Loving Bravely


By Karen Crawford
When I was about 15 years old my parents told me that my
oldest brother, about 22 years old, had informed them he was gay.  To me, this was very bad news.  I was raised in the church and the only thing
that had ever been discussed about this issue was that you couldn’t go to
heaven if you were homosexual.  So I was
sure what that meant for his eternal salvation and it broke my heart. 
With this new information our family began to study and
discuss the issue in more depth.  My
parents were compelled to explain in every detail and from every angle why his
lifestyle was wrong according to the Bible. 
Letters were sent back and forth between all of us.  There were many tears shed through some hard
conversations.  At the end of all that we
had come to the conclusion we had to agree to disagree.  The more challenging part was still to come.  My parents struggled with how to continue to
love and share life with their son, and I had to figure out the same in my
relationship with him as a sister.  My
parents were concerned about making sure their interaction with him and his
life partner in no way condoned the lifestyle, but they didn’t want to push him
away.   
As I became a young adult I wrestled with what I believed
the Bible really had to say about the issue. How would I not become a
“homophobe” without throwing out what I believed and therefore abandoning my
faith? To me it was very clear what the Bible said about that kind of lifestyle
and I couldn’t justify throwing those parts of scripture out without throwing
the whole thing.  Thankfully, my
relationship with God was well established by that time.  I trusted the Bible and I put my faith in
what Jesus had come to do for all people. 
I desperately needed to understand the purpose of God’s Word on a much
deeper level.  I began to realize that
sin is sin.  Any life that is lived
apposing God’s perfect plan is a life lived apart from a relationship with God,
and a relationship with God is what it’s all about.  I still felt a responsibility to bring him
back to God, to “save” him.  He’s my
brother and I wanted all good things for him, but the Holy Spirit kept   reminding me that it was not my job to save
him, nor did I have the ability to do so anyway.  God freed me to live as his sister instead of
his savior.  After being released of that
burden, it allowed me to begin enjoying my time with him instead of feeling
nervous and awkward around him.  I was
able to start getting to know his life partner and begin to love him too.
There was an extra dynamic to figure out when my husband and
I starting having kids of our own.  Our
kids have two uncles instead of an uncle and aunt.  We decided that we would refer to my
brother’s life partner as “uncle” because that was the place in the family that
he was in, regardless of his and my brother’s relationship with God.  We viewed it the same as if my brother had
turned away from God and married a non-Christian woman.  Would that woman not be my kids’ aunt because
she wasn’t saved and for that matter would my brother cease to be their
uncle?  Of course not.  We had to break down the cultural stigma
opposed to that lifestyle as well as the agenda of those in favor of it.      

Now I feel blessed to have had this experience because now I
can explain to my kids the truth about the Bible and a deeper understanding of
this difficult issue.  This situation has
also helped me see people a little closer to the way God does.  We are all broken and unworthy no matter what
path we take away from God.  And the only
way to become whole is recognizing how broken we really are and surrendering
all of us to what Jesus did so that the Spirit can transform us.  None of our goodness is our own doing but the
work of Him in us.      

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