We need to love people who are different from us, just like Jesus did
Last night I had a dream, the kind you remember when you wake, the unsettling sort that you can’t shake. Even as I sit down to write an hour later it remains lodged in my gut and won’t go away. I feel God prompting me to share it, but I don’t want to because it addresses a polarizing subject I’d rather not confront.
I dream I’m at a county fair. The sun shines, warmth surrounds, bliss permeates. I watch those around me, something writers often do to muse out ideas and discover dialogue. Two women walk by, smiling. They enjoy the setting, the moment, and each other. They hold hands and share familiar, knowing glances.
A young girl approaches them. Dressed in flowing white – as can only happen in a dream – she holds something cupped in her hands. She smiles. I think she’s going to give them a gift.
But instead of sharing a present, she drops her hands. Her smile fades. She shares words. Mean words about their sexual orientation, words to attack and to hurt. Her flowing white morphs to dingy gray. Her eyes glare disgust; she snorts animosity. Not so pretty anymore, she inflicts damage as her cruel invective spews forth. I recall not the words she speaks but only the turmoil they churn in my soul. It lingers still.
After too much time passes I get up and stand between them.
I try to use my body to shield the couple from the onslaught of malicious words. The diatribe of the girl’s hate-filled salvo hits me and falls harmlessly to the ground. When her loathing exhausts, she disappears into the crowd.
I want to console the couple, to give them a loving hug and somehow help them. I turn to face them, but they are gone. I groan a prayer for them and trust God will understand the angst I cannot voice.
Nearby a group of strangers watch the entire ordeal. They beckon me. I drag myself over to join them. They give me space to process what happened. “Am I the only one confused by the issue of homosexuality?” I shake my head, and they urge me to continue. “Neither side understands the other; they wonder how the opposing view can be so wrong. But I see each perspective, both the left and the right. I can argue an answer from different angles: compassion, privacy, biology, logic, theology, human rights, procreation, family. By themselves each of my arguments makes sense, but together they contradict one another and leave me stuck not knowing how to respond.”
“But you did respond,” one says.
“Yes, but it was too little, too late,” I counter. “I could have done more; I should have done more.”
“You acted when no one else did, even though you’re not sure why.”
“I think it’s what Jesus would do,” I deliberate aloud. “The Bible shows that Jesus had compassion for everyone. He loves all who come to him, especially those on the fringes of society, the ones most people reject. And he doesn’t judge or criticize, either – except for the religious elite who don’t understand him and lead people astray.” I pause as I corral more thoughts.
“If I’m going to error, let me error on the side of love.”
Several in the group nod with me, as I continue.
“All I know for sure is that love is the answer.”
What is your reaction to this dream? How do you view those on the other side of this divisive issue? How can you love those with the opposite point of view? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.