Here’s a quick snippet of a conversation I recently overheard:

Person 1: Well, what else can you say about Christians?
Person 2: (Muttered) Well, they hate gay people…

While there is an undeniable cultural divide between the church and the gay community, and those such as myself that are deeply rooted in the church hear about the perception of Christians as gay-haters, it still shocked, startled and saddened me that to hear this with my own ears.

The image that flashed in my mind upon hearing it was of half-witted, ill-intentioned “Christians” picketing with hateful phrases on signs in response to pro-gay activity. You know, the images the media loves to capture and replay much to the horror of rational believers.

What I wanted to and should have said in reply to that which I overheard is, “only ignorant Christians hate gay people.”

It might seem a little harsh to call them ignorant (the picketing breed and those who carry that attitude without signs), but as the saying goes, “the truth hurts.” To have such a spiteful, self-righteous attitude toward those with a different lifestyle is beyond unacceptable. Especially under the guise of being a follower of Christ, whose second most important commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself.

I call such folks ignorant because while publicly condemning the sin of others, they seem to forget that God’s grace abounds to ALL PEOPLE (John 3:16) and that the sin from which they’ve been rescued (Romans 3:23) is no less destructive than that which they condemn.

It’s frustrating to me that the ignorance and misbehavior of a few taint the reputation and perception of Christ followers across the board. Thus the statement I overheard. But lest I also risk being a hypocritical sign holder, let me back up for a second.

While the root of the problem is simply a failure to apply the teachings of the Bible to every day life, it seems to me that some of it may stem from fear and not knowing how to react to such a lifestyle. That is often true for me. It\’s so much easier to condemn than to honestly ask myself how my hidden attitude and fear might be preventing me from doing what is right. Though I don\’t wave hateful signs, I have been guilty of avoiding and silently passing judgment on those with \”alternative lifestyles.\” Lord, please forgive me.

If I, as one bearing the name “Christian”, wish to reverse the perception which exists, I must be willing to do as Christ did. To love unconditionally and without strings attached, anyone and everyone regardless of their lifestyle. Anything less is not worthy of the name of Jesus Christ.