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september 16, 2003
here's an article that ran recently in the 'deeper walk' section of relevant magazine. it's a section of their magazine that is more devotional in focus. basically this is about the great equalizer of our sin, and the great sufficiency of our Savior.
I love someone who is gay. Iíve known her since as long as I can remember, but only recently did she open up to me about her struggle. She knows me well, and knows I donít condone the gay lifestyle because of my beliefs. So, what do I do with this situation? Do I separate myself from her so as not to endorse her behavior? Or do I risk loving her when I donít know how? And what if itís not safe? I go to church. I love my wife. I call my Mom on Sundays. But those things arenít who I am. Somewhere in finding out about my friendís struggle, I find out more about my own.
Her sins are just like mine, theyíre just a different brand. She and her partner have been together for years now, living in isolation from the rest of us. As their secret wakes like a sleeping dragon, everybody starts getting nervous. Some of the onlookers want to run in fear and make jokes, some want to fight and fix, and some pretend thereís no dragon at all. Underneath the layers of mess and story, her emotions are hinged like a swinging door as she looks for unwavering acceptance. Over the years, her heart has been taken over in a silent war. Somewhere deep inside her, like the glow of a smoldering ember, remains the thought that she was made for something more than struggle. And I can deeply relate.
You see, the undeniable connection between us is that we both have struggles, itís just that mine are more socially acceptable. But sin and sickness is universal. Sin is not just in my actions, itís a condition. It is any and all the ways I try to be my own savior. Itís the force that once made me Godís enemy because Iím a son of the first Adam. Itís this wretched heart of mine. Sometimes, itís a matter of grabbing for power over people at my job, sometimes itís the lust to buy more ďstuffĒ that will make me feel significant in front of my friends, and sometimes itís just the way I try to control my life to protect my own interests at all costs.
So, hereís the connection between her and me; the bridge to reach her is repentance. If I think my sins are petty, abstract, and occasional, I will have no framework to give Jesus to someone who needs Him. Indeed, we were made for more than struggle. In fact, we were made for glory. But even now, God gives purpose to our struggle, and He is in charge of all that happens to us. I donít have the power to give my friend much resolution in her life, but I can give her Jesus. And He is enough.
So, once again I discover that love is not safe. Love is not efficient. Iím sure I will disappoint her as we go, and I will fail over and again in loving her well. But when you are in Jesus, your sin does not define you. It is not who you are. Jesus defines you. Christianity is the only religion where you donít have to clean yourself up before you can be saved and healed. Jesusí love for his sons and daughters is enough to win our hearts back from all the struggles weíre bound to. And only His love can satisfy us. This is how I can love her still, without conditions. And this is the great hope I have for her heart and mine.