“Chronic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most undesirable sentiment. If you have behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can and address yourself to the task of behaving better next time. On no account brood over your wrongdoing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean.” ----Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
I've been rolling in the muck lately.
Several years ago, my cousin (with whom I was very close) told me he was gay. This was an incredibly difficult & courageous thing for him to do. We both came from Evangelical backgrounds, we were both Christians. But he knew exactly what he was risking in coming out to his family. To my knowledge, I was the first family member he came out to, and I fucked up the whole thing pretty royally.
I will never forget that moment. He told me he was "struggling with homosexuality." I gave him the generic, white bread Sunday school answer: We all "struggle" with sin in our lives. We just need to lean on God & ask him to help us & heal us. Blah blah blah. Yadda yadda yadda. It literally sickens me to think about what I was throwing back at him at a time when he needed unconditional acceptance & support.
I truly believed what I was saying was the best thing I could say--the best way I could love my cousin at that moment. I never wanted to hurt him, but looking back...there's just no way I couldn't have come across as judgmental and just the grossest human possible.
Turning away from Christianity has been a very gradual process for me, but the first building block of my faith that was crushed under the foot of reason was the horrid conviction that homosexuality is a sin. That it's unnatural and against God's plan. I'm so glad that my cousin never completely wrote me off as a loon-loon. It's a real testament to his character.
I've since become a very strong supporter of gay rights & I vocally support my cousin & his partner. But I've never had the opportunity to really apologize to him and to other people who I know that I hurt by my proselytizing. I plan on "making amends" with him when the opportunity arises. He now lives out of state & we only see each other for family events and that would SO not be the time or place! I've thought about a letter, but I don't want to come across as insincere--like I couldn't say it face to face.
This situation has haunted my steps for years. Even when I was saved there was a niggling feeling in my gut that I really screwed that moment up, though at the time I couldn't figure out why. I'd read directly from the script after all. There are other painful & cringe-worthy times I can recall when I handled situations with Christianity & not humanity.
Has anyone else felt the need to apologize or at least come to some sort of reckoning/closure/etc about the way they acted when they were religious?