An Open Letter to my LGBT Family Members and Friends

Dear Ones,

There has been much talk about you this week. I can only imagine how you must feel being the center of heated debate on a regular basis. From what I have read on the interwebs, there have been a lot of blog posts and articles written with the reactions to the World Vision debacle, but I have not seen anything written directly to you. I’m writing you this letter, because I feel like you have not been addressed directly, and I have something to say that I think you need to hear.  

I want you to know that I feel so heavy for you. My heart is aching for you, because of this present reality in our country that you are being talked about and argued over as if you are not a part of the same humanity as the rest of the world. I want you to know that you are seen and loved. You are seen and loved by God. You are seen and loved by many followers of Christ. Just because the loud, angry, squeaky wheels get heard more and receive more attention does not mean that they are the majority.

I’m not a statistician, so I don’t know all the hard numbers. What I do know is my piece of the “Christian World.” My husband and I have been in vocational ministry since we were in college 20 years ago. We started our faith journeys and ministry careers in a very conservative, evangelical denomination. Over the past 2 decades we have sought to understand and live the Gospel of Christ to the best of our human abilities which has led us to a place outside of our original denomination. I cannot say that I love God and long to emulate Him in my daily life and thinking without loving and seeking justice for ALL people. I want you to know that from where I stand in Christian leadership I see a lot of other Christians who share in this same belief. I want to implore you to not judge all people who are labeled Christians by those who are the squeaky wheel.

I also want you to know that I see hope for equality in the future. As my husband and I and another couple were visiting last night, my 14 year old daughter overheard us and asked what had happened with World Vision. As we explained the basic situation to her, she became visibly upset. I could see rage for the injustice in her eyes. Later, after our friends left I asked her what she was thinking. She said, “Mom, I have friends who are gay, and I am so hurt for them. This is not right. Why are people so mean? Don’t they know that we are all human?” Then my 11 year old son chimed in and said, “Jesus said that the most important thing for us to do is ‘Love God and love our neighbors as ourselves.’ Right, Mom? That includes our friends that are gay. I have gay friends.” Dear Ones, that is the voice of the next generation. I don’t want you to have to wait until their generation is in leadership for you to have equality, but I know that because of them equality is inevitable.

These are the words of Jesus that are recorded in the Bible in Matthew chapter 11: “Jesus prayed this prayer: ‘O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding the truth from those who think themselves so wise and clever, and for revealing it to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way! My Father has given me authority over everything. No one really knows the Son except the Father, and no one really knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’ Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls.’ ”

I know you must be weary because of the heavy burden you bear. Please let Jesus take the burden from you and let Him carry it for you. If that seems too impossible or intangible, then seek out a Christ-follower who is humbly seeking to live and love as Jesus did and let him/her come alongside you to love and encourage you as you journey along in this life.

You are seen and loved,

Stephanie

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