I have been letting the months pass without a post, and I honestly do feel bad about it, but I felt it best to reserve my words. The relationships I lost in 2022 took a toll on my confidence in my penmanship. When you spill your heart out in letters or texts, and the persons, who said they love you and appreciate you, reject your invitation to reconcile, communicate, or be understanding… it hurts. It makes me take a step back and reevaluate.
I am told I don’t communicate well. Despite being able to craft epic, sci-fi Christian novels, whenever I write my words to an individual, I am usually met with confusion. All of this talent to craft universes and I fail at conveying my own feelings. It was no different when I wrote one friend, asking to be understood and begging not to be cut off, only to be misunderstood and cut off… It hurt… I wrote another friend, asking for clarity on the issue with me and to reconcile, but I was met with silence.
Yet, in the midst of familial discord, I am asked to speak up. “Why don’t you say something?” In all honesty, I feel I have hurt too many with my words. My eyes have witnessed too many hearts broken, tempers flared, and decisions to distance made. Even when my words are meant to produce accountability, love, clarity, boundaries, and encouragement, they fall short. It makes me wonder if I am worthy of saying anything at all.
My voice is that of an American, black Christian – a good man. Nothing but the words and commandments of Yeshua mean anything to me. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” I have found all three of these states of being to be true, and I will stand beside them until the day I die. It doesn’t matter to me that society wishes to silence such a voice or disagree with Him. It doesn’t concern me that people are fleeing the church for selfish pleasures and misguided awakenings. I hold everyone to a standard they cannot reach, and I do so because if you don’t know you are capable, how will you ever know to try?
Friends and family will argue my words come from a good place, but friends and family will also distance themselves when it is time to present the standard. “I hear you, but I can’t talk to you, because you hurt me. You called me out and I do not wish to change my stance.” No one likes to be told the way they are handling things is wrong. People say, “Speak your truth,” but that encouragement is for people they will agree with.
I have always been taught that the truth doesn’t have to agree or be easy. The truth will only be the truth. You can accept it, reject it, embrace it, or run away from it. In the end, the truth remains who it has always been. It will not change for you. He, will not change for you. You were created from His breath. He was not created from your faith or need to believe in something bigger than yourself. You are His idea. He is not your idea.
The truth sounds firm, strong, and unrelenting. Yet, I am wondering what I could’ve said differently to stop people from walking away from me. Could I have been kinder? Could I have been wiser? Should I have used an analogy? Was scripture enough? Was scripture not enough? Were six pages enough? Were three texts enough? How do you speak the truth of your perspective without losing them? I haven’t found an answer. I’m starting to believe there is none. As with relationships, friendships only remain when friends are committed to remaining friends.
Tired of hurting and participating in conversations that will leave everyone sour, I stopped saying anything. You can’t hurt them when you don’t say anything. That’s what I told myself, no matter how much I wanted to call people to the front of the altar.
Despite this desire to be more passive, whenever I try to stay silent, people look for my words. It’s almost as if the Holy Spirit beckons me back into the fray. My voice is usually called upon.
It is like the time I tried to stay silent when others were talking about politics at a sports bar. I wanted to watch the game, but they wanted to talk about sensitive subjects. Out of nowhere, I was asked, “You’re religious, aren’t you?” I replied, “Yes.” The topic involved homosexuality. I warned them, “You won’t like what I have to say.” A religious, homosexual man said whatever my stance was would not be problem. He thought he could persuade me to believe as he does.
Very quickly, our conversation made him visibly perturbed. When I held his faith against his desires, he grew angry with me. I searched the incompatibilities within his ideology and questioned him on his faith. He left the table five minutes after our discourse.
When I was at a youth hangout with church members, I tried to stay out of the conversation on romance and dating. I was asked my opinion. Despite me warning them that they would not like the truth I would present to them about men, they asked me to share. They found themselves disheartened. They realized just how harsh men could be and just how easy it was to prey on their hopes, desires, and insecurities.
When coworkers started trying to claim me as their friend, I left them sour after I revealed my strict guidelines on who I called friends. Everyone distanced themselves from me after I spoke. Though they knew I wasn’t trying to hurt them, they all felt some kind of way and withheld their pleasantries from me for a while.
At this point, I wonder why anyone asks for my input at all. Yes, I’m smart. Yes, I’m wise. Yes, I’m sincere. Yes, I’m straightforward. Yes, I’m honest. But, none of these qualities prevents the pain of watching people walk away when my response is too weighted and direct.
I don’t hold back. I don’t leave conversations to chance. I don’t assume you understood me or understand yourself. I poke and prod every thought, belief, emotion, and understanding. Even if I generally agree with you, I am going to check and make sure that we have the exact same conclusions.
Once you’ve opened the door to my opinions, you will make room for them. I will always speak what I feel is true, regardless if everyone gets their feelings hurt. Let the battle lines fall where they may. I am an advocate for tough love, and the honest truth is sometimes the toughest love of them all.
I don’t withhold punches or coddle. Sometimes, I am so forthcoming that I wonder if I am going to be a good father because I will tell it like it is and let you cry over it as I wait for you to return. I’ve done it several times. Though it is not always pleasant, I’d rather someone walk away knowing I never tried to manipulate, gaslight, or withhold my all from them. They asked what I thought and I told them.
If you ask me to speak, do so knowing that I might not agree with you. If you want my input, please understand some may walk away asking you to take sides between us. Should you desire my opinion, know that it comes bluntly. I will tell you, “No, we’re not friends.” I will tell you, “Men will find you an easy target, not because you 'love hard', but because you love without wisdom and without love for yourself.” I will say, “Homosexuality and Christianity are at war and will never rest in the same eternal space as declared by God through Paul, who He called to write.” I will not hold back.
As I continue my life through 2023 and beyond, I will work on my confidence in my voice. I understand everyone isn’t going to like what I have to say, and though it saddens me, I haven’t liked a lot of what others have said either. Yet, they continue to spew nonsense. I can’t afford to be silent. Withholding my words all the time deludes people into believing they can talk any kind of way around me, about me, or with me, which isn’t close to the truth. Silence is often mistaken for acceptance, and I don’t need people misunderstanding where I stand with them. That misunderstanding leads to even worse hurt than what I have spoken thus far.
Therefore, look forward, or not, to the words that will be spoken moving forward. They will continue to consider you, but not pacify your feelings. My words will continue to emit authenticity. My statements will be true. Even if I have to admit my stances changed later, what I type or speak in the moment is what I feel is true in that moment. As I let you all learn what this thing called life is about, I demand the grace to learn as well. I am who I am and I will not hide that from anyone. God didn’t make me a coward, a pacifist, or dumb. As I pursue the knowledge of good and evil, you will hear about the findings given to me by reason, logic, and most of all the Holy Spirit.