Trigger Warning: Religious/biblical/spiritual
Coming out to a faith community a year ago, as well as to family who is religious over two years ago, I was met with some disdain. While exposing myself to people I loved was freeing, it was also the hardest thing I've ever done. The juxtaposition between the lip service to love, and actions that were unloving was completely jarring.
Many friends and family let me know, without doubt, how they felt about me, and they used Jesus and their own theological beliefs to do it. One time I was told mockingly, after a long conversation about theology, "Well I guess you don't believe in absolutes then," my family member inferring that based on our conversation, I must disagree with their own belief that God made Man and God made Woman, and no other options for existence are possible.
The statement made me pause, and after I left the conversation (incidentally the last time I saw this family member), I had to reflect. Do I believe in any absolutes? Especially when it comes to God and faith?
I grew up understanding the world in absolutes; black and white, right and wrong, and as I've grown and changed, this understanding has also grown and changed. After reflecting for a while, I wrote this response to my family member, although I never sent it. Since then, my own faith has morphed and changed, and I have been on a journey, but I still believe that Jesus has something to tell us about ourselves and about Love. I wanted to share with you what I wrote.
Do I Believe in Absolutes?
"In response to your question about whether or not I believe in absolutes, upon further reflection, I would say that I do.
● God is an absolutely loving creator (1st John 4:8, Genesis 1)
● Humans, part of God’s creation, are created absolutely good (Genesis 1:31)
● God will absolutely capitulate to creation’s view of God, however narrow or full that
view might be (1st Samuel 8:7)
● God absolutely enfleshed God's self in Jesus to attempt to show us God's nature clearly. (John 3:16-17)
● Jesus is an absolute, full representation of God. (John 10:30, 1st John 1:1-2)
● Jesus absolutely capitulated, as a full representation of God, to His creation’s view of
Him, by way of the cross (Philippians 2:8)
● God, in Jesus, absolutely understands the pain, sorrow, joy and ecstasy that human
relationships bring. (John 11:1-43)
● Relationships with others are absolutely messy if we follow Jesus’s example of love.
(Matthew 16:23, everywhere else in the Bible)
● Jesus offers absolute freedom in His person and His absolute image of God. Freedom to
see God clearly if we choose and freedom to understand that we’re God's good creation,
precious and dearly loved, made for relationship. (John 10:10)"
This is the Story.
Although the church rejected me, Jesus never has. The story of Jesus shows us what True Love is. Jesus allowed others to view him as something he wasn't. Even while trying to blatantly show them who he authentically was, by representing himself in the flesh. He understood that True Love meant continually allowing others to see him through their own lens, even if they saw him as an outsider. All the while, desperate for authentic relationship, he tried to show himself to them in so many ways.
He understood that allowing them to see him how they wanted, no matter how much his true self was distorted, was the only way they would ever be able to see the true him. He understood that if he forced them, coerced them to see him as he really was, it would no longer be True Love. He would no longer be loving.
But he was Love and he was Loving, because he knew that love is the only thing that frees us
to see who he really was. Love alone casts out fear.
Looking back through the lens of history, seeing who he really was, allows us to see who we really are.
We are good. Created for relationship. To Love and to be Loved. I believe that absolutely.
This is the story.
This is God’s story.
This is my story.