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eople sure can be a pain in the neck. It would be so much easier if people were like things, they stay where you put them, you know them, you can generally trust and rely on them, they often give comfort and help. But, people are not things, and further, people are not perfect, they're human. People have as many shortcomings as you do; they have strengths and weaknesses. They sometimes do things on purpose, and other times don't know what they are doing or even aware they are doing it. They can love you and hate you, be your friend, be your enemy, or be nothing at all. They are never predictable, but yet are so important and valuable to you. But, they, like you are created in God's Image, and through your relationship with God, learning and growing in Jesus, you can equip yourself to relate positively with them, and be confident in yourself in your relationships with them. So, let's look at some different relationships or situations we may find ourselves in with people.
he Church is the Body of Christ, composed of many members, many differing gifts, talents, purposes. Sadly, the Church is also human, it fails, it does not always love. In life, there is always a war of balance between the individual and the group. It is natural to desire Love and acceptance, to fit in, conform, but it is also natural to be yourself, unique as God has made you. So, if you desire too much the Love and acceptance of peers, you may lose your self-identity, your uniqueness. But, if you express too much your uniqueness, you risk losing the Love and acceptance of peers. You have to find balance, the ability to be part of the group without sacrificing your uniqueness. This is called walking in love. Romans 12
The Church is composed of flawed people, you cannot throw "the baby out with the bath water" every time it lets you down or doesn't live up to your expectations. You should choose a Church not just for what it does for you, feeds you, but rather for what you can do for it, serve others. You have a valuable place in the Body of Christ, your gifts and talents are needed, you cannot serve if you are not open, you cannot Love if you are hidden. You must be visible, a light in a dark place, even within a Church.
Sadly, your visibility may not be accepted, your gifts and talents, or your sexual orientation not understood. How you live your life may assist in your acceptance, your freedom to be who you are in Christ may teach people of God's diversity within the Body of Christ. If you respond to negativity with negativity you shall gain nothing, but if you respond with Christ and in Christlikeness, then you present the possibility for growth, change and acceptance.
God may desire to use you to teach a Church about Love and acceptance, God may use you to bring love to a Church which knows not Love. God may use you to judge a Church which is unloving, give it one last chance to change and Love, lest the Holy Spirit move on. It is natural to desire fellowship with like-minded people, or people of similar culture, lifestyle, values, etc. Resist this temptation. God may desire you to stay in a Church that is unaccepting, unloving so you may teach it acceptance, Love, diversity within the Body of Christ. God may desire you to learn from a Church, grow within a Church, to develop aspects of yourself yet untouched or undeveloped. Let God lead you to the Church God desires you to be in, and wherever you are, be Love, be Christ-like in all things, a light, a witness, holy in life and speech.
It is important to be yourself, fully and totally, as God has designed you to be, but you are also called to walk in love, as best you can, with all people. This includes people within the Church who are unaccepting and unloving. You can be yourself and also temper yourself without compromise. Let the Lord teach you how to walk in Love towards those who are fellow siblings in the Lord, yet ignorant or unlearned. Learn to wash the feet of those who will not wash your feet, serve those who will not serve you, Love those who will not Love you. No matter where you are, be yourself but also be Christ-like. This is the Gospel to which you are called.
If you disfellowship yourself from fellow Christians who do not understand nor accept you, how shall they learn to accept you? Even though they are different than you, why should you not try to fellowship with them? Whether or not they accept and love you, the fact remains they may still be your siblings in the Lord, those difficult relatives we all have. But, you are commanded to Love both your relatives and your enemies, to do good to those who will not do good to you, to lay down your life for them. Even if they never cross the road to meet you, you go and cross the road to meet them, you make the first move, you Love even if they never Love in return.
I do not flaunt my homosexuality, I flaunt my Christianity. I've seen people unaccepting of Gay Christians rethink their theology when confronted by the Holy Spirit living within my heart and by the evidence of Christ in my life. I've also seen many people who stubbornly refuse to see Christ in my life, refuse to accept me as a fellow sibling in the Lord. You and I are commanded to be a light in darkness, to witness to the truth, to show Christ to the world, to the salvation and enlightenment of some people, to the judgement and hardheartedness of other people. I do not compromise my sexuality when I am around Churches or people who do not understand or accept my homosexuality, rather I walk in my homosexuality in all holiness and godliness, not throwing it in their face, but living my life in meekness, quietness and love, letting the Lord shine through me. Nothing I can say or do can prove anything to anyone, only God within me, allowed to operate through me, can change people's hearts. I Cor. 8
As much as possible, as lies within you, try to live peaceably with all people, temper yourself in Love, be Love in all you are, even your sexuality, be a witness of a godly life in Christ. Be teachable, be a teaching tool.
See Also: True Verses False Christianity, What If My Church Finds Out I Am Gay?, Can You Help Me Find a Church?, The Church and the Gay Christian, Books - Gays, Lesbians and Christianity, Affirming Churches, Denominations, etc., Christian Resourses Links.
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