“Mom, Alex ran up to me at the end of school and said a rumor is going around fifth grade that I don’t like gay people,” said Pierce, Gabe’s son.
Needing more information about this latest chapter of public school life in New York City, Rebekah said, ‘What happened?'”
“During last period, Alisha told me that she had a crush on another girl in our class. I was like, “That’s not good. That’s wrong.'”
“Really? And what did she say?”
“She was like, ‘Why don’t you like gay people?’ So I told her, ‘I never said that, but I think it’s against God’s laws.'”
Uh-oh, Rebekah thought. “You really said that? Out loud?”
Pierce had just violated the second principle of the new moral code: Thou shalt not criticize another person’s life choices or behavior. Gabe continues:
After my plane touched down in Dallas, I got Rebekah’s text message. From the tarmac, I called to get the story. Rebekah gave me a summary, and then she put Pierce on the phone.
“Pierce, what happened?”
Sheepish, Pierce told me his story. “I just know it’s not right. In the moment, the words just came out. I’m sorry, Dad.”
“Oh, son don’t be sorry. You lived out what you believe, and that’s all I can ask for.”
After more encouragement, I hung up. But I knew I needed to take it further. So I sat down and wrote a letter to Pierce not only to affirm him but also to teach him through what could be a really tough day at school the next day. It read:
Son, I’m so very proud of you.
FIRST. Today you showed conviction and boldness to state your opinion on how God uniquely designed boys and girls differently. You can’t expect that all the other kids will feel the same way. In fact, many of them have been told by their parents that boys liking boys and girls liking girls is okay, even to be celebrated. When you say, “Being gay is wrong,” they are very offended because they’ve been taught to believe anyone who thinks being gay is wrong is a bad person. Remember how we’ve talked about this world being upside down? What’s right is often thought to be wrong. What’s wrong is made to seem right. This is a perfect example of that happening. It’s okay though. Part of being a Christian is recognizing that we live by different rules than many other people around us. We trust God’s words in the Bible and the life of Jesus even if they don’t make sense to others.
Now, when you hear people say their opinions–even if you disagree with them–you must always respect them. Jesus says that the first and the greatest commandment is “to love God with all your heart” and the second is “to love thy neighbor as thyself.” You scored a 100 percent on the first commandment and maybe a 75 percent on the second. Which brings me to the next important point.
SECOND. As a Christian, showing love to all people, even if you disagree with their opinion, is critical for you, Pierce. Loving your neighbor means being a good friend even when they say something with which you disagree. Otherwise they will think you don’t care about them or that you think you are better than them.
TOMORROW, when you go to school, friends may approach you. If someone says to you, “Why don’t you like gay people, Pierce?” You could respond by sharing your heart the way you did with me tonight.
“I never said I don’t like gay people. I love all people. I believe God made our world so that boys would like girls and girls would like boys. I know you may disagree, and I respect that. But that is my honest opinion.”
Pierce, be prepared that not only students but even teachers may disagree with you. And that’s okay. Jesus tells us that people who don’t know him will be confused about what is good. You need to understand this is an example of a spiritual battle you are facing. It requires courage to follow Jesus in a culture that does not. You can trust that God’s Word is true.
I wish I could be with you and give you a huge hug right now. Instead, I’ll pray courage for you tonight as you drift off to sleep. God is with you. He loves you and all your friends at school so much. Sometimes it feels lonely to stand up for what you believe, but you are not alone.
I love you.
From Good Faith, by Gabe Lyons and David Kinnaman