There is a common saying that when a person shows you who they truly are, believe them. Years ago, a long-time leader in the exgay conversion ministry movement, hired me to set up their online and social media presence. It was a side-gig of mine while working for Exodus and still do for a handful of folks. This leader is not a fan of mine anymore. The feeling is mutual, and I hate that I helped launch an extensive online community for them. Yesterday I spent far too long working on a point-counterpoint article in response to an arrogant hyper-spiritualized blog rant by this same person. But, is that what I need to be doing? Is this how I can best counter their mess?
About 2/3rds of the way into my genius reply ( lol 🙂 ), I remembered, he is taking my reaction for granted, expecting and wanting LGBT+ advocates to respond in such a manner. Then the voice of his wife (my point of contact for the work I did for them) echoed from the past saying;
Unfortunately, from time to time, the Lord has us say the hard stuff to get people to pay attention and support our efforts. So expect **** to write and say some volatile things in the next few months.
In other words, we are trolling for dollars and justifying it by saying it is God leading us to deliver “hard stuff” until we can make our budget goals.
I would often try to temper what this person was writing before posting but would be shot down every time. I was feeling uncomfortable after a while and asked trusted friends if I should fire them as a client, but before I could quit, they fired me because I supported then Exodus President Alan Chambers. They were very upset that I supported the direction Exodus was heading in (in 2011 before we closed in 2013, we were trying to be more gracious and honest). They fired me because I wouldn’t condemn Alan publicly and abandon Exodus. But I never forgot that this “ministry” and leader I had revered, promoted, and trusted said they were going to manipulate people with negative engagement to get them to “pay attention” and “raise support.”
They believe they are a mystical, prophetic messenger (not kidding, they do), but in form and function, their true colors are evident to all who aren’t wearing blinders. So, yesterday, why was I allowing their rant to take up my time and energy? Was I projecting my need to correct my past on futilely confronting them? Was I being lazy and letting snark inspire snark (which is very intellectually lazy, in my opinion)? Was I trying to exact verbal revenge to insult and hurt them? Honestly, it is probably a mix of all of that and other things.
To Thrive I have to liberate myself from a combative context. I can depend on my true colors as a gay man to show me the next right step in making amends where I need to, to carefully confront with compassion where I have to, and always be clear-eyed in pursuing the goal of changing hearts and minds to love and affirm LGBT+ people. I can’t seek to help others embrace the beauty of who they are, who we are, in a more effective and life-giving manner if I am being distracted by unnecessary battles and energy-draining retorts that would lead to absolutely nothing worthwhile. There is work to be done. Let’s be about doing it.
In other words, when a person reveals their true colors, stop using their color palette to paint your picture. You are your masterpiece and can trust your journey and heart.