This is the eighth installment in a series of reflections on LGBTQ+ matters.
Proponents of a gentler, more hospitable approach to fellow Christians who are LGBTQ are sometimes criticized for having a soft kind of love and maybe even of offering “cheap grace” to unrepentant sinners. The critics claim that truly loving someone is to show them the error of their ways so as to save them from perdition.
I detest the moral arrogance that leads to things like scarlet letters, burning at the stake, disapprobation for those choosing divorce, and shunning of anyone who persists in sin. In a current instance, some of the righteous seem to harbor particular distaste for anyone committing sexual sin, of which there are many varieties, of course, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
A few decades ago, a friend was made to stand in front of her consistory and confess the sexual sin that resulted in her pregnancy before marriage. This precocious eighteen-year-old had the temerity not only to repent of that sin, but she confessed to the assembled leaders her violation of several other commandments as well. I wonder if anyone recalled Jesus’ instruction about casting stones. I recall a poem by Sietze Bunning about the pious elder Marius who, when his unmarried daughter was discovered to be carrying a child, described his own precious child as “having loved too well.” How different things are when we know them from the inside. How different things look when we admit our own struggles with sin.
Rather than arguing, using acute exegesis, about whether same sex behavior is sinful, would it not be better to love each other too well, not to condone what might be an offense, but to walk with charity, good will and kindness in the world instead of with retributive harshness? The LGBTQ community invites sisters and brothers in Christ to be hospitable to themselves, and to the beauty and complexity in people they meet.
Purity codes do not seem to be called for in a New Testament world where God says to us all, “I’ve got you covered!” What a relief to take off cloaks of self-righteousness and find compassion for each other in our own imperfection. What a blessing we could be if we emptied ourselves of our indignation over the alleged Ten Commandment violations of others in order to embrace our siblings with humble awareness of our own broken ways, and of God’s broad mercy.
From time to time a member of All One Body will post to this blog. We will also have guest commentary. Stay tuned!