We need to hear people’s stories. Not just the ones we want to hear, the triumph-of-grace-over-sin, feel-good, happy-ending tales of a life turned to Christ. Not just the kind that make the people cheer in victory, that another soul has been rescued from the clutches of Satan. We need to hear the stories that make us squirm. The ones that cause us to lie awake nights, asking the deeper questions about sin, salvation, and grace.
Here are a couple of links to just such stories: Life Abundant, a guest post on Andrew Marin’s blog; and this one, the most recent post on Ryan Nix’s blog, Queer as Faith. (Nix’s posts are much less about being the “gay Christian dude” and more about drawing us back to the heart of the Father. Incredibly inspiring and often convicting, the posts are very well-written; it’s worth checking out some of the others as well.)
Often, we might say that we ought to get to know real-life LGBT people. But the subtle underlying message we hear or sometimes speak is, “So that they come to know Christ and give up their lifestyle of rampant sin.” The fault in that is two-fold. First, it’s incorrect to assume anything about someone’s faith (as seen in the links above). Second, it’s never a good idea to enter a friendship with an agenda.
Most of you know where my heart is. If we’ve talked, then chances are I know where yours is. No one is being asked to jump immediately on board the train and change their thinking, certainly not overnight. But we do need to hear what people different from ourselves have to say. It’s not a matter of listening with an open mind but an open heart. When we do this kind of open-hearted listening, we are offering ourselves to G-d to work through us and in us.
Who will you listen to today?