I am reading a fascinating book entitled, Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, where a woman who was a leader in the feminist lesbian community converted to Jesus Christ. I won’t give you the details, you can buy it and read it yourself. But prepare yourself for a book that opens your eyes to a community that has been harshly treated by the Christian Community and what it means to be missional. This is a woman who straddles those communities and has felt the judgment on both sides and comes out strong for a deep, vibrant faith in Jesus Christ. Oh, and she is now the wife of a conservative Presbyterian pastor. Good read.
Regardless, it was something I read in the book that shook the cobwebs out of my brain and woke me to the idea for a blog post. She writes of a relationship she developed as a Christian with a man who was a full-time drag queen (you really need to buy the book) and how they thought they should marry and even how he was thinking of becoming a pastor. It opened her eyes to a whole new aspect of life and vulnerability since for years her identity was defined by lesbianism and now was being defined by what she assumed would be Jesus Christ as a single woman. The engagement didn’t work and there was a deluge of mixed emotions that came upon her, mostly dealing with betrayal, pain and confusion.
This is where she used a term I had never heard before, “binary oppositions.” My eyebrows arched a bit when I read that (in fact they just did again) but I continued to read. The term simply means that you can have in events and people contradictory realities. Here is what she meant, A) you open your heart to a person who becomes a true blessing and joy to you in a difficult time in your life. B) that person later betrays you and abandons you. Sound familiar? It should, it happens all the time. As she worked through her betrayal event she came to see that God was still in the whole thing; He had not abandoned her, for Jesus is ever faithful. And this led to seeing that in these hurtful moments much good and blessing arises.
Beloved, if you endeavor to live out the actual commands of the Lord toward this dying world and toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, you will be betrayed. But usually you will first be kissed. Those you thought were there to the end will discard you like a dirty sock and give no thought to it. I think of one person who was instrumental to the faith of another, who is now rejecting everything holy and right and hurting that same person in the deepest of ways. I could give many examples but they are unimportant.
What is important is how do you view these moments of betrayal? You look to Jesus and you consider His word: The passage I go back to over and over is 1 Peter 2:20-25:
For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.
Beloved, we will never walk down a path of righteous suffering that is new. We walk with the confidence that Jesus led the way, blazing that path. We are not called to be heroes and heroines, just faithful to the example set before us. We look to the day when God shall judge all things righteously and we remember that we, too, were the causes of much hurt to others. That is one of the reasons for the gospel.