When I started intentionally building a relationship with my lesbian co-worker Emily, I was surprised by two things: how easy it was to find things in common and how naturally our friendship developed. I had always imagined that trying to build bridges of friendship with people who are part of the LGBT community would require some great sacrifice or effort on my part. Instead, my husband Ben and I found ourselves sharing a booth at Applebee’s with Emily and her girlfriend, discussing our favorite books and movies. In other words, doing exactly what we would do on any “double-date” with another couple we were getting to know.
And I think that’s when it hit me: I didn’t need (or even want) to have some sort of special or different agenda with them. I want everybody I meet to see, experience and eventually talk about Jesus with me!
I genuinely enjoyed spending time with Emily and getting to know her world. Naturally, that meant spending time with her girlfriend as well and meeting other friends that she knew and enjoyed (both gay and straight). Game nights at their home is one of many good memories. And as we began to talk about our lives outside of work, we naturally talked about church and about our shared (yes, another surprise) belief in God. Emily and her girlfriend were very interested in visiting our church, and Emily asked me to read and discuss a popular Christian book with her. When Emily got a new job and moved away, the distance made it hard to maintain a real friendship. But I trust that what God was doing in her life when she was near, He will continue. And I’m also grateful for what He taught me through her about how to authentically love and relate to those He brings into my world – even those who, at first glance, seem so very different from me.
Interested in having normal, friendly conversations about your faith with just about anyone? Check out “Talk” written by the Refresh team’s editor, Dean Storelli.