#LoveWins. You’ve seen the hashtag everywhere lately, and for such a joyous reason. With my heart returning to Jesus, where do I stand on this issue? I’ve read one too many blog posts titled something like “Open Letter to the Homosexual Community from a Christian.” They all start off the same way—they suck you in with an apology for how Christians have wronged gay people. It’s true…we do owe gay people an apology. The problem with these blog posts is that they’re apologizing for the wrong thing. They apologize for hating gay people instead of just hating their “sin,” and they try to cultivate comaraderie by saying they’re just like them with sins of their own. What they fail to understand is that gay people would probably rather be hated than told, “I love you, but…” What they fail to understand is that comparing another person’s sexuality to their own lust, pride, greed, anger—is not loving them at all.
I’ve seen other posts reprimanding so-called Christians who put the rainbow filter over their facebook profile pictures or Christians who have congratulated their gay loved ones on social media. They quote Romans 1:32 and tell these believers that they are succumbing to worldly pressures—or that they are even following a road to apostasy. #GodWins is their hashtag of choice.
So how will my post be different? Will I love the “sinner” and hate the “sin”? Will I warn fellow Christians who might be blinded by the schemes of the devil? Will I be for gay marriage, or will I be for God?
I will be for both. I’m sure such a blog post is out there, but I haven’t seen it—I don’t have friends like me on facebook, so these kinds of posts aren’t shared. I will love gay people the same way I love people who aren’t gay, and I won’t call their sexual orientation a sin. I will warn fellow Christians of losing sight of God, but not in the way you think.
Love brought me back. I just spent fifty-four minutes on the phone with a brother I hadn’t spoken to since childhood until the past few weeks. At the end of the conversation, he said “I’m sorry I’ve told you that I love you no less than fifteen times in the past hour—I guess I’m just making up for lost time.” Oh, my heart has ached for that. Love softened my heart and my brothers’ hearts toward me. Love came on a Wednesday three weeks ago and changed everything. Love came in the least expected situation to the least deserving people. I’m not satisfied with neurochemistry as an explanation for it, although I’ve tried to convince myself that I was for a while.
And that love is really what my faith is all about—it’s the thesis of scripture. Love came down in the most unexpected way so we could see just how far it could reach. It came in the least expected situation to the least deserving people—and yet, we forget that God IS love. We dilute the thesis of scripture with our own interpretations of the details, even when our interpretations contradict the love of God. I treasure so much of scripture—but it does not have authority in my life. It is useful and inspired, but there is more to my God than ancient words and cultures, and his love is bigger than anything human writers with biases are capable of. If you’re not a believer, you disagree. If you are a believer, you probably disagree. My world is still lonely.
When I see Christians rage against the rainbow with the words #GodWins, I see a lot of noisy gongs and clanging cymbals. I see a lot of claims to understanding and knowledge and faith, but I don’t see love. I see a lot of nothing. But when I see the celebration of an elderly gay couple who have spent a lifetime together, I see love that is patient and kind, not arrogant or rude. I see love that does not insist on its own way and is not irritable or resentful—love that rejoices with the truth. I see love that hopes. I see love that endures. Love is not defined by its object, but by these qualities.
We always stop reading 1 Corinthians 13 at “Love never fails.” But there’s more. Prophecies and knowledge will pass away. Tongues will cease. We only know in part, like children. In other words, we might be wrong. Someday we will see more clearly—and I think we’ll find that love indeed wins. These words are not a threat—they are the very foundation that my faith rests upon.
What if we stopped filtering the world around us through our own interpretations of scripture? What if we filtered it instead through a love that knows no boundaries? If God is love, would we be that far off from truth? If God is love, then #LoveWins and #GodWins are one and the same.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” John 15:12
It is so ordered.