thereareangelsinyourangles asked you:
I feel weird asking this to someone whose blog I just found, but you seem like someone with a good heart & a lot of wisdom. I used to be a “strong Christian” & when I reached out to a gay community without saying “you’re living in sin, God wants you to change”, I was ostracized by my fellow believers, found myself losing a lot of confidence & fell into the throes of an eating disorder. I still believe in God but I’m so caught up in where I am & I don’t know how to get back to where I was.
Jed Brewer replied:
Thanks for your note, my friend. And no need to feel weird – that’s what I’m here for.
I’m sorry that happened to you. It sucks, and it’s not OK.
You said that you don’t know how to get back to where you were. I totally hear that. If you’ll permit me to say so, I think the challenge before you is not to get back to where you were – because you can’t, and I don’t think you’d want to – but, rather, to figure out where we go next.
Before we can move forward, though, we have to deal with the past. Here’s what we know:
- Reaching out to folks who don’t know Jesus is good.
- Jesus was known – and criticized – for being a “friend of sinners”, just like you were.
- When Jesus told people that they were living in sin and needed to change, he was usually talking to the religious people, who are the very people that mistreated you.
- When Jesus was talking to “sinners”, He loved on them and told them to hang out with him and just rest (Matthew 11:28-30).
(And, so you know where I’m coming from, I love gay people. Period. And anybody that has a problem with that can meet me and Jesus in the parking lot.)
Now, then, if we look at the past, what we see is a young gal trying to follow the example of Jesus, and having a bunch of so-called Christians persecute her for it. And, sis, I’m terribly, terribly sorry that that happened.
You said that this shook your confidence and wreaked havoc on some self-image struggles. And that makes sense: it’s very difficult to have a group of people hating on you and decide that they’re the problem.
But here’s what we need to decide, in order to move forward: they – the church people – were, in point of fact, the problem. They sucked. They sinned. And they were the problem; not you.
Here’s what the Bible says…
“When people realize it is the living God you are presenting and not some idol that makes them feel good, they are going to turn on you… There is a great irony here: proclaiming so much love, experiencing so much hate!” (Matthew 10:21-23, MSG)
And, one more.
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.” (Mark 9:42, NASB)
I think, Kylie, that if we can make up our mind that you were not the problem, then that actually opens the door to moving into something truly amazing. And that is a relationship with God that’s just you and Him. Nobody else is invited, and nobody else gets a say.
To grow as a Christian past a certain (very early) point, one must decide that it’s just them and God. And that keeps a lot of people from growing further, because they want their relationship with God to be decided by committee. But you, sis, because of this terrible experience you’ve gone through, have the advantage of already knowing that a great number of so-called Christians are completely full of it.
Your walk with God should scare other people. And when it does, press farther. They don’t like you loving gay people? Love gay people harder. Volunteer at the AIDS hospice. Get involved with a group like Emmaus that does outreach to gay prostitutes here in Chicago. Refuse to quit. Never, ever give up.
Along the way, you will find a (small) community of fellow believers that get you, love you, and have your back. And that is a great blessing.
One more quick thing. God is with you, Kylie. He loves you desperately, and he is torn between sorrow for the way his daughter hurts, and anger for the way she was treated. He’s not giving up on you, and he’s not ashamed to be your Dad. No matter what’s happened in the last bit of your life, he’s not deterred in his love for you. And he’s not scared of the hurt and confusion inside of you. I’m betting that His strongest desire is for you to get all of that out in the open with Him so he can tell you this: “They were wrong. And I love you.”
You are your Father’s daughter, Kylie. You have his heart, sister. I know, because I can see the family resemblance. Don’t give up.