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Scams and Unscrupulous Con Artists

I am apartment hunting for an impending move to a new state. So far, it is has been astounding how many scams are out there.

One house did not match the Google maps street view and was an easy scam to spot. Another sounded great until the very end of the fine print when it notes that $1600 a month is for a sleeping space in a shared family room. Even worse are the many listings for one price when the actual price includes $300 - $800 in extra costs per month. It feels very much like the old carnival game, with the coin always under the wrong cup.

"Unscrupulous con men will continue to exploit the faith. They’re as deceived as the people they lead astray. As long as they are out there, things can only get worse," says 2nd Timothy. (2 Timothy 3:13, The Message translation)

This Pride week, it is notable that people of faith have been led astray by those who would center bigotry and bias over dignity and love. Millions of people are so worried about getting into heaven that they are willing to reject their fellow humans, driving many of them literally to their deaths. Jesus commands us to love God and love one another. Period. Anything that does not fulfill those two requirements is from man - not God.

As we head into this last weekend in June, all people need to know that they are loved and they are enough. Anyone who tries to convince you of something else is the unscrupulous con person. So stop trying to convince them of your worth and instead convince yourself. This does not mean you need to close the door and shut out family who condemn you for being you. Always allow space for grace, but build up your boundaries to shut out their judgement. You are Beloved to both your community and to your God. And if you are not a believer, you are valued and Beloved.

I grew up listening to the theology of shame, hearing more often than needed that when it came to same-gender-loving, bi+ and gender-expansive people, you had to "love the sinner, hate the sin." 1 John 4:40 says, "If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating their sibling, thinking nothing of it, they are a liar. If they won’t love the person they can see, how can they love the God they can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both." You cannot love what you hate. You cannot love God and hate one another.

Our human hearts have the capacity to live with tremendous love.

We are commanded to love.

Living love is living with the presence of a loving God.

How will you live love over the next 12 hours, 12 days, 12 weeks, 12 months?

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