By Justin Gates
I saw a picture on Facebook today that gave me pause.
“…unconditional love does not mean love without limits or bounds. It means, “I offer you my love freely without condition.” -Elizabeth Earnshaw, LMFT
I never knew what this meant until I had my first child. I thought to myself, “this must be how all parents feel! This is the greatest feeling in the world!” This feeling, of course, then extends to my other four children and all of my grandchildren. They get bigger and start testing boundaries; they begin to push those social norms that most of us were raised with. They rebel and get on your nerves and act like they know EVERYTHING. It is annoying because sometimes they do it to get a reaction out of you. I still love them.
Sometimes they shatter the “norm,” and your loyalty and the “unconditional” part of your love for them is tested. Sometimes it becomes evident that not all parents feel unconditional love like I thought they did.
I have had 2 of my children come out to me. One came out to me but later discovered that she was bisexual, and the other is now engaged to be married to her girlfriend, now fiancée. The story of their coming out is not spectacular by any means; it went something like this…
Daughter: *Nervously*” Dad, I am gay.”
Me: “Really? Cool, now we have something else in common! I like girls too.”
Daughter: *Relieved* “OMG, Dad!”
When I say that I love my children unconditionally, I do mean that. I love them for who they are. It is that simple. I love and accept them no matter what. I hope they don’t take for granted that not all kids can experience love and acceptance from even their own family. The thing that bothers me the most, the thing that breaks my heart the most, is that we have children out there suffering because the people they count on the most have let them down and have forsaken them, simply because their expression of sexuality goes against the “norm.” And before someone goes, “It is a choice,” none of us “choose” what we are attracted to; I don’t remember ever choosing to be straight.
In a Reuters article from 2019 by Benjamin Long ;
“LGBT+ teens in the United States are three times more likely than heterosexual teens to live in foster care, often after being rejected by their families over their sexuality, according to research released on Monday. Those teens are three times as likely to have considered suicide as well, said the University of Texas at Austin report published in the medical journal Pediatrics.
Teens revealing their LGBT+ identities to family members can result in their being harassed, forced to leave home or becoming homeless, the report said.”
“This lack of stability and support is tied to family rejection,” said Peter Karys of New York’s nonprofit Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center.
These children need to be supported, loved, and made aware that it is perfectly NORMAL to be who they are. As a parent, if you are confused by what they are telling you, imagine how confusing and difficult it is for them to open up to you in confidence that you will love and accept them for who they are.
This is about treating people with dignity, love, and respect. If you cannot love anyone else in the world above yourself, then surely, you can make an exception for your children!? All of this should really go without saying; I mean we as humans are LITERALLY hardwired to feel compelled to protect the children of our speciess.
Axiom of Light #18 Love will always subdue hate.
Unconditional love given to others will destroy any hate you have in your heart. If you are willing to love another unconditionally, then you cannot possibly hate them. You may not be able to choose many of the aspects of your being, but you can certainly decide to love versus hate.
Axiom of Light #21 Do not turn your back on those who need assistance. If it is in your power to render aid, then you must do so. Be kind to the kind, be kind to the unkind, for the nature of Light is kindness.
Again, this should go without saying, protect them, guide them, and love them.
Axiom of Light #29 When championing a cause, be confident that it is just and that your conduct is appropriate. If you need rules to act virtuous then virtue is absent.
Axiom of Light #43 If your words are just, yet you do not embody them, you cannot expect others to do so. If you are to lead, it must always be by example. Express knowledge and wisdom in actions, not in words.
If you find yourself rejecting or unable to love and accept someone because they express their sexuality differently than you because of some beliefs or other cause, then you need to reevaluate exactly it is what you are promoting and believing in. If you cannot follow the basic tenants of Knighthood or decency, then I very much would like to sit with you, and we can talk about why and how I can help.
Axiom of Light #45 The highest virtue is to act without a sense of self. The highest kindness is to give without condition. The highest justice is to adjudicate without judgment.
If you call yourself a Knight, if you follow a path of righteousness, then it is your Responsibility to ensure that we do what we can to help. We need to ensure that we can Respect others not without boundaries but without conditions. Treat each other like Family. Love and acceptance for things and conditions that are beyond individual choice. It takes a great deal of Courage to go against the “norms” of society especially given the real and dangerous repercussions many faces when simply expressing their true selves. It is up to us to ensure we give people room to do so. Justice is not found across the land for everyone. We must continue to promote and practice a righteous stance against hate for those still seeking acceptance. By our walking examples, we can help instill Hope and Faith in others that acceptance, respect, and love are real and is for everyone.
The best I can do is be an example and hope others can see the sincerity in my actions. Oh! and…