At some point in my young adulthood life, my views on most social politics changed. This is anything but uncommon. You grow up believing in certain truths, but then your eyes adjust to the world around you.
I’ve mentioned this before, but my first “ah hah” moment took place in an APU classroom. I was incredibly conservative on all issues and got into an argument with a very liberal professor. He believed he was right in saying that Jesus would approve Obamacare. That if he were a politician, he would sit on the board and vote a big YES. Besides my own agenda against that, that argument didn’t sit right with me. He asked me why I disagreed and I told him, “Because Jesus wasn’t a politician. That wasn’t what he came here for.” And as soon as the words were out of my mouth, I felt them come back and slap me across the face. Because Jesus wasn’t a politician. That wasn’t what he came here for.
I believe in voting, and I believe in social justice, and I believe in fighting for what matters, But when you get too caught up in anything… be it American pride, a political party, tensions in society, or even legalism…. you can lose sight of what does matter. More than anything else, I believe in love. I believe all things should be looked at through a lens of loving more. That is what I believe Jesus wanted us to focus on in his Greatest Commandments.
This is difficult in Christian circles and “tough love” examples. But here’s the truth: taking your kid to get a shot hurts you too. You may know that what you are doing is necessary for them in the long run, but seeing your kid cry and be upset is still painful. The same way that sitting down with your friend about him getting behind the wheel of a car drunk is terrifying. It makes you feel sick because you love your friend; you don’t want him to hate you, but you are willing to risk it in order to speak to him in love. You know what you don’t do? You don’t post it on Facebook and tell everyone that your buddy is a drunk driver and needs to repent of his ways. That would be cruel. So why are people sharing articles about how the homosexual lifestyle is a sin and that you think their marriages are wrong? Everyone knows who you are speaking to. How dare you think that this is anything less than cruel?
My personal beliefs have changed about all of this – not only do I fully support gay marriage (also known as… marriage), but I don’t think homosexual relationships are inherently sinful. And I don’t see the point in believing they are. But even if they were, since when does a sin mean someone cannot be married? I read that marriage certificates started being required in order to ban interracial marriage. Before that, common-law took effect, and living together was enough of a reason to be considered married. Either way, the same is true: people are using the government in order to force something that makes them uncomfortable to be illegal.
I used to believe in a hundred different things. First gay people scared me. Then I made gay friends, and they stopped scaring me, but I used my religion to decide that what they feel is wrong. With time, I started believing it was just the actions that made it sin, or engagement in the feelings. Some more time taught me that OK, who really cares, but maybe they can just have the rights of domestic partnerships match those of marriage, but we should keep that for ourselves. But over and over, I thought of one of my best friends who had painfully told me that he just wants to be with one person forever. He has the exact same want that I have. He wants to be with someone he loved. With time, the love that I have for this friend as well as listening to other people has changed my heart. Also the arguments in my Bible classes for why, perhaps, this isn’t as black-and-white as the church thinks it is got me to make peace with it in my religion. To learn how the church used verses that we read in order to keep people of color from having any authority has made me rethink how we use verses to further our own agenda.
It isn’t wrong for your beliefs to change. It isn’t wrong to grow. Politically, the idea of “flip flopping” on an issue is a bad one. A politician can have things he voted for 30 years ago ruin his current career if his views changed. But constantly growing is the only way to live. Personally, I want to be more loving and compassionate and understanding. I want to enable those without a voice in this society to be heard. I want to use my voice to bring light to the stories all around us.
If you want to be known as a Christian that lacks love and understanding, you can go on sharing those articles and telling everyone what you think. Fine, but know you’re the reason people misunderstand God’s love. Just keep in mind that you can grow. You can change. You can love better, if you want to. You don’t have to suddenly go to gay pride events (in fact, please don’t unless you change your view in if homosexuality is a sin). But before you hit “share” and feel like Jesus for the world not liking your political views — think. Think about what your end goal is. Think about who you are serving. And keep in mind that Jesus didn’t ask you to save the world based on how you feel about things — he asked you to love people like you love yourself.
Disclaimer: Please do not comment if you are looking for an argument. Please do not comment about whether or not you think homosexuality is a sin — that is not the point of this post. Please DO comment about your own experiences. Please DO comment if you feel hurt or unheard. Please DO comment if you think I could further grow in love and how (as someone who does not simply disagree with me about gay marriage.) This needs to be a safe place. I will delete comments that I do not feel would be safe for people to read. This is not the place for that. Thank you for helping me create this environment.