Truly sad. I’ve often wondered and reflected on how to be a good neighbor to those who are concerned about my sexuality or the way I even talk about it. After all, they’re people who are made in the image of God just like me. I didn’t arrive at my conclusions about sexuality overnight, and neither have (or will) they. Tolerance at this point seems like settling and sub-par. The Gospel talks of love borne of a grateful heart to God…so how do I love ones who are genuinely homophobic, even just professionally speaking?
Even if you, Reader, think that I’m somewhat crazy for pursuing chastity in life (and I think I might blog about that at a relatively soon date), certainly you can understand that as a Christian, being tolerated simply isn’t enough because Scripture calls us to love one another as Christ loved us. Maybe they don’t “deserve” love if they’ve treated me in a certain way; but if deserving love is the prerequisite for getting love, I don’t think anyone is getting much love at all.
And we all know empirically that it doesn’t work that way. Better yet, it doesn’t work that way Scripturally, either.
So how do we love people who revile us? Who deny us jobs? (By “us,” I mean anyone who claims to be a Christian, regardless of orientation, political affiliation, denomination, etc.)
It seems the epistles and Gospels have something to say on that subject. Turning the other cheek, praying for those who persecute us. Loving them by “going the extra mile” if one mile is required of us. (That is, after all, where the saying comes from…Jesus’ lips as recounted by the Gospel writer.) It’s difficult work to love. Fortunately, we aren’t alone in our endeavors. Christ not only showed us how to love in the mundane and the cosmic, He sent us His Spirit to dwell in us to re-form us to better reflect His likeness.
Lord, help me to love those who do not love me well…or even at all. That’s a tall order.