This post does not come easy to write.
About 3 months ago my brother told me that he was gay.
A year ago he told me he had sexual identity issues. Every brother, myself included, has struggled with identity issues, is spurs from how we were “raised” and yes, I use that term very loosely. We weren’t brought up to respect our bodies, to love people, and to cherish our creator. Instead we grew up in a porn-filled environment, verbal abuse (well me mostly from my brothers), hateful remarks, disrespect, hatred towards each other. My parents fought constantly. I didn’t know what it meant to be loved by a man or by my mother or by my brothers. All 5 of us have struggled (or still are struggling) with pornography and sexual sin. My parents separated when I was a senior; my brothers moved, my dad moved and I stayed in Florida for far too long.
I moved December 22, 2008. Two brothers, who I could have cared less about, persuaded me to move: to have a new life, to experience grace and to have joy in my life. And after 9 months of wanting to reject all of that, I moved. I moved on a whim and my friends thought I was crazy. My mom later told me that she didn’t cry for me to come home, she cried because she knew my life would be wrecked and I’d be broken.
I eventually met David, fell in love and yadda yadda yadda. This isn’t about that.
One brother, the one that I never ever got along with, the one that I felt like hated me, that made it seem like I could never amount to anything, took me in. He brought me into his group of friends, he drove me to church, he ate with me, he talked with me. And our relationship was mended. It was made new. I hold those memories so close because of what happened in such a short period of time.
His heart became hardened, like all of a sudden. Do you know what it feels like to have a hardened heart? To hate all the world and everyone in it. Something happened within him, something dark, something deep and shameful. He kept it hidden and didn’t let it interrupt his worship to Jesus.
I didn’t notice any of this. Until I’d try to strike up conversations with him, or when he randomly decided to move from the only place that accepted him or the time that he made me feel so badly for going to a “mega church” that I completely stopped going for 3 months because I thought they were out to get me. His heart was hard.
He moved away. I didn’t know what he was doing. He would tell me how much he hated it and was so frustrated with everyone. Can you see a pattern? He wasn’t happy in Joplin so how could he be happy in a different place? He ran in a way. He ran away from uncomfortable circumstances and really I felt like he was running away from God and a community of people that loved him.
So naturally, none of this made any sense to me. Until 8 months into my first year as a wife when he told me that he had sexual identity problems and that he sinned. He would go back and forth between God and that lifestyle, never feeling good, never feeling whole.
I knew what he was doing. I knew what I was doing in my dark season too. I was aware, I lived it, I experienced it and I thrived off of it. I am the woman, the Christian, the wife I am today because I lived life outside of God and outside of grace.
My brother, the one that I hold accountable for my move, the one that made me snap back to reality, the one that I love with all my heart is now gay.
So what happens now?
How do I love him?
How do I show him grace and compassion?
It’s a simple answer: I love him. My job as a Christian isn’t to condemn, isn’t to point the finger, isn’t to hate or reject. It is to love. And if you know me (like really know me) you know that the love I have for my family is deep. So I will love my brother. But one thing I will not do, will never do, is rejoice in his sin. Who really wanted to rejoice when I was making out with random guys? Or suicidal? Or had an unhealthy addiction to mens attention? Or coping with my parents divorce by drinking and smoking weed. Who wants to rejoice in that? I won’t sacrifice my love for Jesus, my commitment to Jesus, to his words, to his teaching to appease my brother. I won’t change what I put my life into to make his sin look okay.
I will love that man until the day I die, sin and all. He took me and I’ll take him too.