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?