love-one-another-john-traci-beeson

I had a big argument with someone very close to me today, a mentor. Someone I love very much. She was angry at me for my blog, saying I am being unfair to Christians who are kind and loving, that it goes both ways, that we hear only stories of Christians’ anger toward LGBTQ instead of love?

She told me about a Christian woman who had served two gay men for years in her printing business, but finally said she could not print their wedding invitations because it went against her beliefs as a Christian. And they sued her. (I wondered if she ever printed invitations for weddings for non-Christians or second marriages.) Sigh.

It hurts to be at odds with someone I love. I don’t know where it will go from here. And I have lost other friends. Even my kids have been unfriended because of my blog. That doesn’t really seem right, does it? Dissension on a tough topic is not really welcome among Christians.

But all the while, these words came to me: I am not called to be fair. As a Christian, I am called to share the love of Christ regardless of the response. I am called to go two miles with someone who required only one. I am called to love my neighbor. If someone sues me for my shirt, I am to give him my coat as well. I’m called to be the love of Christ, even when it requires great sacrifice. I am the one with the Spirit of the Living God in me — it’s the very least I can do. I am to give to others out of His overabundant love. If I am taken advantage of, oh well.

I know as I write this how outrageous it sounds, to love so radically. But Jesus said outrageous things, until the religious leaders killed Him. I don’t have the answers to the questions around this issue. But I do know the way we treat each other has to change. People who discover their same-sex attraction invariably plead with God to take it away (because of the rejection they know is coming), but He rarely does. Many who go through “reorientation” become self-loathing and suicidal. (When has a Christian become suicidal because of their treatment by the LGBTQ?) Some people come to peace with their same-sex attraction. Some seek a longterm same-sex relationship. Some commit to lifelong celibacy. Jesus calls us to love people where they are, not where we wish they were.

My calling always is to help people find peace on the Tree of Life rather than clinging to the Tree of Knowledge. I’m sorry if you are a Christian who is offended by what I write. I can’t help it. I’m not writing it to offend; I’m writing to extend the love of Christ. We have no excuse to do otherwise. I pray that you will join me.

Click Here to Read “A Mom, Some Gays, and the Bible”

So This is How Rejection Feels

37 thoughts on “So This is How Rejection Feels

  1. thank you so much for writing this blog despite what others may think or do. I’m sorry you’ve lost friends and your kids unfriended you. Your blog has helped me continue to explore my faith as a gay person and not give up on the bible. I grew up in a Lutheran church and both my parents (especially my mom) are very religious. Coming out to them wasn’t easy, but they are slowly coming around I think. Many gay people are scared of Christians, and its comforting to know that there are people like you bridging the gay-Christianity divide. I finished the book Torn today, and I highly recommend it! I’m still not sure what I believe, but I’m open now and it’s books like Justin Lee’s and blogs like yours that keep me going. thank you thank you

    • Thank you so much. I’m so glad you continue to explore your faith. Jesus is for everyone, not just the “goody two-shoes” — and for me to be part of bridging that gay-Christianity divide is my heart’s desire. Thank you thank you. I do love Torn because it shows things most non-gay Christians don’t know. [I may have been unclear, but my kids did NOT unfriend me; their friends unfriended them!]
      I invite you to email me anytime you need to. Bless your heart, my friend!

  2. Before finding your blog from a twitter post, I was drifting away from my relationship with Christ. I thought I either had to choose faith or choose me; there could be no compromise. And, it’s really hard to not live with myself. I wake up in the morning and I’m myself. I deal with myself everyday, while God, I don’t see so much, so it was simpler to just cut myself off from Him.

    Then one day someone posted your blog on twitter and I read it. I’ve been reading ever since. And now, I believe I don’t have to cut myself off from God. I wake up in the morning and I think to myself, “God loves me.” It’s like the world was lifted off of my shoulder.

    Thanks so much! Please stay strong as your strength and insight builds me up.

    • Whoa. I’m seriously, deeply touched. Thank you so, so much. I’m honored and grateful. Thank God, you know know He loves you, no matter WHAT anybody says! Bless your sweet heart. I will stay strong — in HIS strength. You do too! Please stay in touch.

  3. Two points…it is astounding to me that people would, considering what you have personally gone through, even argue with you about your stances, even if they disagree at times. That person, categorically, was not a friend. And as painful as rejection is, she or he would have kept causing you pain, as I am sure it was building up in them for a long time before they lashed out.

    As to their point about the “against the conscience” to sell invites to LGBT people, then get out of business is my response. Normal business practice dictates to serve all customers. Period. I can understand not offering that particular service (printing wedding invitations) to anyone. I cannot understand offering to some but not others.

    Years back, in the 1970s, my late mother began renting rooms out after all of us kids had left home, as the house was big and this had always been a dream for her. So an unmarried couple, heterosexual, came to rent and she did not know what to do. She disapproved of premarital sexual activity due to her Faith, but finally did rent to them and reasoned, I believe, that the property they were renting was essentially theirs to do what they wished with, as long as they paid rent and did nothing illegal. It of course was the right decision, but now such an issue would not even be considered by most people who own rental property. Then it was. Now, were she living, the issue would no doubt be an LGBT couple in a similar situation. And the principle is exactly the same. If you are in business you serve all qualified customers. It is not your conscience at that point but theirs which is at stake.

    But people buy into this type of fear, and, believe it or not, as a same-sex attracted but not sexually active man, I did too for a long time until I thought it through and remembered my mom’s experience and so many others. In reality it is simple common sense, but not viewed as such due to inbred bigotry which we all tend to have and not always realize it. I hope your friend does. And if they are a true friend, they will.

    Sorry you were hurt by this. Your blog is a help to many. Do not stop or even slow down. God bless.

  4. Your blog has helped me and my girlfriend grow in our love for Christ and subsequentally in our love for each other. I have been wanting to write to you for some time now to express just that. Seeing your latest post breaks my heart to know that you are discouraged in your calling. I hope you know tonight that God is using you–even if just in my life. Will share more of my story with you soon. Until then, hugs!

  5. I also found your blog through a post on facebook. My son first told me he was gay in his junior year of high school. It was not easy for us for quit some time. But I chose to still love him. He is now 24 and a strong Christian. His partner, who did not want anything to do with Christians, came to the Lord last fall. I believe my husband (my sons step-father) and I were used to some degree. Because we honestly love them both. Thank you so much for your blog. You write about so much that is on my heart.

    • What a blessing about your son’s partner! I think you’re right — God worked through your unconditional love to show His unconditional love! That’s how it’s supposed to work, and why Jesus said, “Love God, love others.” And HE will do the rest. A beautiful story, Natalie. Thank you.

  6. I debated an old friend over a story much like your example. A flower seller refused business for a gay wedding after arrangements were made. Of course the couple sued. My friend insisted that the flower seller was “not allowed the freedom to practice her religion” by making this illegal choice.

    Taking her side calls for more than one irrational leap. For one, you’d have to pretend that selling flowers in a public business is a religious rite of any kind. My friend could not concede this point. Challenging her further (e.g. How is it different from whether the flower seller was religiously opposed to biracial marriage? Are you against anti-discrimination laws in general?) drew no new answers to help enlighten me.

    Instead, she claimed that this example would lead to Catholic priests being forced by law to conduct gay weddings against their will. By whipping out this non-sequitur, she could claim that her personal liberties and those of Christians everywhere — not those of the struggling minority — were under attack.

    I’m not using the term “irrational” lightly. Because her position was indefensible, she had to flee from the real-world example (the anti-discrimination case) to an imaginary paranoid example (a church and state merger). I didn’t persist much after this, as you can’t always prove or disprove a future situation that doesn’t follow logically from the present. And you don’t often win bigots over by arguing them into their chosen corners. And, maybe most importantly, they don’t see themselves as bigoted in the first place. (Do any of us?) I probably have a lot to learn from the Japanese about the importance of giving others room to save face in diplomatic conflict.

    You may write of the conflicts of beliefs vs. truth, and preaching vs. loving, and scripture vs. interpretation — and I do appreciate it — but those who are avoiding you or your family for making them uncomfortable with themselves may have conflicts that are far more subjective than those rational discussions. Maybe it’s just irrational fear. As in: What if the comparison to Sodom and Gomorrah is true after all? What if God’s judgment is that I’m turning my back on him? What if? What if? … Or, maybe their strongest motivation is just to hold their ground and save face at least a little while longer.

    • I agree with you, Bobby. I have long observed that atheists claim rationalism to reject God, but they are really driven by a subjective (emotional) undercurrent they don’t even see, much less admit to anyone else. I think you’re right that volatile issues like this are likewise driven by emotion, not rationale. I’m emotional about it — probably motivated by the rejection and bullying I’ve received, and I want to protect people in that situation. But it is more than that. I simply say, which position looks more like Christ? And it is the position of compassion and acceptance. Not conditional approval. Thank you for your great observations.

  7. People seem to have trouble relating when they disagree. It takes maturity to agree to disagree, and to not dismiss the other person simply because they hold a different belief or opinion. We can’t learn and grow if we only listen to those who think the same as we do. Instead of arguing over who is right, what is most needed now is to acknowledge that we don’t always treat people with love when we think they ‘sin’ differently than we do, and this has caused much hurt. It has made it nearly impossible to have any rational conversations with the LGBT community. They don’t trust us. I don’t even trust us! I didn’t feel safe to go running to my Christian community when my child shared her orientation with us. Your blog is one that helps us find our bearings after we get knocked off our feet. So you keep doing what you are doing. The church is not doing a good job of ministering to its own members who find themselves either struggling with their orientation, or struggling with the news that their child is LGBT. Jesus came to pay for all our sins, so doesn’t that free us up to just love each other, because we’re all in the same sinking ship without Him?

    • Thank you for your insightful comments. I totally agree. If I went to my church and said, “My child is struggling with drugs,” I’d get all kinds of empathy and support. But just say your child is gay, and the reaction is completely different. I love everything you said — you’re so right. And thank you for your kind encouragement to me. I greatly appreciate it!

  8. You are so wonderful and I appreciate you more than you know. However, I’m not as nice and polite with my opinion as you are. 🙂 Having worked in churches for several years while in high school and college, I saw many “Christians” who I would never want to associate with on the outside because outside they were a completely different person. An act or a facade. Going to church is just what they were raised to do. It is organized religion that is the main cause for these suicides and hate. Plain and simple. And I know soooo many gay people that are way more decent and loving and trusting than a lot of church goers I’ve been around. These people upset with you will be embarrassed sooner or later… and right now their opinion is invalid and doesn’t matter.

    • Thank you. I appreciate you too — really. God is moving. That’s all I know. He is still sovereign and still present, and we don’t need to worry about a thing — just know Him and love Him, and let Him deal with anything that needs to be dealt with. Thanks so much for your kind words.

  9. Thank you Susan for your remarkable God-Desired courage to love like Jesus did. I just recently found your blog – and know from reading here, that I am not afraid any longer. I can be strong and love my son, just as he is, where he is, and and remain condfident at what plans God will accomplish in his life. I can be strong no matter what other Christians say and often spew out of theirs mouths about me, or my family, or our son. Your insight, your compassion, your faith, and your journey, coming at great cost, have lifted me up and given me hope. I will cling to The Tree of Life with you and find that peace ‘that surpasses all understanding’. Lynn

    • Aw! Yes indeed, we’ll cling to that Tree of Life together and find real peace. You go ahead and love your son. Completely. What a blessing for both of you! I see God doing a new thing in the culture, and we get to participate. Lovely!

  10. You are a God-send to this family. Thank you for your compassion and wisdom. We are losing friends as well, but then we find out by the pruning just who your good friends are 😉 Many thanks for being one of them.

  11. I just want to say thank you. As a gay man who is a Christian, I’ve been through some troubled times trying to reconcile my faith with my sexual orientation. I’m slowly regaining my faith and your blog has been a big help. Thank you for sharing your story and for putting yourself on the line for the sake of others.

  12. I know it’s hard to have someone turn on you that you had always assumed would be in your corner, even if you disagree. I have often said that the death of our expectations is the hardest kind of grief to bear, and I would imagine that your expectation was that your friend, your mentor, this person you love, would love and support you no matter what. It sounds like that expectation died in the course of your argument, and I’m sorry for your loss. I am, however, more sorry for your friend’s loss because this person has rejected love, and being in communion with an advocate of love. You are giving hope and reassurance to so many who need that, and that hopefully will buoy you through your own hurt.

  13. Just today I was reading something that speaks to where you (and I, and so many others) are living. I cannot recall who penned it, but it’s called “The Crossroads Principle:” “To choose God and live set apart is to choose a difficult life. It’s so much easier to believe in God and blend in with everyone else, whether that’s blending into everyday Christianity or mainstream society. But choose carefully, because halfway is just not good enough … Jesus is about a sacrifice paid that freely allows his followers to unconditionally love. Christians are held to God’s countercultural standard that focuses solely on Him and His worth in our daily lives and how that relates to others. It is the Christian community’s charge, then, to live in such a way throughout the world. The Christian community is responsible to do everything they possibly can to allow for a clean path to be made to God so that His full, encompassing being will be able to work throughout all of our lives together.”

    The “old” me would have read that and thought, “God’s happy that I’m blending in with other believers, not with the world.” But this new “living-in-the-tension” me reads it as someone who both feels fear and takes courage from the fact that I’m no longer blending in with everyday (i.e., ‘cookie-cutter’) Christianity, which is an exponentially more challenging road. And, since I wholeheartedly believe that I have been commissioned to “allow for a clean path to be made to God,” then I do so with the understanding that grace beckons with unconditional love alone and doesn’t ask anyone to pretty-up first.

    As someone who has also lost friends in this endeavor, I stand with you as a new friend. God knows, quite literally, that we square pegs need all the friends we can get. 🙂

    And I’ll leave you with this thought from http://www.thechristianleft.com: “If you’re not attracting the same people that Jesus attracted, your message needs to be fixed.” Everyday Christianity, are you listening?

    Love to you, Susan.

  14. Real love is radical. Compassion for all is radical. If we want to create heaven on earth, we have to change the way we’ve been doing things since inception. I applaud you and your courage to keep walking in the light of love. People are so fearful and love is the opposite of all that fear. I too am a radical for love and at times feel so alienated by others. Sometimes it boggles my mind. Love? How can walking in love scare so many people? I believe it’s because people aren’t ready to fully accept and receive the unconditional love that is already there for them. It comes with a big responsibility to walk towards love… not to blame others, condemn others, judge others. If we could truly learn to love ourselves and know that we are worthy regardless of the past, that opens us up to seeing the absolute worthiness in all living beings. That we are all divine and extensions of God’s perfect love. We judge others so harshly because we judge ourselves. Jesus came to say, no more. Your sins have been forgiven…move on…and love all. I stand beside you as a sister in LOVE. You are supported even if those closest to you may need to fade away. You are doing what you’ve been called to do…

  15. I had an argument with a Christian man who is my boss about gay sexuality. He was very ignorant and rude saying that all gay men have sex and because they are perverts they will pervert and abuse any children they might have. I could not agree with him and left as soon as I could. He doesn’t know I am gay and he would sack me if he did know even though i do a really good job. It scares me how vicious and self righteous Christians can be. It scares me that he could take my job away from me. He scares me.

  16. Susan,
    Thank you for the love you show towards all people, it is so refreshing to read your blogs. I find this kind of love (“love no matter what” kind of love) to bring me more peace and a closer walk with Christ. Less friends, but more peace and more of a heart towards others than I ever thought possible. Loving life and loving God more as I continue to love others in the way Christ has called us to love. You, my friend are a breathe of fresh air!

  17. I have just started following your blog. I found it through a post on Facebook. My middle daughter is gay and is getting married to her partner next month. This has caused some problems – mostly with friends or people who I thought were friends. Family, though …. we just seem to be sticking together. Church members just stare when she and her partner come to visit. Some make her welcome. Interesting that their first visit together to our church was on a Sunday that spoke of sexual sin (one of the letters to the seven churches). So many people nodded their heads in agreement with the sermon. Would they be nodding their heads if my daughter wasn’t there? Anyway, I feel for you and I do understand. However, I find myself nodding my head in agreement :with you. ;-D

    • 😀 Thanks. I know, it’s tough. Glad your family is sticking together. Without family, or stand-ins for family, it can be very lonely. I just think of the ragtag people who traipsed after Jesus and wonder how they would be received at most churches. Maybe it’s the rebel in me, or maybe it’s because I so relate to slogging through difficult issues to get some kind of grip, but I relate more to the ragtags than the church people… even though I completely love Jesus. :p Thanks for writing and following!

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