“I just got fired today,” my friend said to me. I knew from the moment he sat on his chair and stared blankly at the screen that something was off. I wanted to exaggerate things for the sake of a more powerful message, but I’ll have to be honest that he didn’t do anything else of the sort – he wasn’t laughing hysterically; he wasn’t sobbing either. But when he said those words to me, I felt that deep down he was doing every possible thing he could think of to not break apart. For heaven’s sake, he had been very loyal to his company for five years and even rose through the ranks to become a manager himself.

Now, that job mattered the world for my friend. He was a college dropout, and the possibility of getting hired is slimmer, not to mention that there are just only fewer opportunities for you. That’s just how it is for my friend, as well as the many of us Filipinos here in our country. I don’t know about the situation abroad, but I surmise things aren’t that much different.

Despite it, my friend was good in many things. I know many of us are; sometimes the problem is that every human is so unique that there’s no definite system that can adequately apply to us. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to anything here in this world. Show me one and I’ll tell you of an exemption.

And we might not know nor admit it, but sometimes, we become part of the bandwagoners who make life harder for the others who do not fit in our own stereotypes. You see a gay, you will think he’s ungodly. You see a Christian, you’ll think he’s a homophobe. While there may be some basis in it, but there’s also the peril of having a myopic judgment of a person just based on the category that he belongs to.

I would like to call myself a Christian, although I question so many things in our Church today. I guess that’s because I have developed a habit of not obeying something when I don’t get the point in doing so. I do not like to follow blindly, unlike the people we think of whenever we mention the religion. The only reason why I obey God (I’d like to assume I do) is because I have realized that he’s a real genius, and whenever I get the point as to why something is considered illegal, I get amazed at such a purposeful God. Now, whenever a person or a passage tells me that this thing is bad, I will ask first the reason behind it before I accept it into my moral list. For example, I only accept that smoking is bad because of its health implications. I wanted to consider myself a Christian freethinker, but the definitions for it wouldn’t let me in.

Perhaps, my friend, that’s what you are – someone who just couldn’t fit into any category. And let me tell you that it’s okay. People will judge us, and the world’s flawed system will make things harder for us. But instead of hating them, let us learn to be compassionate on them. Not because we’re kind enough, or understanding enough, but simply because they probably have no one to show them a better way. Perhaps that person is you. Maybe you’re the one person who could change his perceptions. Maybe you’re the one who’d make him say, “Surely not all Christians are homophobes.”

I guess that as long as we have a definite system, we will have no choice but to put people in boxes. But I believe that you will not fit in any boxes because you are too spontaneous to be predictable, too wonderful to be boring, and too talented to be set aside.

A couple of nights ago, I had this conversation with a friend of mine. He wasn’t a Christian – he was gay, and he admitted that no matter how many churches he attended, he couldn’t feel that others in the Christian community genuinely loved him regardless of his sexual preference. I cried because I know of a good friend who was bitterly persecuted by Christians for his being gay. I would say to myself, “If Jesus loves me, and forgives me for all of my heterosexual sins, then who am I to deny this friend of mine from coming to get an embrace from him?” Of course, I agree that homosexuality is a sin, but let’s not put a period there. Homosexuality is a sin, like others. And we will do God and the entire human race a disservice by treating others horribly just because they sin differently from us.

Before our conversation ended, he told me something which I could never forget for the rest of my life: “You know, you truly live up to your beliefs. Whenever I talk with my fellows in our community about the hatred of Christians on us, I remember you as the only exemption. You are the only person left I know who can prove that God loves me.”

Let me tell you that there is no greater honor for me than to be the exemption. I hope you’d stay hopeful and true to yourself. I hope for the best in your life. I hope you’ll help me shatter any baseless and stupid stereotypes that there are, and show the world such creativity, beauty, and ingenuity which it has never seen before.

Pass on your beauty and worth. Pass it on.


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