Hi Abbie, first let me apologize on behalf the those that have wounded you, shot at you, judged you, and given you a message contrary to what Jesus teaches. I can’t imagine how difficult that must have been having someone hate you for who you are. I’ll have you know some of my very good friends are neo-pagans and actually work for a company called BlackCraft (you may have heard of it). The company I work for (HeartSupport, thus this blog) and Blackcraft tour together each summer. This summer, hilarity ensued when they placed the BlackCraft team and a group of Christians from I Am Second on the same tour bus. But here’s what happened. They became friends. We all did and spent time together laughing and cultivating friendships. We are all in contact today still.
You see, what Christians are ACTUALLY supposed to believe and practice is love and gentleness to those that disagree with us or would even choose to harm us. Sadly, what you see more of a religious superiority concept that damns people to hell instead of sharing with them the good news that they are loved exactly right where they’re at, and whether they believe it or not, God wants to have a relationship with them.
People who have judged and condemn you show they do not understand Christianity or the Gospel we profess. I’m reminded of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s words (A Christian pastor who was sent to concentration camp and executed and when he opposed Hitler and the Reich Church who had distorted the Christian message into nationalism and genocide):
“Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.”
You are entitled to just as much grace and love as I am, and I hope I can somehow extend that to you with these words. I always remind myself that Saul of Tarsus murdered Christians before his conversion to become the Apostle Paul. His belief system (as you aptly pointed out) was to harm and wound others who didn’t believe as he did. But it was grace and love that changed him. If that is what changed him, there is hope, indeed, for us all…