I Choose LOVE.

I love Jesus. It is my deepest hope that this comes as no surprise to anyone. I love gay people--straight people, too. I love Chic-Fil-A. I would bathe in CFA sauce if I could. But yesterday a line was drawn in the Chic-Fil-A parking lot. Until last week, I didn't know that I had to choose a side.

The fact that many people feel compelled to "pick a side" in this debate represents so much that is wrong with our world today. We live in a polarized culture fueled by cable TV news channels, the internet, and social media. Are you a Democrat or a Republican? Are you Conservative or Liberal? Are you Team Edward or Team Jacob? There seems to be no middle ground left in America, and our politicians prove this point with their inabilty to compromise--each side refusing to give an inch for fear that they will appear weak, or Heaven forbid, Moderate. Our politicians are not the only ones guilty of this deep need to pick a team. Facebook and Twitter make it too easy to fire off our opinions about mundane and serious issues without much thought about how those words will fall on the hearts of others. In our quick reactions to exercise our "First Amendment Rights," we have lost our ability for civil discourse, and most importantly, our ability to THINK before we SPEAK (or post). Honestly, reading the comments to some controversial posts makes me lose hope for humanity.

Unfortunately, the constant bombardment of these opinions can cause us to lose sight of our own sanity. In the midst of all this noise--the name calling and line drawing and First Amendment screaming --some have forgotten what it means to THINK and PRAY and BE SILENT before jumping to a side. What's wrong with swimming  around in the murky waters of uncertainty before forming an opinion?  What ever happened to "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."?

When it comes to my views on homosexuality and gay marriage, I have been swimming in those murky waters for years. I have prayed about it. I have been silent, not out of fear about sharing my views, but as a way to find some clarity. I did not want my "stance" to be a knee-jerk reaction. As a Christian, I have looked to the Bible for answers. But it wasn't the verses in Leviticus and 1 Corinthians that spoke to me. It was the ones in red, the words of Jesus, that kept calling my name. I have thought about this issue for a long time. I have prayed incessantly. I have been silent--waiting for the words of Jesus to saturate my heart. Now it is time to speak.

When President Obama came out in support of gay marriage (no pun intended), he stated that his views had "evolved." He got some criticism for that statement (imagine that), but I totally get what he means, and I appreciated his honesty. My own views on gay marriage have "evolved," as well, which I think shows open mindedness and a willingness to grow and learn from my life experiences--isn't that what "living" is all about? But this is more than just a stance on an issue; this is extremely personal, and in all honesty, my "stance" on homosexuality defines that kind of Christian that I strive to be.

One of my best friends is a gay Christian (and let me make it very clear that I think he can be BOTH). We are going on fifteen years of friendship, and our conversations about his sexuality and what it means to be a gay Christian have been extremely candid. Through my relationship with this dear soul, as well as my "evolving" relationship with Jesus Christ, I have come to realize that his sexuality is not a "choice" or a "lifestyle;" I do not think that being gay is a "sin." His homosexuality is just one part of who he is as a human being, just like my own sexuality is for me. I know this is not a very "popular" view among my fellow Christians. But I am not sharing this for the sake of popularity; I am writing the words that Jesus keeps putting on my heart. Even if you are thinking, "Stop right there. I think being gay is a sin," I ask that you consider this: My friend's "sins" are no greater than my "sins" because God does not have a sin-o-meter to measure the gravity of our mistakes (Thank you, Jesus). This is the question that I keep asking God: How can I look this friend in the eye; how can I love him the way that I do, as my brother in Christ, yet how can I believe that he should be denied the same basic rights to marriage that I have just because he is gay and I am straight? 

Every time I have prayed on this issue, Jesus speaks one word into my heart: "LOVE."

And so that is what I choose to do. I am on TEAM LOVE. 

I can hear it now. "Oh, that's so 'politically correct' of you and so 'tolerant.' I didn't peg you for a Liberal. But what about the Bible, Amianne? You are a Christian. How can you support something that is an 'abomination' in God's eyes?" There we go with that incessant need to label, but I will let that slide. Remember, I am TEAM LOVE, not TEAM LEFT. But my answer is simple: Jesus.

First of all, I am no Bible scholar, so I will not spout scripture to support my point. (You know what Shakespeare says about the Devil and quoting scripture...) Anyone can point to a Bible verse. I strive to LIVE the verse, and because I am human--I often times screw it all up. All I know is that God sees my messed up heart. I am a sinner; I fall short of the glory of God on a minute-by-minute basis. But I have Jesus--I have a relationship with him--and because of that relationship, this whole debate of "right or wrong" becomes pointless. Most importantly, this relationship is free to ANYONE who wants it. ANYONE--gay, straight, purple, or polka-dotted. Here's the hard question to my fellow Christians: Are we being the kind of Christ-like examples to EVERYONE in this broken world that Jesus calls us to be? In our effort to  "take a stand for Jesus," are we pushing away people who need Christ? As a Christian, I NEVER want to make anyone feel like they are denied access to Jesus--like He is only for "certain people" or "certain lifestyles." NEVER.

And that is why I have been so upset this past week with some of my fellow "Christians" touting a chicken sandwich to "take a stand" for Christ. I don't want to get into the whole mess of who is right and who is wrong in this "debate." Quite frankly, I am sick of it. I support anyone's First Amendment right to speak his/her mind, but we must remember that words do have an effect on people; they do hurt.  And like it or not--the hearts of people were hurt by the actions of chicken-loving Christians yesterday.  And that makes my heart hurt.

I urge my fellow Christians to dig deep in their hearts and ask these questions:
  • Do you have friends in the LGBT community? Not just "I know gay people"--I am talking FRIENDS. If not, why not?
  • Have you really listened to a gay person talk about his/her struggle with sexuality and the personal story behind that experience?
  • Do you believe that being gay is a "lifestyle choice?" If you do believe this, why?
These are hard questions, and they require prayer and thought. Let's have conversations instead of condemnation. By turning inwardly and focusing on our own faults and "sins," we will better reflect the love of Christ outwardly.

We are all broken. We are all a hot mess. No sin is greater than the other. That's why we ALL need Jesus. And His arms are open wide for ALL of us. 

I did not eat at Chic-Fil-A yesterday. It was not because I was protesting or boycotting (that's really not my style). That place is too crowded for me on a weekday at noon, and judging from some of my "friends" Facebook photos and posts, CFA was like Black Friday at Wal-Mart. No, thank you.

But will I go there next week? Maybe. And perhaps my dear friend will meet me for lunch, and we can have a great conversation about all of this craziness along with our waffle fries and sweet tea. Oh, and CFA sauce. On second thought, we might eat at Whataburger. It's a complicated issue for a complex world. But this is what I know: I can no longer be silent about a world drawn with lines of black and white. I choose to see the complexity in this colorful world. And I choose to treat ALL people with LOVE. I choose Jesus.






Comments

  1. Thank you dear wise loving friend. I love you and choose TEAM AIM!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh and I LOVED Divergent. How are you liking Gone Girl? I adore it!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Mrs. B, I'm really thankful that I got to hear your views on this. I would also like to choose Team Love. As a Christian, it has also been very hard for me to take a stance on things like homosexuality, especially since my sister is gay. But the Lord said to love everyone, and what makes their sins any worse than mine? I always love to see Christians coming together to make a stand against something, but that's not what this felt like to me. Because, in my opinion, there are so many more important things going on in the world. I will never promote hate, and that's why I have refused to pick a side. I love my gay friends and family, and I also love the Lord, who died so that our sins could be forgiven. Thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I agree with you so much. I cannot judge because I am a sinner as well. My struggle is with my belief in marriage and how it is outlined in the Bible. To me it is a religious commitment. With that in mind, It should be the church's decision. Not mine or political officials. To be honest, in my opinion I don't think marriages should be performed by judges either because of my belief. It is a serious commitment that should not be taken lightly. The high rise in divorces is because the foundation of marriage is not there. Also, it is my belief about marriage that has helped guide me in the ups and downs of my own marriage. Political officials need to focus on giving gay couples privileges just like married couples. The stories you hear about their struggles as a couple is heartbreaking. I find it sad that there is no respect for each other's opinion on both sides. I hope that the extreme opinions on both sides are in the minority. Love one another no matter their opinion or how they choose to live their life. The world would be a better place. All I do know is that I can only control how I treat others and I will try to follow His word in my life. In the end, He is the one who can judge. Many Christians struggle just like you and we need to remember that love is the common theme through out the Bible. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love you! How is it that you can gracefully put into words everything that I feel? After reading article after article, talking to friends, and praying about it (which I felt a little silly asking my Heavenly father whether or not to eat at Chick-Fil-A), I could not steer into the parking lot yesterday, even as Lilly begged me to. It's not that I have a problem that Mr. Cathy acted on his right to free speech- I mean, come on, who's really shocked that he feels that way? I guess I have a problem with a portion of my money going towards anti-gay activist groups. I've never been one to choose sides, but after days of watching my fellow Christian friends pour their pictures and views on to Facebook and reading articles quoting CFA employees of all the hateful and horrible things that so-called-Christians are saying about "those people"-my heart hurts. Maybe someday I will bathe in all the deliciousness that is Chick-fil-a, but not today.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Laura, I am struggling with the same thing. Do I eat at CFA again? And if I do, am I being a big fat hypocrite? But I think this presents a bigger issue that makes my head spin and my stomach hurt: where does our money go? Is it okay to give my money to companies that I KNOW support causes that I disagree with? Once again, there is no clear-cut answer for me right now. Like I said in my blog, it's one of those complex issues for a complicated world. And I'm going to swim around in those murky waters of uncertainty for a while, with Jesus as my lifeguard. I guess I'll have to live without CFA sauce for a while--and that's okay. Love you, girl! :)

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Summer Reading 2017: Books Without the Beach

The Sisterhood of the Coaches' Wives

Write My Way Out