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Sharing the insights I discover as I explore and experience the mystery that is our reality. Join me in my journey and share yours.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

In Memory of Matthew Shepard (Dec 1, 1976-Oct 12, 1998)

File:Matthew Shepard.jpg
Courtesty of Wikipedia

Thirteen years ago on this day, a young man of twenty-two years died alone in a Wyoming farm field. His life came to a violent and abrupt ending as a result of the hate and ignorance that had been sown into  the hearts of his peers. His death, tragic and unnecessary, was the catalyst for a greater awareness of the hate and prejudice the homosexual community has had to endure from much of society. A community that has much more in common with us than differences. People that want very much the same things out of life that we do- to pursue their hopes and dreams unhindered, to create families and live lives of peace. 

Not long ago I wrote an article reviewing the documentary "For the Bible Tells Me So", which explores some scholar's beliefs of what the Bible really has to say regarding homosexuality. You can find that article here: http://ascendingthehills.blogspot.com/2011/08/if-your-child-were-gaydiscussion-of.html

I posted this article in various venues on facebook in order to generate some responses and conversations to the ideas presented. The responses on one facebook page really surprised me. The level of intolerance and prejudice towards homosexuals displayed was staggering and really, I feel, in opposition to the Jesus these very people who made such comments say they love and serve.

We cannot coerce people to live the way we feel is acceptable or most comfortable. We can accept them for who they are and where they are in life and move together in the Spirit of Christ to build a more peaceful and compassionate world. To bring glimpses and revelations of God's Kingdom here on earth, to His glory.

Jesus broke bread with those who were among the most marginalized in the society of his day. Are we not expected to do the same thing? He told us not to judge and only cast a stone at another if we, ourselves , have not sinned. I know nobody, including myself, who is fit to pick up a single stone...

Religion should fuel love not hate. It should breathe light, hope and compassion into the hearts of believers and extend those attributes outwards into a world that so desperately needs them.  We are known by the fruit we bear... When I think of those like Fred Phelps, whose group actually protested at the funeral of Matthew Shepard, I think of how they try to tear down the walls of  peace and understanding that so many have tried to build.  Where is Jesus in their message?...

Jesus came to show us a better way. To teach us compassion and love and to show us we are not the ones to judge, but we are to simply love others and help illuminate the way to him, where peace and rest can be found for the weary and lost. 

I hope you take the time to watch the short tribute below that I discovered on YouTube, remembering Matthew Shepard's life and revealing a bit more of the details behind his story. May we never forget what that young man had to endure. May it be a reminder of the hate and intolerance that still exists in this world. Sometimes in our everyday lives it can be so easy to forget the prejudices that others have to endure in our society, especially when we find ourselves members of the majority, rather than minority. Let's let the love and light of God shine through us and help disperse some of this darkness that threatens to bring such pain and suffering upon others. Through God we can shatter hatred and destroy it. Love will always prevail. 

Comments? I'd love to hear them! Please leave them in the Comments section. Thank you!


  1. GOD has clearly commanded me to LOVE each person/sinner and hate any sin in their lives. My life as a sinner is NO different than any other. Sin is Sin! It comes in different flavors. It may smell differently, but sin is sin the way I see it. Jesus loves me and he loved this young man no differently. I may disagree with someones lifestyle, but I am NEVER to cause harm whether with words or actions.
    Blessings and prayers,

  2. Unfortunately you have the extremist and the not so...This division was created by man only to serve their own purpose.... or organization.
    It is sad that people have hatred towards color, gender or sex....

  3. Thank you Andrea. I think you summed it up well..that although we may not approve of some people's actions, Jesus loves us and them the same, and we have no right to bring them harm. Thank you for sharing :)

  4. Savira, thanks for stopping by :) Hatred in any form, is sad indeed. ~blessings

  5. It is simple really, just most people don't get it. It is not ours to judge.

  6. So true Jan! Thanks for stopping by and sharing :)

  7. Any religion in this world does not preach hatred. It is us the people who have all these devious ideas. Wonderful post.

  8. We are to love others as Christ loved us - period!

    Very well-expressed, Jessica!


  9. I agree with you Jessica. We all sin, unfortunately some feel justified in singling out certain sins and fueling a campaign filled with hate against them. I do not believe this is what the Saviour would have us do. If someone asks my opinion would give it, but it has to done in love.

  10. What a great article and support video over a very sad story. We know the world needs everyone to accept those who are different to us. To learn to never judge another, to look at the person not at their sexuality, religion or any other thing we deem that makes them unlike us. As humans we are free to make our own decisions and be who we want to be, and others cannot decide whats right or wrong for us. I've experienced the backlash of others to my religion when i was young and entered my 1st career. If i had been weaker this would have destroyed me like it has many others. The stupidity of that was, those that cast the stones, once they saw through this barrier, they liked the person i was and became friends. Give everyone a chance. Sorry if i rambled here, but it is a huge issue in society.

  11. Hi Jessica:
    You know my views on this. I find it reprehensible that we as humanity dare deem who is righteous, who will be saved and who won't be.

    God doesn't make mistakes.
    God loves us all.

    I believe this has become a political issue more than a spiritual/religious one.

    I think it's those people that profess hatred toward a particular group of people that God is disappointed in. God doesn't hate ANYONE. He can be disappointed in us however.

    My two cents for what it's worth.

  12. This is a subject that is close to my heart too, Jessica. Having gone from being someone who bought in to the idea that homosexuality is a sin, to believing that there's no way that God would make it right for us to shun and hate in His name...To think that elections are won on this makes me sick...