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It could be as subtle as hearing “Aunt Marge” whisper to another relative “We need to pray for that boy. He struggles with his sexuality;” or as loud as a screaming stranger holding a sign that reads “God Hates Fags.” It could be seen in the form of a friend finding out that you have a same sex partner and “accidentally” losing your phone number; or it can be seen as the door is closed in your face by a parent trying to show “God’s tough love.” – Anyway that it is seen – it is deeply felt and it hurts. Prejudice is never easy to deal with but especially if the person judging you calls themselves a “Christian.”
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I once heard Joyce Meyer say that you can go sit in your garage all day long but it won’t make you a car. While that’s humorous, it’s very true when it comes to calling yourself by a certain label. Anyone can say that they are a Christian, a liberal or a duck for that matter, but in Texas we have a saying: “If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck – it’s a duck!” That’s not some brand new concept. Actually the Bible introduced that thinking in the New Testament when Christ told us not to just pay attention to people’s words, but to look at how they live also. When people identify themselves as “Christian” they should hold to the same standards as Christ Himself.
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In the book of Galatians Paul wrote to a church that was having some problems of their own dealing with false teachers that were causing trouble amongst the believers. He says “The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” He goes on to give us a list of acts that are sinful. Hatred, discord, fits of rage, selfish ambition, and dissension were just a few mentioned. And then he warns us that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (So don’t worry – those people full of hate won’t be in heaven with us!)
Paul also gives us a list of what types of fruit our fellow Christians should exude:
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But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, He will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:19-23
So what about those Christians like “Aunt Marge” who might have good intentions at heart? There are some examples in the Bible where “Christians” had their “Ah ha” moment and completely changed. As a matter of fact the guy we’ve been talking about, Paul had his moment on the road to Damascus where God revealed to him that it wasn’t good to go around killing Christians. Paul, who was known then as Saul, had grown up being told that this was a Godly thing to do. Thankfully God revealed the Truth to Paul.
In the book of Acts Peter announces he has learned the lesson of the heavenly vision and states:
God has shown me that I should not call any man impure [common] or unclean (v. 28; compare vv. 14-15). Just as the external cultural barrier between holy and profane (the common), clean and unclean, has come down, so the prejudicial barrier between races and ethnic groups is forever removed. No human being is to be treated as profane, somehow beyond the reach of a sacred God’s saving and sanctifying work. No human being is to be viewed as unclean, a hindrance to my pursuit of spiritual purity before God (compare Jesus’ example in Lk 5:30; 7:34; 15:1).
So what if they don’t change? How long do we “turn the other cheek” and forgive? That’s a personal choice. I believe you should have boundaries in your life and not allow people to hurt you. But there must be a balance of grace and self-awareness. 1 Corinthians challenges us to love beyond our human boundaries and tells us that love is always patient and always kind, and that love endures all things. Proverbs says that a gentle answer will turn away anger. So show your “Aunt Marge” that you have the fruit of a true Christian. Challenge yourself to love and pray for her.
That being said – if the person shows no love in return or they are constantly spewing their judgment at you, it might be a good time to distance yourself. Remember no one should ever be judged by their skin color, their age, their gender, or their sexual orientation. Let’s challenge the gay Christian community to set the example of Christ and bridge the gap! Let’s be one in Christ!
In Him the distinctions between Jew and Gentile, slave and free man, male and female, disappear; you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28
Dig Deeper: 1 Corinthians 13, Proverbs 15:1, Acts 9:1-19, Acts 10:34-35, 1 Peter 2:21, Galatians 3:28
Prayer: Jesus, thank you for loving me when I didn’t deserve it. Please help me show your love and grace to others even when they hurt me. Reveal yourself to them as you did to Paul and show them Your truth. Bring Godly, healthy friendships into my life that will support me and uplift me in Your ways. Amen!
Disclaimer – Please don’t allow anyone – not even us – to dictate your walk with Christ. When you stand before the Lord – you will stand before Him alone. You, only, will be accountable for your actions. It’s a serious responsibility. So dig into the Bible for yourself and challenge your heart to find the truth – not YOUR truth but God’s truth for you. The Word says to seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened.