Homosexuality is a hot topic in my church and in THE church right now.
But it has been a hot topic in my life since a family member came out of the closet when I was a teenager.
This is a personal conversation for me.
I am so weighed down by how the church is handling this conversation, because all I can see is how this conversation impacts my family and myself.
I have been in churches where I was overwhelmed with shame for being so closely connected to someone who was living an “alternative” lifestyle. Shame that felt so heavy I dared not share my secret…. my secret that someone in my own home was gay. What would they think of me? What will they assume about me?
This may be a hot topic for the church but it was and is a shameful conversation for me. I know that I am not alone.
Imagine being a 14-year-old insecure girl or boy being raised by gay or lesbian parents. How would they feel at your church?
Imagine being a 14-year-old insecure girl or boy questioning your own sexual identity. How would they feel at your church?
Would they feel the same shame I felt for years in the church?
I am a grown adult…who works at the church…who is confident in who Jesus is…and wow, I am so glad that I know Jesus. I am so glad that I have learned about how hate sometimes is more a reflection of someone’s own brokenness rather than a reflection of Jesus whom they are trying to follow. I have the ability to see that the way this hot topic is handled in the church or outside the church isn’t a reflection of how Jesus feels about my family member or me. And that ugly shame that I sometimes sense is creeping its way back in my heart and mind…I am strong enough in my faith now to recognize it and call it what it is…a lie.
But I grieve, because there are young students in churches everywhere who don’t yet know Jesus but they know the hate, the anger and the shame around this conversation.
Everyday I pray for grace for the church…and for the fragile hearts we encounter each day in our ministries.
I pray that wherever we find ourselves landing in our theological views of homosexuality that we would cover the conversation with grace and love.
I pray that we would realize that our words could fill some one with either hope or shame.
I pray that love and grace be our greatest contribution to this conversation.
Neely / @neelym