I’ve always joked “There’s a sign on my forehead that reads ‘Talk to me. I’ll listen.’” But after years of that I started to realize what a gift He had given me. Then and only then came the revelation… the heart thumping revelation… Use your gifts to love others. We can each be a blessing right where we are. One of those gifts for me? My forehead sign… and so I realized it must really read “I love. Tell me about it.”
I’ve had so many of these encounters that I can’t even count them. I sometimes don’t even know all the words to say, but it is then that I know for sure that God is speaking Love through me. That’s what I pray the entire time. Each minute is swelled up with anticipation that my spirit knows is producing a beautiful seed. One that only He can nurture and grow. Because I love.
I will never forget the time I was in another state with my daughter for a couple weeks at a ballet intensive training venture years ago. It was that moment. That one moment in time. Our worlds collided… his and mine.
My daughter and I were at a large bookstore, one of those that every city has… at which sitting down to read is not only accepted but encouraged. So people were everywhere. She and I were in the “Christian” section. An older gentleman meandered next to us in the aisle ~ probably had been wandering life at least 10 years longer than my years wandering and probably had been wandering in that section many times before like I had.
He invited me into small talk. I looked up and answered with a smile. But then… his heart heavy … spilled out … like a waterfall his emotions and concerns were all over that space.
He told me ~ and my forehead sign ~ that he was a Christ follower and about how he had been a homosexual much of his life. He spoke with such beautiful concern that my ears were affixed and my forehead sign was no burden. He told me that when he gave his life to Christ that he also gave up his homosexual life choices. He said he knew that was what God wanted according to His Scripture.
I just listened…
while praying …
God, give me the words he needs. Love Him through me.
I listened as he told me that he wanted to give up his lifestyle; he had no regrets because he wanted to follow Jesus in all ways. He said he was paying a price for obedience, however. He was troubled deeply … I could hear in his voice that sadness that engulfs all else … he was troubled. People in his church were ignoring him and treating him terribly because he used to be homosexual.
My heart ached for him. I could feel it beating nearly out of my chest. I was a bit nervous as most would be if a stranger began spilling their life out in huge God-sized pieces to be cared for and loved. But I prayed. And remembered … he’s a brother. So as he shared his broken heart about not being accepted because of his past, I heard. I heard God.
My listening ears were paralleling my listening heart. I was not there to judge him then … nor judge his past… nor his future. I was there to speak truth into his life. And it appeared I might be the only one in his life doing just that. So, I gave him what my heart felt ~ literally and figuratively since my heart beats in time with people who share deepness with me.
“I hear your pain, “ I told him. “I hear you say that you read in God’s Word that your previous lifestyle was a sin that you wanted to choose to leave behind.” It was his choice. He needed that acknowledged. He needed to hear compassion. So that’s what I gave him. Right there in the middle of that giant bookstore.
“I wish I could tell you that all Christians will be forgiving,” I told him, “but some won’t. You must know you are forgiven. You must know you are loved. And you must not let a few people, who have had sin of their own and probably still do, bring you down.”
He told me he didn’t want to quit going to church there because he believed God wanted him there. I believe that too. Someone was going to get loved by that man. Someone was going to eventually wake up to their prejudice and see a beautiful soul looking them back in the face. And that beautiful soul… that man in the bookstore… was going to see the grace of God manifest in another person who could deny him no more.
He thanked me for the rest of what I shared with him. I said, “It’s God.” And I knew it was. He knew it was.
I did not see a sinner.
I did not see a homosexual.
I did not see a man who had a past he was not happy with.
I saw a man who was hurt by a community that claimed to love everyone.
I saw a man who wanted every bit of Jesus.
I saw brokenness that needed love to seal up the wounded heart.
I saw a man who needed God and who knew it.
Nothing else mattered.
Let us love one another right where we are, friends. Let us love one another right there in the bookstore or wherever God puts us. Right where they need to find love.
I realized I needed a blessing that day too. The blessing of loving another person in a profound way. That, my friends, is pure acceptance… loving others as God loves them.
Heather’s personal notes…
I’m used to walking alone. I’ve always been an outsider. For as long as I can remember, literally, I’ve been the invisible one, the one that the crowd didn’t notice. Funny thing is that certain people in the crowd were drawn to me … like a magnet … which told me I was made of old soul love. Why? How? It’s Jesus. It’s always been Jesus.