Written by Elivette Mendez Angulo
Text: Psalm 31:1 (NIV): “In you, O LORD, I seek refuge; do not let me ever be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me.”
Reflection: So often people try to shame me, they explain that who I am is not good enough, they find me problematic, a troublemaker by my very existence. I have heard that I am not a good representative of the Latinx community because I am too Black. I have heard that I am not Black enough because I am Puerto Rican. I have heard that I can’t identify as an Ally/Accomplice because I identify as mostly Heterosexual-Pansexual… I have heard so many ways in which I am simply just not enough and if I say, “I am good enough because God,” then I am called a troublemaker.
Many in our community are living under the umbrella of similar shade. Christianity as it is being shared with some of us is saying that we need to be shamed rather than offered refuge. It leads to heartbreaking stories:
- “When my sister came out as trans she was kicked out and made unwelcome in the church. Are you sure that it is okay for us to be in this building [today]?!”
- “They say gay is against God. I tried not to be. They said no church would accept me… and they still don’t know that I found one that does.”
- “Do you know what I learned about sex growing up..? I learned my body parts with their proper names AND I learned that my virginity was something men/boys would “trick me out of.” Cajoling and convincing me… I did not learn that my virginity was mine and could be shared by me. Instead I learned that it would be better to get rid of it by choice than by thievery or trickery.”
My heart breaks as I hear these and many other stories. We have created environments exclusivity, shaming others and ourselves. Let us learn to offer hope to those who have been burned on the journey to meeting Jesucristo, that someday, like glitter, they may find themselves remembering a new story filled with hope rather than desolation. And like a bit of glitter, that they may access hope in unexpected glimmers.
Let us learn to teach a message of welcome that set’s each of us, and each of them, to see God as more than a “person” but rather as a place of refuge! Where all of who we are is welcome. Where we can seek to reach love and grace and be recharged for the shade other’s throw our way.
I am a witness that knows that God’s called have always gotten into trouble and, “not only that – [we should] count ourselves blessed every time people put [us] down or throw [us] out or speak lies about [us] to discredit [God]. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable” (Matt5:11-12 MSG). God’s love is often too big for others to consider and it makes them uncomfortable.
Prayer: God give us glitter to throw into this desolate pit of shade that others are heaping on us in your name. In YOUR name… Be with us as they try to put us to shame. Deliver us from the lessons they taught us of our worth. Keep teaching us to love ourselves, in spite of what we have been told. Holy Spirit inspire us that we may be a renewing force to others (and to ourselves). Keep helping us to love those who make it ever so hard to like them. Amen.