Being thought of as “less than a person” by other people hurts…
The words have been ringing my ears for weeks. Ever since one of my dearest friends said them to me. I ached for him. For the others that I know must feel that way.
I know the feeling of inferiority. There’s always someone better. More popular. Prettier. Skinnier. Smarter. Wittier. Richer. With a better job.
But to be thought of as “less than a person” is just a deeper kind of hurt. To be made to feel unworthy to be thought of as human—I’ve never felt that. And I just can’t imagine it.
Why does he feel that way?
I’ve been feeling this post coming for a long time, but I’ve put it off because I have this innate fear of saying the wrong thing. Or the right thing at the wrong time or in the wrong way or to the wrong person. But today, the Dixie Cup of my heart that’s been holding all of these thoughts fell apart at the seams. Have you ever had that happen? Have you held a paper cup full of liquid in your hands for so long that the seams soaked through and finally gave way? That happened to my heart today.
…less than a person…
I’m a pastor’s daughter who has worked in ministry for my entire adult life. I never thought much about the gay community until recent years. Honestly, I didn’t have much reason to. I just didn’t encounter many gay folks. It’s not that I hated them or condemned them. I just never really thought about them. Then, one by one, I started to have friends come into my life that were gay.
I welcomed them and soon found them to be some of the most precious people I have ever known. Loving. Sensitive. Caring. Kind. Loyal. Insightful. Talented. In a word: amazing.
In no way could I ever categorize any of my gay friends as “less than a person.”
Yet one after another, some of my other friends (who, by the way, call themselves Christians) surrounded me with criticism, skepticism, and judgmentalism, all masquerading as concern. I was told that I was compromising my Christianity by being friends with gays. I was told that I was being a bad example to other Christians. I was instructed to make sure that my gay friends knew that they are living a sinful lifestyle that’s an abomination to God—in other words—make sure to judge them and make them feel condemned.
Not one of my Christian friends said, “Sarah, just love them well—like Jesus does.”
Today, I lay back in my recliner with my eyes closed and the music playing through my earphones. Mark Hall’s voice filled my ears and collapsed my Dixie Cup:
“We cut down people in Your name, but the sword was never ours to swing.”
“Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers.”
“Make the righteous turn away and the stones fall from their hands.”
“No one knows what we’re for, only against, when we judge the wounded.”
“What if we put down our signs, crossed over the lines, and loved like You did?”
(lyrics by Mark Hall and Matthew West)
Today, I wish I could say to the entire gay community, I’m sorry for every Christian voice that has carried judgment and condemnation and accusation towards you. Every Christian doesn’t feel this way. And you don’t deserve it. You are worth more than that. You are more than your sexuality. You aren’t “less than.” You are amazing. And I love you.
And I believe Jesus loves you, too.
God created the church to be a sanctuary—a place of refuge that everyone can go to and feel safe, secure, welcome, whole. I can’t change the whole church. But I pledge to be that place. I pledge my heart to be a place of refuge where you can come to feel safe, secure, welcome, and whole.
** Disclaimer **
The opinions expressed in this blog are mine and mine alone—not my employer’s or my church’s.