I think it’s an important thing to point out that in St. Cloud, we sometimes disagree. Guess what? That’s okay! In fact, that’s our whole platform. We don’t have to agree on anything to be kind to one another.
Let’s take some time to hear from a local community member with their thoughts on gay rights. You may not agree with everything that is said, but, join the conversation! Ask questions! Learn from someone who may think differently than you. Most importantly, keep an open mind. At the first sign of disagreement, resist the urge to shut down. Instead, use this as a safe place to disagree…or even agree!
The debate on gay rights has weighed heavy on me as a Christian. I have been torn between my worldly heart that whispers, “Can love really be wrong?“ and my Godly heart that asks me to think, “What does your heart matter? What does God say about it? What’s His plan?” And it’s hard. I feel torn in so many different directions. After all, there are many churches that have made really good arguments for how the words of the Bible can be interpreted to allow today’s version of monogamous homosexual relationships and I want to believe them. I do. However, I still have doubts and a yearning to do His will and not my own. So when things like gay rights and gay pride are on the table I feel forced to choose.
What I choose is respect. I’ve decided that as a Christian my job is to follow the word of my Abba. Because I myself am not homosexual I have a kind of ‘out’ in that I don’t have to decide what the Bible says or doesn’t say about being a homosexual. I can’t imagine struggling with that on so much more of a personal level. What I do know is that the Bible is clear on one thing. Let me share this story from the Bible with you:
28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[b] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[c] There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31
In Matthew 5:43-44 Jesus goes even further asking us to love our enemies as well. So whether you choose to see the LGBTQU community as your neighbor or your enemy you are to love them as you love yourself. That, my friends, is a pretty tall order. But what does it mean? Do you need to embrace or celebrate gay culture? Not necessarily. The way way I see it is that you DO have to allow all humans the same freedoms you would yourself feel entitled to such as choosing who your “family” is, who has the right to make end of life decisions for you, who will care for your children after you’re gone, medical benefits for the person you live with, etc. Besides it being a Christian mandate, it is also the idea that our country was founded on. All people are created equal.
That said, giving recognition to one’s rights is not enough. It is more than that. It is allowing people the right to live in peace. I know for some that giving respect or dignity to a group of people may feel over the top. Fair enough. A certain sense of admiration is needed to provide these. Tolerance, however, is non-negotiable. As I said earlier, We don’t have to agree on anything to be kind to one another. See a gay couple holding hands- turn your head or cross the street if you have to in order to remain peaceable.
[bctt tweet=” Tolerance is non-negotiable. #teachacceptance “]
The more that I read the more that I understand that it isn’t my place as a follower of Christ to pick out a sin-of-the-week and walk around berating people, protesting in anger & hate, spreading hate on social media, or even unwantedly calling people out on their sin when I am so very full of my own. I don’t believe that this sort of behavior has ever helped, or “saved”, anyone. Do you know what has? Love, kindness, gentleness.
What does that look like? As a Christian, I have many of my own struggles that I face daily. That is where my concentration lies. Should my brother or sister come to me to with questions about homosexuality & their struggles what am I to tell them? Personally, I point them to the very few places it is addressed in the Bible and ask them to read these & to pray, pray for all they are worth & let God guide them. It’s a portion of the Bible that I have struggled with as it is so hard for me to believe that that kind of love, so special and so rare, can be “wrong” when it occurs between people of the same-sex, but maybe God has a greater plan. Wouldn’t be the first or last time His plan was far superior to mine.
Riding in the car with my children one day my daughter piped up and asked if marriage was only between a boy and girl. Wow. That is a tough thing to explain to a six year old but I was determined to do my best and preach tolerance and understanding as I did it. I told her that no, legally boys could marry boys and girls could marry girls, but that there are some people out in the world that don’t think that is right. Logically, she asked me why and what I thought. I told her that some people believe that God wants only boys and girls to marry each other and that it didn’t matter what I thought because it’s God’s job to decide, not mine. It’s my job to love all the people God made even when I don’t agree with them. An over simplified answer, yes, but I think it gets to the heart of it. It doesn’t matter what we as individuals think. It is not our choice to make. We have our own lives to worry about.
So while I won’t be going to any of the pride events to celebrate gay culture, I will be be supporting all their rights as humans and loving them through it. After all, I’m a despicable sinner myself. I have many times in my life commited terrible acts of unrepented sin. How can I say I am better? I can’t. What I can do is support my fellow sinners; I can lift up & brace ALL people as they make their way in life rather than trying to tear everyone down. I will sojourn peaceable with all. I can help to protect my neighbors & enemies alike from hatred, from violence, from persecution, from feeling “lesser” as they make their way in life despite the fact that I might not agree with their choice. No one is “lesser” because of their sin. Not in God’s eye.
[bctt tweet=” No one is “lesser” … #teachacceptance”]
Matthew 7:1-5 (ESV)
“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce yo
u will be judged, and with the measureyou use it will be measured to you.3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
POST SCRIPT: There will always be a variety of opinions on every subject; that’s what makes our community so rich. However, when we try to impose our beliefs on others, force people to change, we begin to create friction. This post will probably anger some. I get it. As the title says it’s a perspective. An opinion. A different way of looking at the same issue. I am not asking anyone to change their core values. I’m asking people to think about how you love someone through not celebrating with you- realizing it isn’t personal. I’m asking people to think about how can completely disagree and condemn a lifestyle without condemning them as a person. I’m asking YOU to think about how you can have your own opinion yet treat others with kindness.
*This article is a guest post, written by a local member of our community.