Stacey Hoksbergen, MA, is a dear friend of mine and a clinician at iAmClinic. Over the years, I have trusted Stacey with my pain, confusion, and self-hatred. She has always been a pillar of God's truth and assurance, especially when I navigated my own coming out. Thanks, Stacey, for teaching me the wonderful sensation of unconditional love. She writes:
"I was asked by a friend the other day whether I would be comfortable spending time with her and her partner or if they would be unwelcome. There is a natural fear in this question: “Will you accept me for who I am?” It was as if something about her and her relationship could keep her from communion with others.
There was sadness that this is the dynamic we create within our communities and our Church walls. We assume this role or position that we are the gatekeepers to heaven and have the power to exile people from relationships.
Regardless of a theological position on homosexuality, each person of the LGBTQ community is still a part of the Imago Dei and that requires us to love without hindrance or judgment. So often I see churches, family members or friends set up boundaries to keep them at an arms length.
There is this idea that if they are shamed “enough” then they will change. But that is not the Gospel. The Gospel is about compassion and giving life to all. The Gospel is just as much about those that are in the LGBT community as those that are not.
When this conversation becomes more about who is right or wrong, the gay person at the heart of the conversation is lost and separated from the love that was intended for them. Danny Cortez, a prominent pastor recently stated, “The goal of our faith is not marriage equality or religious freedom but to love God with our whole heart and love our neighbor as ourselves.”
Truth is the person of Christ and it cannot be packaged into a sentence or a point of view. The love that Christ extends to us is not demonstrated by a concise theology but by the way we extend love and compassion to others, even among disagreements.
I have sat in the trenches of this conversation with friends and have seen the hurt and pain firsthand. As a straight woman I will never know what it is like to experience the separation from those that are closest to me, the hatred exhibited by those that disagree with my version of love, and the pain and sacrifice that comes with being anything other than heterosexual.
Before you jump to conclusion or take certain positions, I dare you to put a name, face and heart to the homosexuality conversation and then dive into the trenches with those that have walked this road. I can promise you, you won’t come out the same on the other side."