Today’s devotion, No Pressure, from Joyce Meyer’s book Love Out Loud inspired me. I immediately wanted to post the first sentence all over Facebook and Twitter: “One of the many ways we can love people is to allow them to be who they are.” Too many times, I feel my friends pressure me to become who they want me to be instead of who God wants me to be. Most of my friends shook their heads in disbelief when I came out as gay. They couldn’t imagine God creating someone who was attracted to the same-sex.
My love for God is the one thing that has stayed true in my life. No matter what I’ve been through – divorce, lost friendships, house fire, and death of my beloved spouse — I knew that God was there. By spending time in prayer, I have been able to use His strength to carry me through the ups and downs of life.
Accept Who God Created You To Be
Accepting myself as gay took a long time. I wrestled with God’s word, other people’s opinions, and the fear of being rejected for years. Finally, I decided to make up my own mind instead of blindly accepting what I had been taught by my parents. I knew I needed to be honest with my family and friends because I was tired of living a lie.
God loves and accepts me unconditionally and knowing that made it safe to tell others. I felt such peace with being honest. There isn’t anything I (or you) can do that will make Him love us any less. My hope is that my family and friends will accept me as God does.
A concerned friend questioned me after I came out publicly. She felt that as a leader in the church I might have a negative influence. But, I saw my influence as positive because I could help others in similar situations. No one should feel like they are unloved, unwanted, or uncared for just because they are created differently than others.
“All of us need the freedom to be who we are. We want to be accepted unconditionally. This means we don’t want other people telling us how we need to change in order to be accepted by them.” Joyce Meyers
Share Your Concerns With Love
I cringe when the first words you say are, “because I love you, I have to tell you what the Bible says about homosexuality.” I know you mean well, but it’s not the best way to open up a conversation. The condemnation makes me want to close the door, hide, or hurt myself again. Your words are less about love and more about judgement as you point out what is wrong with me and how God made a mistake in creating me.
God calls us to love one another. Even A child will receive a hug and an “I love you,” when they do something wrong.
Maybe start with, “I love you and I am concerned about you. I just want God’s best for you. I’d love to sit down and listen to your story with an open mind.” Or simply ask, “In what ways do you think God will use you now? or “How can I help you where you are?”
It doesn’t matter if we’ve been friends for five minutes or five years, we need to soften our approach to the tough topics. Jesus shared his love with everyone. He sat down with the outcasts and people who were different. He spoke truth, but He did it with love.
Let’s approach hurting friends with love, hugs and a listening ear. Sometimes they’re not expecting any response at all, just a safe place to share what’s going on inside. Remember, this lets you know what to pray about.
Lasting Change Comes From God
God is the only one who can change a person, and that’s only if it’s in His will to do so. God used people in the Bible who were not perfect, and continues to use broken people.
He has already used my bruised heart to help others. The special gift bags I created for widows contain items that comforted me in my grief. As I handed them out, I received much love and thanks from the tears in their eyes. Now, I’m using my God-given gift to write words to ease heavy hearts. Readers have shared how my words bring them comfort and love.
God changes us from the inside and uses our hearts to help others.
I am using my experience as a gay Christian and my love for others to build a bridge between straight Christians and others like me. I feel God has called me to it.
Do you have a gay friend or family member? In what ways are you showing your love by allowing them to be who they are?
Why not purchase Love Out Loud and join me in this study?