is completely because of his sexuality. I am sorry that we looked down on him. I am sorry that when we talk about you we use negative language. I am sorry that we talk about homosexuality as an abstract debate rather than about real people with feelings and dreams. For this and so much more I am sorry.
But most of all I am sorry that you don’t get to see Jesus in us.
That when you meet most of us you don’t feel unconditionally loved. I am sorry that when it comes to you, we forget about the things that we believe to be fundamentally true. Like how nothing can separate people from God’s love, not even your sexuality.
The thing is I would hate it if because of the way some of us treat you, you never felt Jesus’ love for you. Because I need to tell you something. If you want to know what Jesus is like, sometimes the last place you should look is in Church.
But I want to try and fix that a little right now. But I want you to know I am not trying to fix you. I am not hoping that if you read this you will become a Christian and stop being gay. I honestly don’t believe the two have to be mutually exclusive.
I simply want you to know that Jesus loves you.
As you are.
There is no hidden, ulterior motive to me telling you this.
I just want you to know it.
I want you to know that when we attack you it’s because we are probably unhappy with some of the stuff we do in our own lives. We carry about crap that we take out on you.
Man, for that I am sorry.
That is bullshit of us. That is the lowest of the low. If anyone needs to know Jesus it is us.
But I don’t want this to be all negative about Christians. Because there are some out there who love you and accept you. We all need to be more like them and I hope that you see some of that in me.
Because when you feel worthless or inferior because of how a Christian reacts to you, it is not how Jesus would make you feel.
He would talk to you and He would listen to you and He would socialize with you. He would even buy you a beer. Or at least make some of His own.
He understands more than anyone what it is like to be different. The same people that he came from, hated Him. They are the same people today that hate you too. The overtly religious. So I guess you are in good company.
But seriously we need to change. We need to love you like Jesus does. We need to stop judging and accept you as you are. People that Jesus loves without any prerequisites. Just like how He loves me and everyone else. When you think about it we’re all the same. We need to be loved. We are loved.
I just pray that we remember that next time we meet you.
I hope you forgive us.
God knows we need it.
Nugget, it’s been ages since we have seen each other but I follow your writing and am looking forward to engaging with this new blog.
I agree with much of what you have said about Christians in this post – and I include myself. I accept that I am judgemental, that I lie and gossip, that I am a hypocrite that falls immeasurably short of what is expected of me as a Christian. I look at the perfect example set by Jesus and when I measure myself against that yardstick I know I am deeply in need of the grace offered in the Gospel.
I agree with you when you say that sometimes the last place people should look to see what a Christian should be like is the church. They should look at the Bible and the life and example of Jesus.
I agree with you also that members of the Christian community were wrong to attack Anderson Cooper and attack those who are homosexual.
However, I can’t agree with the underlying current or insinuation in your post that God can accept homosexuality. Sex was created by God to be enjoyed and experienced within the boundaries of a marriage between a man and a woman. That is God’s ideal. In a world broken and corrupted by sin we witness God’s ideal subverted and manipulated and undermined and corroded in so many ways.
This is not a new, modern or enlightened phenomenon – Paul speaks out against sexual sin in the New Testament churches and implores the churches towards sexual morality.
I think it is wrong to suggest that the same thing should not be done today and that in a modern society the question of God’s boundaries for sex have somehow shifted.
What I also think is wrong is that the issue of homosexuality, particularly at the moment, is promoted as the one big sin which will stop God from loving us. That is absolutely false!
But we also have to emphasise that there is a cost attached to being a Christian – it isn’t meant to be plain sailing. Therefore as Christians we are to strive to be more like Jesus everyday, we are to deny ourselves and follow him. That is an alien concept for a world at the moment which can have every need or desire or want or urge satisfied instantly – we no longer accept that we should ‘deny ourselves’ because we continually idolise ourselves and but our needs above the desires of Jesus.
So for me personally I need to deny myself by being less prone to losing my temper, by being concerned less about my reputation and caring more for the reputation of Jesus and the gospel. For others it might be denying themselves by trying to defeat an addiction to porn or drugs or Wagon Wheels!
Of course God loves us, just as we are. But that does not give us free reign to live our lives with our own rules in the expectation that Jesus will sort out the ramifications. Only when we accept that Christianity has boundaries, when we accept that we need to live within God’s rules and ideals, will we get to experience life to the fullest.
Cheers for the comment Slim. You’re my first commenter here!!
Homosexuality and the debate about whether it is right or wrong wasn’t actually what I was trying to get at here. It’s something that I need to, but haven’t actually studied for myself in any great depth. So that is something I need to start doing.
I think the crux behind why I wrote this was to show the LGBT community that what they often see from Christians is not always what Christianity should be and most importantly it is not always what Jesus is like. I have found myself having quite a few more gay friends in the last year, or so through work, some even family, and simply by moving to a city (even though it’s not exactly New York lol). I wrote this for them I guess.
I came from a point of view which didn’t directly refer to what the Bible says about it because I am aware that much of what Christianity is about today is about not sinning and getting by hoping not to screw up. And I’m learning that if I am trying to live up to some perfect ideal, which I usually place on myself, I don’t get anywhere. I can’t. Because as we both know, change can’t come about other than through God and his grace and Jesus. Unfortunately for many people, never mind gay people, they see Jesus as someone who came to point the finger at us. I am asking the question, “What if people stopped and realised they are loved by Jesus?” Some though don’t even get that far.
I know that for me when I feel close to God and I want more of him it is when I understand this truth at the deepest level. And I know that isn’t even remotely close to how big God’s love is for me.
I feel like this is more inviting to people. I had a gay friend tell me he enjoyed my post and I feel like that if I had written a post about what the Bible says about homosexuality and sin he and I wouldn’t have even had a discussion. As it happens there is now space for me to tell him and others that Jesus loves them. With no other hope than they feel that for themselves and grow close to God and that God will reveal Himself to them.
I will comment briefly about what I think about homosexuality though. Leaving the Bible aside for a moment I find it hard to get away from the fact that some people are gay. They don’t choose it and they can’t be ‘cured’. So that is an issue for me in what the Bible says about it being wrong.
The gut of what I was trying to say is this. Would gay people be more open to Jesus if we didn’t start with a discussion of what they are doing as being wrong, rather we allowed them into the unimaginable huge love God has for them.
Thanks for commenting. I appreciate it a lot. And I think a boojum should be on the cards soon!!
Nugget, cheers for the response. I hope to be a more active commenter as I try to exercise my mind a bit more, rather than being a passive reader and ingester of information and opinion.
I didn’t really mean to get into the debate on the rights and wrongs of homosexuality either. Although, on reflection, I agree my post maybe laboured on the point a little. I’m going to use the excuse that I wrote it via my phone and reviewing what I wrote wasn’t the easiest.
I know what you mean about allowing people to see they are loved by Jesus and that the Bible is not just a set of archaic and outdated rules to be followed. But I believe that before people will ever believe the good news that they are loved by Jesus they have to come to accept the bad news that the world is broken, that this world is not as God intended, that we are sinners who need to be loved by Jesus. If we do not accept this or believe this then the news that Jesus loves us becomes inconsequential. The two are relativee – the good news can’t be good news if there’s no bad news!
So the point I’m trying to get to is that we shouldn’t accomodate sin – any sin – in the hope of making people feel more comfortable with Jesus. We have to show people that he world is broken, that we’re sinners who deserve punishment but God loves us and has dealt with that sin through Jesus. Of course the approach to articulating this message has to be sensitive, has to be culturally relevant, has to be convincing. It can’t just be through ‘fire and brimstone’ preaching and ideally is done in the context of a relationship with the person/people we want to reach.
Hopefully that clarifies what I was trying to say.
PS – Boojum soon!