Responding to a Conflicted Christian Friend, Be At Peace

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[callout]In today’s post, I am answering a private message from a deeply conflicted Christian that broke my heart. It is a man I initially met in my Exodus days. I have permission to share the post without using the person’s name or identifiable information. His message is slightly edited for grammar and flow.[/callout]

Randy, I’m so confused and feeling guilt [about] my sexuality. I’m a :::Christian leader in an international ministry:::. I love Jesus more than anything! But I feel alone and prevented from having a relationship with another man.

I can SO relate to that feeling! The net results I have seen in my “ex-gay” experience, and those in that world, is not the fruit of the Spirit, but emotional despair and relational loneliness. On one hand, we received public affirmation for repeating an ingrained cultural bias against LGBTQ people. Then, on the other hand, we received personal empathy and compassion for dealing with “such a complicated ‘sin’ issue.” Even though we believed what we were hearing and saying, it is an inauthentic affirmation because it isn’t based in reality or honoring the truth of how we are created. It can be incredibly powerful and compelling for hurting gay people who have lived a life filled with condemning messages, rejection, abandonment, and abuse to be drawn into this war against ourselves in the name of “healing.”

We know this is wrong in our hearts even when we do not comprehend, and reject, it with our minds. This incongruence is why we feel alone and hurt.

I’ve come to believe that being gay is not a sin. Pursuing to love God and to love others the way we are created to do so is not sin. Jesus’ Atonement on the cross is not confusing or based in your effort to attain or maintain salvation. You can do neither; He already did both. When He said “it is finished,” it is. You are not guilty in the first place because of the finished work of Christ. Secondly, being gay is nothing to be found “guilty” of. Jesus didn’t rise from the dead for you to feel unworthy or only for those who decide to act in agreement with legalistic behavioral modification. His love for you, us all, brought Him back to life.

He wants relationships, not robots.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Loving Jesus and being an LGBTQ person is not mutually exclusive. I believe, and live out, that you can be both. You are a gay man who Jesus loves. Your core sense of relational being as a gay man “glorifies” Him when you serve Him out of your authentic self and honest testimony. You honor Him when you pursue Him and potential partners out of the naturally arising fruit of the Spirit and not in the dark shadow of religious fear and stigma.

People know that I came from gay life. I have witnessed a few times. But I feel a great desire to date, marry a [man].

I shared my testimony of “overcoming” or finding “freedom from” homosexuality for almost 23 years. The feelings to be with another man would ebb and flow, but they never went away. They never went away because they are not supposed to. I believe we, everyone including gay men, are meant to be whole and complete individuals on our own through growth and maturity. I also believe that we are not entirely who we are without being in relationship with others. It’s how God created humankind to work. We are not fully ourselves without our family, friends, and community.

I also believe that God created many to become more of who they truly are in loving and romantic relationships. Some are heterosexual; some are of the same gender. Both types of relationships can be healthy, safe, and complementary. Ideally, both will come to the union as healthy individuals who only become stronger and healthier as a result of their union. The two together will grow and mature to become something they cannot be alone. It doesn’t supplant or replace their individuality but gives them the opportunity to engage a relationship with God, each other, and the world around them in a unique way, an important way.

All I see are promiscuous homosexuals, it scares me. Gay relationships never give some, even Christian. I’ve dated a reverend, he was so promiscuous and a liar. I need help to understanding myself. I also have a big ministerial calling.

I am not sure what your world is like, but from my experience, religious stigma might be unfairly focusing attention only on specific experiences/elements within the LGBTQ community. Yes, there are plenty of promiscuous gay men… but promiscuity reigns in every culture, tribe, nation, sexual orientation, … religion… everywhere. It’s not a gay thing, it’s a human thing. Fact: we live in a promiscuous world. Another Fact: that has absolutely nothing to do with how you, as a gay man, choose to steward your sexuality. You do what you feel is best and don’t judge others. Plus, you are among a myriad of gay men who desire sexual fidelity and long term relationships.

I am very sorry to hear that the Reverend you dated was a cheating liar. That’s terrible, and I hate that happened to you. But, he is one of about 3.5 billion men on the planet. Do not let him have power over you by amplifying fear and culturally ingrained stigma. Let the experience with him inform and teach you as you move forward toward your next relationship. Take personal responsibility for what you need to own and turn what was hurtful and damaging for good by learning from it and becoming more healthy and mature.

Remember, the scriptures say that only God knows the secrets of a man’s heart. That said, I can’t understand you for you, but I can understand your struggles and perspective. I hope, after all of this, that you know that loving Jesus and being gay is not mutually exclusive. Your love for and faith in Jesus is unchanged. His love for and commitment to you, all of who you are, is even stronger than you realize or any of us could imagine.

Jesus is truly enough. You have nothing to fear. Please be at peace, my friend. Your path continues with the Good Shepherd leading you every step of the way.


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