This is the fourth in a series on “One Christian Minister’s Response to Homosexuality.”
I still remember my first lesson about being judgmental of another from my mother. I was about five years old and my sister and I were arguing as five and seven year olds tend to do. I could tell I was losing the fight, so I pulled out what I thought would be my verbal ace. I blurted out, “You’re not really a Marler!” Ouch.
It was the meanest thing I could have said to my sister who was adopted.
Marcy’s adoption brought my parents indescribable joy especially after the grief of losing their first child at childbirth and being told they could not have more children.
My hurtful words had no longer than just left my mouth when I felt my mother’s strong hand grab the upper portion of my arm and escort me into the bedroom. She sat me down on the bed, looked into my eyes with her misting eyes, and said with a quivering but stern voice,
Let me tell you one thing Malcolm Lewis Marler. First, that was a very mean thing to say to your sister. Second, I want you to know that Marcy has been a Marler longer than you have! Third, I want you to apologize to her.
She was exactly right, of course. What I said was mean and hurtful.
“Yes ma’am,” as I tried to hold back the tears. I walked into the room and told my sister I was very sorry for what I said. I told her I was glad she was a Marler. I think I even hugged her.
This reminds me of what we do in the church sometimes. We can be mean and hurtful when we feel like we are losing an argument, or its not going our way, especially on the topic of homosexuality.
Jesus was very stern with one group of people in his ministry– the religious people who were in judgment of others. See just a few of the stories in Matthew 7:1-5; Matthew 23:1-28; Luke 6:32-42; John 8:1-11, etc.
I have come to believe as followers of Jesus, we get the most lost in our spiritual journey when we try to determine who is in the family of God, and who is not. It’s simply not our call. It is God’s business. It is a fatal distraction.
Let us re-read our our job description as people of faith. Love God and love our neighbor as ourselves. That’s it. And this love includes loving persons who are gay, or anyone else we see as different from us.
Hundreds of people have said to me, “I knew from the time I was a little boy (or girl) that I was different. I knew that I was gay.” And yet, many of us in the church use the name of God to say to persons who are gay, “You are not really one of us. You are not really part of this family. You are not really a Christian.” Ouch.
And so we refuse to acknowledge their relationships (which makes their relationships harder to sustain without social support), or to welcome them, or marry them, or ordain them. Ouch. It is the most painful thing we can say to our adopted brothers and sisters.
We must be careful my fellow brothers and sisters with this judgment thing.
We are all adopted into God’s family, by grace. None of us were born into it.
And there is plenty of room for all of us in this human family.
For which, I am profoundly thankful. Aren’t you?