Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Just Write: On being wrong

"If we feel that we already know something in its totality, 
then we fail to keep our ears and eyes open to that which may expand 
or even change that which we so zealously think we know."
~ Madeleine L' Engle, Walking on water

I've been wrestling with things for years - things I've called "issues" - when those issues are really people, and the real issue at hand is love.  Leave it to this election season to bring this issue of love to the surface, to force me out of my comfort zone and rip my heart wide open.  The thing is, I've asked for it. 

I've begged God, Open my eyes.  Show me how to love here.  If I'm wrong, make that clear to me.

And I'm getting what I asked for.

Oh friends.  I've grown up, as long as I can remember, with this fear of doing wrong, being wrong, making mistakes and hurting people.  I'm so thankful for a family who has passed on to me a rich heritage of devotion to Christ, which I have made my own.  At the same time, because the Church is still a work in progress, I've spent years unlearning things ingrained in me from an early age with the best of intentions.  Things I no longer see as black and white, right or wrong, because as far as I can tell, God hasn't appointed me that job of judging other people's lives and hearts.  It's a full-time job just keeping my own in check.

I'm not saying there isn't right or wrong, not at all.  I'm simply rejecting the idea that I know in entirety what that is.  What I do know is that when I peer deep and intent into my own heart, I find plenty there that isn't right.  Plenty there that burns my eyes.  I am, in no way, less in need of Christ than the person next to me.

So, when I think of my gay brothers and sisters, I need to make a confession, and I need to make it here, on my knees:

I have judged you.  
I have not loved you well.  
I have not looked always looked at you, 
first and foremost, as people, 
but at times, as an "issue" on the table to discuss.
I have been afraid,
defensive in my heart. 
Please forgive me.  
I want to know you.
I want to love you.

I don't have this figured out.  I don't know what it all means.  I will make mistakes.  And I think I'm finally arriving at a point where that's ok, even good.  It's how I am enlarged.

I hear the tiredness and hurt in peoples' voices, and I'm tired, too.  Of the hypocrisy, the division and wars, of having been part of the problem.  Of the inconsistent messages of truth.  How we Christians have waged campaigns against behaviors we've deemed as sins, burned people in the name of "love," all the while remaining largely silent on behaviors Jesus condemned as destructive, at least some of which are prevalent in our own lives - pride, lust, gossip, lying, marital unfaithfulness, sexual promiscuity, drunkenness, gluttony, selfish ambition, idolatry.  

I'm guilty, friends. I need look no further than my own life to pray, Lord have mercy.

I wrote a post back in February about some of this, and it elicited mixed reactions from readers - silence, praise, disgust, anger - and this, too, is teaching me.  I thought it took a lot of guts for me to write that then, but it's nothing compared to how I feel at the thought of hitting "publish" now. 

A lot of what I wrote then is still true of where my heart is - the stuff on wanting to be known for what I'm for, not what I'm against.  The desire to be known as someone who loves liberally, to be characterized by continuous improvement.  

But some of the things I thought I knew are expanding as my ears and eyes are opened to the scandalous more of who God is.  Something big is changing since that post: I support my homosexual neighbors and friends and sisters and brothers.  I know that may offend people, on either "side" - because I'm late to the table, or I've arrived here at all - but I'm tired of sides, too.  Because my only "issue" on the table is to love God and my neighbors and to live my life humbly seeking his heart, to become more like him.  I don't need to make other peoples' lives and hearts my issue, and in doing so, inflict pain.  I don't need to be Right.  I don't want to perpetuate a fear-based faith.

Don't I know, I could spend a lifetime learning how to love and still be millions of miles from home?  Let my journey begin and end there.  And please, if you are willing, forgive my missteps along the way.  I've got a lot of growing to do.

* I owe some of these changes to the thought-provoking, honest writing of a few others:
Soulforce: What the Bible says and doesn't say about homosexuality; Open letters written between Heather King and her friend, Vikki ; and Sarah Bessey: In which I tell you the truth about telling the truth.

*Linking up with Just Write today, which you can check out here.


  1. I love your heart, your humility...your willingness to dig deeper to become more like Jesus. Bless you, friend.

    1. Oh, friend. It feels like excavating a mine sometimes, you know? Writing this felt so much more risky than it probably was, packed way more of a punch in my heart than it did in my words. I think lots of people could read it and think, that's it? That's your big revelation? And others, I know, could read it and wonder what's happened to me, if I've "watered down" my faith. But really, even though I don't know what this means for me in nearly as eloquent and clear words as Heather and Sarah have written, I felt I needed to try to put to words, in a leap of faith, what's been weighing heavy for quite some time. And it's so much about MY heart and how much I need Jesus to show me, to empower me, to live the kind of humble, selfless, bold love that he did. Thanks, so much, for responding here.

  2. Amazing and eloquent. My thoughts and my heart exactly. I've recently come to this place as well and its as if you read my mind! Honestly, you put it into words much better than I could have. I'll be sharing.

    1. Thank you for sharing, Alecia. I don't have a lot of people around me that are in this place, so it's nice to hear from someone who gets the wrestling and all that comes with it. Bless you in this place, and wherever you go from here.