Monday, June 29, 2015

An Open Letter to my Christian-hating “Friend”

Dear Friend,

I saw you last week on Facebook, waving your rainbow flag of victory with shouts of joy. It came as no surprise to me, as we have been “friends” on Facebook long enough for me to know where you stand on many political issues. The element of surprise was further lost when I saw your shouts of joy turn into a hate-filled diatribe against “bigoted, closed-minded Christians.” Though the surprise was lacking, the hurt is still there.

I know you “hate” Christians. I’ve seen you say it with your own words and through a myriad of meme’s and shared articles. I’m sure it comes to no surprise to you to learn you are not the only “friend” on my Facebook feed to contribute to this hatred of Christians. It happens all the time, people condemning me for loving Jesus. I have been called stupid, ignorant, uneducated, bigoted, closed-minded, intolerant and even, evil. I have been “unfriended” (in real life, too, not just on the internet) and excluded because of my beliefs. I have hesitated, too many times, sharing my convictions for fear that people like you would attack me because of my “intolerance.” (Ironic, yes?)

Friend, I won’t pretend to know your individual reasons for hating the collective whole of Christianity. I understand Christianity is merely another constrictive religion to you and Jesus is too often a name tossed around in attempts to justify hatred. I have seen people who misappropriate the Kingdom of God to further advance their own agendas. Can I tell you something? It sickens me, too. But there is a big difference between me and you (and it isn’t to Whom I pray.)

The difference? The sickening behavior I see doesn’t stir hatred in my heart. Rather, it brings grief. It saddens me when I see the beautiful news of the Gospel being perverted to hate. It hurts me, because I know in the eyes of many, like you, it condemns all of those who place a claim on His name. It devastates me to see the Truest Love used as a weapon which only further pushes people from the Amazing Grace who saved my life.

May I ask a favor from you, friend? Instead of allowing this misappropriation to cause you to automatically hate anyone who identifies as a Christian, would you please look at the individual? Would you, for a moment, stop screaming your battle cries of “TOLERANCE!” and “ACCEPTANCE!” and see the hypocrisy of throwing out the bushel because of a couple bad apples?

I have taken the time to acknowledge you as an individual. Not as a homosexual, a Democrat, or a Liberal, but as a friend. A friend who may not agree or always see eye-to-eye, but one who deserves love and respect nonetheless. I am a Christian who loves you. I may not support everything you do, but I still love you. 

I am not asking you to lie down your own convictions and embrace mine. I am not asking you to justify the wrongful and hateful acts committed “in His name.” I am merely asking you to see the collective whole is a culmination of broken individuals on varying points in their journey of grace. I am asking you to see, as in the communities in which you locate your identity, that one does not equal all. Please, share a little of that tolerance and acceptance with me; my being a Christian should not automatically qualify me for hatred in your heart any more than your beliefs should stir hatred for you in mine.

Maybe, just maybe, if you could be brave enough to see your “enemy” as a person and not a label, you will be right when you assert your claim that “love wins.”

In Christ’s love,