Gays and lesbians must learn to love unconditionally, even when people refuse to accept us
Just accept me as I am!
Every LGBT brother and sister seems to get to a level of frustration with their family and friends at some point to which their only declaration can be: Accept me and love me as I am.
They don’t always say it aloud but they scream it, inside themselves. It is a cry from a hopeful, yet hurting heart.
Spiritually, we are mirrors of one another and our behaviors mirror those of the current state of our soul and the presence of spirit within us. Every thought and feeling that we express to, or expect of, another person is an invitation to our own souls to do the same.
Recently I had the honor of seeing the movie “For the Bible Tells Me So.” It’s a new documentary playing in major cities across the country.
I recommend that every LGBT brother and sister see this movie. I went into the theater thinking that the movie would finally, painstakingly, outline every Bible quotation that was ever used against gays and lesbians and expose the truth in a loving, historical and cultural context. It did.
But that’s not the real message in the movie.
I sat and watched the stories of five families unfold before my eyes. Every family faces a struggle, internally, between their understanding of religious teachings that form the foundation of their faith and the incredible love that they have for their children.
So many of my friends cheered quietly as religious historians clarified that the actual intent of the quotations from the Bible that the families relied upon to bolster their beliefs. Yet the most powerful message was not in the didactic teachings from scholars but as we were offered a chance to see how families, who are not our own, struggle towards acceptance of their children, set aside teachings that have sustained the inner dwellings of their souls for year, and allow love itself to be their guide.
We watched how each family allowed the power of love to move their hearts and open their hands to embrace their children. Some still struggled with a faith that brought with it a solidity and security of spiritual reliability for so many years.
One set still renounced homosexuality. But that’s not the real point. If we look only for 100 percent acceptance from loved ones and a reversal of their thoughts about homosexuality, then we really miss the entire message of acceptance ourselves. As I watched the parents in the documentary, I saw my own.
We too must accept them our parents, family members, friends and strangers with different beliefs and points of view just the way they are.
Accept that they, too, are struggling within themselves over deeply held beliefs, social judgments, fear and love. Accept that each one will move through these struggles differently and at her/his own pace based upon their willingness to let love be their guide.
Those of us who fight with words to change minds will have words used against us. Those who form only intellectual arguments will face intellectualized brick walls of conscience. Those who live in fear will find themselves facing people whose fears will not allow the love inside to rise up and embrace a new consciousness.
In the documentary, as in life, love overcomes fear.
Love heals hurts. Love joins together families once torn apart by disparate beliefs. Love opens hearts and minds. Love gives a person strength to grow and the courage to change. Love allows persons to see through a different lens, the lens of Spirit, so that they can witness the loving struggle that loved ones go through.
Being a witness to a process in which our parents and family members struggle with faith and love, calls us to be compassionate, patient and empathetic all while courageously coming out and faithfully standing up for who and what we are.
We are mirrors. Peering through a lens of hurt, fear or self-centeredness we can reflect fear, disgust and darkness, which at times may hide within a soul.
Or we can choose to see through a new lens, a spiritual lens, people and the intimate process that they go through as they allow love to slowly but surely overcome.
We want unconditional love so we must be a reflection, as they go through this process, of unconditional love and light.
Bob Schout is an inspirational speaker, life coach, pastoral counselor and business training consultant based in Santa Fe, N.M. He can be reached at email@example.com.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 9, 2007