Happy ‘I Tolerate You Day’

question mark heartNothing says love more than telling gay sinners how much we ‘luuuuuuv’ them and how much we HATE their sin.  I think that is why there are so many Christians who have deep friendships with gay and lesbian people.  Tolerance is a compelling gift to the gay and lesbian community so anxious for Christians to half-heartedly embrace them with the limp, lukewarm hug of Jesus.

Can you just feel the love?

Before I go too far with the pretense that I am an expert on this subject, please know this pep talk is for me as well.  I am relatively new on the scene of wholeheartedly embracing all people, period.  Even typing that sentence was full of deep conflict for me.  I so badly want to qualify my own superiority in all of this by sharing the type of people I am embracing—compelled to make the comparison between my morality and theirs so that you will know how amazing it is that I, a good (a.k.a. morally superior) Christian, am embracing…well, them (a.k.a. poor things lost in sin).

Recently a friend shared this phrase with me, “Live your faith. Share your life”.  It embodies the life I am trying to live and the focus we are taking at Exodus International.  My faith is everything to me.  I am profoundly committed to the Gospel.  Living that out is what God has called me to do.  Not everyone I live around wants my faith in his or her face.  But, they are very willing to love me in spite of that faith and all of the beliefs, and even conversations, that go along with it.

Years ago I would have called this tolerance.  I thought, “My gay and lesbian friends tolerate my beliefs and I tolerate theirs”.  There is an element of tolerance that is necessary and even God-like, but if all God did was tolerate any of us then life would look very grim.  Having once embraced the tolerance movement, I know now that God is calling me to go far beyond simply tolerating my gay neighbors.  He wants me to love, serve and commune with them.

My wife and I want to share our lives with the all of people God places in our path.  We don’t want to do so half-heartedly or worse—inauthentically.  We don’t want to treat anyone like a project.  Like I said, I’m new to all of this but it has been so worth it to lose the edge, trust God to be God, and feel free to love people with no strings attached.  The days of hyperventilating over everyone’s shortcomings is over.

On this Valentine’s Day as we are thinking about love, service and giving, I encourage you to ponder where you’re at with the Golden Rule in terms of loving your gay neighbor in a way that truly reflects the heart of Christ.

Alan served as the final president of Exodus International from 2001 to 2013 when together with a core team of leaders and board of directors he closed the organization and began making great strides towards building relationships with the LGBTQIA community and encouraging the global Church to do the same. With a goal to reduce fear, establish trust, and inspire hope on both sides for the sake of the Gospel, Alan and his wife, Leslie, spend their time being available to anyone who desires to talk. He has been featured on every major media outlet across the globe. Alan and Leslie’s first book together, My Exodus: From Fear to Grace (Zondervan, 2015) releases on September 29.

The Chambers spend the best part of their lives with their 10 year olds, Molly and Isaac, and the rest having conversations about all things gay with anyone and everyone over lunch in Winter Park, Florida or in other locations throughout the world.
Follow Alan and Leslie on Twitter: @AlanMChambers and @LeslieMChambers

I value your honesty and critical review. Please refrain from attacking others.

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6 thoughts on “Happy ‘I Tolerate You Day’

  1. would Jesus judge a person for loving another person, regardless of race, color, disability/ability, nationality, religion or gender? Love is good…no matter who that love is directed toward. If God wanted us to all be the same, then he wouldn’t have created people who are gay and people who are straight. To fight a battle against “sins” or acts that come from a place of love is not God’s work. Acceptance and love for all without judgement is the message of Jesus.

  2. I really love this article, Alan. Thanks so much for the terrific teaching you are doing. I would have never learned this myself without having had a gay daughter. I am grateful for what God has taught me through this struggle, and I am thankful for all the teaching being done by Exodus. Love in Action put me in touch with one of your former board members, and I know God did that to help me be a better mom to my daughter. I don’t know where we would be without her help. You guys are making a difference!

    • Jennifer and Alan, I have been struggling since my daughter has told me she is a lesbian. I dont know what to do and who to talk to. I have come across your site Alan and it gives me hope for her. I just dont know how to go about it with my daughter. I dont want to push her away or lose her in the process. My husband and i will be in Orlando next week. Is there anyone I can talk to while we are there. Any advise will be helpful.
      Thank You!!