Release Hurt. Embrace Healing.

releaseWriting is an act of healing for me. Releasing my deepest inner ramblings into the universe feels cleansing. As I grow older, I try to make it a regular practice. The longer I’ve done this, the more I realize that this catharsis actually helps me to embrace forgiveness. By organizing my thoughts, my hurts, my emotions, I can experience them fully, process them, and begin healing.

For those of us who are LGBTQI Christians, there are certain hurts that can cut deep. When people in our lives cease to understand us, support us, or even love us… we can’t help but take it personally. We take it to heart because their rejection attacks a fundamental part of who we are.

So, why not try this out here and now? I’m going to recount one of the first times that homophobia cut deep… a time where words hurt. And in the comment section, you can do the same if you like.

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A couple of years before I came out, I was at my old university for a music performance. This particular show is a tradition at my alma mater… it’s directed, written, and performed solely by the students. Every year, at the end of every performance, they have the audience stand up, join hands, and sing a hymn. It’s always the same one. (We are all about tradition.) This particular year, they had a young gentleman come forward to lead the hymn. My friend sitting next to me—who had been a long-time family friend—leaned over and whispered in my ear: “Isn’t singing this song against his religion?”

Confused, I asked her to repeat herself.

“You know, he’s gay. Isn’t singing a church song against his religion?” She chuckled as she said it.

“Oh,” I said. I might have given a half-smile or an empty laugh. I honestly don’t remember. What I do remember is that my hands began to sweat, I felt lightheaded, and my heart sank. My throat tightened and my eyes welled. I managed to choke back the tears, but the emotional scars of those few words stayed with me for years.

She had no idea that the person sitting right next to her was a lesbian. We had spent years singing side by side in our ministry… but if she knew I was gay, it would somehow change things for her. Those few words spoke volumes to me. What I heard was that my songs of praise were worthless. They were meaningless. That they could only be pure and right and true if a straight person were singing them. Had she known back then that I was gay, she wouldn’t have said it. But she spoke her true feelings that night, and they’ve haunted me ever since.

What she expressed in those few words that evening is a product of fear and ill-education. She’s never been told that gay people love God, too. She’s bought into the rhetoric that is preached—and sometimes screamed—from certain pulpits every Sunday. And if I can’t find a way to have that conversation with her, then I can only pray that one day, someone else does. For everything that loving discussion can’t heal, time itself will. With the passing of each year and each decade, there will come a day when the exclusion of LGBT’s is a thing of the past. Our future generations will look back on it as a shameful memory, and wonder what made their ancestors so unloving, barbaric, and exclusive. And all of us who are considered “too progressive”, “too open-minded”, or “too liberal” will have ended up on the right side of history. Until that day, we will be prepared to endure ridicule, to be misunderstood, to experience way too much “conditional love”. But we must also be courageous. We must tell our stories. We must engage in loving dialogue…. because our day is coming!

There is strength in numbers, and there is power in telling our stories. Have you been hurt by someone because of your sexual orientation? Have you been bullied, made fun of, or rejected? Release it. Let it go. And let the healing begin.

Please feel free to share your story below, or on the submission page.

3 responses to “Release Hurt. Embrace Healing.

  1. “She’s never been told that gay people love God, too”

    Mandy – Thank you so much. Reading this post released a pain that was hidden somewhere that I couldn’t find. Thanks for voicing it, and making it visible, so that I can now move on to the forgiveness and healing part. God Bless, you!

  2. Thanks for the invitation to let go of the hurt. I don’t like portraying/feeling as if I’m a victim, but am finding more and more that it is important to recognize that there is pain and to let it be known for the sake of education and also to let it go to allow room for healing.

    What I find to be of the most hurtful comments or insinuations is the idea that I have not submitted my heart to God and am seeking self over God. The truth is that I have not stopped seeking God in all this and I have put God and others way before myself in all this.

    I have a hard time letting this pain go. It feels like my soul takes a beating every time I hear these kinds of comments that cause me to doubt what I believe to be a very close and solid relationship with God. Especially, when one goes as far as to say/insinuate that Satan is tricking me to think that I am “right with God” when from their point of view I am not, based on “sound Biblical teaching.”

    So, I’d like to remind myself this, “Being attracted to the same sex has NOT drawn me away from God. It has NOT kept me from producing the fruits of the spirit. It has NOT caused me to be promiscuous with my sexuality. It has NOT caused me to quit seeking the Lord in all that I do. It has NOT made me into a selfish person. In fact, the journey has brought me closer to God and has caused me to be more aware of others. It has refined me.” And now I would like to just let the pain of those comments that say otherwise, go…knowing that the Grace of God will be there when these comments are said again out of lack of understanding.

  3. I most certainly get the pain that Josha mentioned in her comment, the pain that comes from people judging my relationship with God and telling me (in so many ways) that I have “fallen” away from God and cannot be walking with Him. It hurts when I hear it from those that don’t really know me, but it’s easier to dismiss because of that very fact: they don’t actually know me or my heart for God. But, the most frustrating is when it comes from people who do know me and do know my heart for God.

    Before I came out, my family often commented on the beauty of my heart for God and the depth of my love for God and consistently affirmed in a positive way my relationship with God. But immediately after coming out that went out the window. I may have had a conversation with a family member about God not 2 days before coming out and they would have received my insight or spoken with me about such things as if I had a place to talk about them, but as soon as I came out I was discounted and my relationship with God was discounted. It’s so clear to me that legalism is blinding, and I get hurt by those people who are so blinded. The worst part is that I (or anyone for that matter) can’t seem to help them understand anything other than what their legalism tells them.

    But honestly, nothing has hurt me more than being isolated/shunned by my family members, their complete rejection of me. I was once a part of the family, an accepted family member who was invited to participate in an intimate way. Now I am completely left out or, at the very best, tolerated. My family members barely speak to my wife if we are ever around them (which is rare since we do not live near them nor choose to subject ourselves to them very often). It’s almost as if our life, our essence, our existence is barely, if ever, acknowledged. Wow! That sure is hurtful! I have found much comfort in letting God bring family to me that embraces me and loves me and acknowledges me as a person of value and place in this world. Thankfully that has been my wife’s family, and it’s such a blessing. :)

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