Photo by My Name is Randy
I’m going to try to say something as simply and clearly as I can, on a topic so prone to stirring up everything that’s opposite of “simple and clear.”
As a Christian, I owe it to myself and to God to always be as true as possible to who I am and where I’m at.
And as a Christian, I owe it to others and to God to give everyone else the grace they need to do the same.
Sometimes, being true to who I am and where I’m at means being true to the explorations and questions—to the confusion I’m feeling in a given time of my life. It means that sometimes I feel better about where I’m at than others. Sometimes I’m in touch with who I think I was created to be, and sometimes I’m just trying to find—or avoid—that person.
Whatever that truth is, right now, I owe it to myself and to God to be honest about it. As far as I can tell, there’s no other way to love yourself or to allow God and others to love you. And there’s no better way to open yourself to the possibility of redemption and renewal.
Giving others the grace they need to do the same means, in its most basic sense, that another person’s truth about who they are and where they’re at is none of my business. I don’t get to analyze or comment on it. I don’t get to judge or call them out.
And if I can muster up enough grace, I can go one step further—rather than just giving others space, I can give them the support and love that helps them be in that space. I can give them hope that God is also in that space, at work. It’s not my job to determine how exactly God is at work, or what I think he should be trying to do; I only need to communicate my belief that he is there, doing something.
Do you see what happens if we can do those two basic things for ourselves and others? Our focus becomes less about good and bad, right and wrong, and conflicting biblical interpretations. It becomes more about something I think all Christians can agree on: God is at work in the world. And the more willing we are to be open and honest with God and with each other, the more open we are to redemption in our lives, whatever that might look like. (Again? Not really my business. I can just be excited and ready to enjoy the show.)
Christians, please stop asking people to pretend they’re someone they’re not. Stop encouraging people, even unintentionally, to hide, to hold deep secrets, to live in shame, and to pull away from God.