Friday, April 08, 2016

To my fellow Christians,

It's hard to know what to say anymore.

It's hard to know what to say when many of you who profess to be Christians still need to be told that gay and lesbian people are human beings, made in the image of God. That you shouldn't hate people that God made. That when you hate someone you are crushing their soul. That God does not call us to crush people's souls.

Is this a revelation?

Getting chewed out by your boss can ruin your day. Getting criticized by your spouse can make you resentful and depressed. You start doubting yourself. You feel deflated. You might even feel like crying. It's awful, but you know it will pass. There are things you can do to rectify the situation. There are things you can do to distract yourself from negative feelings until better days arrive.

Few of us know what it's like to be hated. Not hated because someone is jealous of you, or because you rub someone the wrong way. That's more like resentment. Hatred is when someone despises your very existence. Their hatred does not center on what you say or do, but who you are. You see how their eyes change when they look at you. They are not looking at a fellow human being with casual acknowledgement and acceptance. Rather their human soul seems suddenly to have vacated the premises and now you have no connection with their person. No compassion or understanding or common humanity to depend on. You know that anything you do or say will only confirm in their mind that you don't deserve to exist on the same planet.

It is the emotional aftermath of a bad day at work or a fight with your spouse intensified a hundred times. This is not about being deflated or discouraged. Hatred is a soul-withering assault on someone's deepest sense of self. And when you experience it enough times with enough people, you really begin to believe that you don't deserve to exist at all.

Imagine what it would be like to receive such vibes from people who profess the name of Jesus Christ. Who pray and sing and worship and give out big hugs and smiles. You are drawn to these loving, joyful people. You think you even see Jesus in them when they speak glowingly of their love for God. Maybe they will love you. Maybe there is hope for you. Yet they are the ones who turn to you and say, "Gays are going to hell." "God has given you over to your depravity." "You'd be better off dead than gay."

Do you see the problem? Do you see how not-like-Christ it is when Christians thrust daggers into people's souls?

There are many things that Jesus said to sinners. None of them were hope-crushing, soul-wounding words of hatred. Maybe it will help to give some examples:

"Your sins are forgiven." (Matthew 9:2)

"What would you like me to do for you?" (Matthew 20:32)

"Don't be afraid, just believe." (Mark 5:36)

"All things are possible to the one who believes." (Mark 9:23)

"You are not far from the kingdom of God." (Mark 12:34)

"Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." (Luke 23:43)

"What do you seek?" (John 1:38)

"Give me a drink." (John 4:7)

"Do you wish to get well?" (John 5:6)

"Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?" (John 8:10)

"Whom do you seek?" (John 18:4)

"Why are you crying?" (John 20:15)