Christianity is the faith I follow (don’t worry, I’m not here to sermon you). However, I’d like to think of myself as open-minded. I’ve enriched my views with the experiences I’ve had and the friendships I’ve made throughout the past few years. Traveling, living in diverse places, and meeting people with different views has better-shaped my perspectives on many aspects of life.
A few weeks ago, some of my close Christian friends and I were talking about the recent “coming out” of one of our friends. My words of sheer happiness for that person’s self-acceptance were received with opposition and shocked faces. That didn’t bother me though- I knew I was talking to people who had a different way of thinking even though we shared the same faith. What sent chills down my neck was someone’s comment stating that our friend was going to “rot in hell like the rest of them.” That phrase is not new -we’ve all heard it one too many times. Nevertheless, I still couldn’t believe how awful it sounds, especially when combined with a presumptuous tone.
Here I was thinking the world was moving forward with a more respectful and accepting outlook, and there I was hearing judgments being passed on others as if our faith gave us the authority to do so (which it absolutely doesn’t. Please, refer to Luke 6:37 and/or Matthew 7:1). I was left in one piece. I’m not a crier, but my heart was so hurt that I went back to my room and cried, and cried, and cried as if those exact same words had been said to me for being me.
The first thing that came to mind was “How dare you?!” … HOW DARE US judge others with a self-proclaimed superiority? We talk about blessing others all the time at church, but isn’t verbalizing someone’s “rotting in hell” the same as condemning the person? Some of you might be thinking “But Lorena, the Bible says…” Listen, I know what the Bible says, and It can say all it wants but at the end of the day, ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE US, AND IT’S NOT UP TO US TO DECIDE WHO GOES TO HEAVEN OR NOT!
We are supposed to be practicing LOVE, but instead we do the opposite with anyone and everyone who doesn’t agree with us. Most of us don’t even welcome the LGBTQ+ community to church, which is supposed to be a place for all!
I’m writing this in light of the Orlando massacre, and because I’ve recently had a really heavy heart with this topic. I know not everyone has had the opportunity I’ve had to get out of their comfort zone and experience something different, which is why I understand some people’s close-mindedness. However, you don’t need to travel everywhere or meet every single human being in the world to learn RESPECT and TOLERANCE!
Homophobia is not only violent acts against the LGBTQ+ community, it’s also reflected in the discrimination, rejection, and emotional aggression they go through every day by people who choose to practice HATE.
Homophobia starts with YOU not showing respect towards different lifestyles and beliefs. Homophobia starts with YOU not showing your kids tolerance to diversity. Homophobia starts with YOU who thinks that what happened yesterday was God’s punishment. Homophobia starts with YOU thinking you’re better because you follow a certain belief. Homophobia starts with YOU who turns a blind eye every time you see someone being bullied for being part of the LGBTQ+. Homophobia starts with your malicious thoughts and condemning words. Homophobia starts with YOU, but it can stop with YOU too!
I want to close off addressing all my LGBTQ+ friends. My heart is heavy for what happened yesterday. Whether you were a few miles away or a couple thousand miles away, I know you’re thinking “it could’ve been me,” and I know you’re hurting. I’m sorry for all the times you’ve been hated against, especially by those who say they’re Christians. I’m sorry for those who have tried and often times succeeded in making you hate yourself. I’m sorry for that extra heavy burden you’ve had to carry throughout your life. I’m so sorry for the times you’ve felt uncomfortable for being yourself. And I’m so so so so sorry for the times you’ve felt rejection from loved ones.
Know that I love you and that I’m hurting with you. Know that there are people like myself who will speak against HATE, INTOLERANCE, and INJUSTICE notwithstanding our own beliefs or views. You are wonderful, and if the rest of the world can’t see your beauty, then it’s them who need to be changed not you.