Who Will Speak the Healing Words?

June 25, 2014

This essay first appeared as a Facebook note on 25 June 2014.

In a world where so much needs to be done to heal entrenched if not widening rifts among people, right action is always important. But, sometimes, right words are even more urgent because, without them, nothing can proceed; nothing can be done.

It is in this sense that I find myself deeply confused by the recent words of some Christian leaders in Singapore. Under no circumstance do my faith in their character and respect for their office waver, but I remain bewildered with what they hope to achieve with their words.

One has called on Christians to register their disagreement with LGBTs publicly by wearing white this weekend. Another has said – albeit to his own community, and this is a key, positive distinction – that, while every individual is to be shown love, compassion, and respect, Christians should not condone homosexuality.

If only the latter had phrased his words the other way round and said that, while Christians should not condone homosexuality, everyone must be loved, felt with, and respected! Then perhaps his greater message would have been heard a bit better. Perhaps the inner audience of all hearts could have sensedsome ground of common humanity and not more rejection, rightly or wrongly!

You see how a little turn of phrase can change everything, fork our paths, orient us towards or away from what we value, what we prioritise. Perhaps no one is free from a little good advice after all. And what I say here goes out to Christians only because I speak as a Christian, knowing that we Christians can be better than this. We ought to be “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry” (James 1:19). Above all, we ought to be abounding in love.

But how are we showing love when, despite the welcoming table we set up to have fellowship at, we give our guests a small door and expect them to crawl in? What kind of message are we sending? Contrary to what some insist, our beliefs about homosexuality – whatever these are – are beside the point. Words are the door into our home, and the table of Christ is always Love. If we must disagree, let us disagree over a kindly meal and not suspiciously at the door.

The days are long gone, especially in today’s multicultural world, where a single religion manages everyone’s worldview. The House of our Lord is just that, a house, and there are many houses where there are many belief systems. Whatever we may see within our own faith, this social reality remains if we choose peace. In fact, upholding it expresses our religious love towards others.

So, even if ninety-nine such houses disagree with one house on a point, there is still no right to stop that one house from following the goodness it must. Majority claim is not an argument for tolerance or diversity – and this logic, we must understand, cuts both ways.

Once and for all, let us understand such a notion of pluralism in our society and what it entails. It is not about “ganging up” against particular groups of people who are a part of us as a society. It is not about being free to be and believe while failing to allow a larger conversation with others about how they are and what they believe.

At the end of the day, nobody threatens us in our relationship with God more than ourselves. The God I worship dined and communed with all sinners and was glad to die for them, His absolute giving coming with no precondition. Jesus did not make the freedom of others smaller so that they could act right and, in so doing, believe in Him more.

Let us now not invert Christ’s whole procedure and still claim it to be the Christian way. It is long past time that we as Christians act aright for the sake of His spirit, and our right action must call on us to begin with the right words, words that love. If not you, brothers and sisters, who dares to speak these healing words?

Yours in Christ,

Gwee Li Sui



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