So This is How Rejection Feels

love-one-another-john-traci-beeson

I had a big argument with someone very close to me today, a mentor. Someone I love very much. She was angry at me for my blog, saying I am being unfair to Christians who are kind and loving, that it goes both ways, that we hear only stories of Christians’ anger toward LGBTQ instead of love?

She told me about a Christian woman who had served two gay men for years in her printing business, but finally said she could not print their wedding invitations because it went against her beliefs as a Christian. And they sued her. (I wondered if she ever printed invitations for weddings for non-Christians or second marriages.) Sigh.

It hurts to be at odds with someone I love. I don’t know where it will go from here. And I have lost other friends. Even my kids have been unfriended because of my blog. That doesn’t really seem right, does it? Dissension on a tough topic is not really welcome among Christians.

But all the while, these words came to me: I am not called to be fair. As a Christian, I am called to share the love of Christ regardless of the response. I am called to go two miles with someone who required only one. I am called to love my neighbor. If someone sues me for my shirt, I am to give him my coat as well. I’m called to be the love of Christ, even when it requires great sacrifice. I am the one with the Spirit of the Living God in me — it’s the very least I can do. I am to give to others out of His overabundant love. If I am taken advantage of, oh well.

I know as I write this how outrageous it sounds, to love so radically. But Jesus said outrageous things, until the religious leaders killed Him. I don’t have the answers to the questions around this issue. But I do know the way we treat each other has to change. People who discover their same-sex attraction invariably plead with God to take it away (because of the rejection they know is coming), but He rarely does. Many who go through “reorientation” become self-loathing and suicidal. (When has a Christian become suicidal because of their treatment by the LGBTQ?) Some people come to peace with their same-sex attraction. Some seek a longterm same-sex relationship. Some commit to lifelong celibacy. Jesus calls us to love people where they are, not where we wish they were.

My calling always is to help people find peace on the Tree of Life rather than clinging to the Tree of Knowledge. I’m sorry if you are a Christian who is offended by what I write. I can’t help it. I’m not writing it to offend; I’m writing to extend the love of Christ. We have no excuse to do otherwise. I pray that you will join me.

Click Here to Read “A Mom, Some Gays, and the Bible”

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About Susan Cottrell

SUSAN COTTRELL, the prominent voice for faith parents of LGBTQI children, was recently featured on ABC's 20/20, Nightline and Good Morning America. She is an international speaker, author and spiritual director. Through her nonprofit organization—FreedHearts—Susan champions the LGBTQI community and families with her characteristic tender-heartedness, and she zealously challenges Christians who reject them with her wise insistence that love—of God and others—is the foundation of faith. She spent 25 years in the nonaffirming Evangelical church, is the Founder and President of FreedHearts, has a Master of Arts in Theological Studies, and served as the Vice-President of PFLAG Austin (Texas). Her books “Mom, I’m Gay”—Loving Your LGBTQ Child and Strengthening Your Faith (published by Westminster John Knox Press), and True Colors - Celebrating the Truth and Beauty of the Real You, are endorsed by The Human Rights Campaign, PFLAG, The Gay Christian Network and many others. She and her husband Rob have been married for 30 years, have five children, two of whom are in the LGBTQI community, and live in Austin, Texas.

  • http://freedhearts.wordpress.com Susan Cottrell, FreedHearts

    😀 Thanks. I know, it’s tough. Glad your family is sticking together. Without family, or stand-ins for family, it can be very lonely. I just think of the ragtag people who traipsed after Jesus and wonder how they would be received at most churches. Maybe it’s the rebel in me, or maybe it’s because I so relate to slogging through difficult issues to get some kind of grip, but I relate more to the ragtags than the church people… even though I completely love Jesus. :p Thanks for writing and following!

  • Stan

    I had an argument with a Christian man who is my boss about gay sexuality. He was very ignorant and rude saying that all gay men have sex and because they are perverts they will pervert and abuse any children they might have. I could not agree with him and left as soon as I could. He doesn’t know I am gay and he would sack me if he did know even though i do a really good job. It scares me how vicious and self righteous Christians can be. It scares me that he could take my job away from me. He scares me.

  • http://freedhearts.wordpress.com Susan Cottrell, FreedHearts

    I’m so sorry about that. Tragic. Some people scare me, too. I’ve decided sometimes it’s best to steer clear as much as possible. I’m glad you wrote, and best to you.

  • http://freedhearts.wordpress.com Susan Cottrell, FreedHearts

    Thank you so much, Niki. Me too. Less friends, yet new friends too! And more peace.

  • survivorgirl007@gmail.com

    Just today I was reading something that speaks to where you (and I, and so many others) are living. I cannot recall who penned it, but it’s called “The Crossroads Principle:” “To choose God and live set apart is to choose a difficult life. It’s so much easier to believe in God and blend in with everyone else, whether that’s blending into everyday Christianity or mainstream society. But choose carefully, because halfway is just not good enough … Jesus is about a sacrifice paid that freely allows his followers to unconditionally love. Christians are held to God’s countercultural standard that focuses solely on Him and His worth in our daily lives and how that relates to others. It is the Christian community’s charge, then, to live in such a way throughout the world. The Christian community is responsible to do everything they possibly can to allow for a clean path to be made to God so that His full, encompassing being will be able to work throughout all of our lives together.”

    The “old” me would have read that and thought, “God’s happy that I’m blending in with other believers, not with the world.” But this new “living-in-the-tension” me reads it as someone who both feels fear and takes courage from the fact that I’m no longer blending in with everyday (i.e., ‘cookie-cutter’) Christianity, which is an exponentially more challenging road. And, since I wholeheartedly believe that I have been commissioned to “allow for a clean path to be made to God,” then I do so with the understanding that grace beckons with unconditional love alone and doesn’t ask anyone to pretty-up first.

    As someone who has also lost friends in this endeavor, I stand with you as a new friend. God knows, quite literally, that we square pegs need all the friends we can get. :)

    And I’ll leave you with this thought from http://www.thechristianleft.com: “If you’re not attracting the same people that Jesus attracted, your message needs to be fixed.” Everyday Christianity, are you listening?

    Love to you, Susan.

  • http://freedhearts.wordpress.com Susan Cottrell, FreedHearts

    Thank you so much. I especially like, “If you’re not attracting the same people that Jesus attracted, your message needs to be fixed.” So true. Thank you, new friend!

  • http://freedhearts.wordpress.com Susan Cottrell, FreedHearts

    Thank you so much. Very aptly put! I think you mailed it, that love scares us because we do not understand how much God really does love us. I appreciate your kind words, Sister.

  • http://freedhearts.wordpress.com Susan Cottrell, FreedHearts

    Thank you. I do have hope that we will resolve it. Thanks for your encouragement.

  • survivorgirl007@gmail.com

    YES! We fear grace and want it at the same time, don’t we? We are all paradoxes. I am so grateful for all you folks here.

  • http://freedhearts.wordpress.com Susan Cottrell, FreedHearts

    Oh, you’re welcome. I’m so glad it is been helpful. Bless you in your journey. I hope you find real peace in it.

  • http://freedhearts.wordpress.com Susan Cottrell, FreedHearts

    Oh, thank you so much. These comments today have been so healing to me too. :) Bless you!

  • http://freedhearts.wordpress.com Susan Cottrell, FreedHearts

    Aw! Yes indeed, we’ll cling to that Tree of Life together and find real peace. You go ahead and love your son. Completely. What a blessing for both of you! I see God doing a new thing in the culture, and we get to participate. Lovely!

  • http://freedhearts.wordpress.com Susan Cottrell, FreedHearts

    Thank you. I appreciate you too — really. God is moving. That’s all I know. He is still sovereign and still present, and we don’t need to worry about a thing — just know Him and love Him, and let Him deal with anything that needs to be dealt with. Thanks so much for your kind words.

  • http://freedhearts.wordpress.com Susan Cottrell, FreedHearts

    I agree with you, Bobby. I have long observed that atheists claim rationalism to reject God, but they are really driven by a subjective (emotional) undercurrent they don’t even see, much less admit to anyone else. I think you’re right that volatile issues like this are likewise driven by emotion, not rationale. I’m emotional about it — probably motivated by the rejection and bullying I’ve received, and I want to protect people in that situation. But it is more than that. I simply say, which position looks more like Christ? And it is the position of compassion and acceptance. Not conditional approval. Thank you for your great observations.

  • http://freedhearts.wordpress.com Susan Cottrell, FreedHearts

    Thank you for your insightful comments. I totally agree. If I went to my church and said, “My child is struggling with drugs,” I’d get all kinds of empathy and support. But just say your child is gay, and the reaction is completely different. I love everything you said — you’re so right. And thank you for your kind encouragement to me. I greatly appreciate it!

  • http://freedhearts.wordpress.com Susan Cottrell, FreedHearts

    What a blessing about your son’s partner! I think you’re right — God worked through your unconditional love to show His unconditional love! That’s how it’s supposed to work, and why Jesus said, “Love God, love others.” And HE will do the rest. A beautiful story, Natalie. Thank you.

  • http://freedhearts.wordpress.com Susan Cottrell, FreedHearts

    Thank you so much, Meredith. Very kind of you. I look forward to your story!

  • http://freedhearts.wordpress.com Susan Cottrell, FreedHearts

    Thank you for sharing your personal experience. You’ve commented several times, and it’s always a kind encouragement. Best to you!

  • http://freedhearts.wordpress.com Susan Cottrell, FreedHearts

    Whoa. I’m seriously, deeply touched. Thank you so, so much. I’m honored and grateful. Thank God, you know know He loves you, no matter WHAT anybody says! Bless your sweet heart. I will stay strong — in HIS strength. You do too! Please stay in touch.

  • http://freedhearts.wordpress.com Susan Cottrell, FreedHearts

    Thank you so much. I’m so glad you continue to explore your faith. Jesus is for everyone, not just the “goody two-shoes” — and for me to be part of bridging that gay-Christianity divide is my heart’s desire. Thank you thank you. I do love Torn because it shows things most non-gay Christians don’t know. [I may have been unclear, but my kids did NOT unfriend me; their friends unfriended them!]
    I invite you to email me anytime you need to. Bless your heart, my friend!