Archive for July 30th, 2007

To Whom It Is Given

Monday, July 30th, 2007

Today’s scripture: Matthew 19:11-12 (NRSV)
As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me in this passage? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (John Seksay):

I recently found an early attempt to start a journal when I was first coming out. It was March, 1993 and had only one entry. It reads:

“I’m not sure how to lay to rest the years of painful silence that surround my inner child — the sense of abandonment and betrayal by everything he believed in. Such is puberty for the gay child/teen. What balm exists for the loss of self-esteem and the absolute absence of any positive self-image?”

God has shown me how the word addresses this very issue.

Today’s scripture passage first came to my attention when I started attending Jesus MCC and read The Children Are Free. What an overwhelming sense of acceptance and reconnection to God began with these events! Unlike my upbringing in the Roman Catholic church, God didn’t see me as evil, corrupt, or “intrinsically disordered.” Jesus had known, and spiritually accepted with great compassion, men like me. He acknowledged my existence without contempt or judgment!

But read carefully everything that is said in the scripture. Jesus opens the topic by saying “Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given.” He finishes with the statement “Let anyone accept this who can.”

This calls up another painful memory from my struggles as an adult. When I first brought up this issue as an adult with my parents, I was married with kids. Mom was the coach and mentor most often sought out by all the kids. She didn’t reject me outright, but steered me toward counseling, where I was given a multiple question test. I will never forget the look in her eyes when the results of the test indicated that I “officially wasn’t gay.” I knew then that my mother’s deepest love was reserved for a son she didn’t really have, but desperately wanted. I never let her see the gulf that event opened in my heart.

After finally coming out, I did experience acceptance from my siblings and children, and came to understand what Jesus was saying. Only the people willing to love me unconditionally could see me as I truly am; those who brought other expectations in their hearts would remain fixed on their own internal image of me. It is the same with Jesus’ teachings — often our internalized prejudices about what is right or good literally close our hearts to His words.

Eunuchs were also a very difficult subject for Jews to deal with, because the cultural roles for male and female, parent and child, were deeply ingrained, as they remain in many societies today. Was it just circumstance that selected Philip, an apostle of Christ from Hellenistic background, to meet with the eunuch from Ethiopia on the wilderness road? I like to believe that God knows the limits of His servants, as well as their abilities, when God calls them to a task.

Jesus recognizes the challenge by warning us that not everyone will have the spiritual capacity to accept us as we are. One of our major challenges as Christians is to love ourselves as we are, and still have compassion for those who lack the spiritual capacity to do likewise.

Thought for the day: My prayer for today is that my love for Jesus and His teachings will also be unconditional. May I see and hear every blessing they have to offer!

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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