Finally. A rare, spare kid-free moment during the horror show we call Summer Break as a mother of four. Because I am a “yes” woman, I have about 15.75 plates (one was sadly chipped, short story) spinning currently and they all needed some attention. So many plates require copious amounts of caffeine so I was dutifully in the midst of my second iced coffee while I hammered out email replies, prepped for a church event and edited some documents. Of course, because I am also woefully obsessed with social media, I was hopping on and off Facebook all the while. Because of such admirable vigilance I was lucky enough to see a dear longtime friend post about being in my neighborhood. Like, NOW! Right now! Even though I have only had the pleasure of seeing him a handful of times since high school we have a special connection. He was one of the major players in some of my sweetest teen memoirs and our shared history makes for some deep roots of friendship. I hope you have some of those people too. So, as is my style, I sent him a frantic message: “Jimmy!! Where are you right now? I’m at Starbucks and NEED to buy you a coffee! I have a busy day but if I can see you for even 15 minutes that would be AMAZING!!!”
Thankfully, he is as social-media-addicted as me and ever-so-conveniently he was headed my way-ish. Of course, I suppose you expected, fifteen minutes actually means over an hour, we took the requisite (awesome!) selfie, and I indulged in one more refill.
Hold up. I think I am about to make a public service announcement: If you have been living under a rock or spending hours arguing with strangers on the interwebs you might not actually know, take a deep breath here, Starbucks offers free refills (with your Starbucks card #getone.) No. Really. It’s akin to a river of Joe for the price of a stream. Go. Try it yourself. It actually happens. You’re welcome.
Man, the benefits you derive from reading this blog are countless, aren’t they?
Where was I?
Oh yes. Did I happen to mention sweet Jimmy happens to be “out and proud?” He is deeply involved in the gay rights movement in his city. He was actually passing through Seattle on his way to partake in the Vancouver Gay Pride events. We spoke at length about communication, dating (him not me), friendship, sex, the human need for connection and belonging, how relationships can go right, how they can go wrong, and the painful process of recovering from heartache.
And then, we had a knock down drag out battle to the point of criminally assaulting one another over gay marriage and were physically removed from Starbucks and ordered to never return.
Oh my word, did I get anyone with that? Even one? Because I could barely type it without laughing hysterically.
Actually, we spoke not one ding-dang word on the subject.
So are the sounds of clucking chickens coming to mind?
Au ’contraire, my dear reader. Rest assured Jimmy knows exactly where I stand on marriage and sex and God. We have been Facebook friends for years and I am known to occasionally post articles and updates about my position on marriage and children’s rights. He certainly knows that am a Christ-follower and hold scripture in high esteem.
So, you might ask, what’s the deal you crusading, uppity, opinionated bible banging blogger type?
The deal, my dear Christian friend, is that when I’m talking with a non-believer, Jesus is the only topic worth dividing over. My role, my commission, is to let Jimmy know that he is loved and that he will never pass through my town without sharing a cuppa Joe. It is to serve and listen and love because he is worthy of my time and attention. It is not my job to try and change what Jimmy thinks and bring out my arsenal of objections and arguments.
It is to be his friend. Because I am. Period.
It certainly does not mean that I hide what I believe. We should, we need to be, ready to give an explanation of where we stand, when someone asks. If Jimmy had come gunning for a throw-down I would have sat on that Starbucks bench and tried to gently respond about my beliefs. I assure you there would have been nothing disorderly or physical about it, other than my trembling. And, today? You had better believe that I was praying the whole time: “Lord, what do you want me to say?” “How should I respond to that?” “What can I say so that Jimmy knows I love him?” “Do you want me to say something in response to that?” But the loud and clear answer today was listen. Just listen. Just enjoy your friend. Just let him know how much you love him. And show him how much I love him.
This here is a blog. This is where we hash out ideas, attack arguments, and dissect viral videos. People come here because they are looking for a discussion, and be honest- some of you are looking for a knock down drag out. Talking through and understanding the issues of our time really matters. But it is important you understand that being a staunch Christian, or a staunch marriage advocate, does not mean that this is all we talk about all the time with everyone we meet in every place we go. As a matter of fact, on this topic, a little goes a long way. I have been honest about what I believe and why. It is enough that Jimmy knows where I stand. I pray it means that every time we are together Jimmy will be amazed that two people who hold such diametrically opposed positions ideologically can have such sweet laughter over coffee.
Because it is all about love. Whatever may come later, love must come first. And if nothing comes later, then we begin and end with love. We love because God first loved us. If we want to be Christ like, what do we do people?
(Want more on this subject? Check out Why do you hate gays?)
16 thoughts on “PSA and FYI- sometimes listening is enough”
Now we just have to figure out- what does it mean to love?
Well, it involves truth and sacrifice, that I know.
Love, sacrifice and truth. These send us to that painful bifurcation splitting up families for decades and now tearing churches apart. As a loving parent, I can only support, accept, and affirm my children – as I do my brothers in the pews and the cars next to me. But when does love require that we chastise others, because we’re “sure” they’re on the wrong road? If I know we’re both wanting to go to Chicago, doesn’t scripture urge me to point out when I can “clearly” see they’re headed to Dallas, based on the road they’ve “chosen?” Which brings me to another life lesson I’ve preached to my flock, “It’s a mark of maturity to allow others to be “wrong..” Clearly these are rhetorical, and we’ve all bashed our heads against the wall until our’s as bloody as those we’ve been so loving to. I’m just digging deeper into the mud under the well of what it means to love. It’s hard to stay clean and dry, and my hands are now bloody too.
Great thoughts, Bill! I think that the distinction comes when we see that our role is to faithfully speak truth with gentleness, and then leave the results up to God. Love is not permissive. And if we see a brother or sister on a path leading away from God, it is unloving to keep silent. BUT this will hopefully be preceded by a long track record of sacrifice so that they know our admonishment comes from a place of love. And then proceeded by faithfulness despite what path they choose.
When it comes to unbelievers, we should be living such good lives- lives overflowing with sacrifice, mercy and a continuous testimony of God’s work in our personal world- that they are seeing God in us. I PRAY that if someone ever says to Jimmy that God hates him or that Christians think he is an abomination, or something erroneous to that end, that he will think “Katy seems pretty serious about God. And she’s always quoting scripture. But she loves me and I can tell her anything. That must not be true.” Love and truth hand in hand is the way to go. But usually we need lots of demonstration, and then just speak truth when asked.
Really good post. I myself have a few friends who are gay and we managed to keep it civil. I love Romans 12:18 and made it my motto: “As much as it is possible, live in peace with everyone.”
That is such a great principle for every relationship, Marco. We alone cannot decide what the relationship will be, but we can remove every obstacle from our side of things. Thanks for the comment!!
Indeed. Above all we have to be able to be kind, have empathy, listen. I don’t get this concept that if people disagree with each other that means they can’t respect one another or be friends. It seems so puerile. At this point of human existence we really should be rising above that. People who don’t are really acting a little bit like Hamas… Remember what Golda Meir said? “Peace will come when they love their children more than they hate us.”
She was referring specifically to the Arabs but I see it as a general point. It’s about putting the good first. In the end that’s the secret of life.
Ah Golda! A trove of wisdom, she is. Agree agree. But I don’t know if at any point in history we will be able to “rise above” unless human nature changes. Unless an external force- such as law, or an internal force- principles that overrule our selfishness and self-protection, are at work then people will resort to best-for-themselves behavior. Hamas is the consummate example of bad ideas shaping the naturally self-serving flesh. Not only do they want the best for themselves, they also want the worst for Israel. But don’t get me started on middle east politics. Have you read Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali?
I was convicted about this just a couple of weeks ago, out with a friend to dinner. She was sharing something with me, and I about weighed in with my opinion, and that still, small voice said, “You know, Lydia, she doesn’t really need to hear your opinion. She’s heard dozens of opinions. She needs you to listen.” I’ve been evaluating when and how I give my opinions ever since. I so appreciate this post, because it speaks to exactly what I’ve been learning. Also, I totally didn’t know about the Starbucks refills with the card, so there’s that, too. 😉
Gurl, I get it. Sometimes when I get on a roll, I just keep rollin even when I should park it. And I want to reiterate that I do think that there is a time when we should share our thoughts with our friends. It just doesn’t have to be all the time. 😉 I’m on my second cup of coffee right now. Cheers, Lydia! Glad to have you along on this blogging journey!
I needed to read this today because I have many friends who are gay, know I’m a Christian and my beliefs, but we’ve never ever discussed the topic. I feel it coming with one, and I don’t want my dear friend to think I have anything but love for them. I adore them! Just disagree. Loved reading this. ♡
Thanks Faith!! One thing I know, things might get messy. But that’s okay. It demonstrates love when we stay in it even if things get uncomfortable. It’s times like those when I understand why faithfulness is one fruit of the Spirit. Anyone can be nice for a time, but can we stay in it when we want to run? Praying for a heaping measure of the Spirit in you, dear friend!!
Thank you! Very true, life does get messy and uncomfortable for sure! Keep it up your wonderful posts, I really enjoy reading them! Praying for you as well!
Very true! Life does get messy and uncomfortable! Keep it up, I really enjoy reading your posts! Definitely praying for you as well! 🙂
Good post. I actually went to a prom with a guy that was out and proud. We were good friends and we still are. I have gay family members, gay friends, many people I care about. There’s a huge difference between hating people and standing up for what you believe in.
Sometimes love requires you to stand up and speak the Truth, but if you’re operating from a place of love, it’s not about condemnation and shame. That’s a tough line to walk in a world where people like to believe there’s only one possibility, “you’re with us or you’re against us.”
Thanks Insanity. I completely agree.
Comments are closed.