Yesterday was National Coming Out Day. I celebrated it by releasing my newest book, The Art of Coming Out: Cartoons for the LGBTQ Community. Order your copy today!
I have gay friends upon whom this harmful Christian saying has been used. The intention is to get them in then change them from being gay to being straight, like God wants them.
But this has been used on me too. And probably you. I think it stinks.
Let’s look at this very popular Christian proverb, dissect it and deconstruct it:
“God loves you just the way you are, but he loves you too much to leave you that way.”
Would you say this to your wife, husband, partner, lover?
“Honey, I love you just the way you are, but I love you too much to leave you that way.”
I hope not. Why? Well, let’s look at that. Let’s pretend I said this to my wife, Lisa. What would she be hearing?
- I say things too good to be true, like I love you just the way you are.
- My love comes with conditions.
- I’m a liar because the second part negates the first.
- There’s something wrong with her.
- She needs to change.
- I’m a better person.
- I have a superior attitude.
- I can and will change her.
- There’s the suggestion of more love if she changes into what I want.
- There’s a subtle threat I will withhold my love if she doesn’t change.
In a church culture where we are taught that we are sinners, broken, unworthy, bad, and needy; where we are taught that we need to change and be changed; where we are taught that we are helpless and need some kind of divine intervention to help us and change us; then this saying makes sense.
Whoever coined this phrase just crystalized a common misconception about love. It’s not just a Christian problem. It’s a problem with understanding what love is.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
I like this better.
I invite you to join our online community where we try to practice love.