Challenging Someone In Love
Where's Deb going with this?
Okay, well take for instance a person who says to a gay man or lesbian, “Well, I will never judge you, but I will challenge you in love.” Is this the ‘safe way’ of criticizing someone? And I know that there are some Christians and/or other religions, that will challenge you in regards to what the religion teaches, however, it’s disrespecting one’s beliefs about a certain religion that they practice and what they believe to be right or wrong. To me, there is no love without acceptance. To “challenge someone out of love” means that you don’t accept the way they live their life, even if the person who is being challenged feels it’s okay. It doesn’t mean you have to live the way we do, it just simply means to not ‘challenge us in love’.
In this Scripture found in Romans 14:1-4, it says this:
"Accept Christians who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. For instance, one person believes it is all right to eat anything. But another believer who has a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. Those who think it is all right to eat anything must not look down on those who won’t. And those who won’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. Who are you to condemn God’s servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let him tell them whether they are right or wrong. The Lord’s power will help them do as they should."
When I used to attend church on a regular basis, it left a very bad taste in my mouth. The people were so nice and so warm, until they found out about ‘your sin’. “Oh I’ll pray for you.” And most of the time, I am grateful when someone says that to me. The difference is, when someone says it as though I’m lost and confused, I get offended. Pray for me, but don’t pity me or think I don’t have a personal relationship with God. It sounds so hypocritical for these people to do these things. The ironic part about this was, the people who said this to me were the ones who were divorced or committing adultery, or having premarital sex, thinking that their sin was better than mine. They would be more likely to be saved.
If we can all picture ourselves locked up in this huge glass jar, we can choose to do a few things…we can accept one another and make peace, ignore one another or fight till the bitter end. We’re going to sit there and compare our lives to each individual and who lives a better ‘wholesome’ life. We want to come out looking prestigious to God. We don’t want to look like the dirty, filthy sinner that we all are. But the truth is, no beautiful garment or gorgeous hair style is going to hide our sins. We all sin – we’re human. But to judge one from another is ridiculous and pointless. We’re all going to the same place, so why fight? Let’s enjoy our time in this huge glass jar as we wait for our creator to pour us out ‘in love’.
When I was seventeen years old, dating this guy who my parents absolutely loved, we came into a weird situation. First of all, my boyfriend was Pakistani. He was such a great person with a huge heart. Everyone immediately liked him. He was well dressed, well groomed and always presented himself nicely. He was twenty-five, but looked more my age because he was smaller built and had such a baby face. His English was good and his ability to make it here in the U.S. was amazing! He owned several businesses around the area and made a life for himself.
One day, while my parents and their friends were having a barbeque outside, my boyfriend and I walked over to join them. We were all talking and getting along. When we left, my mother told me what had happened. Her friend said, “You’re going to let your daughter date someone like him?” My mother didn’t know what she meant by this.
“Well what do you mean? He’s so nice and he's so good for her.”
“But look at him! He’s middle-eastern and foreign! Don’t you think this looks bad for you and your family? And the way he dresses – he looks as though he’s selling drugs!” My mom’s friend said.
“He dresses that way because he can afford to. He owns three businesses and does well for himself. What about your sons? They all don’t have jobs, they’re over eighteen and always dressed in ripped jeans and concert t-shirts. Their hair is down to their waist and you can’t tell if they’re a man or woman from behind!”
It turned out to be a vicious judgmental battle of who’s ‘son’ was better based upon prejudices. (Even though my boyfriend wasn’t my parents’ son, they loved him the same.) The woman judged my boyfriend based upon stereotype, skin color and appearance, however thought her sons were more presentable just because they were white.
The funny part about this whole thing was that my boyfriend got along with her sons. They all liked one another. They didn’t see my boyfriend’s nationality or religion - they saw him as ‘this cool guy’ who was friendly towards them. My boyfriend saw the two sons as a couple of cool guys who got along with him as well. They were always laughing whenever they sat out in the driveway talking about cars and ‘manly stuff’ that I couldn’t relate to. I thought it was great. I’m surprised their mother had that type of mindset though. My mother’s words towards the two sons were out of defending my boyfriend. But, all in all, it was all unnecessary. They were both out of line in my opinion.
It’s sad to think that there are people who are so caught up in the judgments of not only the gay and lesbian community, but the judgment calls upon those of a different race. As if being a different race was a sin! I've never understood it, however, I grew up around it a lot. My parents were old fashioned and grew up in the Italian part of Brooklyn. I basically grew up with the mindset that I should only befriend those who were like me. White. But, as I went to school, I realized that there are so many people with different backgrounds and nationalities who I grew to like. Why can’t I hang out with them? Why can’t my friend come over? Why am I getting in trouble because the kids that rode their bikes with me in my neighborhood had names that ended in the letter ‘z’?
I remember I had a birthday party and all my friends were coming over. I was turning fifteen. Kids were mingling and eating pizza, drinking soda having a good time socializing. My friend Tom came over, because I invited him. Tom was a tall black kid who was apart of the football team. He was soft-spoken, well mannered and just had this great personality. Even though he was only around seventeen at the time, he was an old soul – the sweetest guy ever! He wasn’t into drugs or alcohol – he was all about sports and health.
“Come here!” I heard from the crack of the door. My mother wanted to know who the ‘black man’ was that walked inside our home.
“He’s a kid that we all go to school with.”
”I want him out!”
“What?” I replied, surprised that my mother is making me kick someone out for no reason.
“Get him out of here!” I was shocked. What am I going to do? Oh, Tom, please leave because this is only a ‘white party’. No! I refused to do anything about it and went on socializing with my friends.
Of course I got in trouble after everyone had left the party. The following weekend I invited Tom over. Yes, I was very very brave. I forced my mother to talk to him. I knew that if my mother were to get to know him, instead of just basing his entire being on his skin color, that she would just love him.
And she did.
All I heard was, “What a sweet kid! He’s soooo smart and intelligent for his age!” etc…etc…etc.
Because of that one day that I forced my mother to do this, her entire outlook on people is based from within – not from appearance. Her old ways of thinking were something of the past. It no longer applied to her anymore. My parents grew up thinking blacks were bad, that Spanish people were trouble and “whites” need to be with their own. There was never a time my mother spoke about gays and lesbians though. Interesting, huh? But, the day I came out to her, she did ask me to see a psychiatrist about it. (I needed a shrink for much different things than that!) I told her no, and that just like with any prejudice she had, she needed to either accept me or disown me. I’m glad she accepted me. I knew where her negative feelings stemmed from.
My entire long-winded post is based upon what we grow up learning. If we grow up learning that this is bad, or that’s bad, then we’re most likely to remain in that frame of mind. Parents teach their kids at a young age that being gay or being a lesbian is something of a perverted nature. They never mention anything about loving unions between same sex couples. It’s all about ‘sexual perversion’ to them. It’s a sin!
So what happens? Everyone puts in their mind that being gay is a sin – that it’s wrong and you don’t want to associate yourselves with those types of people. People twist and manipulate the scriptures in the bible in order to confirm their judgment calls. But if you read the scriptures carefully, it speaks of the promiscuous nature of people. The bible says nothing about the union of two people of the same sex. There are tons of scriptures upon sexual promiscuity within the heterosexual world too. Premarital sex, divorcees remarrying while the ex is still alive, looking at someone in lust, incest and infidelity. All of us have at least done one of these ‘sins’. Looking at someone in lust – I think that’s a given. We’ve all looked at someone and said, “Oooh, look at him/her!” Or thought about sex while looking at a particular person of interest. It’s called being human.
So, if you’re “human” and yet you live the absolute perfect life – please – challenge me “in love”.