It's hard to escape the news, the FB post and all the talk going on about the Supreme Court and gay marriage. I have spent the last two days with a heavy heart. I have been sharing tears with friends, and shedding tears over friends. I have had conversations with those on both sides and with those who are unsure where to stand. I have had moments where I have bit my tongue and moments where I have poured out my heart. And I have spent these two days with my head bowed and with a silent heart and prayed. And prayed. And listened. And prayed. And listened. And prayed. And this morning these words weigh heavy on my heart . . .
To whom it may concern,
I am sorry. I am sorry that we as Christians have handled a lot of things poorly. I can pin point the time and place where I sat in a Sunday school class and was taught that you cannot be gay and a Christian. And if you heard this same teaching, I am sorry. I am sorry that you have heard over the years that God hates you, and that hell is the only place for you. And I am sorry for believing this myself for so long. I am sorry we as Christians have spoken so loudly on this lifestyle, when we have failed as a whole to hear your story, or taken the time to understand and listen about your experiences. I am sorry that you have encountered friends who have stood beside you when you weren't a "practicing gay", because they thought God had placed them in your life to help "save" you, but when you entered a same sex relationship they abandoned you. I am sorry that we have made you feel broken and have forgotten of our own brokenness and that the broken is who Jesus came for, who He befriend, who He did life with. I am sorry that we as the church say that our doors are open, but question why you just don't go to a gay only gathering. I am sorry we cherry pick scriptures from our Bibles too. I am sorry we claim you are ramming your beliefs down our throats when you change your FB picture, but are outraged at your judgment toward us when we post a picture of our chicken sandwich. I am sorry we deny that we can be hypocritical. I am sorry you know more about what we stand against than Who we stand for. I am sorry the Church is divided on if and where you can serve within the church community. I am sorry that we have made you feel inferior, forgetting that we are all God's beloved, and are all created equal.
For so long Christian's defined who I thought Christ to be. And I adopted this faith that the only way God could love me, is if I lived my life like Jesus . . . perfect, according to the rules. And boy did I try hard to do so. Standing strongly, proudly on the “issues" that were very easy for me to follow. While all along hiding and covering up "issues" that I struggled with. I played the game. And then one day I met Jesus, and my whole world changed. I would love to stand here and tell you that since meeting Him, life's huge EASY button was hit and life just fell into place. We (Christians) can tend to get stuck on that thinking at times. But to be honest, I have never faced as much heartache and pain as I have since. But through it all, I have learned what grace is, what forgiveness means, what joy encompasses, what compassion involves, what living in peace is all about, and what love really means. Love is Jesus Christ. And as we head into Easter weekend, it is Love that gave His innocent life on that cross, it is Love that conquered death, and it is Love who lives so that I, so that we, do not have to live according to a religion that grades us a pass or a fail, but rather where we get the choice to surrender our lives and to be active in a relationship where we can walk daily with the One who radically changes us for the better.
I am sorry we have failed you here. And I am sorry that we will most likely, fail you again and again. But there is hope. There are Christians who want to hear you. Who want to know your story. Who want to start this conversation. Who want to see change. Who want to sit beside you in the church pew. Who want to be your friend and do life with you whether or not we all can be on the same page and in agreement. Who want to introduce you to the One who flipped their world upside down in the best most possible way (not with hopes to save you or to pray you straight), but because we are completely intoxicated with who He is and what He has done. There are Christians who know that in the end, Love wins and long for you to know it too.
And it is because I encountered the Love of Jesus Christ, Love itself, that I can boldly stand here, as one of you, and one of them, and as a confident beloved of God, asking you for forgiveness, praying for change and trusting that if not, His plans are better than we all can imagine.