Spiritual Affirmation

Living Christ’s Love: Would Jesus Turn People Away?

by Latisha Di Venuto

I am a Christian. I believe in Jesus. I believe in doing our best to follow God’s word and make it an active part of our lives.

I also believe that every human being should be treated with dignity, respect and love—no if’s, and’s or but’s about it!

I am heavily dismayed when I hear that people of my faith truly believe that discriminatory laws such as Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) are admissible.

Unlike the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed in 1993, Indiana’s RFRA leaves room for religious freedom to be used as a defense if for-profit businesses are accused of discrimination. Laws like this are the antithesis of the love that Jesus demonstrated because any law that leaves room for the denial of basic human needs and dignity is immoral.

When discrimination happens around the world to people who identify as Christians, we are infuriated. When discrimination happens to people of ethnic minorities, we call it unjust. When discrimination happens to women, we say it’s appalling. When discrimination happens to children, we say it’s detestable. When discrimination happens to religious minorities, we say it’s abominable.

Why then are we silent, indifferent or even in support of this treatment when it comes to LGBTQ people?

Are they not human? Do they not deserve a chance at life here on this earth and in heaven? The answer my friends, whether or not you affirm their sexual orientation or gender identity, is that they do indeed deserve a chance at life!

LGBT people deserve all of the basic essentials that straight people deserve such as eating a meal peacefully at a restaurant or a night’s stay at an inn or medicinal treatment at a private medical practice if they are in need.

LGBT people deserve dignity and respect because they are humans just like you and I and because God does not ever put a person on this planet if they are not meant to be here. The type of systematic injustice that is allowed under Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act is in blatant violation of anything that Jesus Christ stood for because Jesus Christ stood for life.

Whatever a person’s identity or beliefs, there is no question that we are all human.

And my purpose as a fellow human being and a follower of Jesus is to do all in my power to make sure that every person I encounter is shown love.

As a Christian, I also believe in the freedoms granted to us by the First Amendment, including the freedom of religion! I LOVE America for this! I love that I am publicly allowed to wear my cross necklace and read my bible app and talk about God with my friends or people who want to. I love that my best friend and I can eat at a Buffalo Wild Wings and openly talk about our religious beliefs without fear of persecution!

But also remember that only 60 years ago “religious freedom” was used as the justification for laws that permitted racial segregation.

I would hate to see us go back to a society that supports discrimination and exclusion. 

I believe this type of systematic discrimination is detrimental to a peaceful and functioning society because it breeds hostility, could potentially court violence and leads to severe emotional harm.

I would be torn apart if my mom was told she couldn’t share a meal with me and my siblings because she was gay. I would also hate to see my mom be told that she was allowed to shop at a store because she is white but my siblings and I get denied because we are ethnic minorities.

Amazing opportunities for ministry and human connectivity close when a person decides to shut someone out because of their identity.

At the end of the day, I believe in compassion, empathy, and a concern for human dignity.

I ask you this: where in the scriptures did Jesus ever deny or say it was acceptable to deny any human being access to food, shelter, water or medicinal care? Where did he preach that killing, torturing, humiliating, bullying and isolating people was ok or allowed to be the law of the land?

The answer my friends is nowhere. Jesus is compassion. Jesus is mercy. Jesus is forgiveness. Jesus is just. Jesus is grace. Jesus is love. Jesus never turned away a human in need. He embraced them with open arms.

Have we gotten so wrapped up in ourselves and in legality that we are forgetting human dignity, compassion and the Gospel? Are we forgetting the very Christ who we fell in love with: The man who healed the sick, feed the hungry, comforted the brokenhearted and perfectly exemplified the love that God has for us all?

Have we forgotten that it is not our righteousness but God’s grace that saves us all?

“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” Romans 13:8-10 

Let’s remember to be like Jesus. Let’s live out His love!

Photo via flickr user Ron Zack