In response to our story from Friday, we have received this open letter from Michelle from Gerritsen Beach.
To the LGBT and Christian communities,
Last week’s events still play out in my mind, and I wince when I think of them. I had wandered over to the library, curious as to what I’d find in my backyard. The scene that met me brought me to tears.
I am a Christian with conservative views. I admit that I was not thrilled that Drag Queen Story Time was happening at my local library. I could elaborate on my thoughts concerning this, but that’s not the purpose of this letter. What I want to do is apologize. As a Christian, I want to say that I am truly sorry for the overall tenor of the protest that occurred that day.
An individual standing on the “pro-Drag Queen Story Time” side of the protest was shouting, “Jesus said to love your neighbor! Jesus said to love your neighbor!” And with this letter, I want to shout back to her in agreement, “You are right!” I want to tell her, and the LGBT community, that Jesus does love you, and that followers of Jesus are in turn commanded to love you.
I want to sincerely apologize for the way that some (and unfortunately also the loudest) protesters from the Christian community at this event failed in this respect. An individual holding a Christian flag accompanied with mocking words, smirk, and derisive body language, is the worst image seared in my mind. I apologize for this. I am SO SO very sorry. If Jesus were holding that flag He would have had a look of love, grace, and compassion on his face. He would have had an extended hand, reaching out.
Christians, followers of Jesus: we are called, in fact, commanded to love our neighbor. This is not to say that we don’t speak out about what we believe is true, that we don’t hold fast to biblical convictions. But we must do so in love. Love that communicates that we value the human standing across from us. Love that speaks graciously and reasonably. Love that exudes respect and compassion, not condemnation. Yes, we can do this while still holding to our convictions. And let me say that we MUST do this. To fail to love our gay, transsexual, bisexual, lesbian neighbor is to fail to love God. These are God’s words, not mine. Let’s check our hearts, fellow Christians. Let’s remember Jesus’ words to take “the log” out of our own eyes before trying to remove “the speck” from our brother’s eye. Lest we be called out—by Jesus himself—as a hypocrite.
Your Christian neighbor