Dear secular world,
Let me start off by saying that I don’t want to force my faith or beliefs down your throat. I know you have had experiences with religion that have hurt you or tainted your perception of Christianity and I acknowledge those as legitimate. I just want to take a moment to have a conversation about your world and my world, to explain that I feel freedom and tolerance are one-sided and to hopefully expose some of the mistakes that have been made on both sides.
When I observe the religion in this world, I know that you are looking at me and labelling me with that same stigmatism. But my beliefs, my friend, do not make me an extremist. As with any group in this broken world, all are judged on the actions of a few. And there are some who carry our name who have made some big mistakes. Even those who love God are human, and humans are far from perfect. There are many in our past who have damaged the name “Christian.” Just as there are many in any group who have made mistakes, and the entire group must fight against the label that society lays on them for the actions of a few.
A Glimpse Into the Christian Perspective
I want to state, clearly, that I do not hate transgender people. I am not afraid of someone who is gay or lesbian. I do not endorse extremist bombings. I do not teach my kids to bully someone who is different than them or believes something different. I believe that a Christian first and foremost, is called to love… not judge, never to hate, slander, or attack. But I also have to be honest to myself and others in what I believe. I have a voice, I have a heart and mind and soul just like you. Yet I see a discrepancy in what you are yelling from the rooftops, “Freedom and acceptance to all… tolerate those who are different or have different lifestyles or beliefs…” except for Christians right?
Freedom… for some
We live in a free country, a freedom that many good men and women have fought for. A country where we are free to believe what we want to, speak our minds, make decisions for ourselves, and vote for what we think is right. And yet, this freedom seems to me very one sided. You see, you are free to believe in gay rights, you are free to marry someone of the same sex, you are free to kill a baby that is completely viable, you are free to pray or speak about your faith (to any god who is not THE God that is)…
But if you are a Christian, these same freedoms of speech, of belief even, do not seem to apply.
Christians are not free to believe in heterosexual marriage, that makes them haters. They are not free to disagree with abortion, that makes them extremists. They are not free to pray to God or talk about Him in their schools or jobs, that makes them a bigot, indoctrinated, or worse yet trying to indoctrinate others! They are not free to be concerned with the agenda of the schools to teach our children to question and explore their gender, that makes them intolerant.
As freedom grows in every other realm in this world of ours, it diminishes if you are a Christian. As people become more and more afraid to believe in something that isn’t trending or mainstream, as voices are silenced, values are diminished, and opinions are dismissed and even condemned, where is the line drawn? People are afraid to speak their own opinions anymore. In an effort to abolish fear and bullying for a group of people, society has created an unsafe world for others.
Tolerance isn’t enough
If I dare to mention that I disagree with abortion or still believe in opposite-sex marriage, I am belittled, personally attacked on any and every front, and even harassed by the secular community… for what? Having an opinion? Over the past year I have come to realize that the fact that I can have coffee with someone who is gay, talk with them about their journey, and genuinely love the person… but still not agree with their lifestyle (the very definition of tolerance)… isn’t enough. In fact, it is meaningless.
Nobody cares that we are tolerating and can even love someone who is different than us, even if we disagree. The definition of tolerance has completely shifted in today’s culture, we are expected to celebrate it. If we do not actively celebrate that lifestyle, praise it as what makes them happy, then we are intolerant.
Acknowledging your Experiences
The reality is though, I know you don’t see it. I know that you are probably going to bash this article, because you are blind to the truth. You see, my faith even tells me to expect that! That I will be hated by this world, not for who I am, but for who is in me. I can tell you, however, that as much as I love and care for ALL human beings… I will continue to stand for what God has called me to. I will continue to talk about Him when I am with you, because I genuinely want you to know the truth. I will try not to be pushy or too exuberant in my enthusiasm about what God has done for me, but I make mistakes too. Sometimes God asks me to talk to you and I am afraid. I am afraid of what you might think or what you will say to me. I am afraid that I will lose friendships or be labelled.
I am imperfect my friend, sometimes I shout too loudly, I hurt people with my blanket statements, but please don’t take my behaviour as a perfect representation of who God is. Because God doesn’t label or judge us by our actions, he doesn’t see someone as transgender or gay or someone who aborted their baby. He sees your heart and He loves you, and He wants you to know that above all else. I can try my best and yet I will still fail. I will stay silent when I should have spoken and I will speak when I should have stayed silent. But my heart is this, to love you and to show you God’s heart about you.
I am sorry for the people who have gone before me and will go after me that made you feel that you were less than, that you were judged or hated or miniscule. I am sorry for the times I have been too enthusiastic or come across as judgemental and hard. If nothing else, I hope you know that those moments, those experiences you have had with Christians… that is not God’s heart for you.
I hope that (if by chance you made it through this VERY long letter) you can see that my disagreement with something, my stand for something I think is right, is never coming from a place of hatred or fear. I hope that Christians will be able to have the same freedoms as everyone else and the bullying, bashing, judgement and belittling will stop… on both sides.
An Imperfect Christian