Meet the Author's Author

Meet the Author's Author
Live for Jesus! That's what matters! That you see the light in me and come along! :)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

How to Start a Guy-Girl Friendship

I figured a lot of you could probably do with a touch of lightheartedness (with a pinch of truth) to end this week, after the hurt caused by a whole stinkin' mess of conversative Christians.

So, here is the way to start a guy-girl friendship.

Joel Parisi adopted me as his new big sister, though we're kinda more contemporaries.

A little further on into the conversation (which is part serious, part fun):

Joel: You really should get back to him. Even if you... don't feel comfortable? Skyping, just keeping up a correspondence would (I think) mean a lot to both of you.

Me: *nods* Poke me until I do? Please?

Joel: Sure.

Me: Not.

Joel: LOL yeah, I was totally going to fly over there and follow you around, poking you. :rofl:

Me: *facepalm* Joel. Srsly.

Joel: I's teasing!! Look, I'm not your usual oblivious guy.

Me: NO!
I'm shocked.

Joel: If you say something that's a bit unclear, rest assured, I've usually got it.

Me: *faints* YAYYYYYY.

Joel: Oh hush, you. *laughs* Well, except where romance is concerned. But that won't be an issue, right? *stern glance*

Me: I can't talk about romance!?

Joel: . .. now look who's playing oblivious.

Me: We can call it the r-word. It's as bad as a swear word....

Joel: *sigh* that's not what I meant, silly. I have no troubles discussing it.

Me: Alright then. Talk. ;)

Joel: I have had issues in the past where I've become close friends with a girl and she's taken it as romantic interest.
When that was not the intent.
So I've learned to 'clear the air' before starting any such friendship.

Me: Joel, if I ever thought you had a romantic interest in me, it would be loudly and exquisitely crushed before it even had chance to breathe.

Joel: O.O Wow. Okay.

Me: Men can be...okay. Until it comes to romance. No offence.

Joel: *laughs* that was abrupt. LOL

Me: Well, you wanted it that way.

Joel: *can't stop laughing* *relieved*

Me: I would actually. Really. Really. Really. Like a friendship. With a guy. Where I can be open and honest and talk and be close without him freaking out or me thinking he's taking it as romantic interest.

Joel: So that works both ways then. :)I can tell you you're very pretty.
And you won't take it as me 'hitting on you'?

Me: No.
I won't.

Joel: Good. Then you're very pretty.

Me: The last time a guy told me I was beautiful, he broke me. So.
Your mission is to make me believe in a good man who can stay a friend and a close friend without freaking out about mush.
No mush allowed.
*sticks hand out*

Joel: *shakes heartily*

Me: ...
You're supposed to shake my hand.


And the conversation continues.

But seriously.
State what you don't want in a friendship like you would in a relationship. CLEARLY. LOUDLY. AND VERY FIRMLY.
State any issues you have or might have with the friendship. CLEARLY. LOUDLY. AND VERY FIRMLY.

And then, what the heck?
THAT's the way to reduce backlash and damage.
Frankness and honesty.

Not hiding behind codes and layers of Pharisaical law.


Monday, August 25, 2014

An Upset Response to Angry Comments

Okay, I've had enough. For months I've taken what would be frankly considered abusive comments directed at me, deliberately belittling me (that's fair enough) and the God I serve - which hurts far worse.

Because you don't think He's real, because you deny His existence because you don't want to, because He doesn't fit in your little code of right and wrong, because He doesn't do what you want Him to, because you simply "can't see Him", doesn't make it acceptable in the slightest to go mocking Him in public to those who DO believe in Him.
If you had a relationship with Jesus Christ, you would have some idea exactly how much these comments hurt and upset me. But you don't. And I'm sorry - so sorry - for that.
But I'm not forcing God on you. I answer questions when I see a genuine heart for questions, someone who is really searching for answers - not someone who simply wants to deride, mock or leave a trail of hurt in their wake. I preach what the Bible says and try to live as Christ taught. I'm not demanding everyone see or live that way. I might wish you do; I'm not forcing you to. You have free will.
I have the right to express my opinion on my social media. You have the right to express your opinion on yours. You do not have the right to deliberately, and intentionally, try to create hurt to others on my social media.

And I know some of how much He took from sinners before and still. I would die for Him. I will defend Him when and where I can, but I will not respond to pointless mockery any more than I try to create it.
So stop it.

If you can't respect what I'm asking, please leave. Leave my circles, leave my chat, stop talking to me, leave my life.

Abusive comments to each other.

Today, I've had to deal with a situation because of something I shared on a networking site - something that helped my mother and myself, both struggling with depression and people throwing innocuous Biblical support lifelines at us. Yeah, sometimes that's all that can be said - I get it. I've said it myself, when struggling with helplessness because I can feel their pain, but cannot ease it. It's hard for people to know what to say. Biblical quotes/sayings don't always help. They don't always reach into the inner darkness and hollowness.

Someone disagreed with my post - a very beautiful, dear lady I love and respect as one of my adopted mothers, who has walked through a path of constant pain in her own life and is still fighting victoriously.
Someone very much agreed with it - a sweet friend who has courageously battled her own pain to reach out to others, and is fighting her path to healing.

It ended up as a flame war. The lady is blunt, forceful and has a habit of speaking her mind. The girl is passionate and fiery about what she believes in - and this is a sore point to her.
Both parties settled amicably enough in the end. Other parties got involved.

The girl messaged me, upset and angry about the response she felt she received.
The lady (adopted mother) messaged me in the end, hurt and emotionally crippled by the private messages she had received as a result of this, and has said she will not be getting involved in any more discussions on my social media.
To quote:
"It's okay. Though I cried for a while, it wasn't at all because of what they said. It was because I was so upset about unknowingly possibly hurting others. God knows my heart and it is He that matters. But I will definitely be working on this. I am always open to constructive criticism and I have taken yours to heart!"

This has really hurt me.

I love and respect both of these. I am glad - very glad - they settled amicably. I understand, even, battling opinions getting heated.

What I CANNOT understand, and do NOT tolerate, is the name-calling or character abusing of my friends - EVEN BY MY FRIENDS. What you THINK you see in a person's character may not be what is actually the person's character.
I try to always leave room for second guessing in a person, always giving them a second chance. While it may appear vacillating and weak, you never know a person until you have walked in their shoes.

You cannot think you know a person so well that you can attack them and call them prideful and arrogant. You can gently say they're appearing that way - and if you can't gently say it, shut up until you can. Because otherwise, that's all you appear to be.

And trust me, it's taken me years of trying to bite my temper to get to having a slight right to say this.

But seriously.
Right now.
Think about what you're saying and who you're saying it to.
Remember you never know exactly what's behind a person's smile or the pain they've got through to get to where they are.
And bite. Your. Tongue.

Hard, if you must.

Because this really hurts, and there is absolutely no necessity for it.

And if you want to know how badly it's hurting - my spelling in this post is haywire.


Friday, August 22, 2014

The Price of Healing

"A Twist in Time"

"You want me to be evil? Fine, I'll be evil."

I raised my hands towards them, the pink sepphalite now flickering visibly between my fingers, revelling in the release of the power I had chained back for so long.

"No, we don't want you to be evil! We just want you to be good, to give you a second chance. Why lie to us?" Snow asked me, tears rimming her lids.

"You know what your problem is?" I watched the light grow stronger. "It's not that you want me to heal. It's that you want me to follow your kind of healing. No matter how hard I try to be good, it will never be good enough for you, because there is a certain route you won't be happy unless I take. You want me to kowtow and bend, to grovel and you want to see your final victory - good vanquishing evil. The knight slaying the dragon. You want me to be completely destroyed, humbled on the ground, because that's the way every good fairytale ends. And then you'll graciously extend your forgiveness and allow me to live in a closely guarded environment where you can watch my every move because I can never be trusted."

I clenched my fists, the sepphalite growing into a crackling ball, surrounding my hands.

"You've never understood me, the route I've had to take. I've had to endure pain beyond what you could imagine, make choices and survive situations you couldn't even dream, because you've never, ever been there. You can't understand that there can be another way to heal outside of your own prescription, to become good. Because you'll never accept a change that you've had no chance to dictate. You will never believe that I can heal outside of the realms of your control."

Pink fire emanated from the ball in my hands. I glanced at all of their faces. Fear. Shock. Hatred. Jealousy. Laughter flooded me, as did a great weariness.

"You'll never understand. A person can completely change. A person can fight to be good. You think judging every action and controlling every move will help me - fine, be that way. I have enough to do with changing myself, not trying to change the rest of you. And believe me, you need it as much as I do."

A flip of my wrist was enough to send the sepphalite crashing into the ceiling. As the debris started to tumble downwards, I began to run - far from the fleeing crowd, far a place alone. A place where I could learn how to be good.

* * *

Walking home from work the other day and enjoying the beauty of sunshine and sky, I felt the first glimmer of hope in five years that I could actually heal, that life wouldn't always be this hollow and painful.
A person I once knew described the feeling inside as a ball comprised of shards of broken glass and bone, rolling around inside the hollow, tender part of your heart. Pretty good description.

Five years ago, I chose to backslide and allow myself to fall in love with a non-Christian I'd been fighting feelings for over two years.
He left.
Then I lost faith, hope, trust, love.
Then three years ago, my dad.
My home.
My brother.
My best friend went to jail.
My virginity.
My family is messed up.

I blamed myself. I hurt myself. I couldn't cope with the pain outside and inside.

Then I lost the guy I love.
My friends - OYAN - gone because I was/am "dangerous and unhealthy".

It's a lot for three years, and there's more I haven't detailed.

So this day, that consciousness that yes - yes, I can heal, someday - was a pretty shocking realisation. And a peaceful one.
I tweeted it - "It's days like today when I feel that glimpse of fragile hope, for the first time in forever, that there can be healing-even for me."

(NOTE: I would like to say that I am aware that there are people worse off than me. Far worse off. Sex trafficking, worse physical abuse than I had, worse emotional abuse and far worse sexual abuse. However, it still scars, and scars deeply, no matter how much you receive. It alters your perceptions of life, people and sometimes even God.
I know there is healing. I know people who have been healed. I know I'm no different from other people, but there are times when blow comes upon blow before you have time to even recover your balance from the last, when you think you will never have chance to heal.)

And a friend responded, "Of course there is healing. You're no different than any Christian. But are you READY for healing?:)"

That took up more thought processing than I was expecting. :P
Of course I WANTED to be healed. Even if I didn't think it would happen. I mean, who would want to live in the constant thralls of pain if they had a choice?

To revert back to Once Upon a Time for demonstration, Regina tried to kill her grief for Daniel by vengeance upon Snow, losing more and more upon the way - people's love and respect, the chance at true love, even in the end (SPOILER) her own father. She gained a huge hole in her heart by enacting the Curse to destroy Snow's happy ending, and tried to cover that by adopting Henry. When she lost Henry, she lost her reason to live until she found someone who was about to destroy all that was left of her life - and motivation to destroy that person then filled her hole. But her entire life was running - running from grief, pain, emptiness, lack of a mother's real love. It became an obsession, that if she destroyed this one more thing, just one more thing, she would gain her happy ending - and it never worked.
She chose ways that were an easy way out, but it only brought her more pain. She wanted healing, but was unwilling to take the hard path - the path that would bring her a lot of pain at once, and for a long period of time, but that in the end would lead her to healing. She wanted healing - now.

(Sheesh, I'm actually learning from this as I'm typing. :P There are reasons Regina is pretty much my favourite character in Once Upon a Time.)

John 5:5-8 - A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, “Do you wish to get well?”
The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”
Jesus said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.”

I read somewhere once about the oddness of Jesus asking that question. Who wouldn't want to be healed from lying on the ground for thirty eight years? Being able to have a chance to walk, to travel, to earn a living?
Actually, quite a few people.
Lying on the ground doesn't just mean that you're helpless, being kicked, spat at, ignored by the righteous. It also means people will take pity on you, help you, think they've done a good deed. It means you get attention - negative or positive. It means that someone else is helping provide for you.
Thirty eight years of that - that can easily break pride of independence.
Being down can become an identifier - like I mentioned before in "Suicide and Self-Harm". It can become a twisted positive. You can go from preaching down everyone who puts down those who are sick and helpless, to becoming proud of being sick and helpless, to the point where - yes, you don't want to heal.

(Here's a link to a blog post that shortly puts what it said.)

Every choice in life comes with a price. Including the choice to heal.

People won't like that you're fighting your way back up. They say they want you to heal, but if you don't accept their help, their advice or their way/method of healing, they try to kick you back down. Backbite you. Minute managing every single action, every single step that you take - including the ones where you fall.
"Oh, they don't really want to heal, or they would be doing..."
"If they wanted to heal that badly, they wouldn't have gone back to doing..."

Every step in life, you'll find someone who wants to kick you down. Healing isn't an exception. I wish it were.

You'll fall. You'll slip back to where you were, perhaps even a little further. You'll hear the judgmental cries - YOU DIDN'T WANT TO CHANGE! YOU SHOULD HAVE DONE IT OUR WAY!

You may have to heal away from almost everyone. I'm choosing that route - though not completely. There's a very few people I'm allowing close to me during this. Because no one can heal completely alone. That wouldn't be healing - that would be building walls.

The thing is, you have to choose to get back up.
Choose to heal in the face of those who want you down even as they say they want you up.

It will cost. The question is, is it worth it to you? Are you ready? Or do you want to be identified by your pain for the rest of your life?
Pain has made me who I am. It's forced me to make choices I am thankful to God I made, and choices I grieve to this day. But pain is not me.

Healing freaks the heck out of me.
Especially because, as I'm learning, people will kick you the hardest - intentionally or unintentionally - when you're trying to change.
It's a bit like salvation in Christ. It's a long route to get to, and a terribly hard one to walk.

But in the end, it will be worth it.

Oh, and. Find a motivation. I want to heal so I can help others. So I can glorify God. So I can live as a signpost when I meet someone suffering and say, hey, I know it's not going to be easy, but you can do it with Christ.

You can heal without Christ, but a part of you will always be missing.
In Christ, you can heal. Completely. Because He is the God Who changes things - even preconceptions and misconceptions - Who changes a prostitute into a woman of faith who is in His own human lineage, Who heals the broken hearted, Who binds up every wound.

Let go of the things that are hurting you, the things you bring close to shield you, the fears that are holding you back. Trust Him to heal you, even when you're blind with suffering and fear, convinced that He cannot have the power to fill those holes in your heart. Have faith. Be courageous.
You can make it.

These are all words.
Words you hear in every service. From all sources.
They don't mean anything until you learn to live them.

Everyone can get a second chance.

In Christ,

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Swiftly Fly the Years...

As 2014 approaches its final season, I realise that I have been blogging for almost five years.

I originally started this blog to talk about my adventures in the Air Cadets. Quickly, it became a place to share my thoughts and glimpses of my life, fun and laughter and occasionally tears. As my world turned upside down, it expanded to embrace a new mission - what I'd learned, how I'd grown, to reach out and try to help others to see that they are not alone.

I started OYAN around the same time that I started the Air Cadets; later on, during my backsliding period of 2010, I was convinced to join the Rebelution - as well as make friends with a guy called Jay Lauser - and I made a bunch of new friends.

Blogger was popular, and I added many of my friends as bloggers. Then Wordpress kicked in, and Blogger was past top-dog. One or two moved to Tumblr. Some moved to a different blogspot. Some created their own websites.

I kept them on the little list to the side of my blog, for people to go to after they'd read my blog. Didn't really want to admit that they'd gone...moved on...most not even in my life any more.

Today, I started going through the blogs. Because it does look a little ridiculous, having blog links on the side when their last post was two, three or even five years ago.

It's funny watching where people have gone. I've replaced people's blog links where I can, where I can see them still active on their new sites. Other people have been completely removed. Some of the new sites were never even started; some were excitedly begun, but no new posts since that first. Two people I've had to chase through several different sites before finding they don't even post anymore! :)

And one person I really looked up to has completely changed her viewpoint since her last post on her blog two years ago.

So it's time...and I'm nostalgically packing up the blogs...deleting the final links...letting them fade into oblivion. Old friends...married friends...grown-up friends...gone friends.
It's time.

And it's all right. :)

They'll be great, wherever they go, as long as they're continuing to pursue and follow God.

And me, still here, still doggedly posting away...well, I've new friends. My blog list's updated. Feel free to look at it. :)

Someday they'll go. And that's okay too.

After all, this is about walking with us - God and me. Everyone fades. Everyone goes. Time, circumstance or choice - it eradicates everything.
But God doesn't go. Not now, not ever.
As long as He's with me, through my life, through my blogging - that's all I need.

Goodbye and God be with you, guys. <3

In Christ,

Friday, August 15, 2014

To Climb a Mountain

I'd love to travel around the world. To see unusual sights. To walk where history happened, see it with my own eyes, dream of what happened. I'd love to go on an adventure, have my own pilot's licence. To learn languages, to reach out to others.

And I would love to climb mountains. In my dreams, I do. Sheer drops, clear sharp air, stunning views...sunset, sunrise, physical tiredness instead of mental weariness, good times with friends...

But my body struggles with a twenty minute climb up a hill.

It requires fitness, energy, resilience to be able to climb a mountain. A lot of training. Preparation. To be able to make it from that struggling, panting walk of twenty minutes' steep slope to scaling peaks.

We face mountains in life. Rugged, stony, crooked mountains.

And we get a lot of painful training beforehand.

Never regret the pain you're going through now. You don't know what mountain it will enable you to climb in the future. Climb the hills with prayer, and God will grow you to fight the mountains.


Monday, August 11, 2014

A Day in the Life:

Note: The way I live out my faith is...somewhat radical, because I believe in an intimate relationship with Jesus. So be prepared. :P

I felt sticky, and ugghy, and grotty and bleh as I stepped outside of the office building where I work.

It was another dragging high pressure day, and as much as I love my job, the atmosphere (and the worry) sometimes gets to me. Pulling my phone out of my jacket pocket as I began the twenty(ish) minute walk to the train station, I tried to catch up on a few people's posts, shielding the phone from the glare of the sun.

A dear friend and sister posted about how some cruel people had laughed and called her fat before running off, and how broken she was feeling. Couldn't do much, but posted a quick note and walked off praying for her.

It's been a beautiful day, in the between. And the between is what counts, isn't it? For right now, I'm in the brightness, the sun shining bright and the world glowing with colour and hope and beauty and ideas all swirling and tossing in my head. God knows the days - or the day, rather, for I don't like looking too far ahead any more - that are coming; I don't - that's a beautiful mix of stability and adventure.

Depression comes like a mist for me. Cold, long fingers that are almost invisible at first, slowly fading out the sun.

One day, I'll be okay and bright with these hopes and so many exciting thoughts racing round in my head, and then, later in the evening, a faint dark dread of the next day, of having to get up and face the same routine again.
Maybe the next day will be a bit duller, a bit more dreary.
Then the weariness - the constant tiredness, maybe the nightmares...falling asleep for hours on end and still being tired...just wanting life to be over and to be home. I'll look up and see the blue sky and the fresh green leaves and the sparkling sunshine but I won't see them. Just be struggling to stave off another panic attack, drag my feet up the hill, wondering if I'm dying...hoping. The memories sometimes hit. Sometimes it's too dull. Sometimes I'm suicidally depressed, but not so often any more. I just want life to end because it's so dreary, such a burden. Reading God's Word is a chore. Praying is nigh on impossible. Couple of whispered words slipped past my lips that seem to be hitting the lead sky. Is He even listening? So alone...there's so many people around me and they care, but it's not reaching that dry, lonely, empty part.
Then a crack of hope - not the ones that occasionally break through, brighten the dreariness and then fade away into the dullness - but one that stays, and lingers...then widens...and hope creeps through the door to blaze for a while before the mist comes back.

But you know, if it wasn't for the mist and the darkness...I wouldn't appreciate the relief or the blessing of light and hope and colour. It would just be another one of those things in my life. And it takes the shadow to make the light that much stronger.
I've prayed for God to take me through certain paths so that I can experience what I'm trying to minister to others. This was one I definitely didn't want, but with my past, unsurprising that I've had. Trying to find ways to conquer it that bring God glory - it's a blessing. It really is. In an undefinable, beautiful way.
By the way...seeing the beauty in it is a choice. Don't forget that. You have to look for the jewels before you find them - look hard.

As I walked back home from the train station without my MP3, I looked up with a half shy grin. "Hey You want a date?"
(I have this thing where I walk along as though the Lord is next to me and just talk out everything I'm thinking and feeling, praise Him for the beauty around me or anything special in my life right now, just like a date.)
We haven't done one in a while, and it's been some of the times where I've been the closest to the Lord - whether it's been a laughter one, a glowing one, a quiet one, a tear-and-screaming one or one that has been so beautiful it feels like I've come close to the gates of Heaven itself. The feeling, if one can use that word, is indescribable.

So we walked back home, the Lord and me. I talked out thankfulness for what's around me, for His love and His using me in spite of who and what I am, in spite of my selfish self-centredness most of the time, how I'm feeling about my job, my desire to serve Him in another capacity and in a place where I'd be more focussed on others and Him and less on myself and pleasing others. Then (of course) I brought up Mr. C. Sometimes it's okay to pray about him; sometimes, when he's constantly in my thoughts and weighing heavy on me, it isn't. Hard to explain.
I thanked God for the love He's given me, and the beauty of learning how to love him purely and pray for him and want God's will for him, for him to become a mighty man of God and used by God above all else. It is. Truly. A blessing. Still gifted with this love. It's taught me so much. No, it hasn't. God's used it to. It's beautiful, and as I said to the Lord the other day, I don't regret it. No matter how many times I beg God to bring him back into my life, to erase all memory of him in the darkest hours, when it comes down to it - I don't regret it. I regret a lot of things in our friendship, but not that God gave this love to me for him.

But even the calling to love him still may be wrong.

Once more, I recommitted it to Him. "I don't want to give him up, Lord. But I want You more than anything, and if this is in the way of You in my life, then remove it."

Then the rain started. Not a spattering, but thick, heavy drops that increased until I was soaked through. But I who hate the rain walked on smiling. Because I was walking towards the sunshine, still bright and warm and strong. And I knew exactly what was forming behind me.

When I went to America last year, when I saw him for the last time - as I flew into New York, praying and asking God if I was doing the right thing, I looked out of the window and saw, on the clouds, the shadow of the aeroplane. It was circled by a bright rainbow. One of those beautiful little things that God does...I was in the circle of His promise and I knew, no matter how the trip went (and I've never been so uncertain of doing the right thing in my life, even though God moved a bunch of things for me to go), that I was right where I was meant to be.

I crossed the street and turned to check - behind me, there was a bright rainbow. As I fumbled for my camera, a guy called out as he passed, "It's a double rainbow!"

But it wasn't even a double rainbow. It turned into a triple rainbow.

And I couldn't help dropping to my knees a little further up the hill to thank Him. For the rainbow is His promise. I know He is with me. And I know I'm right where He wants me to be.

I don't know what the heck He's doing. I'd often do things differently, only to laugh down the line about how perfect His timing is, even the bad things that come into my life at seemingly the worst moments often only shine out Him. But He's God. :) And I trust Him, because I don't know everything. He does, even if I don't understand that. Even though the depression will return.

The Son and the rain always form a rainbow. It just depends whether you're looking at the puddles or at the sky.

~It's funny what You use to help me grow...

I can see a silver linin'
When the sun's not shinin'.
Even when You choose to bring the rain
Oh, but there's freedom believin'
And trustin' Your leadin',
'Cause You're Lord of all my joy and all my pain.

So I'll learn to love these days
Life along the way
In the middle of the crazy
God, your love is so amazing
Through the ups and downs
You're the only hope I've found
Lord, You meet me in the madness
So I'll learn to love these days.~ Mandisa

In Christ's love,

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Question 10

Sometimes I think the world has a clearer grasp of right and wrong than we as Christians do, although they try to explain it wrongly.
Christians tend to blur up the Bible in an attempt to accept everything they see around them.
"Oh, God can't have said. God didn't mean."
Well, maybe He did and you just don't want to accept it because you're putting your little code of what you think is right and wrong before His.

While our faith is based on historical facts and logical processes, most of the day to day living is a sheer walk of faith. After all, isn't that why it's called our "faith"?

Faith like a child. Trusting. Simple. Daddy loves me enough to catch me when I jump. Mommy loves me enough to keep me away from the hot iron and the cars on the road.
Faith that while we don't understand and maybe never will understand God's ways or reasoning, He is right and just.
Faith means grasping the simplicity of life and leaving the confusion in His Hands.
Faith means that we can love everybody right down to their core, no matter their sin, because that's what He commanded us to do and that's what He's given us grace to do, without accepting their sin.

Faith is strong; don't make any mistake about that. It's hard to get to that step. It depends whether your reasoning has brought you to the place that God must be Who He says He is, and your belief has accepted that He is right and worth the cost of being condemned as a fool for the rest of your life.

People expect to be attacked by us when they stand up against certain issues that the Bible condemns and proclaim their own understanding and moral code to be right (don't ask where that moral code originally came from). We need to break that by loving them anyway while still gently, kindly and truthfully standing up for what is right.

We need to pray for them and let them know they're safe with us, because although we don't approve of the sin, we love the people - for the Lord.
He loved the whore, ate with the tax collector and the Pharisee and touched the lepers, but He asked them to leave it all behind and come, follow Him. Which is how we need to live. Why do we expect to do this differently?

Christ left all for us. Why do we refuse to leave all for Him?

Several years ago, I created a survey called "Uncomfortable Honesty." In it, I asked people (anonymously - I still have no idea who took part, except for people who told me they did) to talk about issues they considered taboo, that the church considered taboo, and how these had affected them.

Question 10 was the most revealing of the pain that reactions to these issues had brought them. I'd like you to take a moment to click on the video link below.

Loving people doesn't mean beating them over their heads with a poker or running shy from them because you're too scared to handle issues. It means accepting them as they are, with all their flaws, and praying for them. Encourage them to trust without betraying it (i.e., talking about them behind their back without their knowledge or permission); help them with issues as the Lord brings them forward. Don't pretend you know all the answers to their issues; outside of what's stated in God's Word, no one does. Don't jump in the mud puddle with both feet - it tends to make nasty messes everywhere else.
For an example: I love and accept my gay friends and they, to an extent (like everyone else), trust me. I don't accept that their homosexuality is right by Biblical standards, and they know this (and agree with it, by their own decision) and have defended me against both straight and Christian people.

I think that's what it means to live Christ. Make the impact in their lives, but sound the call to "come, follow Him." If you accept the sinner along with their sin, they will have no need to come to Christ for salvation.

This is so very complex, and I've only barely touched the surface, but I hope you will understand what I'm saying.

Yours thoughtfully,
In Christ,