Love and compassion

As we dive into hol­i­day fes­tiv­i­ties and rush head­long into a new year, one thing weighs heav­i­ly on my heart: the recent rash of sui­cides by gay teens.  The deaths, them­selves, are alarm­ing, of course. But what also trou­bles me is how lit­tle this issue is addressed from the pul­pits of America’s church­es.  I sup­pose I shouldn’t be surprised.

The sub­ject of homo­sex­u­al­i­ty is a prob­lem­at­ic one, where Chris­tians are con­cerned.  On the one hand, the bible con­demns the homo­sex­u­al lifestyle. (Note, I said homo­sex­u­al lifestyle, not per­son. There is a dif­fer­ence.) On the oth­er hand, scrip­ture des­ig­nates as the sec­ond high­est com­mand­ment that we love one anoth­er.  The church, as a whole, hasn’t quite fig­ured out how best to nav­i­gate the ter­ri­to­ry between the two.  This is tough stuff.

We humans, in gen­er­al, tend to treat as vil­lains those we don’t agree with, for what­ev­er rea­son.  (Pol­i­tics, any­one?)  Our default is often judg­ment and con­dem­na­tion, most­ly, I think, because both are easy.  Yet Jesus will have none of that.  He calls us to some­thing infi­nite­ly more com­plex.  “For­get the speck in your brother’s eye”, he says.  “Wor­ry about the plank in your own.”  Once we’ve got that set­tled, his refrain is “Love one anoth­er.”   Our task is to wres­tle with how.

I have friends who are gay, some self-pro­fessed Chris­tians, oth­ers not.  I know gays who’ve stepped away from the lifestyle, and oth­ers who have stepped into it.  I know gays who have been kicked out of one church, and embraced by anoth­er.  I care for them all, grieve for them all, can­not begin to imag­ine their suf­fer­ing.  Are some peo­ple born gay, or is it learned?   Does that even mat­ter?  I’m hard-pressed to make unequiv­o­cal state­ments on the sub­ject.  But there are cer­tain things I do know: God weeps over the death of every one of his cre­ations, and that most def­i­nite­ly includes every gay teen.  To say or do any­thing that would cause a young person—or any person—to take his or her own life is uncon­scionable.  To refuse to speak out against such actions is only a lit­tle less so.

Am I tak­ing the church to task here?  No more so than I’m tak­ing myself to task as part of it.

To be frank, this is not a top­ic I’m com­fort­able address­ing pub­licly, but I must go on record here.  No mat­ter what an individual’s cho­sen lifestyle, in terms of gen­der pref­er­ence or oth­er­wise, God loves each soul he has cre­at­ed.  He sent his son to die for each one.  He has a beau­ti­ful plan for each life, and most impor­tant­ly, God con­sid­ers that life of lim­it­less val­ue.  For any­one to sug­gest oth­er­wise is to make a mock­ery of the cross.

If you choose to spew words of hatred, don’t pre­tend to be speak­ing for God.  If you lash out at some­one because that per­son is gay, or les­bian, or trans­gen­der, don’t cred­it God with your behav­ior.  God has not called you to hate, or abuse, or despise any­one—any­one! That’s all on you.  In the end, I believe we will all have to answer to the God who has called us to love and compassion.

5 Responses

    1. Sor­ry, Jen­nifer. Was­n’t the music beau­ti­ful, though? I love Kei­th’s work. He pulled the music from two dif­fer­ent cd’s of his, so there is no spe­cial score, as such. He put the music togeth­er for me espe­cial­ly for this cd.

  1. “For any­one to sug­gest oth­er­wise is to make a mock­ery of the cross.” 

    You are so wise, dear Nikki.

  2. Kristy, I so agree. Good word, Nik­ki. Wrestling with how to love well, sac­ri­fi­cial­ly, and hon­est­ly is a life­long task that demands noth­ing less than every­thing. Love isn’t a soft, nice emo­tion but a razor-sharp, action-cen­tered call for those who are not faint at heart. It is a call for those who would walk along­side the only One who was full of both grace and truth. Self-right­eous­ness is such an easy, mind­less default–one Jesus loathed, but with­out loathing those who chose it. A para­dox worth wrestling with, for sure.

  3. Love the Lord God with all your heart and love your neigh­bor as your­self. What a won­der­ful world it would be if that was tak­en to heart.

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