Wednesday, July 1, 2015

So Much More Than a Label

Do you ever feel like someone is staring at you? Like your every move is being watched? I can't shake this feeling. I feel like people in my small circle, in this big world, are waiting for me to take a stance on the gay-marriage issue that is a-buzz on social media right now.
Rainbow as seen on a recent drive somewhere in Montana.

Not speaking my mind isn't working. The feeling isn't going away.

I suppose I feel the pressure because I'm the daughter of a wonderful mom who happens to be a lesbian. And I'm also a daughter who happens to be a Christian.

Oh the labels. Aren't we so much more than these labels? I know I am. I know my mom is.

I think that's where the real issue is... We have these labels for people and then we tend to forget the people behind the labels. Labels are intended to make things easier but sometimes I think they just make things harder.

Let me try taking the labels away....

I'm the daughter of a wonderful mom who happens to be crazy in love with my son. The other day she tracked me down at the grocery store because she could her my son screaming uncontrollably in the background when I was talking with her on the phone. She stopped what she was doing, drove to the store, and helped me shop when my son was upset. I didn't ask her to do that. She just did it. Growing up, my mom worked very hard to provide a nice home and opportunites for my brother and I. No, our upbringing wasn't perfect. But now that I'm a mom, I realize more than ever that my mom did the best she could in the circumstance that she had. I know she has regrets, but I've been a mom for only 8 weeks and I already have regrets. I think it's just part of the mom job... regretting choices. 

I love Jesus. It's a love I don't fully understand but it's genuine. Sometimes I doubt, and my faith is pretty pathetic. I also believe what the Bible says and I try my best to follow its teaching. But often times I fall way short of the standards the Bible sets. I guess that's a big reason why I love Jesus. Because he loves me even though I fall short every day. He loves me enough to walk beside me, and mold me into a better person, and he's died for my sins. In fact the more I study the Bible and get to know Jesus, the more I realize how selfish and sinful I am... which makes me appreciate Jesus all the more. I go to church because it helps me stay focused on my goal of being a better person. Plus it provides fellowship with people who also fall short, but love Jesus. Our church isn't perfect but since it's made up of sinful people, it never will be perfect.

Ok there's a couple of paragraphs. It's a lot easier to just use a word or two to describe my mom or I, but it just doesn't come close to painting the full picture. It would take several paragraphs or books to paint the full picture of who we are as people. The same is true for anyone. Lesbian and Christian are two words that describe part of who we are... just a small part.

And that's what makes this issue complicated. It's not just about labels. It's about people. And people are complicated.

The Supreme Court's decision on gay marriage is just that.... The court made a decision for a country that it governs. Like it or hate it, the decision has been made. It's now law of this land.

The Bible is clear on homosexuality.... God loves homosexuals but does not condone the lifestyle associated with homosexuality. Like it or hate it, that's God's law.

Simple. But yet so complicated.

If I could just humbly speak to the labels of which large bodies of people comprise. I have some things to say that I think make things a bit less complicated... Here goes nothing...

To the Christians:

  • This isn't the first time a society has gone away from what the Bible teaches. You don't have to read very far in Genesis or a history book to learn of societies and "Christians" that didn't follow the standards that God has set. So please quit acting so shocked. History is full of examples of what happens to societies that don't put God first. This country is not God's kingdom. John 18:36 "Jesus answered, 'My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.'"
  • If marriage is so important to you then start acting like it. The divorce rate, even within the church, has gone as high as 50%!!! The Bible is VERY clear about what God thinks about divorce. God hates divorce.  Malachi 2:16, TLB. “For the Lord, the God of Israel, says he hates divorce and cruel men. Therefore control your passions—let there be no divorcing of your wives.” The LGBT community has not destroyed marriage. The human race has. Again, nothing new, read Genesis. So please be careful where you place the blame.
  • Christians have a prime opportunity to show Jesus' love for their LGBT brothers and sisters. It's been my experience that they LGBT community want to be loved the way that they are, which by the way is sinful and imperfect. Sinful and imperfect - you know just like you and me.... just like every single other person that's ever walked this planet besides Jesus. Jesus died to be our judge. So follow his example. Judge someone because you love them. Judge them because you love them enough to walk beside them and help them out of their sin. Judge them because you would die for them.  If you can't judge like that, then please leave the judging to Jesus. 
  • Seems silly to type this, but I'm going to. We are all sinners. That puts us on the same playing field. Sin is sin in God's eyes. There's no sin ranking. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord."  So let's remember that we aren't better than anyone just because we believe in what the Bible teaches. In fact, the Bible says that the last are first, the first are last.... you know the verse! With that said, the rest of the world tends to hold Christians to higher standards. Not fair? Perhaps. 
  • Please be kind. Fair or not, the world is watching to see how you are going to represent Jesus.
To the LGBT community:
  • On behalf of Christians, I am sorry that in the past and present we have misrepresented Jesus so often. I am sorry for the hypocrisy and the bigotry.  And the word sorry just doesn't cut it, but I am so sorry. 
  • Please remember that Christians are imperfect humans. Please remember that there are some really kind Christians and there are some really mean Christians. It really hurts when I read or hear such hurtful things being said about Christians in general, because I am one, and not all Christians are bad. Just like you probably wouldn't like it if I were to say  blanket derogatory remarks about the LGBT community. Please be kind.
  • Please also remember that Christians, even mean Christians, are entitled to their opinion. Just like you are. So often I hear Christians being called "closed minded" because of what they believe. But isn't it "closed minded" to accuse others of being "closed minded"? 
  • And in case someone hasn't told you today, you are loved by God. He loves you just the way that you are.  And I love you too (especially those of you that are my family and friends, but you already knew that). I love you, but I'm not changing my facebook picture to have the rainbow colors on it... it reminds me of a Skittles commercial... and I'm more of a Starburst fan. :) 

For what it's worth, here's what I believe: I believe what the Bible teaches. I respect the opinions of those who may differ than mine. I believe that all people, regardless of race, gender, and sexual orientation are God’s children and should be treated with civility, compassion, and Christ-like love. And hopefully I will have the insight to ask forgiveness from God and my fellow humans when I inevitably fall short of my own beliefs. 

God is love and has placed so much more value on you than any label ever could,

PS. To my mom: I love you very much. I don't know what I would do without you. Especially these past 8 weeks. And I'm so thankful I was raised the way I was.... gay pride parades and all :)... I don't know that I would appreciate God's love for His kids the way that I do if I were raised any differently.  And I certainly wouldn't know the colors of the rainbow forwards and backwards like I do. :) Please don't let other people's hate and ignorance bother you or make you angry. Zeb, Ryan, Eric, Barney, Mr. Rhoid, and I love you just the way you are.... and so do the Christians who get it.

"Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots." Luke 23:34.