It seems to be the angry, self-righteous folks that get all the attention while the meek and humble that quietly serve others go unnoticed. But it is encouraging to know that some believers in Christ think that love is more powerful than hate and that grace will win more people than guilt.
A gay pride parade was recently held in Chicago and a small group of a few dozen Christians decided that they would attempt to demonstrate at the parade. This group, however, went with the motivation of love and weren't driven by hate. They wore t-shirts that said "I'm Sorry" and attempted to show some remorse for how the gay community has been treated by so many Christians.
Tim Schraeder shares more details about the parade on his blog and provides a link to a story told by Nathan Marin, a leader in the Marin Foundation (the organization that led the unique demonstration). Here's the story from Nathan:
"What I loved most about the day is when people “got it.” I loved watching people’s faces as they saw our shirts, read the signs, and looked back at us. Responses were incredible. Some people blew us kisses, some hugged us, some screamed thank you. A couple ladies walked up and said we were the best thing they had seen all day. I wish I had counted how many people hugged me. One guy in particular softly said, “Well, I forgive you.”We don't have to agree with the choices that people make in order to love them. And many in the gay community possess deep wounds from Christians and the Church that has led them away from a relationship with God. Unfortunately, we all fail in our hope to love others well. I know that I'm not consistent in my desire to love others as Christ does and I'm guessing that you're probably the same way. But as we yield to God's Spirit in our lives, He gives us the ability to love others in ways that we are unable to in our own strength.
Watching people recognize our apology brought me to tears many times. It was reconciliation personified.
My favorite though was a gentleman who was dancing on a float. He was dressed solely in white underwear and had a pack of abs like no one else. As he was dancing on the float, he noticed us and jokingly yelled, “What are you sorry for? It’s pride!” I pointed to our signs and watched him read them.
Then it clicked.
Then he got it.
He stopped dancing. He looked at all of us standing there. A look of utter seriousness came across his face. And as the float passed us he jumped off of it and ran towards us. In all his sweaty beautiful abs of steal, he hugged me and whispered, “thank you.”
Before I had even let go, another guy ran up to me, kissed me on the cheek, and gave me the biggest bear hug ever. I almost had the wind knocked out of me; it was one of those hugs.
This is why I do what I do. This is why I will continue to do what I do. Reconciliation was personified.
I think a lot of people would stop at the whole “man in his underwear dancing” part. That seems to be the most controversial. It’s what makes the evening news. It’s the stereotype most people have in their minds about Pride.
Sadly, most Christians want to run from such a sight rather than engage it. Most Christian won't even learn if that person dancing in his underwear has a name. Well, he does. His name is Tristan.
However, I think Jesus would have hugged him too. It’s exactly what I read throughout scripture: Jesus hanging out with people that religious people would flee from. Correlation between then and now? I think so."
Hate has never changed the world but God's love will. We don't have to compromise our convictions in order to be loving. Jesus was more committed to truth than you or I, yet he never wavered in His love for the broken and hurting. As a follower of Him, I hope that I can live the same kind of life that is more characterized by love than anything else. I frequently fall short of that goal but I will continue to pursue loving others just as Christ has loved me.
(h/t to Keith Battle for the link to the article.)