|FORGIVE, FOR OUR GOD IS A GOOD GOD|
One of the most difficult issue for Gay Christians is forgiveness. We have been hurt very badly, wounded, grieved, and our spirituality and faith trampled upon. Our individuality, humanity, and basic rights of existence, to love and be loved are denied all by people who claim that they are doing right. We have imposed such condemnation and judgment upon gays that it becomes a closet and internal struggle to most, fearful of coming out lest they somehow hurt God, family and friends. Life has been wasted unnecessarily, trapped in endless spiritual and emotional turmoil from external religious dogma of the Christian Fundamentalist who cares very little whether they have interpreted the bible correctly or whether their interpretation could have been wrong.
The Bible is about the revelation of Jesus Christ, and about the Jews struggling to find their way to God through the Law, often fell into worship of fertility gods common in their culture and agricultural society where a bad harvest mean great suffering. Therefore, they had sex with the female prostitute’s temple of Baal, and in the act of faith to these gods had sex with each other to make the gods happy for blessings. These were straight men whose worship of these gods were so zealous until they did what was unnatural for them. It is not about gays, or same sex orientation which was rare then and today. We blame it all on gays, because we do not acknowledge that these were our gods and idols, just as Fundamentalist Christians in Singapore blame gays for immorality when there is little mention of the large scale heterosexual orgies that goes on at Geylang.
How do we forgive Fundamentalist Christians, whose religious abuse have caused so much emotional, religious conflicts and harm in our lives, putting us in closets where we cannot find a same sex partner for us to love and to be loved by. We have lost our childhood years in turmoil, and conflict due to their false religious teachings on Homosexuality. These Fundamentalist Christians are still peddling the same rhetoric and half truths, but the Internet has meant that the truth are being told, that Jesus loves and accepts gays as they are and have created them wonderfully, and not as a defect, nor fallen nature or as a sinful choice of lifestyle. We were not alone. The truth is now out in the open, and I believe God wants to use us as Gay Christians "to set My Gay Children Free". However, many are still suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome and trauma deep within spirit and soul as to be "normal" again, nor able to fully accept themselves with the religious voices of past condemnations filling their minds. They have to let go, and let God take over.
COPING WITH LOST
We have lost much. If we have known since young that our sexual orientation is innate, different from the majority, yet normal and not a sin, we would have lived my life very differently having gay boyfriends and partners, and not carry these deep emotional and religious baggage nor be trapped in the closet. We would have a same sex Christian partner and be committed to him/her for life just as a straight couple would. But all these seem lost in the wind of time, place, and opportunity, and become wasted years.
It is difficult to forgive, for the lost is so great, and the pain continually felt. We may feel that we have lost the God given right and opportunity to love and be loved. Those who have caused much harm, are not being taken to tasks, yet their opportunity to cause harm has diminished with Gay teenagers coming out in their early teenage years, when previously, we would have come out in the late 30s or later and only to our gay friends. We see them happy, free, and are glad for them, for the world have changed for the better, yet we mourn for my lost and being left behind. Forgiveness is however a choice and becomes a challenge when there is much to forgive always reminding ourselves the reason that Christ first forgave us.
REASON TO FORGIVE
We forgive, for we would not want to live in the past nor dwell on what we could not have changed, yet remembering the past as lessons for tomorrow and guidance for our walk in life.
We forgive, so that we can live for tomorrow and not let the past hinders us. For yesterday is but gone, and tomorrow awaits. In forgiveness, we release our desire for retribution against those who have sinned against us, not that we will forget nor relieved them of justice, but letting God executes judgment, punishment and vengeance. Our faith in Christ gives us the motivation to forgive for at the Cross of Calvary, He has forgiven us. He said, "Forgive them" for they know what they are doing" even though they crucified Him at the Cross. In Christ, who gave us the motivation to forgive, we could forgive the Christian Fundamentalists even though what they have done in the name of Christianity is hardly forgivable.
We forgive so that grace can abound in our lives. The Fundamentalists have caused great harm in putting us into prison closets, but we will not let their sin, be sin in our lives. Instead, in the depths of their sin against us, when we forgive them, giving underserved grace, there is a river of abundant grace in our lives to move on. Therefore, our faith in Christ allows us to give grace, for much grace has been given us at the cross of Calvary. Jesus gave up everything for us, and we who had lost everything due to the sin of others, yet whatever we had lost now becomes a gain in finding grace in Christ. Therefore, like Apostle Paul, we have suffered much, yet count it a blessing that God's grace may abound much in our lives, that He may have the glory first in our lives.
We forgive so that we do not become the very people that have caused us much harm. When much wrong and sin has been committed against us, when those who should have protected us have abused this right instead to hurt us deeply, we sometimes feel that we have this right to hurt others just as others have hurt us. The Christian Right in Singapore may call for gays to be put in prisons, and not too long ago in Britain to be chemically castrated, so do we demand the same treatment for Conservative Christians! However, to do so, we would be no different from them.
And finally, above all, we have been forgiven by Jesus Christ, that we may forgive those who have wronged us greatly. We forgive because we have been forgiven much. We love because He first loved us. It is Grace, totally undeserved, when they deserved judgment without mercy.
THE CHALLENGE TO FORGIVENESS
The challenge of forgiveness is Pain, and grief. There is deep pain for the lost and the abused suffered in the past, and this pain is made more profound when we are faced with it daily. For example, observing the teenagers and young adults today being so free and open, bringing up the memories of the closet prison life, being different, and trying to find acceptance and sense in a confusing world. This was compounded by the Christian faith, questioning whether what we are intrinsically was a sin. We may spend decades working these issues out, hiding in the closet whilst the straight people have no such issues to face with. They are free to be who they are, to be involved in relationships, to love, and be loved, whilst we are in hiding, lonely, and conflicted.
The challenge of forgiveness is Pain, and grief. There is deep pain for the lost we are currently suffering and probably will suffer in the future. Where do you go when you are in the late 30s and 40s, without a partner you can love and be loved by. You may still be in the closet, to your family and relatives. It is a life lost due to the Christians Fundamentalist, and the pain compounded when you see them continuing their rhetoric and half truths against gays, in the name of God and with a false sense of morality and self righteousness. The Fundamentalist are like the locust leaving nothing behind, and after having a good meal, demands the right to come and abuse you over and over again.
The Pain can be so deep, yet unseen by others that grip our heart and prevent us from moving on. We can sooth this pain through pain killers, and even abusing ourselves through drink and drugs. Ultimately, we would have to release that pain, bring it to Christ to bear at the Cross of Calvary. He was innocent, yet, they tortured Him. It was His very own people, whom He came to save who tortured Him and not an outsider. Jesus suffered deep physical and emotional pain, that He might today bear our pains and woundings. He said, come, for my yoke and burden is light. For we are not meant to bear such incredible burden, so, put your burdens on Jesus today for He bids’ you to do so.
THINGS TO AVOID IN FORGIVENESS
Forgiveness does not mean that we forget the sin, abuse and crimes done against the gay community. It means saying “No” to it continuing and being firm and resolute in rebuking the Christian Fundamentalist that they are sinning against both God and Man in their crusade against the gay community. Forgiveness allows us not to seek vengeance, letting God be the judge and for Him to issue justice and arrange for compensation. Just as the Jews did not leave Egypt empty handed, there is justice and compensation, but the wait may be long. The key is standing firm to rebuke the Christian Fundamentalist. If we do not, we have accepted their right to sin against us.
Forgiveness does not mean rationalizing that the sin, abuse and crimes done against the gay community by the Christian Fundamentalist any less that the grave sin that they are. The perpetrators have been made to look innocent whilst we the victims, made to feel like the culprits. Being nice and conciliatory, we have used misleading statements such as:-
We are short changing ourselves and belittling the sins committed by the Christian Fundamentalists. We should not, for even Christ calls the Pharisees strong names and words to describe these seemingly religious and godly people as vile sinners.
There is the Stockholm syndrome where those who are kidnapped after a number years will have strong feelings of affection and love for those who kidnapped them. They begin to give excuses for their captors and consider it their fault for being kidnapped. We have the same syndrome in the Gay Christian Community in the ex-gay movement such as Exodus, Choices, Real Love Ministry, and Focus on the Family. They may continue to live in a lie, but they are not only hurting themselves, but perpetuating the injustice, lies, and half truths by the Christian Right. They are helping the “enemy” to persecute their own people.
In addition, many continue to attend Fundamentalist Christian Churches giving large sums of money to such ministries which in turn uses these funds as a voice of condemnation against the gay community. We are sowing into the condemnation of our own community. The bible says, that we are to love and take care our family first. It is time for Gay Christians to love and support their own gay tribe first.
AT THE END
At the end, being a Gay Christian allows us to forgive and bear our pains and grief through Jesus Christ, and find Grace to live on, “to survive” despite all that has happened. There is no fear of death, for Christ is our life and resurrection. Even If we had lost everything in this life due to the rhetoric, and lies committed by Christian Fundamentalist against gays, and even if the rest of our lives be significantly impacted, our faith, trust and Hope would be in Christ Jesus. For whatever happens, yesterday, today and tomorrow, we will one day go back home to heaven and live eternity with Christ, and what is eternity compared to this very short span here on earth.
Come out of the closet, Stand up against the Christian Fundamentalist, be proud of who God have created you as wonderfully and beautifully, and stand firm for righteousness, justice, and freedom sake, and find your purpose and life to be God’s amazing grace, mercy, and compassion to the outcasts minority and those without hope nor a voice. When we forgive, and leave justice and vengeance to God, we release God to bring justice and our recompense.
May His Grace, Mercy, and Compassion be with You always, in Christ Jesus, Our Lord and Savior. Amen.
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