For busybody legalists who think it’s their job to correct others: BACK OFF. Stop meddling with what YOU think is wrong with others, and deal with your own business… I’m guessing you’ve got plenty on your own plate to deal with.
My blood is boiling. My friend Alice lives in a tiny military town full of extremely legalistic churches. Every Sunday and Wednesday, fire and brimstone is preached from the pulpit—but never the abundant love of Christ. Women wear only dresses, and red is the devil’s color. You get the picture.
Alice’s daughter is a lesbian. You can watch her boyish gait and swagger and know it’s just part of her DNA, something she did not choose any more than some gay men I know chose to be strikingly effeminate.
Here’s the blood-boiling part: Alice went to chaperone her children’s Sunday school class at a lock-in at the aquarium. It’s the kind of thing moms sacrifice their comfy beds for, to build wonderful memories for their kids.
Instead of the enjoyable time she’d anticipated, holding baby turtles and touching stingrays, she was blindsided. The other mom-chaperones ambushed her with pleas to stop her daughter from being gay, to pray for the demon of homosexuality to be removed, to check her own relationship with God—and is she even sure she’s really saved? I hope this hits you as it hits me. Alice sat there, unable to answer, unable to think in the face of these five women.
That was the majority of this memory-filled night with these girls at the aquarium.
Of course my thought for Alice is not to let the door hit her as she leaves this church and these women for the last time. Who in the world needs it? But it’s not always as easy as that. She has school and family community tied into it, so even though it’s toxic, she’s not sure how to disentangle herself from it.
Just as I would want to tell women, “Just take your kids and leave your abusive husband,” it’s not always quite that simple. Like being wrapped up by an octopus (I’m only guessing here), you can pull off two tentacles, but three more slap back around you. I still do advocate disentangling yourself from toxic relationships/situations, but I also realize it can require some time and planning. In the meantime, let me help you gain your voice. Alice spoke up via email to these women the day after the ambush. Regardless of whether they heard it, it was empowering to Alice to send it.
So I assimilate here Alice’s thoughts. If you are a busybody, take heed. God very much meant it when he told us not to judge another man’s servant.
If you are an LGBTQ or parent, take heart. Don’t take on someone else’s assessment of you; theirs is not the assessment that matters! God’s matters, and He loves you.
I do not appreciate your surprise attack on me about my gay daughter. You have not walked the journey I have, and you are only repeating what you have heard from the pastor, who also has not walked this journey. You pick out one verse to condemn my child. Would you like me to pick out verses about your sin? Don’t think I can’t do it in a heartbeat. For two hours I listened to you tell me my child is going to hell. When did God make you judge and jury over who He accepts?? God speaks to me about my daughter. Don’t you think I have already poured my heart out to Him? She is NOT going to hell, and who are you to say she is, when God tells you to check yourself, not me or my family.
You say you seek to “root out sin” but even as you do, you trample all of Jesus’ commands for love, kindness, understanding, and His parable about not judging lest you be judged. I know your families. I know there is backbiting, rudeness, pornography, affairs and children doing things they should not do. I think you have quite enough to keep you busy.
You say my faith is failing—how would you know about that? In fact, this whole walk with my daughter has made my faith stronger! I know God more intimately than I’ve ever known Him, and He has been real and present, guiding me every step of the way. Don’t worry yourselves about my faith or my even being saved, as some of you said. I am saved and have been for a very long time. I do not need to ‘renew my faith in God.’ He renews my faith every moment like living water, just as Jesus told us He would do.
For five of you to attack me the way you did was rude and mean – not Christlike. Does Jesus really want you to speak to me that way? No. And to speak this way in front of the kids, like you’re on some great mission, so they can see us acting like idiots? Well, all of YOU—I didn’t act like an idiot.
Let me make this very simple for you: You are never to speak to me about my daughter again. You do not have my permission to speak to me about any family matters like this. I suggest you think long and hard before you do something like that to anyone again. God does not look kindly on you treating people like this. God has been freeing me of the legalism of this church, and I will never go back to it.”