I am a Christian. I believe in Jesus. I believe that He died for us—all of us—to forgive us from sin and to give us new life, wholeness, and happiness in all this craziness. I believe that we have a purpose, that each of us was created for a reason and that we matter, even in our tiny existence. I believe we were made in our Father’s image, made to be silly or tall or funny or quiet or artistic or athletic or smart or petite or loud. Made to be just as we are—broken and beautiful.
I don’t believe that He made any mistakes.
I am a Christian. I believe in Jesus. And I believe that He created people to be individual, to feel what we feel, to love what and who we love. I believe that as a follower of Christ, my duty is to love others, to accept them, to meet them where they are and know that even if they are vastly different than me, they are still worth loving. Because our Father loves us. All of us.
I am a Christian. I believe in Jesus. And I believe that we all sin differently, and I have no right to weigh the sins of others on a scale. I have no right to press my personal values on anyone else. And I have no right to claim what is ‘good’ or ‘wrong’ when I am no better than anyone I stand next to.
I am a Christian. I believe in Jesus. And I believe that my faith might look dissimilar to the person across the street, down the hall, on the other side of the world. And that’s okay. Because we are unique people leading unique lives, but still believing in the same premise—that Christ died for us, that we are imperfect beings striving to live like our perfect Savior, that there is hope and forgiveness and freedom in our Father’s name.
I am a Christian. I believe in Jesus. And I do not claim to be blameless, but I will not say that I am a better or worse Christian for how I choose to live out my faith. And in this way, I will not judge others. Because their faith and relationship with God are not my own.
I am a Christian. I believe in Jesus. And love is my religion. Loving others as myself, loving others as my own, loving others as sisters and brothers in Christ. Because that is what we are—His creations—His flawed, complex, astounding, incredible, human creations.
So I will stand beside my best friend who fights for the right to marry her girlfriend. I will speak out for the boy who is unsure of his sexuality and is bullied by his classmates. I will walk the streets and stand proudly next to the man who is arm-in-arm with his boyfriend and hug him because there is nothing wrong with loving who you love, with feeling what you feel, with being who you are.
We are God’s children, fearfully and wonderfully made.
“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
— Psalm 139:14 (NKJV)
And if you ask me how I can be a Christian and attend the Pride Festival, I will tell you this: Because these are my brothers and sisters, celebrating the simple ability to love, to connect, to have relationships and feel as if their emotions are valid. And why wouldn’t I, as a Christian, want to take part in that? Why wouldn’t I want to jump for joy at their freedom, at their happiness, at their ability to be who they are without fear?
What about my sexuality would say that I’m ‘better’ than them? Absolutely nothing. What good would come from condemning them for the way they live and love? Absolutely nothing.
Because who am I to say that their choices are ‘worse’ sins than the sins I’ve committed? Who am I to say that their preferences are even sins at all? Who am I to even think I have the authority to comment on anyone else’s version of Christianity?
If your version of Christianity is condemning people in Jesus’ name, then I don’t want any part of it.
Love is my Christianity. Reaching out and hugging people, despite our differences, is my Christianity. Opening myself to new perspectives and beliefs and accepting them, even if they don’t coincide with my personal values, is my Christianity. Caring about other people and their hearts is my Christianity. Celebration is my Christianity.
Holding signs that say ‘Repent. Turn to Jesus or you will burn,’ and ‘Ask me why you deserve hell’ is not my Christianity. Protesting one of the happiest, most genuine festivals for LGBTQ individuals is not my Christianity. Spewing anger and hate is not my Christianity.
And you can tell me that I’m wrong, that I am not a true follower of Jesus, that I have fallen so far from grace and gotten myself caught up in all the wrong things. But answer me this: Isn’t all sin equal in God’s eyes? Isn’t all sin punishable by death?
“Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
— 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NIV)
We are all sinners, but all washed clean and forgiven in Christ. We are all sinners, but all made in His image. We are all sinners, be we are loved, so deeply by our Father.
So let God be the judge of who is ‘wrong’ or ‘right.’ In the meantime, I will keep loving my brothers and sisters as He loves me.