This story in four paragraphs has been floating around for a while, but it seems especially poignant right now as we reel in the wake of the massacre at Club Q. As we listen to the same hypocrites who paved the way for this kind of terrorism with “don’t say gay” legislation and speeches opposing same-sex marriage offer their “thoughts and prayers.” As advocates for guns “everywhere, anywhere, and all the time” scream about the rise of violent crime while, at the same time, trying to convince us that easy access to guns isn’t part of the problem. We who don’t hate LGBTQ people aren’t buying their rhetoric and lies. Their words continue to stoke the fires of mayhem that too many communities have been subjected to for too long.
What I love about this short story is that the young man who touches the hem of Jesus’s robe thinks there is something wrong with him, but Jesus doesn’t. Like so many of us who have been blamed or ostracized, it is hard to believe you are okay when others tell you aren’t. It is hard to feel the gaze of Jesus on your soul as a healing touch and not a stare of judgment. One friend who posted this had a woman comment that “everybody needs Jesus” and “sin is sin”, and when I told her that she wasn’t the judge, she indignantly snapped back at me that of course, she wasn’t the judge – he was a sinner too! But she stood by her words. Admitting to one’s own sinfulness does not give us the freedom to point fingers at what we perceive to be other people’s flaws. I have enough to work on for me. The same goes for you.
I think Jesus would dance at the gay bar – I think He would have gone to Club Q with His disciples for a night out. I think He would have seen the joy and the sadness and the possibilities in each person there. He would have seen the spark of the divine in each one of them and – I think – wouldn’t have cared who they loved, as long as they loved authentically and with integrity. Jesus told His disciples that it isn’t the food we eat or the drinks we consume that defile us, it’s what we say and do that define who we are (Mark 7). If your faith is defined by the hate you spew or the bullets you shoot, you are following the wrong gods. If you point to tragedies like Club Q as God’s judgment but don’t do the same for every Southern Baptist killed in a hurricane, you are a hypocrite. The truth is that tragedies happen no matter what our religion is or how “faithful” we are; to blame the victim is not a Jesus kind of thing. What a difference it would make in our lives – in our world – if we got that one little theological concept right. The judgment we give will be the judgment we get. Tread carefully.
Prayer – We pray for the loved ones of those who suffered in this cowardly, evil attack, and lift our voices for those who live in fear of this happening to them. Amen.