Somewhere Over the Rainbow

I don’t need to agree with people to love them any more than God had to agree with me to love me…

I have an amazing sister who happens to be gay, an awesome sister-in-law, two amazingly cute nephews and a friend, who is their biological dad, and who they call daddy…

My sister doesn’t have the same beliefs I do or agree with all the values I live by, yet she loves me unconditionally… She does this while standing for what she believes is right and we don’t argue over it. We don’t post rude, provocative or argumentative statuses on Facebook, or start heated debates over lunch, yet people still know where we stand without too much trouble…

The God I believe in, the Jesus I follow has always loved me. Before I believed, it’s obvious that I didn’t have the same beliefs or values as God did. I stood for what I believed was right. God didn’t speak to me in rude or provocative ways or debated with me in prayer. But I still knew where he stood all along. He responded with love and I was drawn to him and I felt peace and joy because of it. He accepted me despite not accepting all of my ways or decisions.

Why would I act any differently just because I feel I need to ‘stand for what I believe is right?’
The most effective form of standing for what I believe is right is replicating this unconditional love God showed me. My faith becomes no less powerful if I accept and love the people around me.

I don’t need to agree with people to love them any more than God had to agree with me to love me.

If anything this little family have taught me some things about unconditional love and selfless support seeing me go through some dark times. And I don’t need to change my profile pic to a rainbow for them to know I love them, just like they don’t need to change theirs to a cross for me to know they love me. They stand for what they stand for and love me wholly and completely…

I often ask myself why many Christians are not, at the very least, doing the same, but then I realise that when my sister first told me she was gay, I had no idea how to respond as a new Christian. Early on there was tension and misunderstanding between us and we grew apart. We are all growing and our understanding of our faith and our Gods love for us isn’t well communicated at the best of times because it’s a very deep and mysterious love. We do get it wrong and we offend people sometimes, but we’re just human…

So does what I’m saying and my acceptance of my sister, my sister-in-law, my two nephews and their birth father make me a luke-warm follower of Jesus who has watered down his faith so that he is accepted by more people? Does it make me an ineffective Christian?

I’ve prayed, talked to many people, read my bible so many times and I can honestly say that my conscience is clear on this.

This is not about me being ‘right’…

It’s about me thinking I was right at the time my sister and I grew apart, and God showing me differently.
It’s also about me thinking I was wrong when I saw Christian groups and leaders contradicting that way He had showed me, and portraying this argumentative and very abrasive nature on social media and through other media sources, and God showing me differently.

I can’t find one thing in the bible that would contradict anything I’ve just said… My faith and my love come from God who loved me first.

I stand for Gods definition of marriage. Yet I love and accept those who don’t, and I even believe that if same sex couples want equal rights by the governments laws, then they are entitled to them. If the law changes, Gods definition will still exist, and I will still live by it and stand for it. My wife and I will explain to my kids our belief and they will decide where they stand. They will need to accept God for themselves, not have us tell them they have to, and understand his love hopefully through the ‘stand’ we take and example we set.

We need to ask ourselves, how it is we are ‘fighting’ for our beliefs. Are we just letting off steam? And is our stand for Gods definition about faith in God or about bitterness? Is it really necessary for us to sign petitions or to campaign and protest for our way, or is it more valuable for us to live our way and be an example of that way of living? Let’s get our marriages working right and let God into them before we get too focused on anybody else’s relationship choices.

God saw me living in a way he didn’t agree with yet somehow managed to show love and not abrasive, quick tempered approaches to changing me, guilting me and causing division between us. He chose to love me despite his opposing opinion between what he knew to be good for me, and what I had chosen to live out and had decided was good for me.

He still stood clearly for his way and I knew his way had not changed, but he also loved and accepted me in the midst of my personal ignorance. This was not a luke warm, watered down, ineffective message He was delivering in loving me this way, but the most potent and effective catalyst to living with more purpose and love that I’ve ever experienced. It brought me to the place I am now, where I feel closer to God and sense more peace and joy than I’ve ever felt before in my life.

I pray that more Christians everywhere would learn, like I am still, to relax and stop thinking that by loving and accepting people, we are somehow becoming less potent in our faith. Other people in life may not accept our faith as truth but most, like those in my life, can accept us, and we should be doing the same as a bare minimum. Plus we can still hold onto our marriage belief and tradition and it can still hold its full meaning for us even if the law changes! We might then be able to celebrate with heterosexual or homosexual friends and family when they choose to commit to each other for life, while still representing our faith wholly and fully.

Somewhere over the rainbow, beyond the banners and flags, maybe there’s something we are all missing, and we haven’t quietened ourselves for long enough before God to realise what it is…

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