Unbelief Exposed

Do You Truly Believe in Christ’s Transformative Power?

Rosaria Butterfield was a well-respected English professor at Syracuse University. She was in a lesbian relationship and specialized in Queer Theory. Rosaria was active in her gay and lesbian community and acted as their public voice. In the Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert she retells her conversion story. She came to Christ by God’s work through the loving and hospitable witness of a local pastor and his wife (read the book for the amazing development of this relationship). God’s grace in Christ broke into Rosaria’s life and caused what she calls the “train wreck” of her life as she knew it. Her life totally reoriented in Christ. Her story gives insight into so many things: real conversion, Christian witness (good and bad examples), the amazing grace of God, the roots and fruits of sin, and life in Christ. It was almost impossible to pick one quote. But I thought it would help to pick a story that exposes the unbelief many Christians have in God’s redeeming power:

“Shortly after becoming a Christian, I counseled a woman who was in a closeted lesbian relationship and a member of a Bible-believing church. No one in her church knew. Therefore, no one in her church was praying for her … there was no one ‘bearing with one another’ with her. No confession. No repentance. No healing. No joy in Christ. Someone had sold her the pack of lies that said God can heal your lying tongue or your broken heart, even cure your cancer if he chooses but he can’t transform your sexuality … She said: ‘Rosaria, if people in my church really believed that gay people could be transformed by Christ, they wouldn't talk about us or pray about us in the hateful way that they do.’ Christian reader, is this what people say about you when they hear you talk and pray? Do your prayers rise no higher than your prejudice?”[1]

Do you think you are better than your gay co-worker or neighbor? Does your unbelief in Christ’s power lead you to despise “unredeemable” people? If this describes you, then repent of these prideful and unbelieving thoughts/attitudes and experience Christ’s abundant grace anew. Realize you are far worse than you think, but more deeply loved than you can imagine. Confess your sins to your Redeemer and experience your Savior’s love afresh. And from this overflow of grace towards you, turn and love your neighbor as Christ has loved you.

This love will not overlook their sin. The pastor and his wife didn't sidestep conversation about sin and nor should we. But they did take time to get to know Rosaria, invited her into their home, and cared for her as a person. All the while they spoke gospel truths into her life, truths that initially bothered her, but eventually became precious to her and led her to repentance.

[1] Rosaria C. Butterfield, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor’s Journey into Christian Faith (Crown & Covenant Publications: Pittsburgh, 2012), 25.