This post no longer accurately or *fully* reflects the author’s current viewpoint. However, this was a substantial moment for the author so she has chosen to keep it live.

Compassion: A feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

I am coming out today. I am coming out of the closet. I want the world to finally know the truth about me. I am ________.

Well. I suppose I don’t have a label. I used to be a Christian. I was raised in a Christian household and taught our belief system was the right way, the only way, and everyone else had it wrong. I was taught that if I were to examine things with an unbiased view it could lead to my detriment. I was taught the world was out to persecute us and people with different ways of thinking could be potential hand tools for the enemy. We were at war. It was a divisive, defensive, low tolerance, close-minded mentality.

I don’t blame my family, my church, or those that loved and surrounded me. They were taught this way too.

If anything, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I don’t believe in it anymore.

I’m coming out…

I’m not sorry for who I am or the path that I have chosen. I’m sorry that it will inevitably hurt others. I’m sorry it will cause them to feel betrayed, offended, attacked, opposed, or persecuted. This makes me sad. This is the last thing I want and so, because of this, I apologize.

I love them so much. I want them to be happy. I want them to be free.

I don’t care what this looks like. I don’t care what form this takes. I will celebrate this with them. Christian or no, I just want to connect and be a part of their life.

How did our world become this way? I am Sleeping Beauty waking from a deep slumber. I look around and see the state of the world, of humanity, and I mourn it.

We point the finger. We judge. We are angry. We have drawn lines in the sand and we have set ourselves against one another. We create battle, strife, war, hate, because we cannot accept differences in one another. We cannot celebrate the things we don’t understand. We cannot be challenged.

We are too afraid of being wrong. We are too afraid of not having the answers. We are too afraid of the hereafter. Most devastatingly of all, we are too afraid of God.  We think we are supposed to be and we teach our children this.

I’m coming out…

I am not afraid of God and I refuse to pass on a legacy of fear to my children.

I do not reject Christianity or Christians or Christ. I simply cannot reject anyone: the Jew, the Atheist, the Mormon, the Catholic, the Agnostic, the Buddhist, or any one else.

I have to be true to my soul and the voice within. I have to know what is right, trust my convictions, and follow them. I cannot condemn. I accept all. If by accepting there are many paths to God, I am rejecting Christianity, there is something wrong. Something is broken.

Too many people have been taught to be afraid, closed off, and to pull the shutters down on their mind. Their truth requires loyalty and rejection of all else. Their truth requires them to stand against others while believing it is they who are being persecuted. Their truth requires that they shut their ears lest they become poisoned. Their truth does not call acceptance of others compromise and peace; their truth calls it deception and trickery.

It is why people become suicide bombers, why crusades and mass genocide occurs, and why civil rights are denied in the name of God. They are afraid of a mirage. They are afraid of an enemy that doesn’t exist. They are afraid their fellow man, that could be called friend or ally, or brother or sister, will lead them into falsehood.

Yet it is wrong when we cannot even look into the eyes of another human being and bleed with them. It is tragic when we cannot see their pain as we ignore them, refuse them, deny them, trample over them, and dare to call it God’s work. This is the true deception, the true tragedy, and the true crime. This disconnect, this apathy: That we fool ourselves we are not arrogant, yet every day we hold it in our hearts to be teacher and not teachable.

We stay in ignorance. We remain in isolation. We are islands as we stay in our own communities and buzz in one another’s ears, confirming to one another yes, this is right. We repeat the same thoughts over and over, giving them greater power all the time. When we should say, even just once: I will decide for myself what is right, what is true, and what is good.

We click our tongues and shake our heads at the Dark Ages when people feared myths and mystical creatures and things like scripture was kept under lock and key.

I’m coming out…

It is as if we are in clubs on the school playground as we exclude one another with membership and rules and initiation. We listen and don’t hear. We think, I have the truth while we pity others. We never imagine that they have something to offer us. We miss the message that is at the very core of our faith: Humility, compassion, service, and love.

We are so very broken. We are so ignorant, so quick to judge, and so easy to dismiss. We cannot fathom that there are many paths.

I’m coming out…

The soul cries out: Please do not fear me because I am different. I still love. I still pray, meditate, serve… I still have value to offer. I still long to connect.

Do you hear me? Do you see me?

I hope you don’t shut me out, dismiss me, belittle me, or demote me simply because I am not like you…because I am from the outside.

Do not discredit me because I am different. But rather, because I am different, learn from me.

It has become the classic bully-to-victim scenario. The bully lashes out because he is threatened and insecure. We attack each other because we are afraid.

We cut down other faith systems.  We make pamphlets, proselytize, pity them, talk at them, and scheme how to fix them. We never once, not for a moment, PAUSE. We never look or listen or learn. We are too busy needing others to conform and validate that what we believe is right.

I’m coming out…

Through this what will we teach our children? Will they know how to think for themselves? To see others? To learn from them, appreciate them, and celebrate the unique color they bring to their life? Or will they be too busy fighting, like us, to show them their way, their truth, and their path?

I’m coming out…

I’m coming out because I know it is desperately needed. We all bleed the same, we all cry the same, and we all hurt the same. We all need compassion. We all need understanding.

The mom that is struggling with the unruly toddler in the grocery store needs kind words or a smile, not judgment. The person who infuriates us is the one who suffers hidden pain. They need a kind reply from us instead of an angry one. The family member or friend we are most scared to love is the one that needs it most. We can take a step, even it’s if only a small one, today.

We need to have irrational love where we spread good words in retaliation for gossip, wave to those who cut us off, make a joke to the person who is rude, and begin to heal deep seeded wounds that have been festering for a long time in our world.

It won’t be easy, but the reward will be rich.  It will be a deep well of satisfaction to our souls.  It will be the very truth at the root of all great faiths: We are all called to love well.

I’m coming out…

Let your agenda, your labels, and your fight to be right, go. Let it all go. Do not take fear for a lover any longer. Open the shutters of your mind. Let the sunlight in. Join hands with those around you and love with abandon. Make enemies your friends and strangers your comrades. Join me.

I’m coming out…

Disclaimer: This article was not intended to be disparaging toward Christianity only to share my personal experiences along with concerns I have with the current mentality of some segments (not all) of this faith.  It is my hope this piece will only bring healing and thoughtful discussion.

References: Compassion definition from dictionary.com

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