What grace looks like

by gaytaylor

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“Pay attention to what bothers you,” the advice from the sages. There’s a lesson in there. Things bother us for a reason.

Me, who was long bothered by same-sex attractions, who continued to be bothered despite fervent prayer to be delivered from this affliction. Me who was bothered by them despite being the best Christian I knew how to be, despite exercising my faith, despite marrying a woman. Still bothered.

At last I awakened to what was going on around and within me. I was being bothered for a reason. It was no accident that men attracted me on  physical, emotional and holistic levels. My life opened up in a thousand ways when I finally addressed this implications of my desire.

So I ask myself periodically: “what’s bothering me now?” I want to stay awake to the messages life has for me.

At the moment, I am bothered by the debate over gay marriage and the ease with which people stand ready to pass judgment on my life, to legislate who and how I can love. Our local paper has been peppered with letters to the editor decrying the idea that gay persons be allowed to marry each other. (I note they have no problem with a gay man marrying a woman, however. How unthinking and unfeeling is that?)

So I ask myself, what does my being bothered by this have to say to me? And I answer: In part, it bothers me because I myself stand ready to pass judgment on those I term homophobic bigots, self-serving university officials intent on presenting a sanitized happy holy face to the world, members of the religious right whom I deem to have it all wrong.

I don’t like it when people pass judgment on me, and here I am ready to do the same to them.

What does grace look like in this case? How do I extend others the grace I’d like to receive from them? How do I observe and respect their right to opinions that differs from mine? How should I know?

Sheesh. Even if I don’t have the answer, I bet I know where to begin. Already today I’ve had a chance to withhold judging/slurring/slamming a person whose chance comment seemed way off base. The practice of grace starts small, I bet, and starts with me, where I am, as I am aware.


Photo credit: Brittanie Pendleton