This month the Impact Community is doing a series called “Conversations.” It is series designed to foster better relationships between the mainstream white evangelical church and four different marginalized people groups. Each week will include an apology letter from the church to that community.

This week we discussed the L.G.B.T. community. This is our apology.

Dear  Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community,

I’m sorry.

I know it’s not every day you hear those words from me.

But that’s where I wanted to start.

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for the words of hate I have used towards you. When speaking with you and about you my words have not been marked by grace the way our Lord’s words so often were.  Too often I have traded kindness for hate, compassion for cynicism, and grace-giving love for judgment.  From our leaders to our lay-people we have spoken of you in a way that makes you less than human – I have painted with broad and aggressive brushes when sensitivity was so desperately needed.

Sadly, almost worse than my words have been my actions.  I too often have been the bigot.  While some of my more outspoken brothers and sisters hold up signs and protest your lifestyle, I silently laugh at you and mock you behind your backs.  Worse yet, I arrogantly declare your sexual choices sinful, prying at the speck in your eye with a crowbar while I sit blinded to my own sexual deviance by the log that diminishes my vision.

Perhaps most devastating, I have not taken the time to even know you – to truly know you.  I have made assumptions about you and guarded myself from your “wicked” touch in my castles of ignorance.  I have not truly sought to hear your voice.  I have hidden behind the Bible as a way of making myself feel better than you rather than as a way of truly extending God’s grace and love to you.  I am content to form my opinions about you devoid of actually knowing you.  Better has been modeled for me; but I have not chosen His way.

For these things I am sorry.  I am sorry. You deserve better.  Jesus’ name deserves better.

Please forgive me,

Signed-The Church

(Letter by Benj Petroelje and Sarah DePriest)