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Unconditional
Love

Unconditional
            Love

The first time
that someone called me “gay,” I was in
kindergarten. I was at a young, impressionable age,
and I was new to being around strangers. One morning I
woke up to go to school, and I remember that everything
around me was very dark and eerie. I got onto the school bus
like everyone else. When we stopped to pick up another
person, the young boy who was sitting next to me
turned and spitefully said, “You’re
gay!” This was the first -- but not the last --
that I heard those words and experienced that kind of
hate.

In my heart I
have always felt love and understanding for other people. I
am a Christian, and I believe that God is the giver of
unconditional love and my supreme role model. All I
have ever wanted to do in my life is to promote love,
understanding, and acceptance. As the host of the popular
Christian TV show The Remix, I believe that my coming
out to the public will inspire others to believe in
the unconditional love that Christianity has to offer.
People should not fear God, and people should not fear
themselves.

Many religious
believers condemn LGBT people by citing Scriptures from
the Old and New Testaments, and I want to encourage others
to study the Scriptures for what they really
say. I believe that my presence in the Christian
industry is a testimony to how times are changing. Love,
honesty, and integrity are strong guiding principles that
many Christians believe and follow, and these are the
principles -- especially unconditional love -- I want
to voice to those who are gay and struggling with
their faith.

I have received
hundreds and hundreds of responses about my coming-out.
Most of the responses have been extremely supportive and
have demonstrated God’s unconditional love.
Unfortunately, there have been a few negative
responses as well, but I believe the positive will always
outweigh the negative. For example, I received an e-mail
from a 19-year-old man who came out to his parents the
same week as my public announcement. His parents did
not take it well. He was having problems coping with
his parents’ reaction, and he tried to commit suicide
twice. This young man has shown me my path in the
world: ministering to gay people who are having
difficulty with their faith. I want to show them there
is hope and acceptance in Jesus.

According to the
Barna Research Group, 80% of churchgoers age 16 to 29
feel that churches are far too harsh toward gay people and
that the church itself is hypocritical. This shows why
many LGBT people are afraid to turn to religion when
they need understanding -- people like the young man
who contacted me. I want to give the church and its leaders,
such as Pat Robertson, James Dobson, and Jimmy
Swaggart, a chance to make amends for the many years
of spoken hate, to weave their lives and words with
the love of Jesus, and to unite all Christians under the
banner of love and acceptance.

The message of
hate is a relic of the past, and it should no longer be
revived. I am calling on all Christians to pick up
their crosses, remember Jesus’ sacrifice, and
love just as he has done. For that is all he did. This
is not a call to love only LGBT people, but it is a call to
love all -- the homeless man on the side of road, the
prostitute with nowhere to go, the mother who drinks
her days away, and the father who hits his pain away.
I’m Azariah, and this is my call; this is my
ministry.

Tags: World, World

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