“Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I’m gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves.” – Matthew 11:28-29
So I was on social media the other day, just catching up with the feeds of people who are friends and family, people I love. And there was a meme that caught my attention. I looked at it and was disappointed to see something insensitive, trite, ignorant, and dismissive of anyone who identifies under the LBGTQ umbrella.
There were the usual “thumbs up”, “love”, and “Amen” responses. Then, when someone disagreed, questioning the lack of empathy and challenging the spirit of exclusion behind the meme they were instantly scorned via harsh, condescending, and crude replies.
Eventually, and this is essentially the point of today’s post, the person who objected to the meme was told, “Read your Bible,” as if God not only approves of what is insensitive, trite, ignorant, dismissive, harsh, condescending and crude, but that reading the Bible necessarily closes off discussion – because that person’s interpretation of the scriptures is always 100% correct! “The Bible… end of discussion!”
Not an end but a beginning!
I’m sorry, but shouldn’t the scriptures be an invitation to dialogue? A Bible verse is not a period at the end of a declarative statement so much as a comma, or a semi-colon in the middle of a deep conversation.
I love the way Rebekah put it in her excellent series last year when she encouraged us to consider the hundreds of questions Jesus asks rather than deploying scripture as a way to close conversations down.
Personally, I believe people I completely disagree with usually have valid reasons for the positions they hold, reasons it would benefit me to understand. I know that I am wrong much of the time and I need to do a better job of listening and learning from others. I have changed my position on a number of important issues over the years and will likely shift again over time.
Here’s my point:
So let me point something out (this applies to literally hundreds of “Christians” whose comments I have read on a variety of platforms) – and I am trying hard to say this without contradicting my conviction that it is unnecessary to be harsh or dismissive:
To those who rush to squash dissenting ideas with the Bible, using scripture to add authority to their own opinions and preferences while simultaneously attempting to close down discussion, I say this: “If you want to go there (are you really sure?), you will find that the scriptures have more to say about your unkindness, your lack of compassion, your prejudice, your divorce, your xenophobia, your potty-mouth… than the complexities and struggles of LBGTQ individuals struggling to find some peace in this world.”
In fact, the Bible does speak directly to our friends who are different, and who think differently. A solid example of the overarching theme of the scriptural witness to God’s disposition toward humanity is voiced by Jesus. “Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I’m gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves” (Matthew 11:28-29).
For All People:
This is God’s word for all people. Republican, Democrat, Independent, straight, L, B, G, T, Q, citizen, immigrant, meme-poster, comment-maker, me, and you too.
Just come. Find your rest and your peace in Jesus. Don’t waste all this energy putting other people down; and for goodness sake don’t be saying that God rejects them, because that is a huge, ugly lie.
That is the scripture; that is the truth. Not the end, but the beginning of the discussion – DEREK