Thursday, July 30, 2015

LOVE WINS

When I was younger, I was sheltered, unexposed. Most of my time was spent in church. Growing up, there was absolutely no question about it. Homosexuality was a sin punishable through the fires of hell. Gays, lesbians, and transexuals were demons incarnate. That was what 12-year old me knew.

Sentiments which I'd heard on the topic of homosexuality included
   " I have no idea why some people choose to be homosexual. Honestly, I think they are doing it on purpose to gain attention. "
   " They're that way because their friends are into that sort of thing. "
   " They're losers who can't get anyone from the opposite gender. "
   " They're sick in the head. "

Plus other unbelievably ridiculous ignorant statements.

***
Fast forward to 22-year old me. I'd met people, read books, travelled places, watched the news. I had a diverse range of friends consisting of

Asians, Caucasians, Middle Easterners, Hispanics, and more. 
Rich, middle-class, poor.
Young and old.
Female and male.

Gay, straight, transgender, bisexual, and lesbian.
I was amazed at how different they were in contrast from what I had been brought up to believe.

They had good jobs.
They were educated.
They were intelligent, considerate, generous, caring, funny, humble, and kind.
They were honest, trustworthy, eloquent in speech, and looked you clearly in the eye.
They were free of tattoos and piercings (which is more than what I can say for myself).
They were clean, smelt nice, and had no weird diseases or infections.
They dressed well and smartly - some in tailored cufflinked suits and ties, some in fitted lace dresses and heels. 
They were a shining light of radiance, humour, intelligence, positivity, and good spirit.
They were sane.
They were hardworking, upright, valuable, respectable members of society.
They were confident, attractive, and got along well with the opposite gender.
They loved God.

It was a direct contradiction of what I had been taught as a child.

A wrench of confusion was thrown into my perception of LGBT.
I thought the church was always right, right?

***
I once heard someone say
   " I have no idea what these people are doing in church. How dare they live such despicable lives yet come into the presence of God! "

I mulled over what Jesus said when they brought an adulteress before Him to decide if she should be stoned to death.
   " Let him who is without sin cast the first stone. " (John 8: 6-7)

Who are we to deny others their faith in Christ?
While you defile them as unworthy, have you forgotten that you are a sinner no better?

Whether homosexuality be wrong or right, I believe that is God's higher authority to judge and not yours.

***



This is so beautiful it moves me to tears.

What right do we have to stop two consenting mature individuals from loving each other?

*** 
" I grew up very religious, and I was taught to think that people with alternative lifestyles were just 'confused'. But now it seems to me that gender and sexuality are so bendable and flexible. I've been going to a lot of poetry readings lately, and people present themselves in such raw forms. And they don't seem confused at all. They are being so honest and transparent in their poetry. How are you supposed to object and say that 'who they are' is wrong? "

(Disclaimer: Image and copy extracted from Humans of New York.)

***

    I am a Christian, and love wins.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

CAN YOU SHOW ME?

I was in the Philippines on a disaster relief trip last year. 


One thing that struck me was how eager the people were to go out of their way to make us feel welcome. 

It initially made me feel very uncomfortable and uneasy. After all the whole purpose of us being out there was to help them, not the other way round. From cooking all our delicious meals, to carrying our backpacks, to compromising their living quarters to accommodate us - I felt remorse for any inconvenience or disruption I posed to them.


However, one incident made me see things in a different light.

***
We were in Malawing to distribute supplies and assist with the building of houses. Along with many others in the village, her house had been destroyed by the vicious typhoon. During a breather we were taking from the work, she approached us with a pouch slung on her hips.

She tried to gift us bracelets and necklaces made of rough thread and seashell shards. I declined, thinking that it would not be right for me to take away from the very people I came to help. As she very dejectedly left after my staunch refusals, an elderly local man who had been sitting some distance away came to me.

   " Why did you turn her away? "
   " People desire a sense of fulfillment, that they have a role to contribute for the betterment of their fellow men. "
   " It would be a great sorrow that you deny her assurance that she still has a purpose, some good to give to this world. "
   " The kindest thing you could have done, is to graciously say yes. "

He then left.

For some moments, I sat mulling over his words. 
Then I stood up, put on my sandals, and started walking.

I didn't have far to go before I spotted her playing with some younger children. When she saw me, her face lit up and her eyes glowed with recognition.

I smiled, pointed to her pouch and said 
   " Can you show me again? "

***
   For the goodness they do is not solely for you, but for themselves also.