Growing up I was in charge of watching my little sister after school until my parents got home from work. Every day I would meet up with her and we would walk to the bus stop together. On one particular day, we had quite the adventure. I had forgotten the house key and we had to wait on our front porch for our dad to get home. It really wasn’t a big deal as it was a nice day and we only had to wait about an hour for him. We were relaxing on our porch swing when a girl around my age came walking up the street and started a conversation with us. I was 13 at the time and my sister was 8.
At first the conversation was harmless. I had no idea who she was, but she said that she lived one block over from our street. During the conversation, the girl started to get agitated. I have no idea why. As things started to get heated, my sister slowly moved and hid behind me. The girl proceeded to get more and more angry and then she did something really weird…she opened our mailbox and started to go through our mail! At that point, I was done with this conversation and told her she needed to move along…and leave our mail alone. She started to come up our porch steps and got in my face a bit…which really freaked out my sister. I made sure she stayed behind me and told the girl she needed to leave our property. She gave me a bit of a fit, but finally started to back down. As she reached the final step, she turned around and announced that she was leaving now, but if she heard one “peep” out of us we were going to “get it.”
Well…if you know me personally, you know that this did not fly. I get a little defiant if someone tells me not to do something the way this girl did. I guess it’s because I’m small and people would try to push me around because of it. I waited until she got down the sidewalk…almost out of sight behind a row of bushes…and said “pppeeeeppp!” I couldn’t resist. I thought my sister was going to faint. The girl came stomping back to us. I honestly can’t remember what happened next. I was busy reassuring my sister who was pretty much hyperventilating at this point. Good times (smile). I can tell you that it ended peacefully though.
Telling me what to do didn’t always go well…at least coming from a peer. My defiant streak would come out. Defiance…a refusal to obey something or someone. I’ve had some conversations with people who think LGBTQ people are defiant. They think LGBTQ people just want to do what they want regardless of consequences and without taking into account what the Bible has to say about it. This frustrates me. I don’t think it is right to judge what people’s motives are when you don’t know where they are coming from. The people who have had these conversations with me don’t even know someone who is gay, yet they’ve made the decision that LGBTQ people don’t care what God says about this issue. This needs to change. So let’s turn the tables for a moment…
We all know the Bible states many things that are sins. Let’s pretend for a moment that homosexuality does not exist and let’s put the spotlight on gluttony.
Webster says that gluttony is:
Excess in eating or drinking
These are some of the things the Bible says about gluttony:
Proverbs 23:2 (NIV)
Put a knife to your throat if your are given to gluttony.
Proverbs 23:20-21 (NIV)
Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.
Proverbs 28:7 (NIV)
He who keeps the law is a discerning son, but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father.
I would say these are some pretty strong statements. Wouldn’t you? If the church treated gluttonous people the way some treat the LGBTQ community, it might look something like this:
* You go into a church for the first time, and you find a seat in one of the pews. It doesn’t take long before an usher approaches you and taps you on the shoulder and says, “I’m sorry, but we don’t allow your kind here. I mean, if we allow you to stay, people may think that we are OK with it. If word gets out that we are OK with you attending, others may come as well. So, we are going to have to ask you to leave.”
* Or maybe the church is very welcoming to you when you arrive. When the call to communion comes, you leave your seat to join the communion table, but as you approach an usher comes up to you and says that you can’t take communion until you “become right with God” He explains that it is obvious to him that because you are gluttonous, you do not have enough self-control, haven’t prayed enough, and don’t trust God enough at this time in your life. You can enjoy the service, but no communion for you.
* You’ve attended a church for a few months and decide that you would like to become a member and maybe even start a ministry where you see the church has an opening for one. You are politely told that once you get control of your gluttony they would be happy to welcome you as a member and allow you to be a leader of a ministry.
* What if it’s your child? They hear that there is a fun youth event happening and they want to go and check it out. When they get there they are turned away because the leaders don’t want them influencing the other youth to be gluttonous.
Over and over again you are told “The Bible says…., the Bible says….the Bible says…” Not once in any of these scenarios has anyone taken the time to get to know you. They just assume that you can’t control yourself. I don’t think you would feel very good about God’s people if this happened to you over and over again. Sadly, it may even change the way you feel about God.
I didn’t come up with these scenarios. They have happened. But not to gluttonous people, it’s happened to LGBTQ people. And they are repeatedly told they are unwelcome, not good enough, and their Christianity is questioned. We need to make sure this group of people are no longer marginalized.
I didn’t want to write this post. In fact, I have been procrastinating about if for over a year now. It’s one of the very first “themes” that I felt like God wanted me to write about. I fought Him on it…for a long time. I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I didn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable. I knew I would be stepping on some toes. I even went as far as writing a few themes on pieces of paper and drawing one out of a cup. Yep, it was this one. I really tried hard not to write it. I don’t for one second feel like God wanted to pick on any one group of people. I think what God might be getting at is asking us to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. We are not here to be judge and jury for other people. There are many strong statements in the Bible. My question is this:
Who is going to be in charge of which verses we pick to judge others?
The Bible does, after all, have verses that speak against gluttony. But it is ridiculous to think that we would turn people away, or penalize them in Church because they are gluttonous, yet this happens often to LGBTQ people and their families.
Any way…I did it. Not sure why I was supposed to, but maybe He will leave me alone about it now…or maybe not (smile).
One thing I do know for sure…we are called to love each other…because love matters.