|Perspectives on Homosexuality|
|How Do People Become Gay?|
|Gay Christian - Oxymoron?|
|Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin?|
|Calling Sin by its Right Name|
|What Is an Abomination to God?|
|Sins of Sodom|
|On Being Right|
|Change Ministries Revisited|
I'm a Gay Christian --
Gay and lesbian Christians often believe they have only two options -- either to submit to change therapy in order to become "heterosexual" or to join the gay world in indulging in gay sex. But this either/or argument is one invented by the devil himself, I'm sure, because attempting either option can result in a kind of slavery. And Satan specializes in slavery.
The Good News is that Jesus came to give us freedom! So please stay with me to examine some other options.
In other essays I've expressed disagreement with the philosophy of change ministries. (See "About Change Ministries" and "Change Ministries Revisited.") So, I don't consider that a viable option for most homosexually oriented Christians, except as a way to meet some dedicated, like-minded Christians and learn some coping methods. (And you will meet some fine, dedicated Christians there and could possibly make some life-long friends.)
We don't know of any change ministries that we could personally recommend. Some things to watch for is how much ministry leaders promise. If they promise complete orientation change, stay away from them. If they admit that change comes slowly, and that it is possible to live with a homosexual orientation without having it control your life, they are telling the truth. If they tell you that Jesus can and will deliver you from sexual compulsions, they are telling the truth. If they tell you that many gay people can change enough to enjoy a heterosexual marriage, they are telling the truth. And you may learn much from them. But beware of those who make heterosexual marriage a goal or some sort of test of faith.
And this is a good place to point out that a homosexual orientation does not make anyone any more sinful or "abominable" in the sight of God than a heterosexual orientation. (See What Is an Abomination to God?) We are all born sinners (Romans 3:23) with a heart that "is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked." (Jeremiah 17:9) All except Jesus. He was God in human flesh come to deliver us from sin and to show us the way to live a victorious Christian life. And His way was the way of self-denial: He came not to do His own will, but the will of Him that sent Him (John 6:38). He calls us to the same path, saying to all who would follow him, "Take up your cross daily, and follow me." (Luke 9:23) It's one of the paradoxes of the gospel that we find joy and happiness by giving up our own way and submitting to His.
Satan has deceived us into thinking that we will be happier when we do things our way instead of God's way. He has pictured God as the kill-joy and himself as the "liberator." But you know he's a liar. The Bible tells us that true freedom and liberty is found by those who walk within God's Law -- the fence He has set around us to keep us from harm. (See such passages as Psalm 119:45, Isaiah 61:1, James 1:25) A little lady who had some real insight into how things really are wrote this some years back: "God never leads His children otherwise than they would choose to be led, if they could see the end from the beginning and discern the glory of the purpose which they are fulfilling as co-workers with Him." (Ellen White in Ministry of Healing, p. 479) But Satan has many ways to cause us to doubt the goodness of God. One of the most terrible is the abuse of children by their fathers. Thus I know some gay men and lesbian women who have had a very difficult time relating to God because the Bible refers to God as Father, and their father has abused them. (That is a whole subject unto itself.) While there are also other images of God in the Bible, it may be best just to think of God as the ideal father you should have had. Our imaginations are very powerful, and there is no better use for them than to make truths feel real to us.
An option that the world presents to homosexually oriented persons is to just go for it -- indulge in gay sex and live the "gay life." While at first, this thought repels the conscientious Christian, it's quite possible to become used to it. As Alexander Pope wrote,
And that's the danger in watching gay movies, and even listening to the news. Inhibitions are broken down, and, once tried, gay sex seems so "natural." Furthermore, it's highly addictive.
Advocates of gay sex and gay "marriage," argue something like this: God created me gay; therefore it must be all right to indulge my sexual desires. The texts in the Bible referring to same-gender sex must not refer to relationships between those who are homosexually oriented. Those who argue that way are good people, people such as those connected with SoulForce. But even good people cannot change the standards God has set. Even good people will have a hard time persuading God that he didn't really mean it when he forbade same-gender sex.
Books have been written to interpret the five to eight texts in Scripture referring to same-gender sex in such a manner as to exclude loving relationships. (Hey, it takes books to turn these clear texts into something that permits gay sex!) Gay theologians argue that the texts mentioning same-gender sex in Scripture refer to temple prostitutes in connection with idol worship, for instance, and they do not refer to loving relationships between two persons of the same gender.
However, the bottom line is that gay sex is mentioned in the Bible, but never favorably. By contrast, marriage between a man and a woman is mentioned frequently as being blessed of God. Indeed, God often uses marriage as an analogy of the kind of relationship He wishes to have with His people. Furthermore, the Bible makes clear that all sex outside this relationship is abhorrent in God's sight -- whether that's heterosexual or homosexual. I figure the same God who made us knows that there's something about the sexual "one-flesh" experience that takes something away from us unless we engage in it within the boundaries God has provided. We ignore His rules to our own injury.
The biblical record indicates that God invented sex and blessed sexual union for the purpose of procreation and promoting "oneness" between a man and a woman joined for life in the covenant of marriage. He gave sex to humanity made in His image so that we might partake in His creative activity, and He often speaks of His relationship with His people in terms like that of this original marriage covenant. By contrast, same-gender sex is only mentioned five times and never in positive terms. Gay theologians thus stand on rather shaky ground.
The fact that some Christian churches are "gay-friendly" with openly gay members participating and holding offices in the church should not be confused with a divine fiat on the issue of gay sex. We must each answer to God for ourselves, and no pastor or local church board has the authority to broaden the way that Christ called "narrow." Neither do they have the authority to define sin differently from the Bible which defines sin only in terms of action, not in terms of orientation or inclination. Thus, we applaud the stance of churches that welcome gay members without inquiring closely into their intimate lives while at the same time they make clear that they uphold God's rules of sexual conduct. (This would apply equally to gay and straight members.) While the principles are clear in Scripture, precisely what behavior is inside or outside God's plan for us is a matter to be settled between individuals and their God.
Options 3 & 4
A third option involves acknowledgment of one's homosexual orientation before God and submitting it to Him -- in the same manner that heterosexual should submit their sexual desires to Him. In the case of gay people, this can mean a celibate life which includes emotionally fulfilling relationships with both men and women. But that's not the only option.
Gay people on our lists have testified how their sexual compulsions have lessened and taken up less of their emotional and mental energy after they admitted to themselves that, yes, they are gay/homosexually oriented. Then they could turn their attention to ways of living their life to the glory of God instead of spending their energy on denying their orientation. Others have testified how seeking emotionally fulfilling relationships with others of their own gender have nurtured them and normalized their sexual urges so that they have receded into the background, where they belong, rather than being front and center in their lives so as to consume their identity. Seeing attractive men or women as children of God and brothers and sisters in Christ, rather than sex objects, allows them to have a perspective on life that is more like that of God.
Option 3: Celibacy in the Single Life
The lives of Jesus, Paul the Apostle, many of the prophets as well as saints of the Christian era demonstrate the lives of rewarding service possible to those who choose celibacy to the glory of God. One thing is sure: Jesus understands those who choose the single, celibate life. He's been there, done that. And the Apostle Paul went so far as to express the opinion that it would be best for others to be single as he was, if they could. (See 1 Corinthians 7:7,8)
And this is the option many homosexually oriented Christians have chosen. They life busy and fulfilling lives by involving themselves in their church and community. Some of them are on our GLOWfriends list. Feel free to come and join us. (You can sign up directly at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GLOWFriends/)
Option 4: Heterosexual Marriage
Others on our lists have demonstrated that it is not necessary to undergo change therapy and develop a heterosexual orientation in order to have a satisfying marriage. It is necessary to be attracted to only one person of the opposite sex in order to have a family after God's plan. All other sexual attraction needs to be disciplined by both gay and straight people. But there's a difference in the way gay people and straight people get to the marriage altar.
Straight relationships often begin with sexual attraction and (hopefully) develop to the place where they include emotional, mental and spiritual attraction and fellowships. (Often they don't move to that level of true bonding that God intended, and that probably accounts for today's high divorce rate.) Gay people who marry someone of the opposite sex usually start at the opposite end of the relationship scale. They develop a close friendship with an emotional, spiritual and mental bond before they feel any sort of physical attraction. And that attraction is likely to develop slowly and gently, rather than tempestuously and overwhelmingly. Is that a bad thing? Judging by the divorce rate among those whose relationships began with sexual attraction, I think not. I have seen better gay-straight marriages than the average straight marriage. (However, marriage is not an "answer" to homosexuality. It is an option that needs to be seriously considered and approached with absolute honesty and openness and a willingness to wait for God's timing.)
These are the major options, even while there are others that are not practical for most people -- such as the long-term relationships that develop into celibate relationships. (We've had several such couples on our lists --individuals who began as sexually active gay couples but chose celibacy after being convicted by the Holy Spirit -- but we've found that two gay people purposely planning a celibate relationship from the outset have difficulty maintaining chastity.) However, God can and will give wisdom to all who ask Him, as He has promised in James 1:5, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously, without finding fault, and it will be given him."
The teachings of Christ are full of paradoxes, such as "The first shall be last," and we live by dying. He taught us that to follow Him means committing to a path of self-denial -- whether we are gay or straight. "If anyone would be my disciple, let him take up his cross daily and follow me." (Luke 9:23) This "cross" is often more obvious to the gay Christian than to the heterosexual Christian, and perhaps that's a good thing because this "cross" cannot be borne alone, and hooking up with Christ is the only way any of us will be saved. He is willing and able to walk with us every step of the way.
As in all other areas of life, true joy and satisfaction is found only in submission to our infinitely loving Lord who never asks us to do anything that we would not choose for ourselves if we could see the end from the beginning as He sees and discern the glory of His purpose for our lives.
Members of our GLOWfriends community can testify that Jesus does satisfy the longings of the heart. And when we give up all to follow Him, He gives back so much even in this life.
May He grant you the wisdom to live your life to His glory so that your joy may be full!