I have judged wrongly

I wrote this several nights ago, but had not posted it until now, because I wanted to take some time to pray about it and seek out the “wisdom of many counselors.” Mostly, I wanted to ensure that what I wrote wasn’t unnecessarily offensive.  In holding the acknowledgement of sin in one hand and love and compassion in the other, my words are bound to be capable of offense to everyone on some level.  This is not my intention.  I ask before you read this that you do so carefully and hear what I’m saying and not infer things I have not stated.  Please understand that this is a conclusion I have come to, based on many things that God has brought me through, not a premise to justify a position or a criticism of anyone…

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I don’t cry easily, but tonight I am sitting at the computer with tears in my eyes.  And I don’t know that I can express all that I’m feeling in a very clear way, but I want to try.  I want to write about it while I’m feeling it, even before I’ve had a chance to organize my thoughts.  I want to be a little raw and rough around the edges and a little bit emotional.  I want to speak from my heart, and not my head.

Today, I was led to two blog posts, written by two different people, on the same subject – homosexuality.  I wasn’t searching for articles on the subject, through various means which I’m sure were orchestrated by God, they came to me. These articles tore at my heart and tapped into something deep inside of me that should have been there all along, but hasn’t been.  Compassion.  The truth is that I have judged homosexuals in many different ways, never fully understanding that it is only by God’s saving grace that we are able to change our minds about sin.  What hurts about this mirror God is holding to my heart is the realization that I have objectified living, breathing men and women.  In my heart, I have seen these relationships as somehow “less than” what heterosexual couples experience, I’ve seen them on the same emotional level as a one night stand or a quick fling.  In my heart, on some level deep inside, I have been angry at those not willing to give up their “flings” for something better – namely, a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

But I am no longer convinced that the love between a husband and a wife is automatically more intense or more holy or more passionate than the love between any other two people, simply because they are married.

1 Samuel 18:1 speaks of the bond between Jonathan and David, saying:

“the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.”

Later, after the death of Jonathan, David laments saying:

“Your love to me was wonderful, surpassing the love of women.” (2Sa 1:26 NKJV)

In searching for the exact location of these two scripture verses, I came upon the following commentary:

Notice that it does not say that [Jonathan] knitted himself, but that the soul was knit. True friendship is a gift of God, and a person who has a true friend should count him as such. We hear much about “falling in love” in our day. I doubt if anyone can really define such a condition, but there is such a thing in the Bible. God knit the soul of one to the soul of another. The words “made one” could be used in the relationship of Christ and the church as well as in the relationship of the husband and wife. In other words, when God gives one a friend, he knits their souls just as really as Christ was knit to the church and as the husband and wife are knit to each other.

The fact is, and what I’ve been blind to for so very long is, that there can exist a level of love between two people that is just as strong as that between a husband and a wife.  We, in our ignorance and our love of “romance,” have often taken this kind of love and corrupted it.  Our culture encourages the belief that the highest expression of love is sex.  When a woman meets her “soul mate” and he is not her husband, she assumes that it must mean that she married the wrong person and will never be truly happy until she leaves her husband and consummates her relationship with the man to whom God has “knitted her soul” (and I am coming to believe that it is possible for a woman’s heart to be “knitted together” with the heart of a man who is not her husband. I also believe that if the hearts of a married couple are not yet “knitted together,” they can become so through prayer.  I believe it is possible to have more than one “soul mate.”)

What I haven’t understood, what I have judged wrongly, is the bond that exists in some homosexual relationships.  In many ways, this bond is just as legitimate, just as passionate, just as loving and at times possibly even more so than the bond between a heterosexual husband and a wife.  And in my heart, I saw this as a fling!  In my heart, I condemned my homosexual friends and family members for not tossing this relationship aside like worthless baggage.  I am ashamed.

In one of the articles that touched my heart today, I read this story, which outlined an interview between a baptist pastor and the head of a gay and lesbian group called Soul Force:

The [man] explained to me that he now loved [his lover] more than life itself. This relationship that had brought him so much happiness, so much comfort, and so much security was the very thing that Southern Baptist pastors were saying would send him to hell. Amazingly, this man began to weep as he spoke to me. I sat silently as the man attempted to regain his composure. He then went on to explain that his lover was very ill, possibly dying. He hated Southern Baptists because we condemned people like him and his lover to hell.

My heart breaks for this man, who was facing the loss of the love of his life while dealing with those who would seek to destroy the bond between them.  My heart breaks for a Church and a religion that would seek to condemn this man for the love he has for another.  My heart breaks for my own soul that wished for this man to toss his love aside and never look back.  And my heart breaks for a culture that has looked upon this kind of love and believed that the highest form of expressing it is through the act of sexual intimacy.

The reality that I am ashamedly only now coming to understand is that the men and women I’ve so casually labeled “homosexuals” love the partners they have chosen to spend their lives with, sometimes with a love that would probably rival that found in many Christian marriages.  They can no more set these relationships aside than we could “rocket others on the moon by sheer will or moral persuasion.”  I’m not even sure that they should – not completely anyway.  But they, just like many, many heterosexuals, have bought into the lie that sex is the ultimate climax of a loving relationship.  That the kind of love that knits two souls together must ultimately knit their bodies together, as well.  That without physical intimacy, their relationship is somehow less than what it should be.

For the first time, I feel extreme compassion for those living in homosexual relationships.  I am happy for the oneness they have come to find with the people they love.  I am sad that our culture has led us to believe that the highest expression of love is sex.

I pray for the gay and lesbian men and women that I know.  I pray that they will continue to love and be loved by their partners.  I pray that they will experience the love of God.  And I pray that God’s saving grace will be a light to their path, and make the bonds they have with their “soul mates” even stronger, in a holy union steeped in God’s love.

Related Articles (Outside Links)

Millitant Homosexuals: Loving Them to Christ Without Lambasting Them at Church

What Will I Tell My Gay Friends?

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Related Articles (written by me)

I Didn’t Marry my Soul Mate… Was I Supposed To?

On Romance and Love and Not Marrying My Soul Mate and an Attack on Poor Mr. Darcy

I can’t have more than one best friend! Can I? And wait… isn’t my husband supposed to be my “best” friend? Maybe not…

This entry was posted in Daybook, Friendship, Just Thoughts, Love, Marriage, Miscellaneous, My Testimony, PERSONAL. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to I have judged wrongly

  1. Jo says:

    I agree with you that our modern culture glorifies sex. And that Wade Burleson fellow’s tactic, to love people to Christ, is bold. And great.

    But you seem to be saying that God can knit two people together, and that then they might accede to the pressures of modern culture and mistakenly add a sexual component to their knit-by-God relationship. Biblical, knit-by-God love, is not selfish and does not rejoice in iniquity. (1 Cor 13) Faithful friends rebuke one another. (Prov 27) Homosexual sin is condemned by God. Therefore, homosexual partners who persist in that sin, are rejecting God’s order, rejoicing in that rejection, and failing to rebuke one another for it, all for their own selfish ends. This is not acting in a loving fashion. I also believe that marital-love is different from friend-love, and that God wouldn’t give marital-love to people of the same gender.

    Anyway, I agree we should be compassionate. We are ALL sinners. We are ALL condemned to hell for our sins. The only hope any of us have is in Christ. I admire that Burleson fellow.

    • Rina says:

      Jo,

      In considering what you wrote, and contemplating a response, there is one thing that sticks out as a key issue in what both you and I are saying. You wrote:” we are ALL sinners.”

      No. I’m not.

      As someone who has embraced the sacrifice Jesus made for me on the cross as a reconciliation between me and a Holy God, and as an atonement for my sin today and always, I am no longer a sinner. As someone who has abandoned herself completely to God’s care, I have been changed. My understanding of sin – my understanding of what is right and wrong in my life has been changed. Jesus died so that I could become His. He died so that His Spirit could take up residence inside of me, so that He could give me Himself and make me like Him. He died so that I could become His friend, so that He could partner with me and work with me and in me and through me. He died so that His Spirit could live inside of me and enable me to stand before a Holy God without shame. As someone who has accepted His sacrifice and become willing to allow Him to change in me whatever needs to be changed and take from me whatever needs to be taken and give to me whatever needs to be given, I am no longer a sinner. This doesn’t mean that I am perfect or that I don’t participate in the act of sinning. It means that I am not defined as a sinner. From God’s standpoint, there has been an identity change, inside and out. My spiritual DNA has been altered.

      As such, I am categorically different from those who have not yet given themselves completely and fully to His care and His reproof. I have been given the gift of a relationship with someone who will not abide sin in me and who will use whatever means necessary to destroy the demonic and its work in my life. I have been given the Holy Spirit to batter and bruise and break and heal and comfort my heart through the struggle with and victory over sin. This makes my everyday reality very, very different from those who have not yet given themselves to Him. This makes my understanding of sin and its implications much more complex.

      Can we really expect those who do not know the love of Jesus to know the difference between “pure” and “impure” love? Do we really need to sit and pick apart whether this kind of love is right, vs. that kind of love? What, exactly, is “marital love? What does it look like? What does it FEEL like? Whether God has knitted two homosexuals together in “marital love” really doesn’t matter, the point is that they love and there are parts of that love – self-sacrifice, loyalty, commitment, trust, etc… that are from God. Must we take the love they have for one another and call it all “sin,” simply because it has been misapplied? I believe there are a great many things that God is involved with, that He has wrapped Himself completely around and in and through, that we mistakenly call “sin.” I could spend a great deal of time telling you what love is not, but that doesn’t help us to define what love IS. Nor does it help us to love each other better. Assuming that a dysfunctional Christian culture knows what love is, and has a corner on the market, is a big mistake.

      My main point in writing this article is to express my own shame that I have treated these men and women as “objects of lust” rather than living, breathing human beings. Whatever we want to say of their sin, the people experiencing this love are just that – people. And I am painfully aware of the fact that I have not treated them as such in my heart.

  2. jamie jarboe says:

    I read this post a few days ago and have been pondering an eloquent reply but the words just wouldn’t come. So here I am with a not so eloquent reply:) First of all, thanks for sharing. I frequently forget to thank the writers of the blogs I read and enjoy for putting their thoughts in print and sharing them everyone. I very much enjoy reading your blog. I don’t always have the same viewpoint as you (we live very different lives in many ways but share some things, like Passover!) but I never feel “attacked” as I have felt after reading other blogs. All that being said, I appreciate this post for the real emotion that you wrote it with. I think all too often we, as Christians, focus on the sin and the stigma of the sin rather than on the people. This is a good reminder to look beyond the sin at the person. Thanks, Rina.

    • Rina says:

      Jamie, thank you for writing and thank you for your encouragement and support. I’m so thankful that you’ve never felt attacked, it’s something I have frequently asked God to help me with – expressing views that are different, without coming across as judgmental or condemning. I have friends, who have “gently rebuked” me in the past, to thank for much of that. I appreciate you very much, Jamie. I know we’re not close, and we don’t talk that often, but your support means a lot to me.

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