Love The Sinner

“Love the sinner hate the sin” not much can get my blood boiling faster than this phrase. It is only a reminder of how far we have to go in order to breakdown the barriers between the church and the LGBT community. I think that generally, the church is still pretty lost in its stance with the LGBT community. There has been some progress and there are churches that welcome LGBT people with open arms… but then there are those who are still confused. They find themselves questioning how to love. Which seems pretty strange for a religion that follows Jesus; the most loving and accepting  man to have ever walked this earth.

The biggest problem with the phrase “love the sinner hate the sin” is that it was created without people ever really learning how to love. It takes out any personal connection, it’s vague, distant, and hurtful. Just because your view of theology doesn’t agree with someone else’s, doesn’t mean you can’t see the good in someone and fully embrace them with love first, just as Christ embraces you first. He doesn’t wait until you get your get your act together. He embraces you just as you are. Broken, and a sinner. You do not have to agree with the way someone lives their life in order to completely embrace and show that same love. Focus less on how to “live right” and more on how to love right.

There is a very specific type of venom that Christians spew when they feel they are defending God. Unfortunately the LGBT community has fallen victim to this venom for many years now, and it has led to a lot of pain, hurt, and anger. So how do we fix this? What is the anti-venom?

Love, empathy, and respect.

I think one of the biggest fears that Christians have is that fully embracing someone who is LGBT will create this image that they condone their “lifestyle” ( this word makes me cringe. ) Or that it is doing the other person a disservice by not keeping them in line with God. But, here is the thing. That is not your job. Other people’s salvation, is not your responsibility, nor is it in your hands. God is always doing his work in you, do you not have faith that God is also doing his work in others? Embrace with love before anything else.

I think it is pretty easy to enforce your convictions on someone else if you don’t personally know someone who is gay, or transgender. I feel like many people in the church hold certain assumptions about the LGBT community because they have never really had a personal encounter or experience with it. Believe it or not, but we do more than just frequent the local gay bars and parade through the streets with rainbow flags. Our community is more than just one big gay pride parade. We are your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers. Most importantly, we are human beings. Just. like. you. We are human beings that need and deserve love and respect. How would it make you feel if people just made assumptions about you without truly knowing who you were as a person?

I think people have gotten so caught up in their own fears , assumptions and insecurities. Barriers that seem impossible to break down have been built off of a lot of misunderstanding…but I don’t think it is too late. So how do we break down the barriers?

It may seem too simple, but remember when you were little and you did something that hurt someone else? Your mother, teacher, or etc would hold you by the shoulders, bring you face to face with that other person, have you look them in the eyes and tell you to apologize.  ( twice if it didn’t sound like you meant it ) It was never a pleasant experience but necessary to move on.  Unfortunately apologies don’t get any easier in adulthood…but they are just as meaningful. Perhaps, this could be the best way to start.

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Know My Heart

I was driving home from work the other night, trying to be careful to keep an eye out for deer or any other furry road bumps that could lead to my premature death, when a thought popped into my head. What if I were to crash and die right now? What would God say to me? How would he judge me? Would I go to hell like I have been told I would because I’m gay? I got nervous and began to think of what I would say to defend myself from the fiery pits of hell. Then suddenly a sense of calm came over me and the words “God knows your heart.” came to mind. God knows my heart. It is that simple. I don’t have to defend myself to God, I don’t have to explain myself, or try to convince him that I am still a good person. He created me, he knows me. He gets me. We’re tight like that.

I admit, there was a long period of time where I was very angry with God, and sometimes even questioned his existence. I have reached a point where the anger is no longer there and I am more much more open to his presence. I know he is there. I know he exists. But I don’t entirely know what it means.

I am finding that my views of God don’t exactly align with the faith that I was brought up with. I don’t think I should have to choose between gay or God. I used to think that this was my only option, which is what made me so angry and resentful towards Him in the first place. According to what I was taught, I would either have to choose a life alone, or go through some sort of magical conversion therapy to turn me straight. I feel like conversion therapy should be called denial enforcement therapy. Denial definitely didn’t make me straight, it made me a liar, and it made me miserable.

In one of my last therapy sessions with my therapist that was trying to get me into conversion therapy I told her how I didn’t think that someone who was an “ex gay” that married someone of the opposite sex would be able to be fair to themselves or their partners. I asked her. “Would you marry an ex gay man?” She hesitated and thought about it for a minute and then went on to tell me that some people have done it and now have families with kids. Hate to break it to her but that means absolutely nothing. Procreation, or a legally binding document stating you are married to someone of the opposite sex does not mean that you are cured of homosexuality. I may know this from experience.

I think one of the things that people don’t get about homosexuality is that it isn’t all about sex. ( So get your mind out of the gutter ). It’s about love. Sex and love are two different things. I can NOT fall in love with someone of the opposite sex. It just isn’t there. There are no butterflies, no excitement, no emotional connection or yearning for affection. I feel nothing. Absolutely nothing. People have sex with people they don’t love all the time. It is called meaningless sex. I happen to be someone who can’t do this. I am just not wired that way.

If there is one belief I have that I find still aligns with the faith that I was brought up with it is having a personal relationship with God. I still feel I have that, and sometimes it is the only thing I have left to comfort me when I am exhausted with trying to show that I am still me. I am still a person that just wants to love and be loved.