An Open Letter to Whoever

02 July 2015

To whoever cares –

I feel like I have so many things to say, but I have no idea how to say them. I actually have a small amount of anxiety right now as I begin to write this out. I am getting older and with that comes responsibility – responsibility to find myself and my own opinions, and the responsibility to be able to properly state those thoughts in the most respectable way possible. Over the past few weeks, a few historical things have happened in our nation. Racial hate crimes take place what seems like all the time, and we have made same-sex marriage legal. I don’t know if it’s because I am just now starting to pay attention, but our country seems to be changing into a different one than I grew up in. I get anxious talking about things that are controversial. Right now my face is bright red and I’m sweating. There is always the fear that I will say something “wrong” or “offensive”. As a white, heterosexual, American female there are things that I obviously will never be able to understand. I will never be able to know how it feels to be looked at and automatically be judged. I will never know how it feels to be categorized only by the color of my skin. And I don’t pretend to. But as a person I do feel like I have an opinion on these things. And as a Christian, I have an even bigger one.

It is hard for me to wrap my head around the idea of people being MURDERED, out of hate, in their very own church, a place where you should feel very safe. It is almost impossible for me to comprehend the idea of my Christian brothers and sisters being killed while in PRAYER. What is even more incomprehensible is that a tragedy like this happens and because we want something to fight about, it is turned into a campaign for policy change – as if we forgot that people died and families are now forever broken. It is heartbreaking, it is a tragedy, and no doubt it is the work of Satan. This Sunday, Benjamin Watson spoke at our church and said a lot of things that struck me (which you might recognize from his post here). He says that we do not have a skin problem, we have a sin problem, and, luckily for us, God gave us the answer to sin when Jesus Christ died on the cross. Racism is a symptom of our sin. As Christians, we have the choice to show the grace of God in our actions and in our responses. It is our job, even just as PEOPLE, to live and radiate love to everybody, no matter what they look like. It is our job to talk about things, no matter how awkward and uncomfortable they are. We must engage in the things taking place around us, not run scared at controversy. I believe that this really all starts with conversation, getting answers from the other side – which would probably be a lot easier if everybody didn’t get so dang offended all the time. We need to learn how to distinguish a genuine, honest question from an accusation. There are so many things I want to ask and say but am scared the other person will just get mad at me. We need to respect opposing opinions and thoughts. After all, isn’t that what this great nation is built on? I believe that change starts there.

The Christian faith is fundamentally built on LOVE. Jesus Christ tells us to love everybody – gay, straight, black, white, whether they are a Christian or not, whether they are sinners or not (newsflash – we all are). The sooner we realize that, the better off we will be. We don’t have the right to condemn others for what they choose to do with their lives. We don’t rally and protest the fact that all people are legally allowed to cheat on their spouses, which – guess what – is “against the bible”. This is not a Christian world, and we do not have the right to try and make it one. In fact, it was never even intended to be one. As the world evolves, Christianity and its followers must evolve with it. Not all Christians are the way that people want to make them out to be. We don’t all want to rule the world and dominate this country, despite what you may think. Most of us just want to be an example of the Lord. We want to love others as Jesus Christ loved us. As a younger Christian, it is easy for me to be accepting of things like gay marriage. We live in a different world than our parents and grandparents did, and I understand that they don't feel comfortable with the same things that I do, but my hope is that one day they will. We must be patient as we wait for them to catch up to us. Change takes time. I want people to look at Christians and see a living example of God's grace. We are all made in the eyes of the Lord, and we are all equally as loved and cherished by Him. And in order to properly pay Jesus back for what he did for us (if there is ever a way to do so), we must be an example of his boundless love here on Earth. We are one step closer to loving people just the way they are. Open your hearts to everybody around you, regardless of who they choose to be/love.

Life is not all about policies and government and this and that. It is about the people around you. Not everything can be made into a perfect little article to stick in the giant book of laws...whatever that even means. Love people first and care about all the other stuff later.

I am not an expert on anything, and I don’t claim to be. These are my thoughts as a Christian. I don’t mean to offend anybody, and I definitely don’t mean to make it seem like I know a lot about what I’m talking about. Often times I just feel the need to defend my faith. It is my job as a Jesus follower to spread the word of God and how I believe he would want us to act. The answer to that is always and will always be LOVE. Seriously, if you’re a Christian always always always ask yourself, “what would Jesus do?”

Talk about things that make you uncomfortable. Be a better person, a better Christian, and a better American. The world would be a much different place if we all saw each other the way God saw us.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you. Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children, and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us. || Ephesians 4:32 - 5:2