Love Your Neighbor

I have many friends who are a part of the LGBT community. I can’t imagine what they are going through in light of the incident in Orlando. I certainly can’t speak to it as I have never been violently targeted because of who I am. I absolutely can’t speak for them.

I have wrestled with saying anything at all. Others who are far more eloquent than I am have said plenty worth reading.

And then there is this excerpt from Evening and Mourningwritten by The Irish Atheist, a gentleman I follow on Twitter. Someone who has experienced hatred, judgment, and racism in spades, all under the guise of Christian love and concern. I’ve seen it and it’s heartbreaking.

“You don’t get to talk about how our identities and relationships and intimacy are immoral and rebellious and perverse on 11 June and then weep with us on 12 June. You don’t get to stand against every part of who we are with religious zeal and then stand with us when we are cut down by religious zeal. You don’t get to use our lives as a platform for your prejudices and then turn around and use our slaughter as a platform for your piety. You don’t get to claim that we can ‘stand together’ when it’s our rights, lives and relationships you have attacked, not the other way around.

You don’t get to pretend to be grieved about our slaughter when you are completely unable to talk about it without referencing our ‘sinful lifestyle.’

What I can speak to and about is the prevalent thinking and opinions among those of us who claim to be Christ followers because I am also one of you. This note posted by Carlos Whittaker on Instagram hasn’t left me alone since I first read it.

“Interested to know of any pastors who threw away their sermon notes today and spent their time praying and shepherding in light of Orlando. Not saying it’s a must…Sometimes the right thing to do is scratch it. And be where the people are. Thoughts?”

My first thought was this, “How many pastors said nothing because they thought what happened was deserved? Part of God’s judgment on them for their sin.”

How many of us as Christians, even though we posted our Prayers for Orlando, I Stand with Orlando, and Love Wins statuses on social media thought exactly the same thing? How many parents of gay children also thought exactly the same thing? How many of those same parents have told their gay children, I would rather you be dead than gay? 

I just want that to sink in. As uncomfortable as it may be, really think about what your first thoughts were.

I’ve thought long and hard about it because at one time, those would have been my very own sentiments. And sadly, I wouldn’t have been ashamed to voice them.

Today, I want love to truly win. Not the kind of love that says love the sinner, hate the sin because in my experience, this kind of love wields the word of God as a weapon, not as a balm for healing. But the kind of love that says I stand with you. Against prejudice. Against fear. Against judgment. Against hatred. Against marginalization.

To my LGBT friends, I love you, and I’m sorry.

 

The whole law is made complete in this one command: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” If you go on hurting each other and tearing each other apart, be careful! You will completely destroy each other. Galatians 5: 14-15 ICB

 

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