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I've seen many variations on this theme:

"I'm not a Christian because...

"I've seen too many bigoted Christians."

or,

"Evil things have been said or done to me by people claiming to speak for God."

Picture the following scenario:

Amy is your best friend. Bob is an emotionally underdeveloped jerk who hates you.

One day Bob tells you, "Amy doesn't like you."

You are shocked. You are angry. You are upset. And so you break off your friendship with Amy.

You are miserable; you've lost a friend. Amy is miserable; she has lost a friend. Bob is delighted. He has robbed you of something precious. You gave him exactly what he wanted.

Why did you do this? Perhaps you believed that what Bob said was true. But why should you believe a jerk like Bob instead of your friend Amy?

Perhaps it was the only way you could think of to strike back at Bob for his unkindness. "Everyone will see how miserable I am, and what an awful thing Bob did. Then they will understand what a mean person Bob is." Your therapist would not approve of such a self-destructive form of revenge. What's more, your friend Amy must be hurt that you put your anger at Bob above your friendship with her.

What now?

The only sane thing is to go back to your friend Amy. Restore your friendship, and let Bob choke on it. Let him keep insisting that she doesn't like you; he can only make a fool of himself. Only Amy can speak for Amy.

Right?

Now go back and insert "God" in place of "Amy". This is exactly the situation many people find themselves in.

There are people who want to make Christ their private property. They don't want to see Christian transgendered people. They want to deny Christ to people they dislike. God will never give them such power - but you can. If you turn from Christ because of them, you give them what they want. Don't imagine that you're making some sort of statement of protest - you are cooperating with them, helping them sculpt God's church to match their own tastes.

Live in Christ! Make them wrong. Take the Savior they would deny you. If living well is the best revenge, then living forever is even better.

I'm skimming over all the details here. Stay put, or look for a friendlier congregation or denomination? Push the church to improve, or worship quietly and entrust large-scale changes to God? Those questions will have different answers for everybody. And, anyway, they are not the important questions. The critical decision is to maintain your individual link with Christ, keeping it active and strong. All the rest means little by comparison, and your link to Him will guide you in all those lesser decisions.

Hold tight to God. Give joy to your Friend in Heaven.



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