It’s wrong to be gay
No one will ever love you
God will never love you
Is what my gramma said to me
When I was 5
Pushed onto me
At such a young age
The Bible says god loves everyone
You must of missed that page
You say god will never love me
If I’m that way
Because they’re different
They’re wrong to
Is it right to spread hate on someone
For being themself?
Why do you take love from someone?
If they have love let them spread it
You don’t hate on someone
Just because they’re not in your
Not everyone loves god
I don’t if I have to hate people
Why is it wrong
— Anonymous 6th grader
This poem should make us uncomfortable.
I don’t write this post purely to make you uncomfortable or for some kind of shock-factor. I write this to wrestle with it and I ask you to wrestle with me.
This poem was written by one of my former sixth grade students. He came to me for a writing conference because he wanted to write this piece for the LGBTQ community and he desperately didn’t want to mess it up. He wanted to share his own story and bring hate to light.
I simply asked questions about his purpose and audience and the style in which he wanted to write. Every word and thought and emotion came from his brain and his typing fingers. (I fixed some spelling and grammar errors, but didn’t do too much for fear of messing it up. After all, it is not my work to “fix”).
I post it because I think it needs to be shared.
He came to me with this finished product, knowing I love God, that his poem is titled “God’s Hate” and yet, he came to me with pride in his eyes over his finished product. I’m so thankful he didn’t change the words to suit me.
His poem reveals the more commonly seen relationship between the LGBTQ community and Christians.
And I was left wondering: Why? What happened to our world that a kid would write a poem that is titled “God’s Hate”?
I’m not here to share my own agenda on the LGBTQ identity, lifestyle, or community. None of that matters right now. I’m here to address a serious problem that this poem brings to light.
“I don’t [love God] if I have to hate people/like you”
Because of the way that Christians have treated, talked about, and spoken to human-beings, an entire group of people is seeing a distorted view of God.
And they don’t want any part of Him.
We can see it perfectly displayed in this poem. This student hears about a loving God and then, out of the same mouth, he hears hateful words spoken about other human-beings.
The two don’t make sense together. We’ve created a great cognitive dissonance that has resulted in a narrowing of the Gospel and a distorting of God’s love for his creation.
We’ve de-humanized people that God has created. We’ve “protected” our homes and our lives from people who are different from us.
But Jesus didn’t live that way.
How Do We Solve This Problem?
The problem is, we cannot simply re-direct hate to the haters of the LGBTQ community. A simple redirection of the hate will not bring love and reconciliation. Hate does not have listening ears and I believe that both Christians and the LGBTQ community have allowed too much hate for each other.
We aren’t listening.
We need to figure out how to love each other, how to engage in meaningful conversation, how to build friendships with people who are different than us, how to create space in our homes for all people, and ultimately, how to look more like Jesus.
The Real Jesus
I don’t know about you, but I want to know the real Jesus. Not the American Jesus. Not the church Jesus.
The real, person Jesus.
The Jesus who suffered a life of ostracism, ridicule, hate, opposition and isolation. His entire life, he lived vastly different than the people around him and he endured greater suffering at the hands of broken people than we can imagine.
His suffering didn’t just begin and end on the cross. The cross was the pinnacle, the peak, of a full life of suffering.
If we are to identify with Jesus, we are to identify with his suffering and share in the suffering and oppression of others:
“that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”
Philippians 3:10-11 ESV
Philippians addresses the reality of the Gospel. A life following Jesus is not one of comfort, but it is one that births new life.
Will we take him as a fool and go on with our lives or will we take Jesus at his word and give him our lives?
When we choose the second option, we join him in resurrection—new life. The hate, evil, lies, addictions, malice, envy, destruction, disobedience all have to die in us and that’s a painful process. There may even be things inside us that are unbearable to let go of because we have attached them to our very identity.
Jesus Calls Us to Live Differently
The Gospel calls for new life and radical change. Jesus showed us this new life through the people he loved.
He invited himself to the houses where no one wanted to dwell. (Luke 19:1-10)
He touched people no one wanted to touch. (Mark 5:25-34)
He extended grace to those everyone condemned. (John 8:2-11)
He spoke to the people everyone avoided. (Mark 5:1-20)
He welcomed the faith of the doubters. (Mark 9:14-24)
He spent time with those his town despised. (John 4:1-42)
Jesus spent his own life being “despised and rejected by men” (Isaiah 53:2-3) so that he may share in the suffering of the oppressed. If we call ourselves Christians, we must live like Jesus did.
LBTQ friends, I’m sorry for the way I and my brothers and sisters have treated you. I’m sorry for any words of hate that have cut deep into your soul and left scars that can’t seem to heal. I’m sorry for the way we have preached love and handed out isolation. I’m sorry we closed our lives to you.
We are not perfect. We are broken people imperfectly following a perfect God. At the heart of it all, we want people to see God’s love. I’m sorry if we haven’t known how to do that well.
Know that Jesus experienced deep suffering at the hands of very broken people. God came down to Earth to be a man who experienced the full depth of human suffering. His life culminated in his final act of suffering—taking all sin and evil on himself and dying on the cross.
I’m sorry we’ve perpetuated what Jesus died to eradicate.
And to my Christian brothers and sisters, I say this to myself first: It’s time we get to know the real Jesus. It’s time we start living like he did. This isn’t a cry to decide what you believe about homosexuality, because, first, we must take the invitation to love the people Jesus relentlessly pursues. It’s time people start seeing the real Jesus in the way we live and speak.
Open your lives to people who are different than you and be willing to listen and engage in meaningful conversation. Share in your sameness. Forge meaningful friendships. Eat together.
And to all of us, remember that we are not each others’ enemies. We do not fight against flesh and blood. We do not seek to redirect hate. We seek to eliminate it.
As Jesus has shown us, the only way to eliminate hate is to radically, selflessly, graciously, surprisingly, sacrificially love others, no matter who they are, how they live, or what they’ve done to hurt you.