I read Justin Lee’s answers on Rachel Held Evans’ blog, and I’ve been chewing on it for a few days. To better understand what I’m going to say here, read that post. Justin’s words didn’t necessarily change my views on homosexuality, but it did refine how I express them a bit.
For the record, I don’t understand how Justin makes the leap to the idea that marriage can between two individuals of the same sex. Like in all issues, I believe the burden of proof in a Christian debate belongs to the one who is going against traditional Christian understanding. Not saying the Christian status quo is always right, but to go against what has been handed down to us through history, you should be able to provide reasonable proofs for that breakaway. I haven’t seen that from Justin, though to be fair, he says he will be addressing that more.
But is it wrong to be “gay?”
Yeah, I put “gay” in quotes, because I think that there is already a worldview assumption by labeling someone “gay” or “straight,” and that is that our sexual attractions are a defining characteristic. I don’t believe that’s the case.
I do believe people when they say that they were born with desires for the same sex. I was born with addictive tendencies, but that doesn’t excuse my addictive thoughts (“I have to have some ice cream”) and behavior. So I’m not opposed to the idea that someone is “born this way,” as long as they’re not using that an excuse for their sinful thoughts and behavior.
But I don’t think it’s right to say “God made me like this,” because God has better plans for your life than for you to be marred with sinful desires. Unfortunately, you are born with a sinful heritage and aren’t perfectly how God created you. But if you trust that He did the work to pay for your sins, you can be born anew. God doesn’t usually remove our sinful desires, but He can use them to mold us more into the person He wants us to be.
So then, is it wrong to be attracted to someone of the same sex?
Yes, and no. It is wrong to look lustfully at anyone other than your spouse, no matter their sex. But I don’t think it’s wrong if you look at someone and think, “Wow, they’re attractive.” But we rarely leave it at that, do we? Most of the time we continue to look, dwell on the thought, and play with it in our imaginations.
Sexual sin is rampant in our culture. Even among the most sexually conservative, it’s usually believed to be okay to look, but not touch. But this is not the standard that the Bible gives us (see Matthew 5:27-28).
God sets a hard standard for us. One so high that I believe it’s impossible to live by apart from the grace of God.
Ah, and that’s the sweetness. Regardless of our history and regardless of our desires, God offers us His mercy through His Son and his grace through His Holy Spirit.
While I don’t like the term “gay Christian,” I think it’s possible to be saved by the grace of the God and still struggle with homosexual desires. These desires can be frusterating, I’m sure, because there’ s no lawful (speaking of God’s law) fulfillment of these desires.
But all our desires will ultimately be eclipsed by God and great goodness and blessings.
So what is a Christian who struggles with same-sex desires to do?
First of all, they need to share their struggle with a couple trusted, mature friends. Hopefully, you’re already in a church family so that makes the choice easier. Your small group leader, a pastor or their wives would be good people to ask to come alongside you.
You may never be attracted to someone of the opposite sex, which means you may never get married. In that case, you’ll be given grace from God (day by day!) to live a celibate life. Will that be easy? Absolutely not. I know this because at least to this point, I’ve been called to live a celibate life.
I’ve already gone on longer than I usually do, but I don’t want to end before I encourage my fellow Christians to share the compassion and grace of Christ. That means we don’t joke about homosexuality or fear those who have homosexual desires.
Did you read that post (linked above)? What are your thoughts? You’re always great, but remember to be civil in the comments.