Several weeks ago I attended a church service acknowledging Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual recognition of transgendered people who have died from violence during the year. All over the world, participants in similar services remember, name, and mourn these people. Several years ago I was listening to an interview with a transgendered woman. When asked about how people first reacted to learning she was transgendered, she said she was surprised and disappointed by the number of gay friends who were happy to hang out and buy her a beer when they thought she was a gay man, then said they “just didn’t understand” and distanced themselves after she came out as trans. Hearing this hurt my heart (though surely nothing compared to how living it must have affected hers).
As a gay person, I’ve heard more than once from someone who “just didn’t get it” and thought that was reason to reject me and people like me; that’s why I was so disappointed to hear people like me were almost as likely to do the same thing. God bless the friends and family who “didn’t get it” (and maybe still don’t) but loved and included me anyway.
We have this notion that once we get to know each other, we’ll learn to understand and love one another. I even believe it’s true, but let’s face it: we don’t have time to get to really know absolutely everyone we meet. There are lots of things I “just don’t get” about other people, and I never will. I could start listing them, but that’s just another type of finger pointing and rejection.
Here’s the thing: Jesus doesn’t ask me to “get” you, and he doesn’t ask you to “get” me. He asks me to love you. He’s actually very specific about loving the people you don’t even like when he says: “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.”
So when it comes to Christ’s table, our personal objections to a fellow Christian’s behavior, attitude, or identity don’t matter. Yes, we may be able to point to some specific verses that make us feel justified, but then we could also point to the ones we choose to ignore when we “get” someone. Christ asks us to transcend the idea that we have to “get” or accept someone before we can love them. If they are starving – physically or spiritually – it’s not okay to ask them to wait on our own comfort while we gorge on their portion at the table. Yes, we should work to understand each other, but my inability to understand you does not trump your membership in the Body of Christ.
I may never “get” you. You may never “get” me. It’s okay. Christ gets us all.
May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.