Monday, January 27, 2014

One Lesson for the LGBT Community

While scrolling through my Facebook news feed this morning, I came across this headline from Instinct Magazine, "Christian Singer Natalie Grant Left The Grammys Early. Guess Why..." The assumption is Natalie left early because of the gay weddings about to take place during Macklmore's performance.

At first I became saddened because I always thought of Natalie as someone who is very loving and more enlightened than most conservative Christians. I clicked the link and read the article. After reading the article, I wanted to know if this is what Natalie actually meant or if her words were being taken out of context. Here is how Natalie responded to Instinct magazine's accusation, "I absolutely NEVER said that is why. In fact, I left before that ever happened and heard about it after the fact." Here is a longer response on her Facebook page.

In 2008, I was honored to be called one of Instinct magazine's "Leading Men." As a "leader" I must state that I find the magazine's unfair characterization and assumption of Natalie Grant uncalled for. With that said, I think this incident is a good example of the bitterness the LGBT community and media holds towards anyone who classifies themselves as a Christian.

Have we - the LGBT community - been abused and hurt by self-proclaimed Christians? Yes, absolutely. Do we - the LGBT community - have the right to be hurt and upset? Yes, absolutely. Should we - the LGBT community - forgive the people of faith who have done wrong against us? Yes. It is our only hope if we ever wish to become more than bitter old queens.

In all my travels and meetings I've found the most painful and controversial thing you could possibly bring up with LGBT people is the topic of faith.

We have been hurt by it. We have been violated by it. We have been lied to about it.

However, if we want to grow as individuals; if we want to grow as a community - we have to forgive people like Pat Robertson. We have to forgive Jimmy Swaggart. We have to forgive our ex-gay counselors. We have to forgive the pastors and people of faith that dismissed us to hell. We have to forgive. 

Here's the one lesson the LGBT community must learn...

Love - not bitterness - wins. 

"Love wins" has been the anthem of our fight for marriage equality yet we fail to implement it in every aspect of our lives. If we truly want to help society evolve then we must let go of the bitterness with how we have been wronged in the past.
 
When you're condemned to hell, remember - love - not bitterness - wins. 
When your family and friends disown you because you're LGBT, remember - love - not bitterness - wins.
When your humanity is invalidated time and time again, remember - love - not bitterness - wins.

If we hope to change hearts and minds, we must let go of bitterness and choose to love. As the very wise Martin Luther King Jr. stated, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." 

Choose to love. 

Be love,

Azariah Southworth 


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