Growing up in a Christian home and attending a traditional Baptist Church, I was taught from the Bible that we were created in God’s image. Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” I believe the Bible to be true and I personally believe in the traditional family of man and woman. Christianity is about love, so this is the place where I begin and end…love. God laid it upon my heart to share my thoughts on loving your neighbor as yourself, even when you may come from different perspectives.
There’s nothing new under the sun. During my lifetime I think society has become more familiar with the terms gay, lesbian, homosexual, and transgender and they have become commonplace. As a Christian it can be a difficult subject to navigate. I have many people (family and friends) in my life who are a part of the LGBTQ+ Community that I love and consider my neighbors. Although I come from a traditional background, it does not mean I can’t respect and love them as my neighbors. As a Christian it is my job to love everyone; just as I would want others to love and respect me.
Everyone is entitled to their own thoughts and beliefs. When you look at the world there are many different schools of thought around faith, family and philosophy. Usually people lean towards what they are exposed to and what was taught to them by their parents and based on their environment. No matter what stance we take, if we want to coexist in a peaceful environment, we must learn how to talk with one another and respect each other; even if we don’t believe the same.
During the month of June, the LGBTQ+ Community celebrates PRIDE month. June was selected because it was when the Stonewall Riots took place in 1969. The purpose is to bring awareness and peacefully share the contributions of their community as well as shed light on the issues they are currently facing. When I looked up the definition of the word pride it said, “confidence and self-respect as expressed by members of a group, typically one that has been socially marginalized, on the basis of their shared identity, culture, and experience.” I asked myself how can I show love and respect to my LGBTQ+ friends and family and I came up with this acronym.
P = Practice
R = Respecting
I = Individuals
D = Decisions
E = Endlessly
If we practice respecting others and their lifestyle (even if it is different than ours) as we go through this thing called life, I think we could really embrace what it means to love unconditionally. After all, my Bible also tells me to judge not lest ye be judged! Let’s all take pride in God’s rainbow and show love to one another.
Healing Without Hate: It’s a choice. It’s a lifestyle. Pass it on!