How do we un-ring the bell?

This morning my heart was heavy as I listened to various programs celebrating “PRIDE50.” A celebration of the progress towards LGBT rights that has transpired since the NYC Stonewall riots of Jun 1969.
As one, who only by the grace of God was delivered from identifying as and living in the homosexual lifestyle, I truly understand the heartache of the LGBT community.
I remember the gut wrenching disgust and fear that engulfed my body the first time I had un-natural thoughts. For three years, I tried to drown out those thoughts though alcohol, drugs, heterosexual sex, multiple suicide attempts, tearing the skin off the bottom of my feet and tearing off my finger and toenails. I was on the patio of a gay bar when gunfire rang out as a truckload of young men drove by discharging their firearms and shouting obscenities. I was in the parking lot of a “gay friendly” establishment when a passerby tossed a beer bottle and hit me in the back of the head. I was sitting in the church pew as the Pastor stood behind the pulpit preaching condemnation with no mention of Christ love for me. I sat across from my parents with tears running down my face as it was suggested I would sexually violate my grandmother and sisters, and then forbidden to return home until, “I got my life right with God.” I faithfully served my country for 21 years all the while living in fear of anyone learning of my sexuality.
Why did I chose such a life for myself? Because, I stood alone in the wake of childhood abuse expected to forget and move forward as if nothing ever happened. It was only after my first homosexual encounter at the age of 21 I felt wanted and worthy of love. In my mind, there was no going back.
Is this an excuse? No, it is not an excuse but a plea for others to open their minds and to understand homosexuality is a matter of the heart. Wrong has been done and if we truly desire to be a reflection of Christ, then there are a few things I think we need to acknowledge. It is only through the love of Jesus Christ that resides within us can healing begin. Unless LGBT can truly see Christ, living in us there is no hope. It is my belief we must first recognize and accept responsibility for the actions, which caused harm to those in the LGBT community. Past actions did not reflect the example Jesus left for us to follow. In our piety, inability to understand, and fear of the unknown, we failed to reach out our hand and touch the leper (Mat. 8:3).
I know we cannot “un-ring” the bell, but can we give the bell a new tune? If so, how do we influence the Body of Christ to walk out of fear and into faith? I have absolutely no doubt in God’s power and authority to influence changes within the LGBT community. However is change possible without them truly seeing Christ in us?
I am not so naïve to believe everyone will be accepting and some may even be volatile but if one heart comes to know Christ, would it not be worth it? I feel an urgency and believe a platform needs to be established. Should the Body of Christ not respond in kind to the celebrations of sin?
Blessings,
Pam

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My heart is both full and heavy after reading your post. Thank you for being a blessing to me and others.

Do you have any ideas of how and where to start?

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Jennifer,
The first thing we need to do is acknowledge the part we played in the condition of our society. Before I came to know Christ, if someone offended me I had a very unforgiving and cautious attitude towards that person until that person came to me with heart in hand and sincerely apologized. I think this is what some in the LGBT community need from the Body of Christ. To acknowledge and honestly apologize for our failure to reflect Christ light within us.
The second thing is to recognize it is going to take passionate, well organized, in sync warriors of God to address the LGBT community. It is understandably difficult for anyone to be passionate about anything they have no personal experience with. As a whole, I believe there is concern but the level of concern within the Body of Christ is not equal to the passion behind the Reformation Agenda. Expressions of fear of offending or warnings of possible trouble and bodily harm are louder than the whispers of “God loves you, you are fearfully and wonderfully made, He has a wonderful purpose for your life.”
When I get tired or become fearful, I ask myself; if I was willing to risk my life to live is sin, am I not willing to risk my life to witness for Christ? If I walk in fear isn’t that the same as not trusting God? If I remain silent, isn’t that the same and denying Christ? Are the social issues we face today not the result of our failure to properly love our neighbor by living the example Christ left for us to follow.
Responding in kind to the celebration of sin I believe is an act of love when done with the same compassion and goodness of heart Jesus showed towards those he mistered to.
Blessings, Pam

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