Stories have the power to change the world … they inspire us, teach us, connect us. This is the twenty-third installment in the “Stories That Change The World” series.
There are so many ways to tell a story. This week I am featuring a story that is told in a beautiful, powerful spoken word poem by Emily Joy.
Emily Joy is a spoken word poet and Midwest native currently residing in Nashville, TN. She cut her teeth on the Chicago slam poetry scene while getting a degree in theology from Moody Bible Institute, then spent a brief hiatus in the Arizona desert, where she met her husband. She now makes her living as a freelance writer, traveling poet and full-time cat mom to a tiny ball of fur named Clive Staples Lewis. Emily is passionate about challenging the status quo of the universe through art and empowering people, especially women, to pursue justice, speak their truths and ask hard questions.
Emily Joy‘s new poem, “How to Love the Sinner & Hate the Sin – 5 Easy Steps” tells a story that too many can relate to.
“This poem is for all the people who’ve ever been made to feel like who they are is a sin or an abomination or unworthy of divine or human love. I love you. God loves you. Your sexuality is a gift, not a curse. Let’s change the story.” – Emily Joy
Watch the video here:
Here are the powerful lyrics:
How to Love the Sinner & Hate the Sin: 5 Easy Steps
By Emily Joy
1. Make sure the sinner knows how you feel about their lifestyle choices.
Silence is considered tacit approval.
Seize every opportunity to remind them your god says they are going to hell.
Don’t be fooled into polite dinnertime conversation,
The devil is in the details.
Structure your entire relationship around opportunities to ask them to change their mind.
Ask them, “Don’t you think this is just a phase?”
Ask them, “Why do you have to find your identity in a word?”
Remind them your word says they are an abomination,
You can’t change that, it’s not your fault,
God said it, not you.
2. Pray with your vote.
Religious freedom means never having to say you’re sorry.
You can still love people and take away their rights,
Trust me, we’ve been doing it for years.
Resist all attempts to allow the sinner equal access
To the legal and social benefits you enjoy,
You don’t want them to think they deserve it,
Let’s not reward deviants and perverts.
Put signs in your yard
Letting the whole world know that you’re voting “NO”
On marriage equality,
It’s much more polite than a banner that says
GOD HATES FAGS.
3. Ask the sinner to meet for coffee.
Tell them you’re concerned for their salvation.
You wondered if they would do a Bible study with you.
It just so happens to be in Romans.
Ask them if they’re a practicing homosexual.
Ask them questions you wouldn’t ask your closest friends,
If they don’t want to answer,
You should have thought of that before you chose to be gay.
Before you go,
Let them know that all sins are equal in the eyes of God.
Bestiality, child pornography, mass murder, voting Democrat,
It’s all the same when viewed from above.
You’re only saying this cause you love them.
When they stop meeting you for coffee,
Remind yourself that this is not your fault.
That the gospel is offensive
And calls us to sacrifice,
And the gospel must have been a bit too pricey for the sinner.
Put them on your prayer list anyway.
There’s not a heart that God can’t change.
When you see them in the grocery store,
Try to ignore the bags under their eyes.
Ask them how they’ve been
But don’t wait for an answer.
You don’t want to know.
4. Under no circumstances should you ever attend their wedding,
Even if the sinner is your child.
Especially if the sinner is your child.
Being there would just send the message that you approve of their lifestyle.
When you RSVP, say something like
I regret to inform that I will not be able to attend
As I do not believe in celebrating sin.
Let everyone know why you’re not going.
But do send them a gift.
A bible. Highlight important passages in Leviticus
And put a bookmark in the story of Sodom & Gomorrah.
If they never speak to you again,
This is not your fault, either.
People hated Jesus too
Cause he spoke the truth,
Just like you’re doing
When you love the sinner and hate the sin.
5. If they commit suicide,
Well, at least you know where they’re going.
At least you can tell their family at the funeral
That they got what they deserved.
When you lay your head down at night,
Quiet your demons by imagining how pleased God must be with you
And all the crowns you’ll get in heaven
For your refusal to water down the gospel.
Don’t think about them popping those pills
Or tying that noose
Or crashing that car.
Don’t think about desperate last minute phone calls,
Bodies crumpled on bathroom floors,
Children sleeping in alleyways.
We live in a sinful world.
There will always be suffering.
You can’t be held responsible for theirs,
You were just speaking the truth in love.
Close your eyes.
Say your prayers.
This poem was especially meaningful to the moms of LGBTQ kids in my private Facebook group, Serendipitydodah for Moms. Unfortunately too many of us know what it feels like to be the recipient of this kind of love (?).
Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group created as an extension of the Serendipitydodah blog. The group is secret so that only members can find it or see what is posted in the group. The group was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 1,100 members. The space was specifically created for open minded Christian moms who have LGBTQ kids and want to develop and maintain healthy, loving, authentic relationships with their LGBTQ kids. For more info email firstname.lastname@example.org