This morning I got a Facebook DM from a woman I haven’t heard from in over five years. She went to the church that I resigned from when I came out publicly in 2016. I didn’t know her well back then, but I always thought of her as a good person, someone who was very committed to her faith and family. I could sense that she was probably more conservative than I was in many ways, theologically and politically, but always sincere and well-intentioned.
In her message this morning, she said that she had read my post about my young gay Christian friend who is alienated from his family and church. As a mom who fervently loves her children, it resonated deeply with her. She was a little nervous, but she felt prompted to reach out.
Her message read, in part: “I am reaching out to understand your point of view regarding the church getting it wrong. I have been thinking of writing you for years because I do want to understand your point of view.” She went on: “I will be completely transparent. I struggle with finding the Bible to support homosexuality, but I promise I am not looking to debate. I really want to just listen and understand.”
I could tell she was sincere. This message was not intended to preach at me or to bait me into an argument. It was someone reaching out in good faith because she wants to learn and grow. We had a brief conversation. I was able to share some resources with her and offer further conversation since we live in the same city. She appreciated everything and agreed to meet up for coffee sometime.
It is so satisfying to know that my visibility and activism matter, that my approach is helpful. I work hard to be bold, but also to be kind, to try to remember what it feels like to be on the “other side,” to always assume best intentions, to give the benefit of the doubt.
I love that the paradigm of the classic “coffee conversation” is flipped this time. The gay Christian man is the one inviting the straight conservative lady to coffee. To challenge her and help her grow and change and learn. And I especially love this line from her: “I have been thinking of writing you for years.” YEARS. Sometimes this work takes a long time, friends. But faithful, consistent engagement pays off. Be encouraged.
It reminds me so much of Paul’s words in Galatians 6:9: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Amen. Let it be so.
Thanks for this encouragement. It reminds me that just living out in the open as a witness to the power of Christ to love is enough.
Powerful stuff, Matt. Thank you for sending me these articles!