A Response to “A Friend in Christ”

On Friday, September 13th I received a packaging in the mail.

  • There was no postal “canceling” stamp to indicate where it was sent from, though it looked beat up.
  • There was the proper amount of stamps on it, but was it really mailed?
  • There was no return address.
  • Inside was an envelope with my name, inside of it a letter written on lined paper.
  • (UPDATED 9/17) Also inside was a DVD, enclosed in a case, with the name GINA written on it.  This dvd includes two sermons from Mark Driscoll preaching about the proper roles for women and the sin of homosexuality.
  • I have attached a picture of the letter below for reference.

First, I am the first to acknowledge that, “sharing tough love” is not easy.  I have been approached by people who have addressed aspects of my life in the name of Christ, and I respect them for it.  I can admit that often people who come to me to address my life have the best in mind, but often I can comfortably respond to them and affirm that I am good with where I am in Christ, my life, etc.  But my point HERE is that I respect that they came to me, in love or otherwise, and had a face-to-face conversation with me from their heart – even if it was hard.  And those people remain my friends today.

However, an anonymous, no name, no return address, no NOTHING letter communicates cowardice to me.  It communicates not love, but judgment and condemnation.  It communicates that you are fearful, and if you are reaching out in love (even if the message is hard), why is there fear?  So if you sent the letter to me, please reach out to me as a real person with a real identity.  Those of my friends who have done so in person, in the past can attest that I am not belligerent, I am not unkind, nor will I attack.  They will also tell you that the love of God comes into the LIGHT and does not hide behind curtains or anonymous letters.  If you do decide to come forward and address me openly and personally, I will not reveal your name publicly or otherwise chastise you.  If you approve me sharing your name, I will, but that is the only means to which I will share it.

So, on to the activities today.  Because I don’t have your name; because you’re hiding behind the fear or judgment or whatever, I have to respond publicly to you.  I am sorry that it has come to it, but you’ve given me no alternative.  I often fail in approaching things logically and with the least amount of emotion when I have been made to feel attacked, but know that I have prayed hard and know that I write this from my heart.  Forgive me, but this will be long because I must address almost every line of the letter you sent.

But know, beyond a shadow of doubt, that your letter has violated me and my family.  Love does not do that.

You wrote, “Dear Gina, I am writing to you because I wanted you to know that Jesus loves you Gina.”

My response:  Thank you, though I have full knowledge of and an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, who is not only my Friend, but my Savior.  I spend time with Him, I talk to Him, I think of Him, I read His Word, and above all I rest securely in the center of His Finished Work.  His Love is so powerful that I cannot separate myself from it even if I tried.  It is eternal and I am saved, period.  IT IS FINISHED.  This is affirmed in John 1, John 10, Acts 20, Romans 3:20-24, Romans 4:15-17, Romans 5:1-2, Eph 2, and many, many more.  You may think, from where you sit in your “perfect life” that YOU know Jesus and I need to know Him like you do.  Rest assured, I already know Him and He loves me.

You wrote, “We as Christians must humble ourselves before God when we pray.  If you ask God for a good and godly husband, who will love you and cherish you, God will give you the desire of your heart.”

My response: Okay, know that I am humbling myself right now and praying to God, sincerely, because the offense to me and my family with these words is huge.  I am confident that my Lord can keep me from responding in the flesh, though He is encouraging me to be real and truthful.  First, I AM MARRIED – both legally (though only recognized in 13 states and by the Federal Government currently) and spiritually.  My marriage, whether or not you acknowledge it, is Biblically, spiritually, legally, and physically binding.  It is monogamous, prosperous, harmonious, and has been so for over ten years.  I am exceedingly cherished and treated far more lovingly than I could ever imagine.  And to that, which is a direct answer to prayer, I can affirm and Praise Jesus that HE DID give me the desire of my heart!  I have a beautiful and loving wife, five beautiful children, and His everlasting peace!  For you to suggest that, 1) this was not really, truly the desire of my heart and 2) to REALLY be fulfilled, I need to desire and marry a man is OFFENSIVE to me!  And, for what it is worth, I would never EVER suggest that you marry a WOMAN (assuming you’re a woman, which I base on the writing of the letter) if that is not how you were born.  Further, I certainly would not write to a person I knew was married and say they needed to pray for a DIFFERENT person to marry.  It is an affront and there is no love in these comments!

You wrote, “Philippines 4:6 (you didn’t note it, but this is the NASB version) Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

My response:  I happen to love this verse, and just like the Bible teaches elsewhere, the Word does not return void.  I do thank you for this verse, but not in the context you meant it.  You see, I trust that the Lord, in His perfectness, knows that I come to Him as a broken vessel which is only made whole through His Life.  And I will confess to you in this letter that I went to Him specifically about your letter and to help me not cry from it – to not spiral from the pain it caused me and my family.  To not allow the yoke of condemnation in your words to suppress the love of God.  And then, I asked that my building anger would not boil over like a storm.  And THEN I went on to pray that He rebuke you as a person sitting in judgment, throwing stones from the dark at me and my family.  I confess that I called you a hypocrite and accused you of lacking love for others (especially me), while you claimed the name of Christ under the guise of “love”.  I shared with the Lord that you wrote to me for no other reason but to condemn me and to insinuate that I am somehow incomplete because I don’t have a husband.  And as I spewed out all these things to my Lord, Jesus showed me that I was acting just like you – the very thing I was ranting against –  in my anger and condemnation, and that made me cry all over again.

You see, Jesus does want us to follow Him, to not sin.  But we often forget that He covers our sin and only wants us to FOLLOW Him, and in doing so His spirit works its way and soon enough we sin less.  We become more like Him not by OUR power, but by HIS.  And He made it clear that the Royal Law is to love God and love others as ourselves (Matthew, James, John – tons of scriptures support this).  He even said to love our enemies!  And I will tell you here, your letter did NOT do that.  It did not show love, for love would never have sent it.  And my reaction was not loving, for love does not think of the weaknesses or failures of others as a means to justify punishment.  So yes, this verse is good to remember this ideal established by Christ, and to remind me specifically to always pray with supplication for Jesus to lead me in HIS ways, which is to love.  Period.  Especially for those who maybe don’t deserve that love.  He said in Matthew 5 that all the laws and the prophets hang on LOVE.  And I hope that when YOU truly approach Him in supplication, you hear His leadings about letters such as the one you sent me.  Maybe He will direct you to not send them, or to sign your name, or maybe to just pray for the people He leads you to.  That is between you and Him.  But I will say again, nothing about your letter spoke love to me.

You wrote, “It is hard for a man to find a good-hearted woman, such as yourself.  You have always been a beautiful woman inside and outside.”

My response:  Again, since I am married already, this comment is inappropriate.  I don’t think it is Biblically sound to encourage a married person to seek out another person other than their spouse.  Even still, if I were “on the market” I think it is a misfortune to tell me (or any woman) that I need to “help a guy out” because it’s hard for a man to find a good-hearted woman.  It is just as hard for a woman to find a good-hearted man, and yet I would not think to write to my single male friends and tell them they better get with God right away because of it!  Women and men don’t necessarily need the other to be complete or fulfilled.  It is an affront to singles today to say so.  And affront to God’s plan for their lives.  Paul wrote that some are called to be single, others to marriage.  Who are WE to say what is “normal” or “right”?  We need to stop acting for God and saying what others need to do or pray for.

So I am ASSUMING the real concern here is that I am married to a woman, which is clearly a sin in your eyes.  To that, I would like to say with all sincerity that I am not called to convince you to think otherwise and I appreciate that is the view you  may hold.  However, I will not bow to your view that I am somehow not a full woman or a full Christian.  I am actually quite complete and fulfilled and again, rest in my place as a Child of God and accept the full inheritance His has given me.  I will also refrain from thinking you’re less of a Christian for your letter, though I am still working on that and am concerned that your stance damages the testimony of Christ to non believers and those who are jaded by Christians such as your letter presents.  Thank you for your comments about me being beautiful, however.  I wonder, truly, if you even know me though.

You wrote, “I hope these words find there (sic) way into your heart and encourage you to seek the Lord.  Let the Holy Spirit guide you in all that you say and do.”

My response:  Your words broke my heart.  They offended my heart, for I approach my marriage seriously and with my entire heart.  They did NOT draw me closer to God in any way, shape, or form.  It was the Holy Spirit in me that drew me to Him.  And I praise Jesus for His encouragement despite your letter.

And yet, it is obvious that you believe, to be a REAL woman and a REAL Christian, I am in need of a man as a husband.  And by your words, I need to “seek the Lord”.  I can only assume you mean I need to understand that I am in sin because I am in a same sex marriage.  Again, it is not my calling to convince you to believe otherwise.  But I WOULD like to ask you this – let’s say you once were a heroine addict, took part in orgies, were married and divorced and remarried, even took heroine during your first pregnancy that resulted in altering your child’s life when born.  If I sent you a letter saying “you need to seek the Lord and marry a different man”, do you think that would make you run to Jesus?  How about if you were fat and I walked up to you and said, “you need to seek the Lord because your gluttony is a sin, and for heck sake take that food out of your mouth” would that make you want to hug me and say “Praise Jesus?”  Show me an example in the Bible where Jesus condemned anyone but the ones that thought they understood God such as the Pharisees or those selling goods in His name in the Temple?  The woman caught in adultery He forgave and said “go and sin no more” and then gave her the means to stop sinning by dying on the cross!  The woman at the well He told her she was living with a man, and yet He never said “but you need to change your ways.”  We can both learn from this my anonymous friend.  ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  You.  Me.  Everyone. We are NOT called to point out the sins we both commit or see each other doing, but to LOVE.  Period.  And if you honestly think your letter encouraged me to CHANGE, you are seriously mistaken.  Instead, it has made me more aware of the pain caused by people who profess faith with their mouths (or pens, as it were) yet lack its power in their deeds.  For Jesus said His yoke is easy, and His LOVE endures forever.  Show me the LOVE.  It doesn’t reside in your letter.

You wrote, “Sincerely, A Friend in Christ.”

My response:  If you were really my friend, you would have signed your name.  If you were really my friend, you would not tell me to leave my wife, break up my family, and become whole by marrying a man.  You would not cause me to turn my heart from the person I committed my LIFE to, for richer or for poorer, through sickness or in health.  I assume you hold marriage in high regard, and yet your letter tears marriage to shreds.  You have no respect for the sanctity of marriage or all it stands for.

So here are some Biblical scriptures.

Luke 6:31 NIV “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

Luke 6:37-42 NIV “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  

He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.  “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

James 4:12 ESV “There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?”

Romans 14:1-10 NIV “Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.  One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 

1 Cor 13 NIV (emphasis mine)  “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.  But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

THE DVD You Sent

Mark Driscoll is not my pastor.  I personally find his view of the Bible as slanted and misogynistic.  In the future, if you want me to “get” what you’re saying, you probably should not send me something that Mark is speaking on.  I affirm your right to esteem his views and words, and I know that God works out all things for those that love Him.  I know Mark claims to love Jesus, so that is enough for me.  However, I choose not to follow Mark’s teachings.  Thanks.

Again, I encourage you to reach out and tell me who you are so that you can be removed from the darkness and come into the light as followers of Christ are called to do.

Anonymous Letter

14 thoughts on “A Response to “A Friend in Christ”

  1. You have handled this with grace, I admire your elegant gift of expression, your words are meaningful, thoughtful and respectful….may this response make its way to the anonymous writer.

    Hugs my friend.

  2. What a beautiful, thoughtful response to a letter, that although likely well meaning, was probably more well meaning to the sender, and not to yourself. It really bothers me how people can hide behind dogma, and anonymity and think they are serving God. We serve God best when we authentically, honestly and respectfully give others, all others what we authentically, honestly and respectfully want for ourselves. Your response showed a way to address a hurtful outlook at who you are, and pour love all over it. Bravo.

  3. What crap. As a single (straight) woman, I have been asking God for a partner for my heart, a good man, for the whole FIFTEEN YEARS of my adult life, and as my fertility wanes, He still hasn’t answered that desire…so how DARE some married woman who has never battled the demons I face every day preach to me that “all I have to do is ask God.” It’s such a trite and dismissive thing to say. I wish more Christians would stop trying to provide pat little platitudes in the face of suffering, and instead just sit with us and BE.

    But that’s MY reaction to this. Yours is different, as your situation is different. I celebrate your blessing in finding your soul mate…I pray for the day when your marriage will be as fully and wholly recognized as any other…and I pray that the eyes of your “friend in Christ” will be opened and she will realize what it would truly take to love you and walk your journey with you.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Sending you hugs! I don’t know you or your blog (prior to now) but you have handled an especially heart wrenching situation with astounding grace by way of leaning into your faith.

    Also, if this person did in fact place the package in your mailbox personally (versus using USPS, they have committed a federal offense. I’m not saying the person should necessarily get into legal trouble, but I feel it’s important to point that out as a warning to other potential “friends” who feel it’s okay to violate your personal space in order to “help” you.

  5. Sending you hugs! I don’t know you or your blog (prior to now) but you have handled an especially heart wrenching situation with astounding grace by way of leaning into your faith.

    Also, if this person did in fact place the package in your mailbox personally (versus using USPS, they have committed a federal offense. I’m not saying the person should necessarily get into legal trouble, but I feel it’s important to point that out as a warning to other potential “friends” who feel it’s okay to violate your personal space in order to “help” you.

  6. I had a friend do this earlier this year in a letter. She signed her name, but we hadn’t spoken in over a year and we have had limited interaction in the last ten years. I totally called her out on it. She responded in shame and we have since had a few conversations though neither of us have changed our positions. But calling them out on thier self righteous and fearful attitude seemed to work for me.

  7. Bless you. Your response was loving, graceful and merciful, as this “friend’s” letter was not. It is clear that you follow Jesus, who called us to be better than the pharisees. It was Jesus who called out the pharisees for their judgment of others, while hypocritically raising themselves up. It is not the law that saves us; it is our faith in our God who IS love. My prayers are with this unnamed “friend,” that he or she will develop eyes to see and ears to hear.

  8. You responded with more love and kindness than I’m sure I could have mustered. I commend you. I would say to the cowardly sender of that despicable letter that unless she has her own house entirely in order – no sin, no mistakes, only perfection in every detail of thought, word and deed – she has no business spending one spec of a second worrying about how someone else lives her life. And obviously her house is not “in order,” if cowardly judgment of a fellow Christian is how she spends her time. May her sad, bigoted heart be burst open one day, so that she may see God’s love for real. I am so glad you are as wise as you are, Gina. My best to you and yours –

  9. When in doubt,I assume that battered,anonymous mail contains explosives,anthrax or something equally dangerous. I guess I should add toxic advice to that list. Sure,you could go the ‘Biblical’ route and try polyamory. You could keep the husband for removing spiders from bathtubs,opening pickle jars,etc. But, I advise reading advice like this and substitute some pet for references to ‘child’ or ‘spouse.’ Yes, God may want an individual to be ‘complete’ and ‘normal’ with a man or woman or baby. If so, He is capable of guiding us directly. If we are close to Him and we are thriving as we are,then,maybe,we don’t need that much outside human intervention. Give this helpful neighbor the benefit of the doubt. The Lord may have been impressing a message on her heart that she misinterpreted. God may not have told her you needed a husband. He may have hinted you needed to go to a shelter and get a puppy. Maintain the high ground,rebuke the adversary and know God will deal with the rest.

  10. … and it was conversations with these people that made me question my faith and go from from Christian through Agnosticism via “If you want to waste your life following these man-made superstitions” to where I am now which is “I’m going to fight Christianity and religion with every ounce of my being”.

    I’ve listened to a a grown man teach an 8 year old child how best to witness to his 8 year old friend how his two mothers and his family is sinful in the eyes of God and this conversation was NORMAL and APPROPRIATE to everyone else in the room.

    I didn’t hold my tongue. I asked exactly what they hoped to achieve in this was. Even if they DID succeed in convincing this poor 8 year old child that he was in some evil home what did they expect him to do? Try and separate his parents?

    At that age the ONLY thing that kid wants is to be normal and just blend in. He’ doesn’t need an intervention, he feel accepted and loved “in spit of” his parents[0].

    But those were “details” to God’s people. When I challenged them they responded “We just preach God’s truth and it is up to God to change their hearts”. I’m still waiting for the kid’s obituary in the newspaper, I wish I was kidding.

    Sorry, but believing in a deity does not give you the right to psychologically assault an 8 year old child or teaching and encouraging your children to do so on your behalf.

    Out of respect for you I’m going to stop here.

    Thanks,

    Anon[1].

    [0] I say “in spite of” because I live smack in the middle of the Bible Belt and asking them to accept his parents was a step too far.

    [1] Although I write “anon” as the name, the EMail address that I provided is real and I have no qualms about giving you my name personally. I just don’t want this searchable because, frankly – it will make me unemployable where I live among other problems.

  11. You handled this much better than I did when I received a letter from a dear friend berating me with scripture and telling me how wrong and self deceived I was because I was allowing a man, who I was dating and lived out of town, to come stay the weekend in my home with my children and myself so that we could spent a weekend together. I am a recovering alcoholic and that was the closest I ever game to relapse. Her words were SO HURTFUL, although she insisted she was just pointing out the error of my ways because she loved me. I can see now (several years later) that her letter was full of judgement and fear. By the grace of God, I stayed sober and am now married to that wonderful man who she was concerned that I would have no way of knowing if he was a pedophile (I had known him since middle school and my family knew his family). Yesterday we celebrated our daughter’s second birthday and have a loving home with our three other children (from my previous marriage). Thank you for sharing.

    I wish you and your beautiful family all of the joy and happiness this world has to offer.

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