Created Blessed, not Condemned
by: Debra Rivera
If we are created in his image then why then are we condemned?
When I was 18-years-old, I accepted Jesus into my heart and life. God always made me feel loved and accepted by him, even when I decided the "straight life" wasn't for me, he never made me feel persecuted or that I could no longer worship him. He has always welcomed me regardless of my sexual orientation. I ask then, what gives so called "Christians" the right to say I'm an abomination?
For many years I've watched people struggle with their Christianity and sexuality. Many years ago my spouse attended a church that started in someone's basement on Long Island. The church grew in number and they decided to build a great tabernacle to worship in. She worked side by side with other congregants building their altar to the sky. Shortly after they moved into the tabernacle, someone found out she was a lesbian. After all her hours of devotion and hard work, she was cast out of the church. Jesus ate with prostitutes, theives, lepers, tax collectors and many other undesireables, what gives them the right to judge a sister in Christ?
In the Bible, Matthew 7:1 says:
Jesus has commanded us not to judge one another. How can they truly call themselves Christians if they can judge me simply because of who I love?
In the book, "Congregations in Conflict: The Battle over Homosexuality," by Keith Hartman, we meet the Reverend Jimmy Creech. Rev. Creech was a Methodist minister and he's very involved with civil rights, homelessness, and the responsibility of the church to involve itself in the world and to deal with social problems. Just around the time Rev. Creech arrived at his new church in Raleigh, North Carolina, the city's commission of human resources and human relations was debating to change to change Raleigh's non-discrimination statute to include sexual orientation. If passed the measure would mean that employees of the city government could no longer be fired or demoted for simply being gay.
A woman named Nancy Kepple approached Rev. Creech at a civil rights rally, and asked him to come to a meeting about this issue. At the meeting, person after person got up and told how they had been beaten, blackmailed, fired or harassed by the police. One man spoke of being knifed and several women talked about losing custody of their children. What really shocked Rev. Creech and the other ministers though was the way these people spoke about the church. For many of them it was not a source of strength and safety, but something out to persecute them. The ministers had always thought of Christ as a source of love, a champion of the underdog, and it disturbed them greatly to hear of all this persecution.
Before this meeting, Rev. Creech had never given much thought to homosexuals. Afterward, all he could think about was how much God loves us all and how terrible these people must feel not being able to love God freely in return. He recalled Luke 10:27: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself." At that point, Rev. Creech joined the cause for human rights and religious freedom.
In an article found on the Web site Operation Save America, written by Flip Benham, gay Christians are portrayed as demons and outcasts. They quote many Bible verses and claim that pastors that affirm and support gays are deceiving their congregations with a monstrous lie. In this article they ask if God's love for the homosexual is unconditional? Yes! Is God's mercy and forgiveness given unconditionally to those continuing in homosexual sin? No! They quote Proverbs 28:13, "he who conceals his sin does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy." well nowhere in that verse do I see the word homosexual. Also, most of the gay Christians I know who truly walk with God are in loving, monogamous relationships.
As long as I love my spouse, honor my vows, and honor my commitment to God and my spouse God will bless my life and my marriage. All he asks of me is that I live a good Christian life, thank him, worship and praise him and treat others how I would treat him. He desires me to be happy and to love and be loved. We are first of all, beloved children of the heavenly King. How other people could condemn and persecute me, I don't understand.
In John 15:12 it says: "My command is this; love each other as I have loved you." In John 15:17 it goes on: "This is my command; love each other." I may not like the others who persecute me, but as a child of God, I love them all. After all proverbs 10:12 says: "Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs."
Copyright © 2004 by the author