What I’m Reading Today: Matthew 6:1-18
When I went through my coming out process, there were lots of important moments along the way. After all, any process that involves taking a risk and sharing the fullness of who you are after hiding it for 25 years if bound to be memorable.
The most memorable moment in my process, came about six months after I first told my parents I was gay. My mother – who was very traditional in her beliefs – was the person who took the news the hardest. She can be a very stubborn person (unlike myself – ha ha), and for the first six months after receiving the news she refused to budge an inch in terms of her position regarding my sexual orientation. “Being gay,” she suggested, “was wrong, wrong. wrong.”
At one point in those first six months I drew a line in the sand and said, “If you can’t accept my sexual orientation, then you can’t accept me. And if that’s the case, then I no longer want a relationship with you.”
Somewhere around that six month mark, however, something radical changed within me. One day I realized I was being completely hypocritical in my approach toward my mother. I realized that I was asking something of her (i.e. that she accept me exactly as I am) while I was refusing to her accept her exactly as she was.
It was hard for me – but I began to work on my attitude toward my mother. I got myself to the point where it no longer mattered if she reached the point of understanding and acceptance of my sexuality – I loved her enough to accept her: judgments and all.
At that moment everything began to change in my life – both within myself and in my relationship with her. Eventually mom began to soften. Today we have a good relationship – one in which she loves and accepts me and my relationship with Mike!
I don’t know that my mother and I would have ever gotten to where we are today if I hadn’t been willing to practice what I preached (“acceptance of the other exactly as they are”).
I was reminded of that experience as I read Jesus’ words today on forgiveness. In the passage, Jesus is quoted as saying: “You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.”
I’m wondering if you might have a relationship in your life fraught with complexities: one in which you have felt wronged and completely justified in pulling back from the person and sitting in judgment of him or her. If so, today I would encourage you to think about taking the first step toward the person and practicing the sort of love and compassionate that you are starved to receive yourself. In that very process of opening yourself, you might find the most important aspect of your healing has already begun in the most important place of all – within your heart!
Til next time…