I can see the judgment in your eyes before the affirmation has left my mouth. You cringe, outwardly or inwardly, I see it all the same. I know it was the right thing to do, to tell you. I would hate for you to stumble over it later and feel as if I was hiding something.
“I am a Christian.”
After your initial discomfort fades, maybe in moments, maybe in weeks, you start the barrage of questions. Did your parents force you into it? Do you believe gay people are going to hell? What about people who don’t believe in your God? I didn’t peg you for a Bible thumper.
No, no, I don’t know, and I’m not.
I wish you would see me for me and not for my religion. I am not the woman with the “God Hates Fags” sign. I am not the deacon who molested your next-door neighbor. I am not the new friend who drug you to church that one Sunday and paraded you in front of their pastor so that he could point out all of the problems with your lifestyle. This may be hard to believe, but I’m not particularly fond of those people either.
It has taken awhile, but I’ve gotten used to it. People hear the word “Christian” and think self-righteous, hypocritical, judgmental. The stereotypes are difficult to wade through.
But when I defend my beliefs, I’m being closed-minded.
My hope is that one day people will realize that being close-minded goes two ways. Believing with the majority does not make you a more open-minded person if you choose to belittle what I believe simply because my thoughts are different than yours. It just makes you a jerk with a lot of same-minded friends.
I don’t judge people, but people judge me.
I look at a person and I don’t see their shortcomings. I see their hurts. I see an opportunity to share love. Mine, God’s. And if they ask why, I’ll tell them. But I don’t force it down their throats because that’s not what He has asked me to do.
So I beg of you: before you label me, look at my words and my actions. Don’t pay attention to the others who label themselves Godly people and then throw obscure verses in our face to try and guilt you into repenting. I’m not them and they don’t believe the same way I do.
I wish that I could atone for the mistakes of everyone who came before me and all that will come after leaving destruction and shattered hearts in their wake in Jesus’ name, but I can’t. I have spent half of the discussions that I’ve had about spirituality mopping up after them so that maybe, for once, people will take what I have to say into account without looking at me through the lens of them.
I am a sinner and a hypocrite and the definition of imperfection.
But I love God. And I love you. Without restraint and without question. Because He did first. And if you don’t believe that, that’s fine. If you don’t understand that, I’d be happy to show you, but only if you want me to.
Just please, before you judge me, give me a chance to prove your misconceptions about “people like me” wrong.