FOR THE DAY YOU ARE REJECTED BY A LOVED ONE FOR BEING GAY
“I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them as their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.’”
- Revelation 21: 3-4
Dear Brother, Dear Sister, Dear Friend,
I am so sorry that this day has come to pass. Family and friends have a sacred duty to love one another. We are called to see, celebrate, and nurture the good in each other, to witness the image of God in each other’s eyes. In his book Works of Love, philosopher Soren Kierkegaard (1962) demonstrates that Christians are called to love all their neighbors as themselves, and that this command from God extends to all people, not just the people who live or look or believe like we do. We are called even to love our enemies, for love alone is the fulfillment of the law of God.
Sadly, so many times, we all fall short of this great command to love our neighbors. We fail even to love those closest to us. And when we fail, people get hurt. Today is a day when others failed to show you the love you deserve, and I am sorry.
Maybe a parent told you there is something wrong with you, or maybe a friend told you they don’t want to see you anymore, or maybe a pastor told you that what you feel inside is morally wrong. Whatever situation you find yourself in today, someone failed to see the good in you, and they chose to believe a lie.
It can be especially troubling if the person who hurt you professes to be a Christian. Their act of rejection may lead you to feel as if you are abandoned by all people of faith. Believe me when I say that being rejected for being gay is a flagrant violation of the way of Christ. In John 13: 34-35, Jesus says “… I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Why did this person fail to love you perfectly today?
Human beings are complicated and flawed. We do not always see the truth. Sometimes we cling to hurtful ideas because they make us feel safe, powerful, or right. And sometimes we fail to open our hearts to the living truth of God, the radical truth of Love who became man and died on the cross for our salvation. Sometimes people believe things that are not true because they are too afraid to question, to grow, to change, to challenge. Fear is the enemy of love. It is a tragedy when people choose hate and fear over love, and it happens too often.
So what now? Where will you go from here? Please, in this moment of deep agony, pray. Lift your suffering and your rejection to God. Invite Him to work in your heart, in your relationships, in your struggles. Our Jesus faced the pain of rejection when he was abandoned by his friends and disciples the night before his death. They left him to face the torments of the cross alone. He understands what you are going through. He is with you. Go to him, talk to him, and listen for his voice. Let his compassion enter your soul and heal you.
Now is a dangerous time. Pain can easily turn into a poison that turns us away from God, kills our love, and buries us in hatred, judgment, and bitterness. It is so easy to hate and it can be so challenging to love. Please, do not let this primal wound steal your goodness, your innocence, or your truest self in Christ.
Someone hurt you today. It was wrong. It was evil at work. But please, let the evil stop with you. Let God transform your pain into an ocean of mercy. Remember those who suffer with you and remember that the person who hurt you also suffers. They committed an act of cruelty, cowardice, ignorance, injustice, and hate today. Sin like that is born of pain and it will breed deeper pain in their soul.
It would be so easy to hate the parent, the friend, the minister who rejected you. But hate only breeds more hate. Listen to the words of Jesus from Matthew 5: 44-45: “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.”
Invite God to move in you so that a miracle can happen. God calls us to love our enemies, but this does not mean that we should allow ourselves to be abused or remain in unhealthy situations. Jesus came so we could live in freedom, not subjugation. Indeed, Galatians 5: 1 reads, “For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.” It is sometimes necessary to remove ourselves from contact with people who hurt us in order to be safe, to be healthy, and to grow into the people God created us to be. But even if a relationship changes or ends, true freedom can only be achieved if we let go of hatred, malice, and bitterness. In our hearts, we must hope and pray for the redemption and salvation of those who hurt us. Would it not be a beautiful thing if they reformed and offered us love instead of hate? Would it not be miraculous if, one day, the parent, the friend, the pastor embraced you with kindness, mercy, and an open heart? Even if they were forever removed from your life, would it not be better for a quiet peace to lie between you rather than bitterness, anger, and unspoken pain?
The journey to inner peace and reconciliation is long and difficult, especially when the wounds we carry seem unforgiveable. I am not asking you to ignore your pain or hide it deep within yourself. I am not asking you to act the part of the perfect Christian. This would be dishonest, unhealthy, and hurtful for you and everyone around you. Such artifice would keep you from sharing your testimony about the deep pain of sin and the saving power of God’s grace. It will take time for you to heal. You are hurting, and I am sorry. I simply hope that this pain moves you not to bitterness or hate, but instead ever closer to the heart of God.
God heals all our wounds and moves in us to bring about His Kingdom. We must hold onto each other in times of suffering. Reach out to good friends and family members you can trust. Let them hold you and care for you. Let the love of God shine through them into your soul. And together, let us dream of the day promised in Revelation 21: 3-4: “I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them as their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.’”
Until that perfect day of the new creation comes, we hold each other, and God holds us in the quiet. Someone failed to embrace you today, but please know that I embrace you, I accept you, and you belong with me, with the people of God, and with the human race. You are loved by me and you are loved by God. Let us work together to stretch the embrace wider, find the other people out there who are hurting with us, and let everyone in.
Kierkegaard, S. (1962). Works of love: Some Christian reflections in the form of discourses. Translated by Howard and Edna Hong. New York, NY: Harper Torchbooks.