Thursday, April 16, 2015

Inspired by friends who put gay on hold to follow Jesus

Over the last several weeks I have been involved in a project that sought to talk about a few 'hot-button' topics with high school students.  

Last night we led into the series and started with the discussion about homosexuality.  I felt like we needed to state the obvious:  The Church has been plenty guilty of judging those who struggle with homosexual temptation.  No one is headed for hell just because they struggle with sin - if that were true we are all in trouble.  In fact it is interesting that sometimes uber-judgmental Christians will quote from the New Testament book of Romans in pointing the finger at homosexuals.  They neglect to mention that in the same passage and the adjoining chapter about 20 other sins make the list.  Sins that we are all guilty of.

The verdict?  We are all messed up.  

The truth is that we will all spend the rest of our lives struggling to abstain from the sins that we want to wallow in.  If you think that it is your job as a Christian to judge anyone, you have missed the point of what Paul is saying in the very next sentence "whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things."

Paul cranks it up a few verses later by saying . . .
"Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?"

So it seems like we should all help each other stay out of sin through kindness and patience.  We hold hands with each other and walk in repentance.  Whether our sin du jour is homosexual acts, using people to get what you want, cruising porn sites on your phone or not reporting your tips at the end of your shift - we help each other walk away from sin by being invested in each others' lives.  If you aren't invested, you have no voice.  

It went well and we had hundreds of teenagers (gay, straight and whatever labels are flying around out there)  engaged in serious discussion about what it means to follow God.  It was kind of nice to hear from all over Southeastern Pa that we could talk about something so divisive and people walked away feeling respected.

But that isn't the reason that I write this.  I am writing this because I am so deeply impressed by the Christians who struggle with homosexual desire that have helped us develop this material.  One is a student in High School, one is in his mid-twenties and the other has a family of his own.  They are all seeking God's best and that involves abstaining from their homosexual attractions.

Understatement alert:  This is no walk in the park.  None of them are cured.  Daily they struggle to resist temptation as well as labels that society gives them.  I am very deeply moved at the depth of their character and commitment to Christ.  Their faith is easily deeper and stronger than my own.  Truly, I look up to them and want to be like them in their commitment to their faith.

And this never gets talked about.  You need to hear this.  Others need to hear this.  There are people who love Jesus so much that they have put their sexual drives on hold to follow God.  That is hugely inspiring to me.  One of the guys shared with me that there is no switch, no counseling and no pill to take to make it all go away.  He never chose homosexual desire and he would love to wake up tomorrow with the entire struggle gone.

And this was the most interesting point:

He said that for years he thought that maybe his healing would come if he just did something right - right praying, right faith . . . right something.  But the healing isn't freedom from temptation.  The wholeness and healing is in how close you are drawn to God as the result of obedience.  Obedience in the midst of temptation means you have to trust entirely on God's strength.  The wholeness is in how dramatically it illustrates how weak we are and how much we really need God.  It is because of the weaknesses that we have that we have to reach out to God to make it through.  So in a way obedience makes us stronger through our weakness.

Paul also had a difficulty that he prayed for deliverance from . . . and God did not 'heal' him.  Some think it was a medical condition with his eyes, but look at what Paul says about his affliction:

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.        2 Corinthians 12:8-10

Sometimes when the 'healing' doesn't come, it is a pathway to a depth of relationship with God that others will only wish they knew.  I am so grateful to be inspired by these men and their devotion to God.  I hope this helps you understand the depth of faith among our gay brothers and sisters in Christ.  This needs to be heard.

No comments:

Post a Comment