“Uh-Uh,” I said. “You are not allowed to say such things in this car.”
“But the Bible says that being gay is a sin,” said the child.
Well, you want to know what the Bible also says? That thou shalt not eat bacon (Leviticus 11:7). That thou shalt not have tattoos (Leviticus 19:28). That thou shalt not wear spandex (Leviticus 19:19). I guess everybody at my CrossFit gym is doomed!
Growing up, church always seemed to be about all of the things thou shalt not do. But as an adult and reborn Christian, I was surprised to learn that there are only TWO commandments containing all of the laws of God. Just two. (Is anyone else surprised by this?!)
1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Matthew 22:37)
2. Love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:39)
On the way to church yesterday, my son asked me about what his friend said. Was it true that being gay is a sin? I explained to him that I did not have the authority or the power to determine what is or is not a sin, only God does. Though the Bible speaks out about homosexuality, it also speaks out about practices no longer shunned in our modern world, such as women not being allowed to speak in church (1 Corinthians 14:34) and long hair being disgraceful for men (1 Corinthians 11:14).
I told my son the one thing I knew for sure was that as a Christian, I am directed to simply love my neighbor as myself. To have hatred towards anyone- whether it is based on sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, religion, or because someone said something mean to you in the lunchroom- is in direct contravention to one of only two commandments God has given us to obey.
Can you imagine a world where we ALL just loved our neighbors as ourselves? Sign me up. I want to go to there.
The pastor at my church recently said the opposite of love is not hate. It is fear. Think about that for a second.
I have to believe it is fear that causes a child to be taught to hate someone he doesn’t even know. The fear that someone’s skin color is different. The fear that someone feels love in a different way. The fear that someone worships a different god. It is the fear of someone being different that stirs up this hatred. And isn’t it funny how many times as a parent you tell your child to embrace his or her differences? “The world would be a boring place if we were all the same,” we tell our kids.
I recently had a vision or a dream or something weird. In it, what appeared to be a filthy man in rags approached me. As he came closer, I saw a bright light. In a split second, I was given great clarity. What if the poor, the needy, the oppressed- the ones who are different- are really a test for each of us regarding our capacity to love? And every time we look away or refuse to help or express hatred or disdain, we fail the test. These are the very people that Jesus loved and cared for the most. Shouldn’t we as well? We are not commanded to “Love only those people who are exactly like you.”
As I sat in church yesterday, I wondered if I said the right things to my son. Did I get my message of love across to him? We bowed our heads to pray, and there I saw it. Etched onto the surface of my apparently recycled church program were the words, “Every day love is a choice.” Pastor Chris spoke these words as it related to marriage last week, but I think it applies here as well.
Every day, we are given a choice. A choice to love our neighbor, to fear our neighbor, to hate our neighbor. God tells us to choose love so I am going to choose love. I am also going to teach my children to choose love.
You may not agree with me on my views in this post (or any of my former posts for that matter). But that’s okay. You are entitled to your opinions, and I will respect them. And I am going to do my best to love you no matter what because I believe if everything we said or did went through a filter of love, our world would be a much better place. Choose love. It really is all you need.