What if compassion moved us? (Thoughts on gay marriage)

It landed in my inbox and I couldn’t not read it:

A Christian Debate on Gay Marriage from Relevant Magazine featuring two “experts” on either side of the issue.

The article itself wasn’t even that good. (No disrespect intended.)

But the comments…

The comments are what drew me in.

I read pages and pages of comments, one after the other, from people in either camp of the gay marriage debate.

Some appeared to be written with much thought and intelligence.

Others seemingly rattled off out of haste and unbridled emotion.

Some quoting scripture and some quoting experience.

Many out of context.

All on both sides.

The tears began to well as I realized that what I’ve been fearing really is true:

We are more known for what we’re against than for what we are for.

Why aren’t Christians known for mothering for orphans, caring for widows, assisting the elderly, including the outcast?

Why aren’t Christians known for embracing the refugee and the alien?

Why aren’t Christians known for being accepting and gracious and abounding in love?

Why aren’t Christians known for bringing healing to the broken-hearted?

Why aren’t Christians known for being slow to anger?

Why aren’t Christians known for addressing poverty and engineering clean water and reducing childhood mortality?

Why aren’t Christians known for befriending inmates and serving the homeless?

Why aren’t Christians known for improving health care and education?

Why aren’t Christians known for diffusing discord and being bringers of peace?

Why aren’t Christians known for loving gay people? Any people? All people?

Why?

It breaks my heart that we are known for deciding who are sinners and who aren’t. Who gets into heaven, and who does not. What sins should be legislated and which sins shouldn’t. (As if that “right” belongs exclusively to us.)

Because don’t we all need Jesus?

Isn’t the ground at the cross a level place?

Wasn’t his sacrifice sufficient for everyone?

Have we not all been made in his image?

Does he not delight in his children, whether they know him or not?

Aren’t we all worthy of his gift?

Is there not room enough in his heart for all?

Is there not room enough in mine?

So I closed the screen as my lap became wet with heavy tears.

Forgive us Lord. Have mercy. Draw near. Show your face.

I wept as I prayed.

And then I wondered, what if we prayed more than we lobbied?

What if we practiced more than we preached?

What if we served more than we sought protection?

What if we asked for more of God’s heart to help us navigate our times?

What if compassion moved us, instead of anger, fear, and judgment?

What if we loved, expecting nothing in return?

STOP.

Related post: To my gay and lesbian friends who feel excluded and alienated and discriminated and rejected

 

Love,
A

P.S. I went over time limit today. And please note, I will delete any comments that I deem unkind or disrespectful. (Whether comments are in agreement or not is not the issue. I will not engage in online debate or tolerate slander.)

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited.


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About Adriel Booker

Writer, speaker, advocate, and non-prof worker. Happily married city-lover, mama, and emoji enthusiast in Sydney, Australia. Author of Grace Like Scarlett (Baker Books, 2018). View all posts by Adriel Booker

6 responses to “What if compassion moved us? (Thoughts on gay marriage)

  • lifelibertyeducation

    I have wondered this for a very long time. It has been an issue that I have considered at every new church we have tried over the last several years. I have been having great difficulty finding a church that portrays a belief in “love thy neighbor as thyself”,” do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, “and most of all judge not lest ye be judged.” I remember these are the things that seems so vastly important in Sunday school when I was little but does not seem to be found in the adult church today. I keep searching.

    • Adriel Booker

      Oh friend, I think it is found in the church today. But the church will always be flawed until we are perfected in him. I hope you can find a place that “fits”. Faith community is such a blessing.

  • Necole Hampton

    Such a good post Adriel! I got that same email, and had a very similar reaction. Your response much better than mine. This one’s a retweet, If you don’t mind! Thanks for the good reminder about who I say I am.

  • Liz Barber

    I agree with your thoughtful post Adriel.
    I do wish we as Christians were known more for our love, giving and helping attitudes and behavior. As you said we are often known more for our judgment of others.

    Yet there’s something in me that says love is more than acceptance it’s also about boundaries and yes sometimes boundaries can be viewed as restricting or unloving.

    In scripture we have a picture of a loving Father who is always reaching out to us even in our sin and messed up living. I guess when the prodigal some came home to his father the father didn’t wait for his son to take a shower or to “clean up his act” he ran to him, embraced him and said “my son has come home again!”
    I guess the question that comes to my mind is are we willing to have relationship with those who do not match our morals are ready to embrace someone in their sin and lifestyle that does not line up with our lifestyle?
    But what does embrace mean? What does accept mean? I guess that’s where it’s a fuzzy line for me. Does loving someone else always mean supporting, agreeing, embracing their choices? If I don’t agree with the lifestyle of my brother who is gay can I still walk in a loving relationship with him as a christian?

    I guess those are questions I have, things I’m still working out in my brain. I love people. All people. I ask God to help me love like He does. Yes, i’m still imperfect and need help in that area but I want to love more. I definitely need God to help me define more clearly in my life.

    Last thing…my brother was gay and I only found out about it a few years before he died. At the time I was pretty young, naive and uneducated about homosexuality. Yet all I knew at the time was that I loved my brother because he was my brother. I didn’t agree with his lifestyle but we were still able to have dialogue. He would ask me about scripture and what the bible says. Yet at the end of the day regardless of our differences theologically I was still his sister and he was still my brother and we both still loved each other.
    I wish, oh how I wish he was still here so I could understand how to love more and to understand more the homosexual community. I acknowledge that I lack in that area.
    I guess I’m just thinking out loud here…sorry if it’s rambling. I don’t have answers just questions.

    • Adriel Booker

      Thanks for such a thoughtful response Liz.

      I’m so sorry for the loss of your brother. You speak with a depth and experience that I don’t have because of that.

      Yes, I absolutely believe God has boundaries. Every parent has boundaries for their children – and we all hope and try to set them as lovingly as possible. (His are perfect of course.) My boundaries for my kids grow and change as they grow and change. This is good and right and loving for them.

      When they are adults they won’t have boundaries from me any more, but I do hope they will have learned by then to set their own boundaries that are loving.

      God’s most pronounced and explicit boudaries are these: that we love him with everything we are and that we love our neighbors as ourselves. “Love” as defined in these passages doesn’t have to do with affection or feeling, it has to do with sacrifice and choice and commitment and laying down of our life (greek – agape, sometimes translated as “charity”).

      As for Jesus, all we ever see of him is placing himself in the midst of humanity. I can’t recall (though perhaps I’m wrong?) him ever pointing out the sin of an unbeliever (or someone not claiming to follow God) except for the women caught in adultry whom he told “go and sin no more”. Even then, he wasn’t pointing out her sin – the crowds had already done that. All he did was bless her and encourage her to live her best life. He never spent time telling her what she was doing wrong.

      It’s his kindness that always leads us to repentance.

      The believers on the other hand… well there are many passages in the NT that speak of how sin should be addressed within the Body. It’s a completely different issue – how we relate inside and outside the Body. (Though of course both should be with absolute kindness and humility.)

      And for the record, I still have many questions too. But I think the questions are good. If we are resolved about everything then we are unteachable (and in pride) and Holy Spirit can’t teach us. That never “looks good” on anyone, believers especially. And I’m sure it causes the Father sadness.

      Love your heart! Thanks again for sharing.

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