Lately I have been wondering am I being legalistic in my relationship with God and my expectations of others around me. Let me explain why my thoughts have been going in this direction. The last month has been a celebration known as Pride Month here in the United States. During this last month, I have seen people who profess to be followers of Christ with photo filters and status posts advocating the celebration and justifying their actions with hashtags like try Jesus, not me or mentioning that there are musicians and singers in churches that identify with the LGBTIQ community, and as people accept their gift/talent they should also accept their sexuality. I have also seen others who profess to be followers of Christ respond to these photos and status posts with scriptures and paragraphs of debate about heaven, hell, and sin. The more the month of June went along, the more I saw debates on social media about rainbows and sexuality. Most of those debates brought out comments defining love, grace and comparing one sin to another.
All of that just amplified what I have been experiencing on a personal level. Recently I learned that two women I have grown to love and get to know a little through serving in ministry were married. Initially I was heartbroken. My heart and mind were aching with grief because I couldn’t understand how two people who attend church and love God could get this far in what appeared to be a friendship turned romantic relationship. In all honesty, I was angry!
It seemed like nothing was being done and nothing could be done. But what exactly was I expecting to be done?! I felt like I failed as a Christian, as though I had any authority/power to do anything about this relationship. I questioned the ministry environment, wondering if enough was being done to teach on sin. I questioned myself and the authenticity of my relationships with others in church because I didn’t feel close enough to talk about what was going on with them and it didn’t seem like anyone saw anything wrong with what was happening. Then again, if it was something being said it didn’t seem to matter because they were married.
The longer I sat with my thoughts (because I over analyze EVERYTHING and I mean everything), I realized it wasn’t just this specific same sex couple, but it was knowing there are other couples of the opposite sex that have marriage benefits but aren’t married…if you get what I am saying here, there are plenty of individuals in same sex relationships, people scheming for money, people lying, people, people and more people all in the church sinning and no accountability! Then I began thinking is there enough teaching on living holy and aiming to be sinless in a sinful world (I do understand we will never be perfect; I really do). I questioned if there was accountability available for anyone who experiences challenges with sin through prayer and hard questions being asked in transparency. I questioned if I was crazy and thinking too hard about this because it didn’t seem to bother too many other people. Many have developed this mindset that no one has a heaven or hell to put anyone in and everyone should mind their business. I thought to myself, maybe I am being just like the Pharisees and Sadducees, and I am only upset because of traditional and religious teachings being a base of my Christian walk. I started thinking I should focus on my own sins that are challenges for me (like gossiping) and stop worrying about what’s going on with anyone else. I mean, it’s been enough to have me thinking “Jesus, please just come back today. God, send your son and let’s get this new heaven and earth thing rolling.”
Here’s the thing, by no means do I want to stand outside of a LGBTIQ wedding or funeral protesting and yelling scriptures. I have loved ones that identify in this population and while I pray daily for them to be delivered, I believe they should be loved dearly and treated with respect. I believe that every child is a gift from God and has a purpose in this world whether born from a married union or friends with benefits. I know dozens of parents that have had children outside of marriage and I love them and their children immensely. I believe that in the right space the critical thinking skills of someone who can scheme and lie could help that same person to be a visionary and problem solver. So, if you’re still reading after all I have said, I have a few questions for you. Are you your brother’s/sister’s keeper (Genesis 4:9)? Are we fearful of being ostracized from the world that we no longer challenge one another to step out of the grey areas we protect in our lives because we don’t want to choose a side? Have we overcompensated on the grace and unconditional love of God that we no longer strive to be holy in our walk? Does it really take all of that or am I thinking too hard about this? My personal journey has led me to these questions, and I invite you to come back here in the next couple of weeks for un update on what’s going in this brain and heart through my journey ink. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.