I Have to Forgive These People to Move On

I was reading the Bible this morning in the book of Mark doing my One Sentence Bible (I always read ahead of what I post on the blog) and I came across the following:

“And if you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that God in Heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:25

This hit me square between the eyes as I read it. Reading this, to me, it means that sincere prayers for others can only start with turning the mirror on yourself.

Recently I have been having a large frequency of Tourette Syndrome moments in my head – not the tics, but the irrational outbursts of yelling swear words at the top of my lungs for short intervals of time. This is strange for me for two reasons: 1) I don’t personally swear (no judgments), and 2) Such a situation (let alone reoccurring) has never happened to me before in my whole life. I recently tweeted this. And I did think I needed a break – too much stress/pressure/dealing with being insulted and lied about/etc.

But what I learned today from Scripture is that it’s not a break I need, it’s authentic forgiveness.

I need to forgive people.

Actually forgive them.

I say I’ve forgiven a bunch of people, but I really haven’t. I still desperately hate them to my core. I have had so many people who don’t know me, don’t care about me or don’t actually want to see a bridge being built, talk so much crap about me (from both communities) and flat-out lie about me all over the internet that it has built up a whole lot of resentment in my spirit. A whole lot.

The funny thing is that I have emotionally handled all of these unfounded insults way better than I did last time such a thing happened. So that is true progress in my book… However it seems as though, although I’m handling it better, I am diverting my hate, fear and pain to them to an internalized place, which is odd for me because I’m a very external person.

With that in mind, here is my first public profession of working towards honest forgiveness:

There is too much hate out there about me to link to all of them (and let’s be honest, I don’t want to link to them either), so I’ll just name a few who just won’t stop:

Michelangelo Signorile – From here on out I will honestly and daily work to forgive you.

Dan Savage – From here on out I will honestly and daily work to forgive you.

Peter LaBarbera – From here on out I will honestly and daily work to forgive you.

Robert Gagnon – From here on out I will honestly and daily work to forgive you.

And to the numbers of others who continue to love talking about me by commenting on their sites saying even nastier stuff then those I called by name, those reposting things on Facebook or your blogs or anything; from here on out I will honestly and daily work to forgive you all too.

I have to be done with this. I have to release this self-made cloud of oppression from off of me, otherwise I’ll never be able to continue forward – probably to the goal of many. But I’m not going out like that. I have been directly told by numbers of people across the internet (because, it still holds true that no LGBT or conservative org/church/person in Chicago that knows me talks any trash about me) that it is their goal to “destroy and ruin me”. Here’s what they’re missing:

It’s not about me, no matter how much they claim it is. Never has been about me. Never will be about me. They think they’re out to destroy me, but there’s a whole lot out there they can’t see that they would have to destroy first – which at the end of the day they won’t be able to.

Forgiveness is such a difficult thing. It took me years to forgive some people closest to me for betraying me in lies. I’m sure it will take a lifetime to forgive the mean-spirited people doing what they’re doing now. But I promise you that each and everyday I will lift their names and lives to the Lord and work towards forgiveness. Because if I can’t genuinely forgive them, how can I then sincerely pray to the Lord, who has already forgiven me?

This is one of those rubber hits the road moments, and I won’t let God’s work in my own personal life be done in vain.

I must always remember and cling to the tangible reconciliation that has irrevocably happened in people’s lives from this work (which yes, outweighs the bad by 95-1).

I’ll end with this from the One Sentence Bible from today:

“Those whose work is of peaceful reconciliation will be opposed by mobs circling them with weapons.” Matthew 26:47, 55

My one question, and challenge to everyone out there:

Who is continuing to spew hate in the name of “exposing” and who is continuing to work towards reconciliation in the midst of it?

Much love.


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  • i just want you to know that i admire the work you are doing. i admire the strength of your convictions and that you are living your faith as a disciple of Jesus every day. i know you aren’t looking for an ego pat, but you need to hear this and so does everyone else out there. until you have walked a mile in the shoes of someone trying to do what seems impossible, keep the judgment to yourself. i was amazed when i heard what you were working for. i had often thought and dreamed about what that might look like. a bridge being built between the church and gay people. my brother in law recently came out and his church all but abandoned him. so i dreamed about what it might look like for reconciliation and forgiveness in that situation. but if i’m honest, i didn’t have the strength of my convictions, and so i more or less gave up. when i came across your work, i was inspired and still am. i appreciate your honesty and willingness to put it all out there. thank you for doing what so few have the courage to do. live their faith to the fullest. i believe your work alongside God will change the face of our church for the better. Thanks and stay strong. Lean on your wife for support. I don’t think I would survive without her to hold me up, and I’m sure it’s the same for you. God bless, and know that I’m praying for you.

  • Thank you. I really needed to hear this today.

  • Mrs T

    Forgiveness often is an ongoing thing & something you often have to declare in the name of God. It doesn’t come naturally, as we don’t like injustice toward ourselves. As we keep asking God to do it, it eventually comes. Then, after a while, attacks may come back, so we keep forgiving. Yes, it’s hard work! Thankfully, you have a great support system.

    Also, I notice that when you are in the public eye, you get more attack as you are reaching more people. We know the enemy doesn’t want that. He doesn’t want truth & love.
    A public pastor I know has had threats against his life. His personality is very low-key, but he speaks truth & love. I am sure that most public figures get threats of various kinds. There are all kinds of kooks out there!

    I don’t know what these out-of-town people have against you that they have to lie, but as Christians, we know it is spiritual warfare. You certainly aren’t a threat to them personally.

    I was falsely accused by a much-loved relative when I didn’t want to be controlled by her & for ‘who knows why’ she wanted control. Even around 40 years after her death, I don’t get it. The point is, that there are so many variables in life, & we are constantly ‘putting out fires’ in our daily walk. Keep walking, Brother!

    Much Luv,
    Mrs “T”

  • Person

    Hey Andrew, you’re not alone brother. I’ve gone through this so many times myself. You are doing the right thing by forgiving, and you are certainly setting a good example for others to follow. Let me just encourage you by saying “you are going to make it through!” People can talk trash about you all day long, and they already do as you know – but they cannot STOP you. If they can’t stop you, then, in that sense, they are powerless. God’s plans for your life will come to pass – regardless of what Dan Savage or Peter LaBarbera might say. So keep smiling Andrew… all they are really doing by trashing on you is shooting spitballs at a freight train. God will help you every step along your (and my) forgiveness journey. Just keep remembering, everybody who did anything worth doing was trashed on… take it as a sign that you are doing something right. 🙂 God bless Andrew, and I will continue to lift you up in prayer. I hope everyone who is personally affected by your ministry will continue to do the same. You are highly loved by God and many people, don’t let the haters get you down!

  • That verse is really getting a workout. It smacked me in the face this morning, too, and I finally called a certain person and said what I needed to say. My heart is lighter, and I can finally focus on doing what I should be doing, not on making up lies to tell myself about why I should still be angry. It makes me glad that I’m not the only one doing this today!

  • Amy

    Wow, Andrew. I can SO relate to how you’re feeling. I, too, have experienced PAINFUL words and deeds over the past few years — which have unfortunately been magnified and intensified over the last few months. I SO needed to hear this call to work toward DAILY forgiveness of those who have acted and spoken so devastatingly. THANK YOU for continuing to share your heart so openly. I, for one, benefit from your vulnerability GREATLY.

  • Genuine forgiveness is really difficult. There are some people in my life that I still need to forgive. I know that when I choose forgiveness things go better, but yeah, sometimes it’s very, very hard. Praying for you!

  • Ron Graves

    Always a bit of a comfort looking around the room you inhabit to see several of your friends right along side of you…indeed this reconciliation stuff is a process which, I’m thinking, morphs into a lifestyle; whether we do well or poorly hopefully will be overshadowed with effort and honesty. Step at a time my brother. We have been given this ministry of reconciliation so we are, by design, hard-wired for it. This encourages me to continue, as do you Andy. Rock on my brizzo, with you all the way.

  • Keep putting on the mind of Christ and just loving and forgiving others. There’s no way Christ could have ever responded to everyone who rejected Him or talked about Him behind his back or reviled Him. But He called us to love our enemies, which is so much more difficult than loving our friends, and to forgive our enemies. Do that, and the world will change and be a better place. Don’t feel the need to “react” to everything. Just go about doing what God has called you to do. That is one of the biggest lessons I learned from the book “Boundaries” (by Cloud and Townsend) when I grappeled with my own codependency. Codependent people who “react” to everything get so diverted from they are supposed to be doing. Your time for building bridges, Andrew, is too valuable to be reacting to what others say and do, and it just takes time away from your true mission.

  • BMH

    Follow Christ, get crucified. Gotta expect it. You’re recently added to my prayerlist, dude, with one sentence next to your name: God give him strength!