I was not a fan of gym in middle school. It would be safe to say that I hated it. My least favorite activity was the dreaded kickball game, and we seemed to play it a lot. I had a big disadvantage…I was the smallest person in my class. This usually translated into being one of the last people picked for a team…if not the last person picked. It was quite humiliating. Each time it was my turn to kick…everyone in the field moved up because I was so small. I would hear it come from the outfield first, “Move up…easy out!” This would be repeated over and over again as everyone on the field moved closer. I would say a quick prayer asking God to PLEASE give me the power to kick that ball over everyone’s head. I so desperately wanted to shock everyone and run those bases. And each time I had hope that it would happen. I believed that one day my wish would come true. It didn’t. This bothered me so much that I actually had a dream about it. I was at home plate, everyone moved closer, the pitcher rolled the ball my way, and…wham! I did it! I kicked it over everyone’s head! I was so excited. I joyfully started to round the bases…wind blowing through my hair. I was laughing as I ran to the next base and…a bug flew in my mouth. Yuck! It was so realistic that I woke up to me sitting up…spitting the “bug” out. In reality, I just spit onto my bed. Yuck again! Apparently even in my dreams I can’t catch a break (smile).
You know…I really believed that one day I would kick that ball far. I wanted my classmates to believe it too. I wanted them to see me the way I saw myself. Although it may have been a silly prayer to pray about kicking a ball…I was taught that you could pray for anything. It wasn’t really about the prayer any way…it was about my relationship with Jesus. I knew he was there for me.
Last week was a rough week. There were two more suicides…two…and the bill in Indiana that caused quite a stir…with ugliness on both sides of the debate. Frustration and sadness seem to be my constant companions these days.
Usually I am filled with such hope and excitement when Easter draws close. I wasn’t feeling that as much this year. It really bothered me. I kept asking God why. What was wrong with me? And I felt Him whisper to my soul, “They are taking Jesus away from my children.” That’s it! That’s what I’ve been feeling. I’ve been mad and frustrated because Jesus is being ripped away from these LGBTQ kids (and adults for that matter) and their hope right along with him. The results of that are tragic.
Time and time again these kids are stepping up to the plate asking to be understood…asking to be loved, and people are just closing in on them…quoting Bible passages not to them, but at them. When they’ve prayed and prayed for answers to their sexuality, and finally feel like God answers them saying that He loves them just the way they are…they aren’t broken. Love and acceptance wash over them…until they come out to their family. They are told that they are wrong. God hates them. They must change or never be accepted by their heavenly Father. “You can’t be Christian and Gay!” is the common mantra. Jesus is taken away from them.
Jesus is the one they’ve been turning to all this time. Jesus is the one standing with them when they tell you their story. They start to accept themselves and and your words and actions take Jesus away. Do you know what you are doing? Is your desire to be “right” worth taking the hope of Jesus from someone? They just want you to see them the way Jesus does…as his precious children.
I keep coming back to John 14:9 when Jesus tells his disciples that anyone that has seen him has seen the Father. What did we see Jesus do while he was here? He served others. It didn’t matter who they were because he came for all people. He showed love to everyone. The people who got bent out of shape over who Jesus hung out with were the religious people…not God. He was here doing what God asked him to do. Shouldn’t we do the same? Or do we think we are holier than Jesus?
This I know for sure…I will always be an ally for my LGBTQ brothers and sisters. I will stand at the plate with them…and I will be sure that they see Jesus in me. I will not let them stand alone. I will try my best to undo the damage and give Jesus back to them. Your words and actions matter. Stop taking Jesus away from them.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Who’s your neighbor? Love them…because love matters.