This is the hardest post I’ve ever had to write – even harder than my posts where I talk about my many weaknesses, even harder than my posts where I talk about my grief and suffering. It’s hard because I’m sharing from an unpopular perspective and I’m afraid of losing you as friends.
If I do lose you, will you say goodbye in the comments? I hope I don’t lose you though.
And before I start, let me qualify by saying that :
1. I am only sharing my perspective, I’m not trying to convert you.
2. Even though this is about religion and homosexuality, it is not a gay-bashing post – far from it!
3. I like you just the way you are, no matter how you live or what you believe.
When I became a Christian at the age of 25 my life underwent a radical change. The verse in Galatians 5:19-21 was an eye-opener for me. It says,
“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the Kingdom of God.”
When I studied the Bible, I had to repent of about 10 out of the 15 sins on that list, and they were not the more mild ones either. And so I did it. I changed my life completely and got baptized. And though my life is far from perfect, far from being free from suffering, I am living how I want to live. I am living in love for others and without any secrets.
When I chose to believe that the Bible is God’s Word, it was really a dramatic change for me. To be honest, it went against my grain to become “a religious person” because it meant I would start facing prejudice for my lifestyle – the fact that I no longer swore or had intimate relations outside of marriage, the fact that I wouldn’t even lie on the phone to say my boss was not in, when in fact he was. And I would be lumped with all the haters, even though that’s not the way I feel. That makes my heart wail.
I just want to be nice! I want to like everyone and have everyone like me! And nothing puts disgust in someone’s features like being religious – oh, especially if you invite them to church!
Because, you see, sometimes I do invite people to church (even a stranger at times). I do it because someone did that for me once and it was just at the point when I was desperately searching. I had been reading the Bible on my own regularly for a year and was praying to find a church. Sometimes people are in the same place as I was and are as grateful as I was to find God.
But when I invite someone, I don’t like or dislike them for their response, and I don’t push. It is their decision as much as it was mine.
Living by the Bible is a radical way to live – so very different from how the world lives. And the people who use it to preach hate cause me to feel ashamed, and to be afraid to “come out” as a person who believes in the God of the Bible.
So all that to preface the issue about being gay. Denying that desire in order to obey the Bible is probably the hardest thing there is to do. I’ve known people who have done it, and have lived happy lives. (Truly! Don’t bite me!) But I also don’t think we should judge people for whether or not they want to deny that desire.
And I especially don’t think we can single out that one issue and ignore all the other things the Bible says, the very things a lot of religious people unfortunately exemplify: hatred, discord, fits of rage. If you’re going to tuck into following the Bible, you must (one must) address your own sins first.
So here are the facts. The Bible says you’re not supposed to live a homosexual life (Romans 1 is the most clear) even if that is your desire. This was written during the period when the Greeks and Romans were very free about sex, no matter which sex and with whom, so we can’t attribute it to just being culturally outdated.
It also says you’re not supposed to live in a host of other lesser-known ways (drunkenness, immorality, hatred, etc) even if that is your desire. You cannot pick and choose, and single out homosexuality as the prevalent sin while you’re doing “everything but” with your boyfriend, or gossiping with the other ladies at church about that divorced woman who just joined the assembly, or cheating on your taxes.
And here’s the clincher. You can cannot dictate another person’s worth based on their choice. God loves people no matter what they choose, and the Bible is very clear about that. He loves you no matter what you choose, even if you’re gossiping away. He loves you. It’s just not how he wants you to live, according to his word.
I don’t really care if you’re my friend and you’ve chosen to live in a way that is different from mine. I love you. I’m going to want my hug from you (if we’re close enough) whether you’re gay or straight or Christian or non-Christian. I’m going to exult in your victories and cry with your defeats. And I’m going to respect your choices.
But I hope to be loved and respected too, even as a practicing Christian. I hope that we will not preach hate, no matter which perspective we come from on this issue.
There is already enough of that in the world as it is.