My sisters and I have a saying. Whenever one calls the other for a favor or for words of encouragement or for a shoulder to cry on, invariably we end the conversation with, “I got your back, sister.” It’s our way of expressing caring and empathy and love without getting all girlie and gushy about it.
I believe that people don’t know what they really believe about an issue until they experience it first hand. About eight years ago I was introduced to a church that dramatically changed my life. In fact, the teachings of Jesus Christ had such a profound impact on me that eventually I gave up my freelance business and went to work for the church. I wasn’t on the job long before old friends started asking me – and by asking I mean interrogating me – about my position on social issues like abortion and gay marriage. I know what the Bible has to say on these issues, but honestly, I’d never given them much thought. I know that sounds shallow, but they just weren’t part of my personal experiences. I’ve never had an abortion. I’m not gay. All I knew for sure was I resented the presumption that because I profess faith in Jesus Christ, I must, therefore, believe, feel and vote a certain way.
Then one day – sort of out of the blue – my sister told me she’s gay. She was very nervous to reveal her secret and that truth still makes me sad. She feared that since I worked for a church, a church that teaches that sex outside of marriage is a sin, that I would judge her, perhaps even condemn her. It was an uneasy time for both of us, but in the end, my sister helped me figure out what I believe about the rightness or wrongness of homosexuality and here it is….I don’t want to be one of those Christian who’s against things. I want to be for things, things like loving my neighbor and my sister, regardless of how she chooses to live her life.
I believe that my relationship with my sister – with anyone really with whom I hold different opinions – should be defined by what we have in common rather than the ways we differ and what my sister and I share is a great love and deep-seated respect for the other.
Gay, straight, whatever….I’ll always have your back, sister.
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