I don’t get political here, or anywhere online as a general rule. And this is really not political, or social, commentary I’m going for here today.
You see, NOTHING has bothered me about the Phil Robertson (Duck Dynasty) controversy except for one thing … the comments I see from one person, very near and dear to me, in support of the reality television star.
This young lady is someone I know to be loving, giving, compassionate and beautiful inside and out. And she is young. And I don’t think she realizes, yet, what exactly she is doing, saying, creating with these very public comments.
So I’m going to tell a story.
There was once a young lady, very much like you. She was very committed, dedicated to her church and her faith. She had strong opinions. The whole LGBT question was simply not “a thing” then but she was such a hard-liner on such a great number of other issues it wasn’t hard to tell where she would stand.
There was a young man, and no, they were not seeing each other. He was a friend. A wonderful, amazing person. Talented, funny, intelligent. The greatest friend a girl could have. Would give you the shirt off his back.
He was also gay.
This story doesn’t end in tragedy as many have done. The young man simply disappeared one day. The young lady learned that he had moved to a big city to get away from the uncomfortableness he felt in a small town. She heard this second hand. The young man simply left, stopped being her friend.
You see, he KNEW that she would not tolerate the way he was choosing to live his life.
He was wrong. Completely. Because this young man was honestly one of the best friends this young lady ever had. Hardly a week goes by that she doesn’t think of him and wish there had been some way to maintain a relationship.
It was entirely her fault. There was no door she left open, no hint that a person who was gay could possibly befriend her, could believe she would love and accept him.
She has not made that mistake since.
Do you know who around you is gay? Do you? I didn’t. Your mom didn’t. Do you know who will suddenly move to California after high school? Who will find a larger city that offers some level of comfort for them? What fantastic person will say goodbye (or never say goodbye), move away from the South and never look back?
My heart for you is to have no regrets. Of course that will not happen. Regrets are a part of life. But the kind of big regret that can never be repaired, the rift in a friendship that can never be made right … I don’t wish that for you.
My heart for you is that you would put FIRST — as Jesus did — the very Christlike quality of compassion, and weigh all of your words and actions against that difficult standard. It’s EASY to post “you are sinful” all over Facebook when you think everyone around you believes the same thing. Don’t do the easy thing. Do the HARD thing, because that is what Christ calls us to do. Stand up and say, “I think it’s far more sinful to preach and model hatred and fear.” Because it is.
My heart for you is that you would be — as Christ is, as Jesus in his life on earth embodied — a refuge for friends who feel discarded, disregarded and marginalized by the rest of society. That you would be the kind of person who can be an example of Christ’s love that cannot be dismissed, ever, even by the hardcore atheist. I know you have it in you!
None — ZERO — of what Phil Robertson said is compassionate. I’m not going to say he isn’t a compassionate person — I have no idea. But what he said had absolutely none of the qualities of compassion and love that Christ asks us to exhibit — to make the first and foremost qualities in our lives and our relationships with others.
I say it again: Who around you is gay? You don’t know? You say no one? You are wrong then. Someone is. Someone on your Facebook friends list is gay, and hiding it. I guarantee it. Someone is cringing and hating themselves every time you post a comment. Possibly someone at this very moment — someone you KNOW — is considering suicide because it seems that everyone around them believes they are a worthless human being. Because of the comments you and so many others posted in support of a person you DO NOT KNOW.
Put yourself in that person’s place (it really is what Jesus would want!!) Think how you would feel if you were hiding something like this, and suddenly everyone around you was saying things that made you believe they would no longer love you if they found out your secret.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But, the greatest of these is love.” I Corinthians 13:13