I remember growing up in a somewhat small town in Mississippi where the word “divorced” was said in a hushed tone. Women who were “divorced” and not remarried were seen as a little dangerous…a little tawdry. Those who spoke against divorce used Scripture to prove how wrong it was, and how righteous they were in standing against it. After all, there are references to Jesus speaking against divorce, (Matthew 19:8-10) and various references to the piety of staying single.
Years later, American culture has come to different understanding based on the overarching belief of God’s love us and how God wouldn’t want us to live unhappy, unfulfilled lives with those who may even be detrimental to our spiritual and emotional health. We’ve moved past the belief of Scriptures that a deceased husband’s brother should marry the widow. Nobody I know would advocate for that, yet it is Biblical.
Today’s hushed tones come about when someone is “gay.” Yet through social media, it’s not so hush hush. There’s outright hatred expressed openly, without any thought over who in their circle of friends might have a gay brother, sister, son or daughter. There’s high and mighty stands taken over some duck guy who is participating in a capitalistic system for the money, of which A&E is guaranteed their rights to buy and sell whatever “product” they want as well. If they don’t want to sell the product that the duckman offers, all of a sudden it’s a matter of right to free speech. Totally absurd.
Those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered are not making some lifestyle choice. Anyone who knows and is friends with someone can understand more deeply the pain associated with realizing who one is on the continuum of sexuality. Being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered isn’t about a sexual act alone. It’s a matter of identity. Who one is at the core of their being. Wanting to love and be loved. Saying that that person should try to love differently is no different than saying a wife should stay married to a husband with whom she is deeply unhappy. Saying that a person should just negate their desire to love is no different than saying one who is divorced should never marry again. Some may still advocate for that, yet God’s pervasive love indwells us all, and it seeks to find a home – with us loving one another in dedicated, caring ways that raise our gifts up for the glory of God.
This is how I feel…what I believe. I live as one who understands God’s intense grace that has made my life so very different and better from anything I could’ve imagined on my own. I have friends who are gay and lesbian. I have friends whose children are gay and lesbian. If I were to remain silent, it would serve to condone the hate that is being spread through social and traditional media. I want for them the same I want for any child of God: to be able to express the love God has given them through caring, devoted relationships that raise up their most authentic and best selves. After all, each of us is a unique portrait of God – carrying facets of the Imago Dei. Perhaps when we can accept one another’s differences and learn to love as God we will see not as in a “mirror dimly” but we will see the fullness of God’s perfect love.