Loving All, Even a Transgender

When are we to love? When is it the right time to give it versus the right to withhold or take it away?

And what does love really look like? Really?

Jesus said to ‘love each other.’ He was clear when he said to ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ So…? What does that look like? Sure, Jesus could do and say that. He was God after all. But we are mere humans, flawed and wretched.

No matter. We are still told to love.

I have been ruminating on this for a long time. A long time. It came to a real head of steam over the last few weeks, and it became real up in here, for sure!

A friend — not a close friend, but one who I worked with on and off for the last few years — ‘came out’ on his blog and admitted that he was transgender, that he has felt like a female since he was a small child. An active leader in the Christian community, this announcement was met with what you would expect — shock and awe. He processed and discussed all of it through his (now her) blog. His family has known for a long time. His reasons for coming out were strong, and emotional, obviously not a decision arrived at very easily.

Upon hearing about it, and reading his blog, I have wrestled with it in my head, trying to give it my own worldly sense of reference. I cannot do it. You looked like a man, I knew you as a man, now you are dressing like a woman. I am unable, at least now, to rationalize it into comfort. I may have to learn to live with the in-between of that.

But let’s get back to love.

What has greatly saddened, sickened, confused and annoyed me (all in swirl, all at the same time) is that the Christian community that he served all of his life has, for the most part, turned away. The community that he worked in, led for most of his adult life. The people he preached to, prayed for, loved. Those people, for the most part, have turned away. Not taken an intermission to process, not embraced him with prayers even through their confusion about it all. But walked away.

‘Ah, OK, love ya, but…’

“But, we must stop talking to you. But, I must turn away. But, this is just disgusting. But, you are not my friend anymore. But, you are sinning so I must get away from you, leave you alone. But, but, but, but, but…”

But. Such a small word, so often ushering in so many hurts.

He’ll be the first to admit (and has on his blog) that this is hard. He understands that many will not get it. Ever. And he is ok with that. He seems to have expected it. But I betcha he was hoping to be wrong.

From what my Bible says, he has not sinned. He hasn’t. Maybe there is some deep theology that disowns those who take this route. Maybe. But please find a verse in the Bible that says it specifically, although I know there will be plenty of verses twisted to justify someone’s complete lack of compassion. Aren’t there always?

Instead of loving him, let’s put him in a leper colony of misfits. Let’s label it, quantify it, package it, and ship it far away where we can’t see or engage or be forced to process our own behaviors and judgements. Let’s ostracize the very people who Jesus embraced so we don’t have to consider the cost we need to pay to love them.

We are all humans, flawed to the bone. I am one. We are loved by a God who is so hard to fathom in his capacity to love us, yet he asks us to try to do the same.

Real faith wrestles. Real faith tries to understand its own turn-aways. Real faith tries to turn back and love like God does. ‘Do unto others’ was not meant just for the easy, but for the hard as well. Perhaps, especially the hard cause we may hve to lean on God for the strength and wisdom to do that part. I have failed all too often at those hard ones, when my judgement was front and center, and the love was on reserve for those that were easy, that were like me.

Yet, God remains. And the command to love remains.

Am I uncomfortable with the whole ‘T’ in LGBT scenario (hey, the other letters are not all that easy for me either). Nope. Will I ever get comfortable? Maybe not anytime soon. But my uncomfortableness is absolutely no reason not to love. Not to offer the turn-aways — each a human being — the same level of respect I would the cookie cutter similars.

Gosh who I am to even question whether I should love anyone else or not…so thankful that God isn’t sitting on a holy throne deciding to love one of us, but not the next because of decisions we have made, feelings that we have had, crap that we do to each other, or becausee of who we have chosen to love.

So thankful.

“…even the pagans…”