I wrote this a long time ago, before I was even in an affirming place for the LGBTQ community. This was all heart- my head wasn’t there yet, which is another way of saying that I was still had a traditional view of marriage and sexuality. But these are the thoughts that started my deconstruction and eventual reconstruction.
I have never been tempted by the same sex. Since the 6th grade when I saw a girl named Jamie, I knew I liked girls. 7th grade: Jessica. 8th grade: still Jessica (and kinda Marci). 9th grade: every girl at my school, haha! I was impressed by certain guys, and jealous of some of their abilities, but it wasn’t attraction.
Since I have always been attracted to the opposite sex, and have never been attracted to the same sex, that means that it is a unique temptation, not common to all people. I have been tempted to worship other “gods”, worship idols, blaspheme, ignore the Sabbath, dishonor my parents, hate, murder (I truly wanted to kill a guy in high school), lust, steal, lie and covet… but here’s the kicker… I knew every one of those things was wrong, but I did them anyway. As I’ve grown in my faith and maturity, I’ve been tempted by those things much less, if at all.
The same cannot be said for people who are attracted to the same sex. Yes, they have probably been tempted to do all of the same things I have in that list, and they know they are wrong, but that is not the same about their attraction. It’s all they know.
Now, you may have just thought, “Well, if someone is a pedophile, that’s all they’ve probably ever known too…” and I’m here kick that response in the face. An adult (or young adult) longing for a loving, committed, lifelong relationship with another consenting adult, cannot be compared with someone who wants to sexually abuse and victimize a child in the most harmful way. That’s just stupid. That was me being nice. There is nothing harmful about two adults in a consensual relationship- there is great harm in pedophilia. So, if you thought that, stop that.
Now, back to the uniqueness for a minute. If I had been attracted to men and women, I would say something like, “Yes, I understand your attraction, and I’ve been there… and here’s what you can do to change it.” That’s just not the case.
Your sexual orientation goes so much deeper than some surface-level, fleshly, obviously wrong sin. Your sexual attraction is attached to your identity in ways that none of those other thing are. In other words, how you experience yourself sexually, and who you are attracted to sexually, goes so much deeper than any other behavior listed in those verses.
Imagine that this scenario was about me (but I’ve changed some of the rules to make a point)… So, I thought that Jamie was cute when I was in the 6th grade, Jessica in the 7th, and so on for years and years. It’s all I’ve ever known.
Then I go to church one day. Then I believe in Jesus one day and my life is transformed. Born again, the whole shabang.
Then imagine that someone says this to me… “Ryan, here’s the thing. We’re so glad you’ve decided to follow Jesus. This is the best decision you’ve ever made… but… we need to tell you that your attraction to women is sinful, but it’s just like every other sin. God can give you victory over it.”
Uh, I’m out.
If you told me that God could end that attraction and even reverse it, I would laugh at you, and then probably cry when I realized you really thought he was going to do that.
Or maybe I believe you, and maybe I submit… under the assumption that somehow God could change my attraction to women, which is all I’ve ever known, and completely reverse it so that I was attracted to men. Haha! That’s laughable… I would have said, “Ya know, I’m sorry, but I’m out.”
But that’s exactly what we tell people who are LGBTQ… that they were made wrong, not just a little wrong, not just theft/hate/coveting wrong, but wrong at the deepest levels of who they are.
BUT THERE’S GOOD NEWS! If you’re in Christ you are a new creation guys! The old is gone. It’s true, but what’s also true is that I would have never hit a 180 and been attracted to men. That is never going to happen. But we make that promise to the LGBTQ community, even though it almost never happens. In fact, we damage them significantly when we try to change them in that way.
Ok, so that doesn’t work, so… here’s the next try. You’re gonna have to be celibate for life. Lonely. Never act on that attraction. You want a monogamous relationship in which you can experience everything straight people get to, but you can’t imagine doing that with the opposite sex… so, yeah, you’re gonna have to avoid all intimate relationships. It’s been done before, and that must be God’s call on your life. It’s the best He could do when he made you.
But the Bible calls celibacy a gift, so… enjoy it! Except that when the Bible calls it a gift it is also accompanied with a sense of peace and gratitude and calling attached to it.
Listen, if they were born that way… and there are literally millions and millions of them… God did it. I could say that more eloquently… but, that’s the reality. If it was just a handful of people, or if it was trendy, I might be able to say, “Well, this is just an anomaly. It’s unfortunate, but let’s just call this a slip-up (broken world, ya know…)” and move on.
But this isn’t small. This isn’t an anomaly. This is an enduring, multiplying, undeniable reality. Some people are gay because they were born that way. Most people aren’t gay, but some people are. It’s the world you live in. I know it can be scary, but you don’t need to be scared. God is in control, right?
And here’s the stinker for the people who hate all of this kind of thinking: a whole bunch of them love Jesus! They’ve embraced him. They’ve been changed by him. They’re getting marries in churches, and their marriages are a blessing to those churches, and to their neighbors, and to God.
I wonder if we would have a problem with it if it didn’t make us uncomfortable. The very fact that it’s not true about us, or normal to us, may be enough for us to condemn it. Add a couple of verses and kaboom. P.S. Let’s ignore those verses about women remaining silent, and the 326 references to slavery in the bible that affirm it, and definitely ignore the verse about the people of God bashing babies against rocks because God told them to.
At least admit that it’s incredibly complicated. The Bible says that God made them male and female, but there are 42 intersex variations, so…
And while we are admitting things, let’s admit that we are incredibly inconsistent (40% of the people in the pews are divorced, but you don’t hear your pastor clobbering those givers, do you?).
Be open. Do some reading to make sure that you’re not wrong about this. We were wrong about slaves, women, Jewish people, the earth revolving around the sun, and much more… and we always had a verse to prove we were right, even when we weren’t.