A friend of mine posted an article on Facebook about a family with a transgender child. His comment regarding this family who is loving their young child in the best way they see fit was, “How disgusting. An abomination to God.”
That makes me sad for so many reasons. The first is because those are uncharitable, ugly words of hate and judgment; the second is because those ugly words are cast on a family doing what they feel is best out of love for their child. Even if you disagree and think they are grossly misguided, you cannot fault the point of view they are coming from. Nor do you have the right to cast stones. None of us have that right, do we? “Let those without sin cast the first stone.” Right? Sin is sin, and whatever your definition of sin is, you are still a sinner–and so am I–and you still expect people to love you and treat you with respect, yet you choose not to treat others the same way. What happened to the rule of treating others as you would have them treat you? Try to look at it this way: we all sin; some of us just do it differently. Besides, weren’t we taught not to worry about the splinter in someone else’s eye?
The terrorists who attack our country do so out of their religious beliefs. You get angry at them for attacking “us” (in the only circumstance you consider us all one unit), yet aren’t you doing the same to others in your religious judgment of them? No, you may not be physically killing people, but you are persecuting them, attempting to kill their choices, their freedoms, their spirits (which is ultimately the same thing). Yet you deny that you are doing the same thing the terrorists are doing. And in more irony, their reasoning is the same as yours: “for their God.” And you find that unacceptable.
I know that you were taught that every person before they die will have had the opportunity to hear the Word of the God that you believe in; you were also taught that some may choose not to follow it. I also know that you’ve been taught that the loving God that you worship has allowed every single person to make their own choices, and that He will be the one to judge them on their last day. You were also taught to live by the example Jesus had set–Jesus, who befriended the outcasts and the dregs of society, treating all of them with love; Jesus, who did not attack, spit on, curse, or defame in any way that man who betrayed him directly. If the man you were taught to emulate did not judge and persecute people then, why do you feel the need to do it now, in His name? Are you not putting yourself above him by doing so?
On Mother’s Day of this year, a woman in Michigan decided to stand out in a busy intersection holding a sign that said, “Thank Your Mom Today For Not Being Gay” and was assaulted by another woman who threw a Slushie at her.
–Technically speaking, her sign was incorrect; many people have Mothers who are not their birth mothers through adoption, which means their Mothers could be gay–but that’s another tangent.
I do not condone the actions of the woman who threw the drink at her; hate as an answer to hate is never effective. What bothered me is that the woman with the sign told reporters she was doing it “out of love.”
Public judgment–shaming, anyone?–never comes from a place of love. Isn’t love supposed to be kind?
Isn’t everything supposed to be about love? What about 1st Corinthians 13?
1 Corinthians 13 – New International Version (NIV)
13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Where is the love in persecution? Where is the love in dishonoring others? In keeping record of wrongs? In the lack of tolerance? In not treating others with kindness? In not allowing others the same freedom of choice that your own God gave them?
I have one more question for you to consider: What if–what if–the people with different beliefs and lifestyles were put here to test you and your own faith? Job was tested. Did he lash out at others? He suffered immense personal loss–as in, directly affecting him–and he attacked no one. Yet some of you feel obligated to persecute people that have no direct effect on your lives other than the fact that they live differently than you and you are forced to share the same oxygen source with them? God made them, too; and God doesn’t make mistakes, right?
And “those people”–as you call them–treat you and your beliefs with more love and tolerance than you show them. Think about it. You are very vocal about your judgment of them at the mention of them. I have yet to see a gay person go off on a tirade about how wrong or “gross” heterosexuals are when they see pictures of them. Some of you regularly post bible verses on your Facebook page. And people leave those posts alone, don’t they? I’ve never seen anyone’s post of a bible verse attacked by an atheist or homosexual. Why is it that the ones who are being attacked can show more of a “Christian” attitude of tolerance, love and kindness?
Think about that. Where is your love? Where is your kindness?
How about this radical idea: why not practice the “Random Act of Kindness” towards someone living a lifestyle you don’t agree with? Unconditional kindness. The Christian way. Wouldn’t that be quite a testament to your faith?
I’m not angry at anyone. I am sad. Why can’t we just love each other? Why do we have to draw all these lines between each other? How can anyone ever be truly happy and loving if they harbor hate or anger towards anyone?
I am by no means perfect. But I believe in love. And I love you.
*At the time I wrote this I had 703 friends on FaceBook. I may have less after people read it. But it will not change my feelings about any of you.