The letter below was first published by Reverend Ngeo Boon Lin, an openly gay Malaysia-born pastor who serves at the Metropolitan Community Church of New York; and is republished here with permission. The letter-writer, who is of Singaporean origin but currently lives in the US, says she has come to accept gay people and hopes to be reunited with her friend.
Photo: The Marin Foundation, a Christian organisation that has dedicated
itself to saying how “mainstream” Christianity treats the LGBTIQ community.
The "’Im Sorry Campaign" was the original activism of love apologizing
to the LGBT community for the ways Christians have caused harm.
It has been almost 12 years ago since we have last spoken. You haven’t responded to any of my emails or attempts to contact you. I don’t blame you if you are still upset with me. When you shared your deepest secret with me, I had let you down. I was your biggest nightmare that came true.
"I am gay." You almost whispered those words to me.
We were sitting by the waterfront steps of our favorite river. It was past midnight and we have been talking for hours. We watched the tourist boats steaming up and down the water reflecting the neon lights of the city while sipping our supersized drinks. You turned to me out of a sudden and told me you had something important to tell me. I held my breath.
When you finally gathered sufficient courage to share with me that you are gay, I didn’t know how to respond. So I spoke out of reflex the most hurtful words to you, words which I have been “programmed” to say from my 20 over years of Christian learning. Those horrible words shut the doors of friendship between us.
You can change and you will be saved, I said to you. I can never forget the horror and pain in your eyes hearing what I said. It was as if I took a gun and fired a fatal bullet right at your open heart which you risked baring to me.
“Why does God hate me? Am I a mistake to God?” you asked.
“No, God loves you and He can help you to become “normal” again,” I replied naively. You closed your eyes and your entire body was almost shaking. I didn’t understand what I have just done to you.
You didn’t tell anyone about your deepest struggles, not any of your friends or your family. You thought you could trust me. But I failed you.
When I was leaving, you didn’t come to see me off at the airport. I waited almost till the last boarding call, longing to see you somehow popped out in the middle of the crowd. You never showed up. I was so mad at you. I still didn’t understand how I had single-handedly destroyed our friendship. I thought you would somehow get over it and we could be friends again. I was wrong. I had hurt you so deeply that many years later I heard from a friend that you couldn’t even stand hearing my name being mentioned. Everyone wondered what happened between us. We were best friends, like shadows to one another.
I cringe every time when my pastors ask us to pray for homosexual individuals because “homosexuality is a sin” and unless they repent or change, they are condemned to hell. You are one of the kindest and most genuine persons I know. While we, the “Children of God”, were holding hands, singing hallelujah and vowed to condemn and obstruct your freedom to love and marry, you were busy spending most of your free time volunteering at social agencies mentoring troubled youths and gave away the little extra money that you have to buy school supplies for children from poor families. I was often surprised by how insightful and intuitive you were towards their painful struggles as if you were in their shoes. Now I understand. You knew from personal experience how painful it is to feel rejected and socially oppressed by others.
I became very embarrassed almost ashamed with how some of my “Christian” brothers and sisters were behaving towards gay people. There was so much irrational hatred and eagerness to judge and condemn. Now I understand why you always looked so sad. There was always sadness that lingered in your eyes even at your happiest moments.
I didn’t have a peace of mind until God open my eyes to the truth that you are perfect just the way you are, as intended by Him. It took me a long time to understand my cruelty towards you. As Christians, we are not infallible and have made a lot of mistakes. Looking back at history, we at one point thought that the earth was flat, felt slavery was right, and women should not speak in church.
I went through a personal crisis with my faith because if I cannot believe the Bible “word for word” literally, can I believe the Bible at all? It is funny how God sent people to our lives to help us learn and grow. You would never believe that I married a scientist. Remember those heated arguments we had about creation versus evolution? My husband has no problem believing there is a God as well as evolution. God creates and his creation evolves. They are all beautiful in his eyes.
Oct 11 is National Coming Out Day in the United States. I wanted to send this out on that day but it was difficult writing something so emotional and having to deal with an uncooperative 2-year-old. Yes, I’m a mommy now. We adopted her when she was a few weeks old. We couldn’t have children of our own. You would love her. She is just like me excitable, strong willed, and fearless. Ironically, some people think that if you cannot procreate, then you should not be married. Yet I know you would be one of the best daddies a child could ever dream of.
I’m so sorry to be so late in my understanding. Late is better than never, right? Today, I’m an out of the closet Christian that supports homosexuality, if there is such a thing. I pray and hope you would somehow read about my apology letter to you and give me another chance as a friend. I hope you haven’t completely given up on me.
Your fight is not over yet but this time I am with you, my friend.