Contemplating “Freedom in Christ” and My Christian View on LGBTQIA+ Controversy
Since beginning to blog in February of 2020, I’ve grown increasingly more frustrated with my limited understanding and lack of personal experience with the phrase “free in Christ.” And looking back (as I do annually) at the website and why I began writing in this way, I am reminded that seeking what this term means has always been at the heart of my journey. My home page declares it! Yet a clear, livable definition has remained illusive. However, I think my pursuit of wisdom and my willingness to be vulnerable is paying off.
WHY AM I WRITING?
The timing between beginning to earnestly write and a pandemic that would change my perspective on faith is rather miraculous. Initially, my motive for writing was to have an outlet to share some insights on faith and life, but now I know that the act of writing is my way of working out what I don’t understand. This form of “verbal” processing has not only saved others from going mad (listening to my dronings) but has honed a hobby into skill. One that I now believe can be of use.
Several painful personal circumstances have occurred in these three years since the onset of Covid-19. I’ve casually mentioned some of them in other posts but skirted any deep talk online. And each year I’ve written less and less. Both for my own blog and devotionals for others to publish. I did not know what to say about the tornado I found myself whirling in, so I stopped writing much at all.
INSPIRED BY A BIBLICAL WRITER
Ironically, the inspirational Bible verse that I chose to represent my blog, putting it on my home page, contains these lines from Psalm 119 (MSG):
“And I’ll stride freely through wide open spaces
as I look for your truth and your wisdom;
Then I’ll tell the world what I find, speak out boldly in public, unembarrassed.”
I’ve been the opposite of bold and utterly embarrassed to talk about troublesome things because I fear scorn or peer pressure from the Christian community. Frankly, I didn’t consider myself biblically educated enough to stand behind my opinions. I don’t feel safe in heated conversations and tend to avoid them.
But today these words embolden me to continue to study and write about the truth of the gospel…even the parts pertaining to controversial and difficult topics. Because some of these subjects are now within my wheelhouse to discuss. Writing gives me the time to go slow and the editing ability to be a better, non-defensive communicator.
I feel called to open up about what it is like to be both a Christian and a parent of a child identifying as transgender. And I need to write to help me navigate what I am wrestling with and maybe it’ll help others traverse the same. I do not claim to have “arrived,” but am only beginning this part of the journey.
I BEGAN AS A PHARISEE
As a white, Christian woman, raised in a conservative, republican, American, Christian home, I had no experience with the “big” sins. And by big sin, I mean my genealogy was without murderers, thieves, and sexual sinners (or so I believed). My life was built on being good, going to Sunday school, and saying “no” to drugs. I didn’t really need Jesus’ freedoms because I was keeping all the rules. I was a good girl.
So, it’s no surprise that I’ve struggled with the whole “freedom in Christ” bit. If I don’t understand what a sinner is, how can I relate to grace?
Here’s what I know about being a goody-goody…you don’t relate to those who aren’t. And when you don’t relate, you lack sympathy and compassion. You keep a distance, and you certainly don’t fraternize in friendship with those people.
This is the Pharisee story.
And my story.
It could be your story too.
CHRIST SET US FREE FROM RULE KEEPING
However, God is rescuing me from that lie of a life. He is saving me by putting me in hard places where I must make hard choices between relationships and ideology. Or relationships and theology.
Let me be clear, God is not suggesting I choose between lost people and Him. But between His beloved and rules. I can’t help but wonder if some Christians see standing alongside sinners as somehow standing apart from Christ.
My choice is to stay in relationship with my child despite the lifestyle they are exploring because I interpret the Bible as saying that God does not leave us nor forsake us.
So, this is a new insight I have into living free in Christ:
Love does not always follow the rules.
Or rather our interpretation of the rules, which so many churches adhere to.
Love does not draw lines in the sand that say, “cross this and you’re out of the family,” or “you only get so many chances.” Jesus died to release all of us from legalism and into relationship. And, in case you didn’t know, relationships are messy. Yet I’m pretty sure Jesus already had that figured out.
There’s soooo much more to say, but I’m well over the word count of a reasonable blog post. I will continue to talk about my opinions and relevant Biblical discoveries on my blog while I continue to write devotionals for publication on other websites (also posted on my “Published Devotionals” page). I welcome your questions as I share as openly as possible about my experience.
5 thoughts on “Contemplating “Freedom in Christ” and My Christian View on LGBTQIA+ Controversy”
Thank you Sharon, for sharing, so openly, what you are experiencing, your thoughts and feelings. One of our granddaughters revealed to us (via her mother) a few years ago, that she is gay. She was afraid of our reaction, but (I hope) was reassured when we, individually, made a point of telling her we love her – always have and always will. She maintains limited contact with us, but is always warm and loving when we do see her. The heartbreak is not in her lifestyle, but in the loss of the closeness we once had. I admire you opening the door to this discussion and confess that I have, up to this point, shared this information with only one or two close Christain friends – of course, fearing their rebuke. May God bless you.
Thank you for opening the door to new conversations that need to be addressed. I have a very dear friend and she is gay, she always says things like “how would your church handle us bringing our kids to your church event “ I tell her with love and welcoming arms. I tell all the time how much she means to Christ and I don’t know but sometimes I have a hard to accepting her life style. I’ll never let our friendship end. Does this make sense? I too don’t know how to start a conversation about the LBQT society and share my thoughts.
Thank you, thank you for your openness. I love that about you
Thank you for opening the door to this topic and lifestyle. I have dear friend of 50 years who is gay and married. She asks me sometimes what think about her life. I tell her I love her, but biblically it’s not right.
I work with another and have had many others come in and out of my life over the years. I have another dear friend of 30 years, her daughter does not associate her self with the term female. She is a them or they. Her dad really struggles with it.
Thanks for allowing me to chime in
Love you bunches
Sharon, thank you for being brave enough to open a conversation on a difficult and divisive topic. It is easy to stand firm on our beliefs concerning right and wrong but when it’s someone we know and love so much, suddenly we’re challenged with how we are going to treat that person. I keep coming back to that verse in Romans that says that it’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. We can love people and be kind to them even when we don’t agree with or are wounded by their lifestyle. You have done a remarkable job of pointing us in that direction. Thank you.
Shelley, I’m pondering what you said about being challenged in behavior towards someone who sins. In your words, it is love that gives us this pause before we act. Without the “someone we know and love so much” phrase, we are much more likely to respond defensively. Until we love the person, we do well not to respond. Our words are but noisy gongs or clanging cymbals if we have no love…offensive to the ears and abandoned by those we’re trying to sway.