A Peacemaker

I want to start with this great quote (from this post), one I go back to over and over and over again:

Because listen – here’s the thing. After my wrestling match with God, I wasn’t really exhausted enough. I still came up swinging. For a little while, I felt angry. Angry at anyone who had a different understanding of scripture than I did. Angry at people who taught that God disapproved of homosexuality. Prideful about my position, really. And then one day God sat my butt down with the Bible again.

And he said something to me like, “Wait a minute, Lovie. Yes, I love those gays, but I love the ones picketing against them every bit as much. That’s the point.”

And There’s the rub. There’s Christianity. It’s not deciding that one group shouldn’t be judged and then turning around and judging the other group. That is not being a peacemaker. Peacemakers resist categorizing people. They find the light, the good, in each and every person. They don’t try to change people, except by example. They know everyone has something important to teach. They are humble about their ideas and their opinions. They try to find common ground, always.

I am often not very successful at being a peacemaker, but it’s something I want to be, and so I try. Over and over and over again. I fail, but I pick myself back up, and I try again.

Sometimes I have a hard time staying in the church. Not only does it do things that hurt me and those I love, but more and more it seems it wants to push me and any who are like me out. And of course the natural human response to this is to say, “You don’t want me? Fine, I’m leaving.” But the thing is, whether the church wants me or not, over and over again (yes, I’ve prayed about this many times) God has told me that this church is where He wants me to be. And so I stay.

That doesn’t make it easy. Things like the changes to the handbook that came to light tonight make things especially hard. They make me reach out to my LGBTQ brothers and sisters in love and compassion. I know this was especially hard for them, and I know that they’re a particularly vulnerable group. The last thing I want is to see more suicides because people (particularly these young people) feel like there’s no point to even trying any more. I want them to know that I love them and I care for them, and that God does, too. He’s bigger than the church.

But at times like this I have to remember the quote I started with, too. God does love His LGBTQ children. This hurt them, and that hurts Him. But He loves His children who enacted this policy just as much. He might not agree with everything they do, but that’s the whole point of the Atonement. He loves in spite of our faults, our wrongdoings, our sins. We’re all still His children. So I’d like to end with this quote, taken from the same post I referenced above:

And that means that I love my gay friends, without agenda. And I love my friends who believe that homosexuality is a sin, without agenda. And I love my friends who are terrified for my soul when I write this way, without agenda.

Or at least I try. Because God is Love.

8 thoughts on “A Peacemaker

  1. 1

    I appreciate your attempts, Vada. Right now, I guess I just feel so hurt that the anti-gay people (that as you point out well, God loves too) have such a big club to hit the gay people with. It’s awful.

  2. 2

    “I want them to know that I love them and I care for them, and that God does, too. He’s bigger than the church.”
    I had a former ward member bump into me at a meeting and he told me that he struggled with activity in the church. He thentold me “you said something that really resonated with me one priesthood one time.” Ok, who knows what I said. “You said ‘the gospel is more than just church’.” And you know what? I still proclaim that loud and proud.
    Thanks for posting. You get a loud amen from me.

  3. 3

    I just keep praying that someday the leaders will “get it” and haven’t quite figured out why they haven’t yet.

  4. 4

    This is kind and thoughtful and I want to be a peacemaker too. But not yet. The only person in the COB that I am feeling compassion for right now is the poor soul who had to type the decision up and release it to the media. Maybe he or she wasn’t in a financial position to refuse to do it and put their job in jeopardy.

  5. 5

    I think it comes down to drawing healthy lines. I will not allow my children to be abused in the temple, which abuses women and teaches abuse of women as acceptable. But I do feel called to love people and to love them in the church. So, I have resigned my membership in order to break the cycle of abuse, while also continuing to go to church and support my children and husband doing so. We talk about the abuse we teach and how we can *not* be a part of it and can love and comfort those who are abused in church, which include the women and the LGBT, people of color, the poor, etc etc.

  6. 6

    Whoops. I obviously missed the memo that the new instructions were leaked, not released to the media. I still plan to work on the peacemaker thing at some future point though, if only to relieve myself from the anger I feel today.

  7. 7

    I certainly understand drawing healthy boundaries (which looks different for everyone, obviously), and I understand when it’s just too much and people leave. It makes me sad for myself and for the church, which is diminished by their loss, but I understand and support them. I also understand being too hurt to try to make peace right now. I mostly wrote this post because I needed the reminder.

  8. 8

    God does love people on the right and wrong side of justice debates but She also has an agenda of getting the ones on the wrong side to see the truth because the prevailing lies and oppressive power structure cause damage to the victims and the souls of the oppressors. So I think we should love people with a loving nonviolent agenda of helping them see the truth that sets free (where they are oppressed) or converts (where they are oppressor) and ask them to love us in the same way. Jesus loved the Roman soldiers, rapacious scribes, etc. as much as the poor ones but he showed it in a different way that suited each one’s spiritual need.

    I am especially sensitive on this topic as an abuse survivor who has ministered to many other survivors. My usually awesome male (plus every other kind of privilege except for straight) co-pastor really distressed me last week when he preached that God loves murderers, terrorists and rapists “just as much as you” so “what you need to do is forgive, and that’s not easy but it will set you free.” What God actually wants victims and allies to do is to lovingly confront oppressors and to stand ready to forgive if real repentance, amends, and restitution happen and neglecting to proclaim and act on that that is taking the side of the rapist and definitely not loving the victim.

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