Tonight I was with my family, and each night we spend 15-45 minutes with each other doing this practice called “family worship.” Tonight, we watched a short video on the concept of justice in the Bible, and it left me feeling sore after I watched it.

It was a short animation done by the non-profit organization called “The Bible Project” and the message was biblically accurate and had a good message, but I left family worship feeling hurt because I had a realization during the video that shook my core…

There is very little justice within my own life and the lives of others

The video stated that the biblical idea of justice means to treat all humans as the image of God. What does this mean though? Well, in Genesis, the narrative describes God creating an ordered realm out of chaos and darkness, and when God created humanity, He made them in His image. This means that everyone is worthy of dignity and respect since we are all made after God’s image, but…I haven’t been treated as an image of God.

I don’t want people to walk up to me and bow down because they see God in me, that’s not what I want. I don’t want any special privileges. I just want to be loved and cared for. I know I have friends and family who love me, but the world is a harsh place. I have had food thrown in my face before; I have been surrounded by modern day “Pharisees” that use the Bible as a weapon to tell me that being gay is not okay; I have even been threatened and consistently bullied verbally and emotionally, which has left me with many scars that therapy is very slowly trying to heal.

The church can be a beautiful thing when love and justice are the core foundations, but I have so often not felt this love or justice, in fact, my experiences fit the biblical definition of injustice, and the same could be said about most LGBTQ+ children of God. Do you think queer people generally feel safe to come as they are when they walk into a church? I certainly didn’t. I am so blessed to go to a university which not only pushes for the equality of its queer students, but also treats us justly as God’s images.

My university once gave me and my queer friends a platform to speak, and one night after the sun set on a new sabbath, we held a church service ran only by LGBTQ+ people. We talked about the injustices we have faced and for the first time in years, I felt understood. When we sang for worship, I cried because I felt like people saw me not only as God’s image, but I think the whole room recognized that Jesus died for me and my queer friends too!

My university’s church even has an LGBT sabbath school which I would go to weekly because I felt so safe there! As a man struggling with a severe anxiety disorder, it’s rare that I feel safe, but I always feel safe going into that church, especially since they accept and embrace me when I show up late in a T-shirt and sweatpants; but life wasn’t always this way.

Too often there are injustices towards those within my community, and this has given me passion for others who are discriminated against. With George Floyd and everything else going on with systematic racism in our society, there is very little justice…and it is truly heartbreaking. I almost cried during family worship tonight, the message just stung too much.

In addition, with COVID-19 I can’t even go to my university or my sabbath school and that’s hard! One of the blessings of being gay is that you are always kicked out of the communities that you try to join, and I’m not trying to be sarcastic right now. It has taught me that I clearly do not belong here and that my real place is to be in the new creation with God. Me and all my other LGBTQ+ believers are citizens of heaven, and we do have a place of belonging!

Knowing that I don’t belong on earth is a constant reminder of the exile I am in. It’s the same exile Adam and Eve felt when they were kicked from the Garden; it’s the same exile the Israelites felt when they were conquered and taken out by Babylon and it’s the same exile all humanity is suffering due to the separation of Heaven and Earth. I don’t have to live life believing that a fallen world is my home because my eyes were opened from an early age to see how imperfect this world is, and that I do not belong within it. This doesn’t mean I can’t find belonging, it’s possible…just extra hard for us queer folk. The point is that there is a world out there that can and will embrace us.

To all my rainbow believers in Christ out there, whatever denomination you are in, you belong, and God loves you even when others don’t. I know from personal experiences how jarring it can be to have people show you Jesus and change your life but also have those same people condemn you for who you are. We will find our home…eventually…and things will get better…I promise. Till then, we must keep fighting for justice and loving our persecutors as ourselves! We do have a home, and we must keep fighting to show the world that we do belong, and that we are worthy of dignity and respect. May God bless you all, and keep you safe from the evil one.

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