Monday, 9 April 2012

Confessions of a Pastor's Wife: Confession #7

Confession #7: I think I'm bi.

A few years ago my brother told me he was gay...ya, you heard me...and all I could think was:

I'm not surprised.

And I wasn't. Not one bit. For years I had felt that he was probably gay and I said nothing. I've deeply regretted that. I wish I had had the courage to talk to him sooner. Been a shoulder, an ear, or a hug for him during those years. But I was scared to talk about "it".

I was scared to give "it" a name. I was scared to even say the word "gay" out loud just in case my saying it made it true. It sounds silly writing it now but that's how I felt then. Because if it was true...well, I didn't really know what would happen, I just knew it would be hard.

Some of you might not like that I would write that it would be hard. You may probably be thinking, "it should be easy accepting that someone is gay". And it might be that way on tv, or how society is starting to think now, but that wasn't the world I grew up in. It wasn't the world a lot of people grew up in. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, just how it is. So, yes, I knew it would be hard.

But it did happen. He did tell the family and this is what ended up happening:

A family meeting was called.

Now, that might sound extreme to some, normal to others or just weird. I don't know. I just know that this is my family's response to things and one of the reasons I love the family I'm in.

You don't need to know everything about the meeting, some things are deeply personal, but the main thing that was said was "we love you". And we made a commitment. A commitment to walk this journey no matter how messy (Christian family with a just-out-of-the-closet member kinda messy) it got because we are family and we are going to fight for family.

So here is my messy...and I hope Christians and LGBTs alike hear my heart because baring my soul is quite hard when I know some people won't like what I have to say.

One part of me doesn't struggle with the fact that my brother is gay. I love him! I want him to have all the things I have and I know he wants––a spouse and kids. He wants to adopt kids. I can't picture a better partner for someone and a loving father to children who need a home. He grew up in the same house I did where saving yourself for marriage, monogamy, and the like, were taught and he values those virtues as much as I do.

Then, on the flip side, my understanding of the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin. And I'm lost as to what to say to my kids when they are old enough to understand. I asked my brother to treat his boyfriend like a friend, not a boyfriend, when my kids are around––he was not happy! Boy, was he not happy. Then I said I was just trying to protect them...that didn't help. Because all he heard was that I needed to protect my kids from HIM! And I'm horrified that he would think that I would be thinking that but stepping back I see how he took it that way.

See. Messy.

And I still flip from one side to the other. Daily. Hourly. I'm flipping back and forth as I write this. I'm not pro-gay or no-gay, I' Ha! Go figure.

My prayer (plea) has become, "God, I have no sweet clue what you want me to do. The only thing I want to do is honour you. Show me how to do that...PLEASE!"

So far I've gotten one thing: God wants me to love Him and love people. When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, he replied with a two-fold response: "Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your soul and all of your strength AND love your neighbour as yourself."

Love God. Check.

Love your neighbour as yourself. What does that look like? For me, it looks a little like this: When someone is hurt, comfort them; when they are happy, laugh with them; when they are crying, cry with them; when they need a hug, give them one; when they need a friend, be one; when they are being bullied, stand up for them. It's what I would hope someone would do for me so that's what I can do for others.

In this journey with my brother, I've discovered that I don't have to agree with everything to give him the support he needs. During a bad break-up he came over and sobbed it out. Ice cream was involved. He was hurting so I hurt for him and that's all that mattered.

I've also discovered that we don't have to agree on everything to treat each other with respect. Actually, I found that out when I got married (ha!) but it applies here too. And just like in a marriage, I've discovered that it takes both parties to think the same way. The LGBT community wants to be loved and respected for who they are and the Christian community would like the same courtesy extended to them. It's really thinking about what you say before you say it. How will it make the other person feel? It's respecting the journey each of us are on.

No matter who we are, our treatment of people should never come with stipulations. It should never matter if someone is gay or straight, what race they are, if they have an addiction or are homeless or don't believe the same things you do, for us to show love to them rather than spew hatred.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3

"And now I will show you the most excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing."

1 John 4: 8

"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."

So, there you have it. I love gay people.

p.s. this post has been gay brother approved.