It seems I’m not the only one who has lost out on a job because of my sexuality.
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.
Craig L. Adams said:
Thanks for linking to that article. That kind of thing is truly sad.
Bob Schembre said:
Good article man.
Obeying Jesus’ commands to love our enemies is a way of saying with our very lives that His love is the absolute best!
I think one hard thing about loving our enemies is knowing what love looks like. Sometimes it feels unloving to let people stay in their ignorance. I feel like the most loving thing to do is educate them so that they won’t hurt someone else in the same way they hurt me. But, then I realize that education won’t change their heart. Just like one more lecture from my father will never change my opinion about anything, I can’t expect my eloquent words to change them either. I have to trust God with that process, and love them in the more visceral sense of the word; kindness, compassion, patience, grace and mercy.
Thanks for the post. Like you, I can’t help but wonder if, by loving those who revile us (ironically, often in the name of love!), we can show them what love is really about? If nothing else, I think it helps me to learn more about love, including self-love and self-acceptance.