Creating Caring Communities That Transform Lives
Creating Caring Communities That Transform Lives
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Monday, September 16, 2013 @ 9:47:00 AM - Written by Doug Hignell -

Remember the childhood game Fruit Basket Upset?? Maybe you're not old enough, so let me explain how it works. Many varieties of the game exist, but one variety involves a circle of chairs with one less chair than the number of players. When the person standing in the middle of the circle without a chair calls out, "Fruit Basket Upset," everybody has to leave his or her chair and move to another. The person who can't find a chair after the dust settles then becomes the new person in the middle, and the game starts again.

Many times in my spiritual pilgrimage I've felt like God is playing Fruit Basket Upset, and I have to leave my comfortable chair and move to a new place. This summer has been one of those times. In fact, one reason that I haven't been writing blog posts is because my worldview has been changing in a variety of areas and I didn't want to communicate these changes until God led me to a more settled place - that is, until I found my new chair for this season.

God has been speaking to me more in depth about living in freedom by learning to trust Him and His grace more, versus living my life to please Him and pleasing others. Over the next few posts I will be focusing on living in freedom, but in this post I want to be more vulnerable. I want to share what I believe God has been teaching me about loving others unconditionally so that they experience God's love through me. This post is a departure from my normal style of avoiding controversial subjects.To put it simply, I now have a new love and appreciation for people who are gay, as God has provided me with significant interaction this summer with a variety of friends who identify as such. In fact, through many significant discussions with Alexa, a very dear friend who is gay, I came to understand the change gays desired in the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which allows gays to have the ability to file taxes jointly, pass on estates, etc. In talking with Alexa, I realized the unfairness of some people having these privileges while others are denied.

What I find is if I go down the road of "judging" then it's impossible for me to love unconditionally and it doesn't allow the person to experience God's love through me. What a breath of fresh air to unconditionally love people different from us without judgment and without feeling we're responsible to change them! But that is a subject for another time. If you're interested in more fully understanding a gay friend, I encourage you to read Sipping Tea with Buddha and Christ by Alexa Benson-Valavanis. My friend Alexa lives here in Chico and is a profound writer.

Some of you may struggle with my approach here, believing that followers of Jesus should speak out against gay issues. In my opinion, there are a variety of actions and behaviors against which we may feel compelled to take a stand, but I believe these
fall into two categories. The first category is where the action of one person harms another, such as sex trafficking, abortion, murder, rape, selling drugs, and so on. Clearly, followers of Jesus should strongly oppose these things. The second category is where we judge an individual's actions which do not significantly bring harm to another. I believe gay issues fall into this second category, specifically when it comes to consenting adults. As a follower of Jesus, I want to be known for what I am for, not what I am against, which is so prevalent in our Christian culture today.

I post this today hoping it will encourage you to think about your own convictions and dialogue with me or others about what loving people like Jesus looks like in your own life.


Comments
I miss your picture on this blog brother.
Tom Hignell @ 4:54:00 PM 9/16/2013
I find your two catagories of sin to be interesting. While certain sins do appear to be particularly heinous, such as the ones which directly harm another human, is not all sin an affront to our Lord? Also, you state that as a Christian, you want to be known for what you are for, not what you are against. I understand that you are attempting to be non-confrontational to express 'love', but why would we, as followers of Christ, not be loving in the way Christ was loving. Why don't we point out sin and then explain repentance and faith so that any sinner may be saved from their condemnation? If we avoid confronting certain sins, like sexual immorality, we are actually being unloving due to not speaking the truth. God sees all sin as an abomination and if we do not explain the seriousness of it all, we will do nothing more than assist a multitude of self-righteous sinners continue in their course to eternal punishment.
Floyd @ 6:11:00 PM 9/16/2013
Beautifully written and I dare say I am on the same journey. I want to know more of God's authentic love and pass it on to everyone I come into contact with. No matter if they are gay, heterosexual, Buddist, Athiest or other, I want to show the love of Christ and I want Him to teach me more!
Ken Winton @ 7:17:00 PM 9/16/2013
So beautifully said, Doug.
Jeannie Hignell @ 8:18:00 AM 9/17/2013
1. Well done. Genuine expression of issues you are wrestling with is a help to all people, believers and not, who wrestle with complex topics. 2. To Floyd above, I would suggest that pointing out the sin of others is not a primary mission of believers. It's a convenient way not to have to love them, but it seldom will lead them to repentance, especially as compared with loving them. 3. Doug, when you confront an issue this controversial/complex in a short blog, it can't help but arouse some reaction and some confusion. However, the alternative of not bringing it up is much more dangerous. Jesus desires us to grow in learning by using our minds. Keep blogging, Chris
chris @ 12:52:00 PM 9/18/2013
Thank-you Doug. I feel your comments are honest,transparent and instructive. I want to share an experience I had in the course of my work day this past year. We had a client come into our chiropractic office who I was privileged to get to know. He shared so openly of his life and struggles, we became friends because of mutual caring. At one point in his journey, he was devastated because of his broken heart, his relationship with his partner ended. My heart was breaking too, as I witnessed the great love and sorrow that he was experiencing. I wanted to soothe his pain, and the deepest core of my being wanted him to know Christ so that he would not be lonely and know the friend that never leaves, and the fellowship of God forever. I shared Jesus Christ with him, he accepted the good news with gladness in the rawness of his pain. Over the course of time,I prayed with him, and told him all I could about our savior, his love, kindness, forgiveness, gave him my loved bible that was all marked up. I cried as I apologized for all the hatred and hurt that Christians have perpetrated to the gay community and asked for his forgiveness. He said "you do not need to do this..." and I said "Oh yes I do." I deeply wanted him to know WHO God is, before he learned all the rules that God has set out for us. I wanted him to experience the LOVE of God, for all of us sinners, in the midst of our mess. When he eventually asked me what God thought of homosexuality, I prayed like crazy, Holy Spirit give me words. What I said was something like, Jesus taught us not to point out others faults and sins, but to look at the splinter in our own eye before we try to remove the log from another's. May we never keep someone from heaven because we are so busy pointing out the sins that we fail to love. It's the Holy Spirits job to bring repentance, and our job is to ask God how we can best love in each situation. He keep pressing me for particulars, like "What does God want of Me?" "What are the basic things that God requires?" I showed him the 10 commandments. I told him Jesus said to love one another. I told him that as he developed his relationship with God that Jesus would let him know what he was supposed to do in every situation. I never told him "to be gay is wrong" and I feel that I have spoken the timely truth in love. Please pray for "this person" (and God knows his name) because the last I heard he is in jail now. I hope and pray his relationship with Jesus is intact and that other followers of Jesus have not turned him away from seeking the help he needs from God. Keep blogging Doug, I thank-you for your honesty. I voted for prop 8 and now I feel differently about it, and I have not been able to tell any followers of Christ about it, due to fear of being misunderstood. Your blog feels like a safe place to share. Thank-you!
Suz @ 11:16:00 AM 9/20/2013
I agree also with your two categories. But, in some instances there can be a cross over between the two. I can love the Gay, but when they participate in radical activism to promote their lifestyle as acceptable behavior in the schools? That is where the line becomes blurred. So loving the individual is really the only way to model truth. But, we also need to take a stand as salt and light to society. So I would ask the question Doug. How do we balance that?
Derek Hastings @ 10:59:00 AM 9/30/2013

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