Disclaimer: There are some who may find this post offensive. If you do not like discussions about religion, you may want to skip reading today as I am on my soapbox. If you are a family member I invite you to stay and read but only if you can keep an open mind.
The last few days have been quite interesting for me. Not at work. Work is still going great. The kids opened their presents today and almost made me cry. They were so happy with the scarves that you would have thought I had given them a million dollars. The boys were thrilled with their team color scarves and the girls all loved the bright colors that they got. Their response was so gratifying and it made me beyond grateful for the children that God blessed me with this year.
No, work hasn't been the challenge.
I am a Christian. I believe that we are all born sinners and that sin separates us from a holy and just God. I believe that God, because of His immense love for us, sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins in order that we might be made righteous in His sight. I believe that the only way that we can get to heaven is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. We can never be good enough, kind enough, give enough money, go to church enough, etc. to get to heaven. All of our good deeds look like filthy rags in God's eyes. We can not earn our way to heaven; we must accept God's gift of salvation. I believe that the Bible is the Word of God and not just "some book." I believe in the authority of the Scripture.
I am a sinful human being. When I read the Bible, I see my sins. I then have a choice. I can accept what the Bible says, be humble enough to admit that I am wrong, as forgiveness, and move on, or I can have a heart filled with pride and not admit my sin for what it is...SIN. Human beings naturally do not like to admit that what they are doing is wrong because we are prideful. Sometimes it hurts when my sin is pointed out to me, whether through Bible reading, or through the chastening of a fellow Christian whom loves me enough to correct me, or even through someone who is unsaved. That is called conviction and, you know what, it is SUPPOSED to make me uncomfortable. If I call myself a Christian and sin does not make my uncomfortable then what does that say about the state of my heart?
Over the last few days I have been engaged in, what started out to be, a spirited debate over the issue of the term "homophobic". My belief is that the term is used too loosely and applied to ANYone who disagrees with homosexuality. Let me be clear: I think that homosexuality is a sin. I believe that it goes against God's word. I do NOT believe that ANYONE has the right to be abusive, either verbally or physically, to homosexuals. My position in the debate was that, while I do not agree with homosexuality I am not a homophobic based on the definition that was set forth by an acquaintance whose daughter is a lesbian. This person was very respectful when speaking with me and I was enjoying the "back-and-forth". And then....
I understand that not everyone agrees with me. As a matter of fact, many people in my family do not agree with me. What I don't understand is how people who are not related to me can be more respectful of me and of my opinions than members of my own family. Today, in an exchange, I was compared to a Nazi and the God that I serve was compared to Hitler. Not only was that hurtful it was also insensitive. In all of the comments and statements that I made I never once I got personal. I never once used a slur or a mean-spirited comparison. As a matter of fact, I wasn't even the one that brought Christianity in to the discussion. However, when asked, I answered, in a respectful way, with what I believe from the Bible. I was asked directly if I believe that homosexuality is a sin. I couldn't lie and I couldn't sugar-coat the truth. Yes, according to the BIBLE, it is a sin. Just as gossip is a sin, and murder is a sin, and theft is a sin. This doesn't make a homosexual any more a sinner than anyone else because ALL have sinned. That includes me. I never claimed to be perfect or better than anyone else. However, because of what I believe, I am now labeled a "homophobe."
Why is it that I must be tolerant of other's choices but those same people do not have to be tolerant of mine? I am told that I am wrong because being gay isn't a choice, it is how they are. However, because I believe it is a choice, I am wrong. I am not allowed to disagree with what is. I contend that I am allowed to disagree with whatever I want. I am not asking anyone to agree with me nor am I trying to change anyone's mind. I am free, however, to believe what I want to believe and that right should be respected.
A good friend of mine did a great job responding to a comment that was made about accepting the authority of the Bible and I appreciated her support. Actually, a number of people came to my defense and it was very comforting to know that I am not alone in my beliefs (Not that I ever thought that I was; it was just nice to have people supporting me.)
I made the difficult decision to block some people today. There is a part of my family that, no matter how much I had hoped it would change, has never really accepted me. I have been intentionally left out of "family" gatherings of late and it has become more and more obvious that they really want nothing to do with me. As sad as it makes me, because family is so important to me, I have realized that I am not important to them. So, instead of continuing to hope and wish that I will eventually be included, I have come to the realization that it will never happen. I have chosen instead to focus my energy on the people that do love and care about me. My wonderful immediate family and my amazing friends. :)
And you know what? Even if they left me, God never will. And I am thankful to be a sheep.