“What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter. What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes and think themselves so clever.” Isaiah 5:20-21.
Christianity has been used in many ways throughout history: to support slavery, to demean women, to abuse children, to oppress LGBTQ people, to empower the powerful, to keep the powerless in line.
None of this is even remotely close to the gospel Jesus modeled and gave us.
We forget that the gospel is about love. Love is the gospel. Our job is to love, and by that, Jesus meant something that actually feels like love, not some kind of convoluted love-that-feels-like-hate-but-it’s-actually-love-if-you-would-just-take-it-that-way.
When Jesus said love your neighbor, he meant be kind to them, include them, feed them, visit them, take care of them, honor them, care for them when they’re hurt, even give them a cup of cold water if that is what’s needed.
Jesus did not mean, kick them out, nag them about sin, judge them, condemn them, exclude them, tell others to exclude them, barely tolerate them while in your heart you really can’t stand them, tell them you can’t be with them because of their “lifestyle choice,” deny their place in the church, or deny them their basic civil rights.
God is love. God is not hate. If you say you love God but hate your brother or sister, you are a liar (1 John 4:20).
I write this because it seems sometimes we forget. We get these things turned around and do the opposite of what Jesus told us.
Christians who are not affirming use that Isaiah verse as an indictment against the acceptance of the LGBTQ community. No, it is the opposite!
To be anti-gay is an assault on true Christianity. I am fully affirming and accepting BECAUSE of my faith, not in spite of it.
Many religious leaders today are calling innocent children evil, because they express a sexual orientation that those leaders don’t understand—those religious leaders are acting in an evil, unholy way. They judge these children and tell their parents to kick them out of their homes, condemning them to life on the streets subject to sex-traffickers, rapists, drug dealers and other terrors.
That is evil!
Remember that Jesus never condemned the regular person just doing their best to get by. (Philip said to the Ethiopian eunuch—a sexual nonconformist of color, “I see no reason why you can’t be baptized!”)
Jesus soundly condemned religious leaders who “shut the doors of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces.”
We need to remember to see all scripture through the lens of love.
And we need to remember that, to the one on the receiving end, love feels like love, hate feels like hate.
Jesus made it clear and simple: “Love God, love others. Everything else will line up under that.”
Susan Cottrell is a national speaker, teacher, and counselor with years of Biblical study and discipleship experience. Her books include: "Mom, I'm Gay" - Loving Your LGBTQ Child Without Sacrificing Your Faith, and True Colors - Celebrating the Truth and Beauty of the Real You. Through her nonprofit organization - FreedHearts.org - Susan champions the LGBTQ community and families with her characteristic tender-heartedness, and she zealously challenges Christians who reject them with her wise insistence that "loving God and loving others" are the foundation of the rest of the scripture, just as Jesus said. She is the Vice President of PFLAG Austin, and her books have been endorsed by The Human Rights Campaign, PFLAG, The Gay Christian Network and others. She and her husband have been married nearly 30 years and have five children - two of whom are in the LGBTQ community. She lives in Austin, Texas.