“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” I John 4:10-11.
For LGBT people who are not fortunate enough to have supportive families, the holidays can be extraordinarily hard. You want to spend quality time with the people who shaped you and made you who you are – the people who have literally been there since your “day one”. But when you no longer feel wanted, there will be an unsurprising desire to spend your holidays with people who will love you for who you are.
It was because of this that I decided to spend the holidays with my girlfriend and her family in Dallas, Texas. But, not wanting to spend the entire holiday season without my family, I decided to spend December 23rd and 24th with them before catching my flight early Christmas morning.
I went to church with my family on the night of the 23rd, spent quality time with siblings that I haven’t been able to see in a long time, opened gifts on Christmas Eve morning, saw extended family members, and talked politics with my grandfather – who thankfully is a Jeb Bush fan. I had a wonderful time. Until about 10:30pm on Christmas Eve when I decided it was time for me to head back home and pack for my trip the next morning.
We were standing in the kitchen – my father, mother, and I. It began quietly – but when I told them that I would appreciate it if they would agree to meet my girlfriend at some point – all hell broke loose. “We will never meet her.” “Then you will never step foot in this house again.” “You’re sending her to Hell.” And the most hateful and hurtful: “We don’t care about that queer.”
That last statement was a response from my father after I asked him what about his representation of Christianity would ever make my girlfriend desire to have a relationship with Christ. And yes, “We don’t care about that queer” was his actual response.
After everything that I’ve been through – the countless struggles with my family, my church, and myself – that was the most hateful, terrifying, and heartbreaking thing that I had ever heard someone say. It wasn’t because the word “queer” is any worse than other terms they’ve used to describe me. It wasn’t because my parents made very clear the fact that they would choose to never see me again rather than to see me with “her.” And it wasn’t even because they told me that they would want nothing to do with their future grandchildren if I were to ever bring children into “such an evil environment.” It was because those six words, “We don’t care about that queer” were singlehandedly the most un-Christlike thing I had ever heard uttered by my “devout” father.
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”
“Come unto me, ALL ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Christian – regardless of your view of homosexuality, God has called you to love people and to win souls for him. When He did so, there was no disclaimer releasing you of your duty to love those you don’t like or who make you uncomfortable. Whether you choose to say it out loud or not, when you have the mentality of “I don’t care about that queer”, what you really mean is “I don’t care about that soul.” And THAT is what is wrong with the Church today.
God hasn’t changed – when he said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest”, he meant ALL. People haven’t changed – “there is no new thing under the sun.” But the Church – it has. And not for the better. We have reached a time period in the church age where Christ’s church cares more about protesting a couple’s marriage than stopping to wonder if that couple knows Christ. We have come to a point where a Bible-reading Baptist who preaches soul-winning can look his gay daughter in the eye and tell her that he doesn’t care about “that” soul.
The number of Americans who profess to be Christians is rapidly declining. And like it or not, we can’t blame it on the Joel Osteens, worship bands, or the Democrats. We have no one to blame but ourselves. We have allowed, and some of us have participated in, a portrayal of Christ that is anything but Christ-like. Where Christ showed mercy, we cannot wait to throw stones. Where Christ says to love, we add “but not them.” When we sing “Just As I Am”, we don’t believe that it applies to “that queer.”
That night may very well be the last time I ever speak to my father. But I am fortunate in the fact that I have a heavenly father who I know will never turn me, or any other soul, away. My father’s rejection of my love for my girlfriend is heartbreaking. But his rejection of Christ’s love for my girlfriend is unbiblical and immoral.
I plan to spend all of my future holidays with the woman that I love. I will no longer subject myself to the headaches and heartbreaks that accompany spending the holiday season with those who will never support me. But I will pray. I will pray for the countless others who desperately want acceptance from their families and may never obtain it. I will pray for all those who have been told that Christ doesn’t want them. And I will pray for all those who have become so hardened that they no longer believe that they should love others.
In 2016, I hope you all find a family who loves you for who you are and who will make going home for the holidays a wonderful, encouraging, and loving experience. But if you don’t, know that Christ’s shed blood means more than your bloodline. His love is greater than any other. And guess what? Jesus cares about that queer.