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Would Jesus say, ‘I’m sorry’?

Have you learned what it means to be a minister of reconciliation yet? So many of us major on truth, but don’t know how to show love. I, for one, am sorry for that.   Melinda Guerra’s conversation with her aunt along these lines was beautiful. I think we need to find ways to humble oursel…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
Have you learned what it means to be a minister of reconciliation yet? So many of us major on truth, but don’t know how to show love. I, for one, am sorry for that.
Melinda Guerra’s conversation with her aunt along these lines was beautiful. I think we need to find ways to humble ourselves in the name of love as she did. She did it by donning a black shirt that proclaimed
“I’m sorry.”  She shares it here:
The idea was to use the shirts as a conversation starter
(Which oh, they were), apologizing to the LGBT community for the way the church has treated them
to apologize for people who shout hate and for the judgment Christians have
thrown at them.  It was a good day, the kind after which I go home and
feel like I have just been able to catch a glimpse of what heaven looked
like, and feel strangely fulfilled.
I love the shirt.
And I haven’t quite stopped wearing it.  
One day when I was wearing the shirt, my aunt (who has been an out
lesbian for as long as I can remember) asked me what I was sorry for.
 We were hanging out with a few other family members, telling jokes and
making cracks on each other over lunch.  I looked at her and said I was
sorry for the way the church has often shoved the LGBT community outside
of our doors, rather than welcoming them in.  And sorry for the pain
that’s caused.  And sorry that not enough people looked into her eyes
and said they loved her and that God loved her and that she shouldn’t have to be afraid of being hurt by the people who love Jesus.  
She started crying.  
There, in the middle of the restaurant, my aunt (we say we’re each
other’s favorites, but we’re not allowed to tell anyone else…) was
broken because of a t-shirt I was wearing, and it opened the door for a
question she’d never before asked me:
Have you ever been ashamed of me?

I… what?!  No!  
And out came the story… the reason she never came to the parties I
invited her to… the services i invited her to… my graduation…
hanging out with my friends…   All this time, she’d known about my
faith and thought, at some place deep inside, that even though we had a
blast when we were hanging out together, that something would change if I
took her around my friends… that I’d find a reason to be ashamed of
being seen with her.  
That knocked the wind clear out of me.  
For as much as I loved my aunt…  For as much as I invited her to every special event in my life… For as much as I envied her ability to be exactly who she is and never give it a second thought… For as much as I found unconditional acceptance in
her arms…  She wondered if I would feel those same things in my
communities of friends, seeing as how they were largely Christian and
Christians happened to be the people who judged and shoved her the most.
I looked at her and told her that on the contrary, that it had been
my relationship with her that has made me vocal in those same
communities about the way Christians treat the LGBT community. Because she
matters and because she’s taught me to see that every single person
matters.  And if they won’t matter to the world at large, they’ll matter
to me.  

Comments (19)

  • thank you seth for posting this. in recent months i have been writing and posting on fb about the ways in which many christians have shamed those women and men in the lgbt communities into sequestered enclaves where jesus seems like a terrorist.

    that is wrong. and we should say… “i’m sorry”.

    the world has hurt abounding from the inherent sadness of our brokenness yet in those moments when we reach out and say “..i was wrong…will you forgive me?…jesus comes real close and whispers affirming words.

    i’m still learning.

    appreciate you.

  • seth:

    thanks for posting this.

    i have dealt with that issue in my own life and it has indeed been a struggle. i have fasted and prayed about it, but my attraction to men does not go away. a lot of my christian brothers and sisters know about it, but some don’t. it’s not necessary that everyone knows. i don’t feel that it is okay to “be gay.” god did not design my body for that. and i do not agree with many of the teachings of a lot of lgbt affirming churches. but i do believe this is part of my brokeness and the sin that besets me.

    my hope is that more christians will start to love sinners and hate their own sin. know that god has grace for all sin and that without death there is no remission of sin. that’s all and any sin. it all deserves death and everyone sins. but christ died for it all and there is grace at the cross for anyone who will believe.

  • seth god is constantly leading you to post the right thing at the needed time. bless you.

    david, my heart goes out to you. you are beautifully created in the image of god. i love your heart and sensibilities. the fact that you are treating this as a sin, by praying and fasting is the best way to allow the holy spirit to guide and direct you as an individual. it’s the same way i approached my alcohol addiction back in the day. no one could persuade me that the amount of my drinking was “wrong” i had to go to god for myself. gods grace is sufficient for you my brother. keep seeking him. he alone will lead you to truth. i join in praying for you.


    i have several gay friends from high school that i recently found out were gay at my 20th class reunion. up until that point i didn’t really have a connection to gay people. of course, as a believer i’d heard all the teaching…some teaching not very christ-like and i have heard a lot of nasty comments from christians, but i have a lot of sinful people in my family that i absolutely love. some are alcoholics some on drugs…and i can’t find it within me to disassociate with them because of their sin. i love them. so i approach gays the same. i love my friends dearly. spent the better part of my growing up years with them. they are some of the most sincere and loving people i know. now if the subject ever comes up or presents me an opportunity to share how i feel about their sin i will lovingly and willingly share what i feel as gently as i possibly can. i want to point people to jesus in all my dealings. but, i want to point them to a loving god who is not ashamed of them.

    christians have dropped the ball on this one!

  • seth
    i did not expect those words of life and love this a.m., while i’m “southern born and bred”, happily married to a wife of 28 years, etc… i needed to hear that story of you and your aunt, may the lord bless her and make his face to shine upon her.. also, may she realize you really do want her to show up!!!


  • Thank you Seth for being obedient to the Lord and sensitive to His timing.

    It’s all about relationships and love. The great commandment is to love the Lord our God and the second is like unto it, to love our neighbors as ourselves. None of us can “save” ourselves so why do we feel that others should be held to a higher standard or tighter application of “rules?” ONLY GOD can save a soul.

    This topic has been on mind for several weeks intensely after the Lord took me back to Jacob’s life. Everyone remembers Jacob “midnight hour battle” at the Brook Jabbok where he was crippled in one leg and received the blessing of the Lord for persevering and was named “Israel” but I believe the battle was over his own emotions and learning to press then lean on the Lord. See his struggles and how self willed he was even though he had the vision at Bethel of the open heaven? He still was a very strong willed person who the Lord was with and blessing. He had to learn the lesson of humility in order to be able to offer himself as a minister of reconciliation to his estranged brother Esau who he had wronged.

    There are people in every walk of life and some personalities mesh where others grind on nerves YET the Lord is Lord of all whether they accept His love or not.
    He is still their Creator and the ones that we feel least loving towards are perhaps the ones who need His love the most and this TEST is for us to be-come more like the Son of God who gave His life in love for all that none would perish. Whenever I’ve shared that remark, there have been some “believers” who have questioned me and walked out of my life. They think it means that God accepts sin but that is not what I’m saying. Love never fails. Love overcomes.
    Love doesn’t discriminate. Sin flees in the presence of a holy God. We are changed from glory to glory and be-come more like Jesus. Look at how a butterfly metamorhs from a worm. That is Jacob’s life story and the story of most human beings. Very few are “changed” overnight – the Seed is planted and takes root and grows but the harvest takes time and sunlight (time with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and rain too (soaking soaking soaking, tests, tribulations, learning, growing, stretching…)

    But what He has started, He promises to see through to perfect completeness and oneness IN Christ. The other day while hiking, I came on a trail that wound through a cemetery and there was a HUGE tombstone with 3 crosses and some artwork. On the tombstone was the Greek Symbols – Alpha and Omega. It begins and ends with Him.

    Sorry for the length of this note. I really don’t mean to give appearance of “up staging” but it just pours out from what the others shared that sparked.

    I too had a brother in the gay community and have known his friends – some very closely – even all these years after his death. I have been with him in the gay community and have heard their struggles much like Jacob. There are some who are married and it is a real struggle and they feel like they don’t know who they are to be. I remember my brother towards the end, he and a lesbian close friend, had talked about how they would have liked to have had a FAMILY TOGETHER even though they did not feel any PHYSICAL attraction for each other YET they were connected on a soul level. That always amazed me. I do believe that the flesh has too much power and some of it is on the soul level and yet there was this hope inside of both of them and a longing for a family. We all have a longing to be part of a REAL FAMILY where there is love and acceptance in the Beloved. I believe God places that within each person no matter their sexual orientation. And homosexuality is just one “attraction” that pulls people off course. Heterosexuals do it all the time – chasing after all sorts of “attractions”, sexual, drugs, alcohol, gambling, materialism, ego status, job status, position, money, the list goes on & on…Anything that pulls away from REAL LOVE is an idol. Real love and completion is only to be found in intimate union and communion with the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ who is God’s firstborn Son and both are interceding night and day for the rest of the family.

    I am asking God daily to make me more of a real lover of humanity. Like Jesus. And our failings, our limping is a reminder like Jacob that it is God who gives us this ability, not we ourselves.

  • Seth,

    A few of my friends growing up were gay/lesbian. I have a family member who is gay. I have found myself on the wrong (attitude) side of this issue for years. It’s interesting to me that I’m currently helping a friend who has authored a book coming out on homosexuality and the Church on Sept 3. What I appreciate is that he has taken a balanced grace and truth approach regarding those with same sex attraction. See: http://www.churchreflections.com

    Thanks for posting this. I’m actually surprised how few people have commented on this post, because the issue is forcing us to think, re-think, and define what we believe, and why.

  • I’m Sorry you have denied the Written Word of God! Yes! Yes! Yes and 1,000 times YES we are to love and love and LOVE and LOVE and LOVE Gays and all people, but we are ALSO to tell them the truth, because Jesus said, “The TRUTH will SET YOU FREE,”[Jn. 8:32]
    Our ONLY motive should be out of 100% LOVE with the sole purpose of SETTING PEOPLE FREE!!!!!!!
    “The TRUTH will SET YOU FREE” [Jn. 8:32]

    I’m Sorry you have denied God’s Word that says:
    …”If a your brother sins, REBUKE him.” Says Jesus[Luke 17:3]. The original {Greek} word here means, “INTENSELY REBUKE and CHARGE him with FAULT.”
    …God’s Word commands, “EXPOSE, CONVICT with SHAME” the deeds of darkness! {Eph. 5:11 Greek}
    …God’s Word says, “Hold firmly to the trustworthy Word… EXPOSE, CONVICT with SHAME those who oppose it! [Titus 1:9 Greek].
    …God’s Word says, “EXPOSE, CONVICT with SHAME and SHARPLY
    and SEVERELY CUT” people! [Titus 1:13 Greek}]
    “The TRUTH will SET YOU FREE” [Jn. 8:32]
    I’m Sorry you have compromised God!
    with 100% love, Dane

  • Jesus said rebuke a brother, Dane. That’s you – you’re the brother in the case of Luke 17:3, not Melinda’s aunt. A brother is one who has received and embraced grace. You don’t rebuke people who haven’t known grace. You win them with grace first. That’s what Jesus did with the harlot that the Pharisees wanted to judge. When they become brothers and you are in relationship with them, then you have the right to rebuke them.

    It sounds to me like you never would have had the conversation with the aunt in the first place; you would have been leading with truth and she would have sniffed out your lack of grace a mile away. Be careful, Dane. Your example stands in opposition to the example of Jesus. I’d search my heart and repent if I were you.

  • Seth, thanks for sharing the story. I am convinced that it would be a tremendous outreach of God’s love to the gay community and would begin the reconciliation with God if Christians would humble themselves before sinners, because that is all any of us are. As Dane mentioned, Our job is to speak the truth in love, as that will set us all free. However, I must disagree with Dane after that point.

    Dane- I don’t doubt the Greek definitions of rebuke, but I do believe you are misreading the context of some of these verses. To keep from repeating what Steve said, I’ll just put my references in as a few alternatives to consider:
    – Compare/contrast the way Jesus spoke and related to the
    Pharisees vs. Romans throughout the Gospels.(Hint: Jesus
    spoke harshly to the Pharisees, but not with the Romans.)
    – 2Tim.2:24-26
    – Heb.5:1-2
    – Romans 2:3-4 – What is it that leads people to conviction
    and repentance? Is it our amazing argument and debate
    skills or is it the Holy Spirit? Our job is to be
    messengers love and grace.

    Why should we expect an unbeliever to act like one? But if someone claims to believe, then he should be held accountable.

    Ephesians 5:11 says to expose the deeds of darkness, and this is true. We should speak the truth- and many Christians have done this, and so zealously, but without much tact, that they have sinned against the gay community. The Christians I speak of are the protesters that hold up signs like “God hates fags” and “Gays burn in hell.” Sadly, since the rest of us fail to speak out, the gay community thinks this is what all Christians are like and why they are so afraid of us. Homosexuality is no different than any other sin and should be treated no differently. Are we to clean ourselves up before we come to God? CAN we? Once we are saved, do we immediately become perfect little saints? No, sanctification takes a lifetime and we must do battle daily with our old nature.

    I don’t think the point of Seth’s post was to tell us to be quiet about homosexuality, but just to remember when dealing with such a sensitive issue, to speak with great care and that to heal ANY relationship, one party must be the first to humble themselves.

    Peace, brother.

  • **mArC** The Schifano Tribe

    Awesome write up. This reconciliation stuff is so huge. Love ya man. This was inspiring to the core.

  • Dear Steve
    Nice try but again you have perverted God’s simple and clear Word! Jesus rebuked the Pharisees [who were not Born Again brothers], “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being damned to Hell.”[Mt.23:33]{read all Mt. 23. Jesus calls them “Blind Fools! White washed tombs! Sons of Hell, etc… You cannot and will not paint this false picture of Jesus as “The Homo Jesus” and “The Gay Gospel.” God’s Word commands, “EXPOSE, CONVICT with SHAME those who oppose it! [Titus 1:9 Greek]. Those whop oppose it ARE THE UNBELIEVERS! Wow! What false worldly Gospel are you following? Are you promoting “Paul the Pansy?” Paul spoke to an UNBELIEVER, “You are a Child of the Devil and an enemy of everything that is right. You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery! Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? Now the hand of the Lord is against you! You are going to be blind.” [Acts 13:10,11]. You are rejecting God’s Written Word!
    Truth or love? Both…both are Scriptural! 100% Love, love, love, love, love, love AND the truth!
    “Speaking the truth in love.” [Eph.4:15] Love is the greatest and truth sets free! Speaking the truth,
    that is the only way people can be SET FREE! [Jn.8:32]. One without the other is a perversion of
    Jesus and the Bible! The homosexuals do not need an “apology” [unless those confronting them
    are Hypocrites]…they need to be INTENSELY REBUKED! They need to be CONVICTED WITH
    SHAME according to god’s perfectly clear Word in Eph.5:11 because they TRUTH can set them free
    …AND they need to be loved at the same time.
    It’s very simple…I would have rebuked the aunt and given her the truth to set her FREE! Love rejoices with the truth [1 Cor.13:6] and then I would have invited her to my home and served her dinner and washed her feet in LOVE!

  • Dear Matt
    Jesus rebuked the Pharisees [who were not Born Again brothers], “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being damned to Hell.”[Mt.23:33]Read all Mt. 23. Jesus calls them “Blind Fools! White washed tombs! Sons of Hell, etc… God’s Word commands, “EXPOSE, CONVICT with SHAME those who oppose it! [Titus 1:9 Greek]. Those who oppose it ARE THE UNBELIEVERS! Wow! Paul spoke to an UNBELIEVER, “You are a Child of the Devil and an enemy of everything that is right. You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery! Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? Now the hand of the Lord is against you! You are going to be blind.” [Acts 13:10,11]. Who is God’s Word speaking to in Eph.5:11??
    TO THE DISOBEDIENT! “Expose and convict with shame for is is shameful even to mention what the DISOBEDIENT do in darkness.”
    Scripture after Scripture after Scripture the TRUTH in LOVE was given to the Pharisee AND the Romans…the Believers AND the Un-Believers! Please read the Bible without worldly and greasy grace glasses!
    Please no Homo Jesus! Gay Gospel Pansy Paul perversion of the Bible! It is a perversion of the Bible to not walk in love AND it is a perversion to not talk the honest to God truth! THE TRUTH WILL SET THEM FREE! THE TRUTH WILL SET THEM FREE! THE TRUTH WILL SET THEM FREE! Says Jesus [Jn.8:32]
    And you half quoted the Scripture in Rom.2:3,4 You conveniently “forgot” the next verse,”But because of your stubbornness and hardness of heart you are storing up WRATH AGAINST YOURSELF.” Ouch!
    And you have totally missed the other half of God’s Eternal Word, “GODLY SORROW LEADS TO REPENTANCE and leaves no regret.”[2 Cor.7:10]
    Listen carefully to God’s Word: It is both! Both love AND truth! God’s kindness AND…AND…AND Godly sorrow that lead to repentance!
    You tell the precious Homosexual the truth that they are going to Hell AND you invite them to your home for dinner that same night and wash their feet ! And LOVE THEM AND LOVE THEM AND LOVE THEM AND LOVE THEM AND LOVE THEM AND LOVE THEM AND LOVE THEM!!!!!!!!!

  • yes he loves us to the point on nails on the cross…but he also loves us enough to tell us the honest to God truth

  • Only perfect people have the right to condemn/rebuke/charge others on morals. If Jesus didn’t condemn, who are we? Its this kind of self righteousness condemnation of people who are different from us that has been the source of religious persecution throughout the ages.

    Why is it hard for one to live and just let live? Whats your personal interest in peoples’ moral choices?

  • You obviously know very, very, very little about Jesus and the Bible. Jesus spoke the truth strongly. Listen to what he said, “You Snakes! You Brood of Vipers! How will you escape being DAMNED TO HELL?” Matt. 23:33. The Bible says for people to “”Expose and convict with shame the deeds of darkness.” Eph.5:11. We are to speak the truth in love to people because Jesus said truth sets people free. J,8:32. And I have a great personal interest in people…because I love people very much!

  • Dane, I respect your liberty of thought and expression. I must however point out to you that you sound too zealous and preposterous. And thats ok. I believe God uses different people of differing personalities to reach certain people of certain personalities with the good news of salvation. If I didn’t know the Truth, I obviously wouldn’t wish to hear the gospel through you brother! We ought to know how to speak the word in season…

  • I AM too zealous…I am zealous to help people and zealous to tell people the truth to set them free and zealous to lead people away from destruction and zealous to save sex slave prostitutes and zealous to stop a suicidal teen from cutting her wrists. And God’s Word is OLD AND COURAGEOUS AND OFFENSIVE! And it is for ALL seaons! “Preach the Word, In season and OUT OF SEASON, correct, rebuke and encourage.” 2 Tim.4:2

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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