Don’t Hate Someone You Love

careful

A mom from a small, conservative town said to her son: “There aren’t any gays in this town.” Her son laughed and said, “Yes there are, Mom. They’re just deep in the closet… or they’ve moved away.”

I know it’s easier to imagine that those “gays” are some other people, some other place, not here, not anyone we know. Then your child comes out. Meanwhile, all those things you said about “those gays” are ringing in your child’s ears… and have been for years. If your child is not the one who is gay, you can bet that someone you know is. Even your nice, conservative, Bible-preaching church has gay people in it, because gays didn’t choose gayness–they just are.

It reminds me of the story of the soldier, just returning from war, who called home from the nearby pay phone before just showing up on the doorstep. “Mom, I’m coming home! Yes, I’ll be glad to see everybody, too. But… I’m bringing my buddy with me. He lost his legs in battle so he’s in a wheelchair. But I hope you won’t mind.” Then he listened as his mom explained that they don’t really have room, and that the house is not set up for a wheelchair, and she’d prefer he not bring his buddy home. “Yeah, I understand.” Then the soldier–who had no buddy with him, but was himself confined to a wheelchair after being injured in battle–shot himself and took his own life. He had used the story to test the water, and decided he would not be that burden to his family.

I am not kidding when I tell you that your kids, or your friend’s kids, are testing you to learn what you are truly thinking. Most of them know someone who’s gay, that’s certain. You cannot prevent your son’s getting injured in war, but you can love him unconditionally when he rolls in in a wheelchair. And you cannot change your LGBTQ son or daughter, but you can love them as God told you to love them. I personally know parents who have found their gay child hanging from a rope or with their brains blown out. If you now feel assaulted by such a gruesome image, then that’s all the more reason to be part of the solution instead of unwittingly being part of the cause. That means creating a welcoming environment for anyone… and that means anyone. Because someone you love might just be navigating their way through an environment you’re helping maintain.

Jesus did not call us to discriminate on those we don’t agree with–he told us to love others and let him be God.  Don’t let this scare you–Christ-followers have no reason to be scared. We have an enormous God!

As the PFLAG slogan says… Be careful who you hate, it could be someone you love.

8 thoughts on “Don’t Hate Someone You Love

  1. Be careful who you hate, it could be someone you love – love that. It is so true. Since I’ve started my blog about my son being gay, it has amazed me how many people have responded to my comments of what people have said in my presence not knowing that my son was gay. The very people who have said the hateful things, have come to me and told me how wrong those people were for saying them. Unfortunately, I think the Christian mind-set about gay people is so ingrained into our thinking that sometimes we don’t even realize what is coming out of our mouths. We need to be careful of our words. I think what it really comes down to with these people is that they’ve known my son all of his life…they just didn’t know he was gay. They’ve loved him, not knowing he was gay. And now that they know…they have to face their beliefs about it. Knowing someone has made it more real to them. I am seeing some change…however small…but it is giving me hope. We need to love each other….because love matters.

  2. Pingback: Don’t Hate Someone You Love « FreedHearts | PFLAG Atlanta

  3. This is such a timely and necessary post. Just earlier today I was listening to one of my favorite pastor’s podcasts – a sermon entitled “Go and Do Likewise.” The preaching text was The Good Samaritan parable from Luke. There are endless parallels, as you well know, to the way that Jews felt about Samaritans and the way that so many ‘religious’ people feel about those in the LGBT community. And here’s Jesus, telling the ‘religious’ guy – the one who wanted to pick apart the Law with technical question of, “Now, exactly WHO is my neighbor?” – to go and be like the revolting, repulsive Samaritan in his love and care for his fellow man! Outrageous!!! I love what Pastor Jonathan Martin said in this sermon: “Legalism causes us to find boundaries that don’t exist, to draw lines that don’t exist.” But love? Love keeps replacing the holiness code with mercy. Love keeps replacing the legalistic systems of morality that choke us to death with the mercy that gives us life. And the real kicker, of course, is that it is so, so often in the face of the suffering, half-dead guy on the road that we see Jesus.

    We have to ask ourselves: How often ARE we hating on someone we love? Every single time we discriminate, oppress, mock, shame, or ignore and turn our backs on those in the gay community, we are doing the same thing to Jesus. Every.Single.Time.

    Susan, thank you for writing this poignant and stirring post. It should get us all thinking.

  4. This touches me profoundly as most of my side of the family, brother, mother, sister have not shown the love and support for my son that I foolishly thought they would. The day my son came out, my mother “died” figuratively. I have never been able to make her understand the sense of betrayal. My son deals with her better than I do. When she decided that her “christian” teachings regarding being gay were more important than her relationship with her grandson or with me; something literally broke inside me. Your heart can break; I very distinctly felt it. The pain that she caused my son and continues to cause with her inability to embrace his husband are with me every day. Every time she attempts to arrange some type of family get-together is like a knife twisting in my gut. She knows we won’t accept without my son-in-law being welcomed but she does it anyway. I will never, ever understand her decision, and I will never feel the same way about her as I did before.

    • Shirley, I am so sorry about what you have had to go through. There is simply no way to justify such betrayal; even if her interpretation of those verses were correct, her reaction is far, far from the heart of God. It has nothing to do with being “righteous” but only self-righteous; only reflects her own fear and pride. Thank God your son has you and your husband. That makes the whole situation much easier. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Wonderful article and message. Thankfully my son did not take his life though I found he was cutting himself at 16 but we got through it with help. Now he is doing well at 29 and living in New York and is working as a professional actor.

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