Are We a Safe Place for Each Other?

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This blog is not for everyone. But if you are a Christ-follower, called to love God and love others, it may be for you. I received the following email from a 24-year-old friend. We have more at stake than right and wrong — we have life and death. I hope this speaks to you.

I’ve been having a lot of thoughts lately. Thoughts I want to talk about with people. Thoughts I’m scared to talk about with people. Thoughts that might get me called a heretic.

My thoughts began a few months ago when my childhood best friend called me crying. She was pregnant. I was EXTREMELY supportive and 100% understanding and there for her and whatever else. About seven weeks into her pregnancy, I got another update: she told me she had miscarried. Fast forward about six months. Through a random chain of events, I found out that she didn’t miscarry… she had an abortion. And she lied to me about it. She felt she couldn’t tell me because basically, among other things, I professed to being a Christian. I went to Bible school. I was a “good person.” And because of those things (those things that my parents and grandparents are so proud of and brag about to all of their friends) she was scared I would be completely disappointed in her. Or hate her. Or be mad.

I associate myself with the church. So I am not a safe place.

That woke me up. It hit me like a slap in the face.

It got me thinking about how as Christians we are so outspoken about what is “right” and “wrong” but it comes across in such a condemning way. In reality, the things we say (and post on Facebook/Twitter/all social media) are reaching no one: the people who agree with us, aren’t changed, and the ones who don’t are not going to be persuaded by a Facebook status or a rude joke about sin.

About a week later I was with one of my closest friends and she was telling me about her younger sister, who is a lesbian. As I listened, what struck me was that the two of them are very close, and both is aware of the others views… but neither talks down to or judges the other. They are just real with each other. They coexist. They accept. My friend just loves her sister. No preaching or pep talks or condemnation. And though her sister knows that she doesn’t necessarily agree with her being gay, she also knows that in her sister, she always has a safe place.

That got me.

I want to find the balance between being a Christian/living a Christian life… and being someone that anyone could come to and know they will not be judged or condemned. The balance between standing up for what I believe in and being accepting of those who believe differently. Because really, judgment is not my place… love is. And really… until you love someone and they know you love them… being an “activist” against what and who they are is only going to alienate them. That’s not what we need here.

All of this is such a big issue, especially recently, and it’s so frustrating and hard to see people who post, “I love Jesus!” one day posting about their strong beliefs on homosexuality the next. We have to be careful when we are standing up for what we believe in. Being “right” isn’t worth alienating someone. Regardless of whether you think it is right or wrong, if you say you love Jesus, show a little compassion!! I think if Jesus showed up in the flesh in our society today, the institutional church would be in for a REAL shocker!

A blog I read regularly made a statement that encapsulated my heart exactly:

“This is my call: to be that safe person, that maker of safe places.”

That is exactly who I want to be. I never saw Jesus run from someone who was different than Him, even when He didn’t agree with their choices. In fact, He did the opposite.

Amen.  Thanks to my friend for emailing and for allowing me to share this here on my blog.  Like Jesus, we want to see hearts freed to love God and love others.

12 thoughts on “Are We a Safe Place for Each Other?

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  2. Hi, I just found your blog and I think it’s really interesting/great. This is a very mutli-faceted subject for me. One, because I come from the very evangelical background that taught me that being homosexual was the worst thing ever. I was in the camp where that didn’t quite jive with what I thought God was saying everywhere else… but I never had an outlet to even think differently about God or Jesus. I was ripe for someone like you to come in and say: if this doesn’t feel quite right, then maybe that nagging feeling is actually Truth.

    Then, I had an amazing experience on a study abroad trip to Latin America with the CCCU (Coalition of Christian Colleges and Universities). It was extremely liberal but still Christian and still focused on seeking Christ. It blew my mind to PIECES but it gave me so much more PEACE. I could have easily landed here a few years ago and been gobbled up in that same Peace.

    However, my life took a strange and unimaginable turn (to me at least) wherein, I fell in love with my best friend, and we both happened to be women. So now I guess I’m on the gay side of things. That’s the background, here are a few of my thoughts:

    1. This is an immeasurably hard topic, in some sense, laughably so. What did Jesus say about being gay? Nada…. what did Jesus say about helping the poor? Sell ALL of your stuff and give it to them and then serve them. It’s just so much easier to worry about the first item… because it doesn’t involve getting off the couch for the most part (Well unless you’re of the Westboro variety). Why is it such a big deal? Brian McLaren tends to think that the church wants/needs a scapegoat… something to rally behind… draw whatever analogies you want from that but it is worth wondering. (btw – have you read his book? A New Kind of Christianity – so good)

    2. I wish my mom would read this blog. I wish my mom had someone to talk to about how miserable and in mourning she is over me being gay, well someone besides all her friends that think exactly like her and have been indoctrinated with all the same beliefs she has… many think I should just cut it off with my parents if they are so unhappy/angry at me; but that’s the easy way out. Staying in relationship is harder…. and I’m just so sad for her all the time. I’m not mad at her, I know she deeply/truly believes it, and it’s making her so miserable. I often fantasize if she had just one friend that said: hey maybe this isn’t life and death, maybe this isn’t something you have to be depressed about, maybe you can just love her all the way instead of compartmentalizing her into sin and not sin…. but it’s just a fantasy for now.

    3. Sorry this is so long! The last comment I want to make: people have been hurt. Gay people who lived rich lives full of faith in a Creator and a Savior often had to cut that part out of their lives when they decided to accept their own sexuality. (Or at least they thought they did.) It breaks my heart to think that accepting one’s self, being genuine, and living at peace involved often losing one’s family and moreover, losing one’s faith. That’s tragic and painful. This hurt is deep and strong. I’m amazed that this doesn’t bother the Church more.

    Thanks for this blog, it warms my heart.

    • Oh thank you for your story. Beautiful. Yes, I’m amazed it doesn’t hurt the church more too. I agree – we need to be about the business of pointing people to Jesus. Period. He tells us to love God and love others. We need to let Him judge, convict, direct – we stink at it! Tell your mom she can email me if she’d like. I’d be happy to talk to her. We have pushed the whole LGBTQ community in a corner saying they must change. We step between them and Jesus instead of trusting Him to be Savior. A shame. Blessings to you and keep in touch.

      • Thanks for the reply! I don’t think my mom would email you…. I think it has to be an “insider” in her world to make any impact, otherwise, she’ll just assume you’re a heretic (no offense). The sad part to me is that I think are people on the “inside” who probably have very moderate views or are like some people who have ventured here who think there might be more to say/hear/think on the subject, but they don’t say anything because they do not want to be labeled as a heretic either. Unfortunately, they’d rather let my mom be miserable rather than to say what they truly feel. Who knows, maybe some day they’ll stumble here… 🙂

        • Oh I understand! I was an insider for 20 years and believe me, if you questioned anything like this, you were viewed as disloyal… then God started changing my beliefs about it. So when He said to blog about this, I said, “Are you sure??” Because I know what happens to people who are different! But if no one will break the silence inside the church on this, then nothing ever changes.

  3. Last night I was doing my thing as usual and was consumed by my passion, the word of God. It says that the word became flesh and we know His name is Jesus. And we take from or add to but the Word is that narrow way because Jesus didn’t move left or right of a single command. He didn’t add to or take away, He moved forward until that day. Many men brought many things, some good but more bad, they wanted to temp Jesus to the left or right of God’s perfect way. Jesus did not judge, He would not condemn, his words remained true and in love He even helped out one or two who His diciples begged he send away. What I’m saying is this; if we judge or condemn, what word abides in us? Not God’s word, not Jesus, God’s word came to save us!

    God truly does love us, and said if we love him we will keep his word and he will abide in us.

  4. My daughter’s name means “safe harbor.” May Jesus, and the God who lives in our hearts cause us to be that for others. You have spoken to a deep place in me today. Thank you.

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