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Stories have the power to change the world … they inspire us, teach us, connect us. This is the sixth installment in the “Stories That Change The World” series.

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Jackie McQueen posted this on her Facebook page! People like her are changing the world! You can show your support and encouragement to Jackie by going to her Facebook page here and liking her post!

This post is going to upset some people. Some may unfriend me on FB, or even write me off as a friend altogether. But I’ve reached the point that I cannot take anymore. I’m done. I mean really done.

I have not gone off the deep end. I’ve simply made a choice and I’m finally brave enough to share it. I’ve chosen to love people. I’ve made a drastic change in the way I want to treat people. I didn’t realize how much change was necessary. I thought I already loved people. Everyone! But the more deeply I dug into my heart, I realized there were things in there that didn’t belong. Things like prejudice, judgment, pride, and neglect. I had spent more time looking at the sin in other people’s lives than I had spent seeing them JUST AS THEY ARE. All my life I’ve bought into the “love the sinner, hate the sin” rhetoric. I’m finally realizing that what Jesus actually taught was to love the sinner and hate our own sin; to look at the plank in our own eye rather than the speck in our brothers’!

There are some things that are impossible to change about ourselves. I believe that more now than ever! But the way we treat people is definitely a choice. So, I choose to love. I will do my best to love all people. That means straight people, gay people, bi people, trans people, bi-racial people, people of all races, and backgrounds, no matter what side of the tracks they’re from. I will even love ignorant, close-minded people who judge me for loving people. I will strive every day to see people through the eyes of Jesus. I will let God be the judge and let the Holy Spirit do the convicting, while I simply love.

I’ve heard some say that the gay “lifestyle” is being shoved down their throat. I can only speak for myself, but no one has tried to persuade me to be gay. Nobody has asked me to be transgender. Now that I think about it, no one has asked me to be anything other than who I am. None of my rights are being withheld! I’m able to worship wherever I choose! I haven’t faced discrimination in the workplace. No one harasses me for being who I am. I can shop wherever I want, and nobody has refused me cupcakes or pizza! But our judgmental attitudes are constantly being shoved down the throats of people who are different. I don’t understand why we spend so much time focusing on the personal lives of others, most of whom we will never even meet! We make it our job to point out everyone else’s sin as we interpret it. Some of us go as far as to disrespect them, and pass judgment on them. Why do we feel the need to debate their sin when it doesn’t concern us? Why can’t we just let it lay? My mother always taught me if I can’t say something nice to say nothing at all. It’s time to stop meddling in other peoples’ business because lives are at stake here, people! Can you imagine living your entire life being told that who you are and what you feel on the inside is wrong? That you’re gross? Unworthy of acceptance? That you’re an abomination? Or even worse, that you can’t go to Heaven?!! Do you have any idea what damage that can do to someone? Did you know that 40% of homeless youth are LGBT? That 30% of gay youth attempt suicide near the age of 15? Almost half of gay and lesbian teens have attempted suicide more than once? Is your opinion more valuable than their precious lives? They need to hear that they are good enough! That there is a wonderful and merciful Savior that loves them JUST AS THEY ARE! It’s not our job to decide who’s in and who’s out! Jesus only gave us one job: Love God supremely, and love others! When you really understand what it means to love others, you realize two things. 1) That includes everyone. I mean everyone! …E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E! 2) It requires personal sacrifice, putting the needs of others before your own, laying personal beliefs aside in order to show them Jesus. Christians, we are the Christ they see! What are we showing them?

Please read this from my heart. I love my facebook friends. But I use FB as a place to give and receive encouragement. I don’t expect anyone to compromise their beliefs for the sake of my friendship. But it’s not always about proving whose right or making your convictions known at the expense of damaging other people. Sometimes it’s more important to show compassion and just leave things to God. I can no longer compromise my feelings by subjecting myself to all the negativity I’ve seen here from Christian friends. If this post offends you, please unfriend me. I’ve done a little unfriending myself lately, so it’s OK. And try to remember, ya never know when a situation may find its way into your own family, and when it does, you’ll have absolutely no choice in the matter other than how you react to it. Will you choose to simply love? – Jackie McQueen

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