Sunday, April 26, 2009

Widgets

"And I Am Gay"

No, these aren't my words (Mrs. Jailer may now breathe a sigh of relief). They were the words of one of my dearest friends, as I read them scrawled at the end of his letter. Intended for dramatic effect, they achieved their aim. I had to catch my breath.

Lou had been my roommate in the Philippines. At 22 I was a couple years older than he at the time, and both of us were on our first assignments in the Air Force. Lou and I hit it off from the first, and he was soon accompanying me to Bible study. Everyone seemed to love him, and none more than I did. His faith seemed genuine, if somewhat tenuous, as something about his life seemed strained.

Lou and I went everywhere together, often with a third companion ... the woman who would be the future Mrs. Jailer. The three of us had great adventures together, until the day Lou discovered his two friends had fallen in love with one another. Lou took this news badly, pushing away angrily from both of us. He moved out, avoided us, and went on a campaign to undermine our romance among our mutual friends.

At this point, I made an unusual decision for me. I decided to care. Rather than just ignore Lou and "shake the dust off my feet", I consciously chose to feel the pain of his rejection. It surprised me how deeply I felt the wound, and yet I refused to turn away. God had been speaking to me about trusting Him enough to hurt, and so I would hurt rather than be calloused.

None of this brought Lou back. He skipped the wedding. After he left the Philippines, he left the Air Force, and a couple of years later I received a surprise letter from him. It described his recent love interest in glowing fashion, and then closed with the bombshell. "His name is Ken. He is a man. And I am gay."

It was clearly targeted to test or shock me, and his postscript expressed his doubts that I would ever want to speak to him again, since he knew that Christians hated gays.
I wrote back to Lou, telling him that nothing in his previous letter reduced my affection for him. I expressed that though I believed his romantic choices were sinful, I yet loved him and was unashamed to call him my friend. I explained that faith in Christ isn't license to hate, but in fact helps me to love him even more, as I am also a sinner, saved by grace.

This seemed to surprise him, and his next letter was less confrontational--even friendly. Still, he no longer seemed interested in our friendship, and I heard little more from him. In fact, I eventually lost contact with Lou, and to this day I wonder what became of him. I pray that he might yet repent and find peace and healing for his tormented soul in Christ.

34 comments:

  1. Keep praying, Jailer. Both the seriousness of the matter and the hope for salvation are apparent in the following passage:

    “Do you not know that the unrighteousness will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. AND SUCH WERE SOME OF YOU. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Cor. 6:9-11)

    I added the emphasis to the sentence, “And such were some of you”, and wondered as I did so about “some”. Surely, with that list, “most”, or even “all” could be defended. I also wondered about “were”. The sins of the congregation in Corinth are all too apparent in Paul’s letters to them. So he must have had their “positional sanctification” in mind when he said they “were sanctified”, knowing full well that they struggled with “progressive sanctification” constantly. And I know I struggle with being “greedy”. Politics can make me a “reviler”. I could go on, but will stop with being an “idolater”, since I daily find ways to act as if it weren’t the True and Living God to whom I look for life and all that is good. We all need to listen to Paul’s exhortation to holiness in this passage.

    One opinion I have concerning “homosexual offenders” (the NIV rendering) is that they seem to be used by all sorts of people as “catspaws” (“a person used by another as a tool”):

    Sanctimonious, self-righteous people, who may be adulterers, or cheats, or “just” gossips, can cover their own guilt by strident condemnation of homosexuals: “Sure, I may have problems, but who doesn’t. At least I’m not like him!”

    At the other extreme, “tolerant”, “nice” people can ensure that they don’t have to look their own sins, and forbid anyone else to do so either, by jumping to the defense of a practice that everyone knows to be sinful, whether or not they’ll acknowledge that: “If they aren’t allowed to condemn homosexuality, surely I’m safe.”

    So there is real ground for us to view homosexual offenders with real pity: Everyone uses them. If they don’t find people in the church who can be true friends to them, they won’t find them anywhere.

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  2. I had a similar experience with a college buddy. We were involved with the Navigators, and I never questioned his faith. I did 8 years of active duty in the Navy, and he did a similar stint in the Marine Corps. He called me "out of the blue" one day, and we were catching up on the all the latest. When I asked him if he was married, he told me he was HIV positive. Not sure what caused him to call me, as we had not kept in touch and were not close friends in college. I occasionally hear from him now but can't really tell if he is still in that lifestyle. Your post reminded me to pray for him. Thanks.

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  3. On John Piper's blog yesterday.

    http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/AskPastorJohn/ByTopic/80/3852/

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  4. I assume the same advice would be offered to those who have had abortions and remain unrepentant, or who vote for politicians who support abortion?

    Many of the laity in the Catholic Church have some real heartburn over scandalous behavior of many of our Church leaders who give tacit approval to pro-abortion Catholics, permitting them the Eucharist and supporting them for re-election. Is there a similar problem in the evangelical Protestant arena?

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  5. Do we as Christians believe in the Holy Bible as the written word of God? Do we have liberty to pick and choose the parts of the Bible that we want to believe and which one is not progressive? Are we as Christians going to be so permisive, in order to fit in, that looking at the mirror we may not recognise our christian faith?
    Christianity is a way of life, being Gay is a way of life. This two ways of life are at variance, why have Christians been so permissive as to let their way of life to be suppressed from public forums, from Schools and from government office while allowing the proponents of the Gay lifestyle to use these same forums to push their lifestyles. Why is it that students are not allowed to carry a Bible to public school while any Gay lifestyle book or game is permissible?

    God through His Son Jesus Christ recognises the his people will from time to time go astray. In the Christian way of life, the pursuit of a relationship whose purpose is individual personal PLEASURE with no greater society GOOD is not allowed. Christians base our beliefs and faith on the Holy Bible.
    Any other lifestyle may base their life on something else that is their choice but let Christians have a say as well.
    Let us push this permissiveness to its finally result- let every man marry a man AND every woman marry a woman, let them have the maximum individual pleasure - in a generation we shall have no human beings on earth but GOD will fill it with some other form of life, remember the big guys who roamed the eath before mankind came into the picture.
    Let us hear from all Christians.

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  6. I am always asking myself "what does God say about...?" I, too had a similar letter from a dear friend with the same type of challenge attached. I, too tried to lovingly assure this wonderful person of my committed love and friendship. As you describe, she drifted away, despite my efforts to keep her.

    Oh, I know all the normal Christian scripture to cover this topic; and all scripture [when used according to God's will] is useful for teaching...but what does God really say about homosexuality?

    I asked Him for years, and here is where He took me. My friend cried, and declared "This is who I AM! I have to be who I AM!" God said, "you are NOT who you have sex with; that is what you DO, not who you ARE. If you never had sex again [for lack of interest -- don't be shocked -- it happens] would that make you NOTHING??"

    Man's perspective is so provincial...the trauma we are facing takes on massive proportions; in some politically driven cases, it becomes so important as to push overarching changes in our social culture. Such is the case here. You want to have sex (haven't we all felt that?) and you fall in love (human love, with a focus on the physical body and romantic emotions). How can that be WRONG? Doesn't my body's need PROVE it is NATURAL and therefore, RIGHT?

    But I am in LOVE! How can that be wrong?

    Love is never wrong. Never. Behaviors chosen to express love are often wrong. Often. How many "Christian" daters have crossed the line sexually? How many heterosexual affairs? How much physical violence purporting to "love"? Many physical actions are taken in the fever of "love".

    Here's the point. God says He is Sovereign. He is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and the enbodiment of what we experience as Love. What He asks of us is acknowledgment of that Sovereignty through total obedience and never-ending worship; unceasing prayer. Period.

    Obedience to what? To a relationship with Him, a personal God. To His existing Word and His Living Word. Forget the singlet scriptures, although I agree they are in context, and think of His entire Word on the subject of our bodies. Start in Genesis and go through Revelation. Honor your bodies as a living sacrifice. Your focus on Him should be primary, not a focus on your body, no matter what flavor of mischief it screams for you to act upon. If you are praying unceasingly, your perspective begins to change. You begin to see from His Divine Perspective; and guess what? Sexual activity ceases to be the driving force in your life. WHAT?!? Sex is not the most important thing in LIFE? Tell that to the marketers!

    Man's perspective is a childish demand that what his body feels is what is most important, most real---"the way it is". Newsflash: it is not. God says we must control our wild desires and focus on HIM--learn of HIM, obey HIM.

    Is homosexuality "wrong"? Yes. But look from a different perspective: it is wrong because it glorifies something other than God. It glorifies the desire of the flesh over the call from Our Sovereign. It is idolatry just as heterosexuality that takes over a life and demands to be in first place is idolatry. Sex is choice, it is no more than a behavior and we can all control it, even in the face of intense desire. When we say sex is more than a choice, we offend God by saying something is above Him. Why? Because He says to control it.

    If you claim Christianity, God says sex is for procreation and pleasure to build intimacy between a man and woman in marriage. I didn't make it up; He said it, I didn't. That is the only honest Biblical position that can be made.

    180 direct references to sex are in the Bible...and most of them warn of immorality using a heterosexual image. Sexual sin is a choice to place your physical desire over obedience to God's Sovereignty. It can rise to idolatry when you decide the basis of your being is defined by who you choose to engage in sexual behavior. www.whatdoesGODsayabout.com

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  7. I'm the alcoholic son of and alcoholic son of an alcoholic ad nauseum. I let the disease take twenty some odd years of my life, then turned it over to God. To date I have about six and a half years on parole from the prison of alcohol. I won't say I'm healed cause therein lies complacentcy. My condition is miraculously in remission, and I intend to let it stay that way.

    I am about as genetically predisposed to the disease of alcoholism as one can be, but have found as long as I am walking close to my God in faith and some attempt at righteousness, I find release from my the compulsion to drink. Thus I feel competent to say that even genetic predisposition is not license.

    I don't happen to believe that Homosexuality is a genetic condition, but even if it were, so what. Is God capable of freeing a captive of any form of bondage when called upon? I am here to tell you without reservation He is able to save. I know simply because He did it for me.

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  8. Amen. Obedience to God may be a challenge, but it is NOT a choice for a true Christian. You don't get to make up your own rules. To serve Him is to serve HIS WILL, and He is clear He expects us to lay down our physical and emotional desires to His Will. In the case of sex, or overindulgence to any physical drive--if you read the Word there is no question for the honest Christian whose desire it to serve God and put His Will first, not our feelings or desires. It is hard. We all fail, but we must be honest about our goals and keep fighting the good fight in His strength, not ours.

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  9. Great sharing, Jeff.
    Power comes from faith and obedience...

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  10. That's interesting Jeff -- I've used that same analogy. I have some alcoholic "genes" in me as well (from my mother's side of the family), and so I stay far away from alcohol. I think there is a genetic side to homosexuality in the same way, but that doesn't mean we can be "born homosexual" any more than we can be "born alcoholic". It's a weakness that some struggle with more than others, but it's certainly not our natural condition.

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  11. God's world is full of sin. Being gay is also sin. it is a sin you are doing in your body and soul. it is a sickness.
    People is getting effected in their childhood or peers when they are young. When we are a kid we can make wrong choises. Being a gay or straight is a choice. God wants us be straight relationship. He made a rule. He also showing us opposite way. Desicion is in our heart. Like every way we go. Good behaviour and bad behaivour. Being a gay is a bad behaivour. You have mind to change it. i have a open mind but i fallow rules. i do not feel everything i can do. i can do everything but i do not. i have a father and follows me all over me. i am not alone to make every desicion. i have a fear in my heart. i do not get punish. i know God has a great love towards us but i also know he want us to do good things.
    if a guy kill the guy and tells to judge can i go home now? Do you think judge will let go the killer. Do you think is it fair? God has a judge for our sin. We need to repent and turn ourselves to God.
    i am married and i know if i look at a man with desire i do sin. if i feel desire a man i am guilty. When i gave to my heart to my husband i promised him love him forever. i am in the rule circle. Before i was free and can go out anyone and make my choice.
    i wish you are understand my poor english. When you are living a house with your family you have to follow rules. We are living in earth we need to follow God's rules if we want to go Heaven.

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  12. a fine article, good demonstration of showing the love of Christ, loving the sinner, and yet not condoning the sin... may there be more Christians who respond like that...

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  13. But I am in LOVE! How can that be wrong?
    really???? If I love punching people in the nose is that wrong? IF I love lying Is that wrong? If I love having sex with my sister is that wrong? what's love got to do with it? The bible say's it is wrong

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  14. I don't understand "Gay". But I do have relatives and friends that are. From my limited experience with being around them, I think something went astray and resulted in the outcome. Sort of like the brain that went astray, now requiring antidepressants. Since I don't understand that either, and believe that all is in God's hand, I choose not to judge and leave it between them and God. Who am I to cast a stone?

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  15. Jailer: Christ came to set the captives free.

    I also have friends like Lou who are "shocked" to be loved instead of (mis)judged (jugdments are not automatically bad, but misjudgments often are).

    Great post!

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  16. Our Lord Jesus Christ said the following:
    Luke 5:31 And Jesus answered and said to them, "It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick.

    Luke 5:32 "I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance."

    He did not turn away from them nor do them any harm. Most of all, he did NOT engage in or accept their sinful behavior. He did talk to them and with all his heart to try and bring them to the Father. Everyone can be saved, but first they must repent and give up their evil ways.

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  17. I have chosen to not judge either people for the color, sexual orientation, religion, etc but appreciate their inner beauty, values and morals as how the behave and their actions.

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  18. Sin is sin. We, as Christians, are called to judge other professing Christians and to admonish and encourage them in their walk. Telling a non-believing homosexual they are wrong is just like telling a non-believing alcoholic they are wrong or like telling a non-believing man/women who is sleeping around they are wrong. They won't get it nor will they appreciate your chastisement. We need to love the non-believers like Jesus did but don't be afraid to call a spaid a spaid, but don't hate the sinner just the sin. We need to encourage and at times chastise and admonish believers who go astray. There are two very different standards and ways we should treat each group.

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  19. The Lord Jesus Christ loved and showed Love to everyone but did not shy away from affirming the word of God true. We are all sinners and have fallen short of the Glory of God - "If we say that we have no sin,we deceive ourselves,and the truth is not in us" (1st John 1:8), but by God's tender mercies He sent His only Son to save those who accept their sinful ways.
    That is the Christian position.The position of the proponent of different sex orientation is that this not a sin hence they are at variance with the Christian position. In the Secular world each of this positions are right, I do not judge either way but I believe in my faith I am only concern that the other side is allowed to push their agenda to our youth in all public arena while the Christian messages are crowded out.
    There is no logic in asking for tolerance and acceptance while at the same time being intolerant and unacceptable to others whose views may be at variance with yours. The majority view may not always right as we found on the question of whether the earth is round or flat, and who got hanged - plus how long in coming the apology was from those who held the wrong view.
    The test in any situation should be whether is has greater societal good or not?
    Remember Miss California - because she did not define marriage the way the judges wanted, the bloggers went for her blood! The Christians were notable for the silence.
    James 1:21 says "Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls." Therefore Love the sinner but let them know the truth and pray that we do not become a mirror image of the society we live.
    And finally Lord help us that we teach our youth in the ways of the Lord that they may not depart from them when they are grown.

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  20. i am christian and i have responsible to tell the truth even the truth is harsh. i can start writing how God's mercy is big and forgiven. Everyone does it. But everyone do not say Being a Gay is a sin. People need to get away from that sickness. i do not want judge anyone. God is judging us not me. i can only say,do not do it. i have sin and make me feel die. But i am not sitting around keep repeating my sin. i am trying to get away from it. God wants action. We need to show him that action. If there is no action than faith is nothing.
    Yesterday, i was watching tv and i switched to Tyra Banks show. i saw three woman and they were talking with Kim Kardasian. My 4 years old son said, mommy that girl is talking like a boy. i looked at the tv and i noticed they were dress like a woman but they were men. i changed the channel and i did not say to my son anything. i just change the subject right away. i do not want to teach my son about gay in that age.
    i do not want him the get wrong impression from tv.

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  21. Interesting .... I like what you said there about being gay is a bad behavior..
    It definitely is a negative or bad coping mechanism for getting the love from their father that they never had hmmm?

    I'm thinking that lesbianism could also be that those ladies had bad experiences with men and that is why they chose to go with women and that is also a distortion from the truth as satan always offers a counterfeit to what Gods standards are that make sense. Satan always has to rebel and do the opposite..

    Making a choice to be gay or lesbian, both are psychological choices and both of these are a negative and bad coping mechanism to get their needs met unnaturally.. just like alcoholism and gluttony are choices too.

    We all are in the same boat when it comes to sin. We all need Jesus because we all sin...Are their degrees of sin? Perhaps yes.. stealing a piece of candy vs. killing, but it is all sin that separates us from God. So pray for those who are choosing to get their void filled other than God their heavenly father and pray for us too that we do not accept the sin but accept the person. God does mean what He says and all those practicing lawlessness will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

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  22. In my experience the Holy Spirit has lead me through an individual journey of self discovery and purification. When I first believed I had a lot of baggage, most of which I wanted to hold on to and I had very good reasons to want to keep it. The Holy Spirit then began to slowly expose and convict me - one at a time. As I swallowed the bitter pill and humbly submitted to the Holy Spirit’s leadership - the baggage began to fall off - not by my doing but the Holy Spirit did it for me. We all have varying baggage - from slander, love of money, unforgiving, pride, ungodly sexual desires, hate etc.

    Initially my progress was hindered by brethren who where trying to be helpful, by pointing at my baggage and trying to help me address it ,by throwing loads of verses about same. This just drained me and discouraged me – it was only until I met a mature Christian who focused on how God loves me and wants me free from everything. By focusing on how much God loved me, I started trusting him and slowly humbled myself i.e. I trusted him with the handling of mu baggage.

    He then started doing a work on me. I therefore encourage you fellow brothers and sisters to focus on preaching the love of the father to the lost and burdened. Do not focus on their baggage as that’s just a symptom of their bondage, the root cause is they need a new master who loves them. However if a fellow brother or sister requests advise on a certain baggage – pour out all the verses pertaining to that subject and pray for them. If you are mentoring someone, with their consent, correct them in love using the word not your opinions, in love

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  23. Brother Tavengwa you have put it very well, that does apply to those who accept that we all carry burdens which the Holy Spirit surely helps us to shed as we mature. What about the situation where people may refuse to see their burden as against the will of God and further want to impose as good and acceptable in God's sight and want to encourage young minds to partake of the same?
    I am praying to the Lord that He provides a way to Love the sinner and hate the sin AND also ensure that the sinner does not use the love to make the sin acceptable or palatable in the Christians eyes.
    What would Jesus have done if the sinners he served used all means to entice him to commit or accept their sinners? What did Jesus do when his father's house was turned into a market?
    What would the Lord Jesus have done?

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  24. My sister is 50 years old and just left the gay lifestyle and now serves Christ. She can't remember when she wasn't "gay" but she understands now what it feels like to be loved and redeemed. The Way...the Truth....the Life! Just wanted to share that with you.

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  25. "Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[a] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”--Genesis 1:26-28. Twice it is asserted that God made man in His own image & the third time the reference to the Divine image is replaced by the words "male and female".

    We must not straddle the fence on this issue. We are to know them by their fruit. We are to witness their works. We cannot dismiss what Scripture call sin as a disease or anything else....sin is sin. Contemplate the following: "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes."--Judges 17:6. Being gay is being right in your own eyes. Jesus address the Pharisee as such: "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it."--John 8:44. We often say things that comes out of our heart and not what is in the Word of the Lord.

    I say, as it is written: "God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged."--Romans 3:4. Yes, we must address these matters with humbleness and through love. We must let people know what the Bible says and not what I say or believe. GOD'S WORD IS TRUTH.... TRUE TRUTH. Take these people to the Cross and let Christ deal with their sin.

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  26. This is a sensitive subject. In our hatred for sin we often transfer that hatred to the sinner as well. I expect a tiger to behave like a tiger. I expect a sinner to behave like a sinner. The problem lies when those that profess Christ live a life contrary to that profession of faith. In that case we have someone acting like a tiger while claiming to be a lamb. Paul said to mark them that walk unseemingly. Of course, he also told the Corinthan church to excommunicate a member living in sin. At the same time, when the member repented, Paul was just as quick to tell them to bring him back into fellowship.

    Is Homosexuality a barment from the Lord's service--I believe it is. It certainly is a sinful practice. Does that mean they cannot turn to Christ? Absolutely not or Paul would not have said "and such were some of you". I think key here is "were". There was a change. We all who have accepted Christ have gone through that. We became new creatures.

    Does a Christian who was once a homosexual struggle with this after accepting Christ? I would imagine so just like the alcoholic or any other habitual sin. The old man may have died, but his programming is hard to get rid of. We have to constantly renew our mind, but Paul made clear to warn us to take heed when we thing we are standing lest we fall. We are warned that Satan is out like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.

    However both Paul and John warned that someone who is continually practicing sin and under no conviction is not a child of God. Paul called such a person a "bastard" and John said they do not know God. Strong words.

    Pray for your friend. God is has not gotten out of the heart changing business.

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  27. Your story reminds me of how I caught my breath when my brother told me he was HIV positive and gay. He passed away 13 years ago today but not before my family and I lived with his illness for 13 plus years.

    God taught me clearly how He, God and I, sinner are to love the sinner but not the sin. Some folks did not understand how that could be done.I did not understand the depth of it unitl after his passing.

    God also taught me that He held the keys to hades and heaven as I never knew for sure my brother's choice as he would not say. God has given me peace in my heart.

    And your blogs are truly a blessing

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  28. The Bible says:

    "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals" 1 Cor 6:9

    "and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching" 1 Tim 1:10

    There is no room for debate. Telling a person he is about to walk off a cliff to his death is telling him the truth in love.

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  29. the truth is the truth, but we of course should not hate the sinner, since we all fall short, but abhor the sin.

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  30. Pretty good comments overall. I think in our society we have segregated sins and on any extreme will claim being gay is a worse sin than say sleeping around. God abhors all sin and all sin is condemnable to death. We must be more willing to not just point out homosexuality as a sin and not the others. When we do so, we as Christians really do risk being choosers of what sins God will allow and He won't allow any. Our duty is to spread the Gospel, which of course convicts us all. The last comment by the way comes from the concept of 'love the sinner hate the sin,' but you will not find that in the Bible. We should hate sin just as God does but as I said, not pick which sins to hate.

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  31. I respect the courage to post this personal story on a sensitive subject. More so however I commend the Christ-like spirit of love in your answer. I believe that scripture speaks clearly to the subject - just as It is also clear about our commandment to love and to not pass judgment. Yes I familiar with responsibilities for accountability and know that there comes the time when one cannot be lukewarm and must for example cast a vote in an election for a leader (politician) who fears the Lord; take a stand on legislation; take a stand within our denominations, etc. However as the years roll on by, on an individual level at least, I hope that I am more prone to err on the side of love... and leave conviction & judgment to our Lord. He is after all more capable than we in affecting His means...and there is so much in my own life for which I might hope for mercy, compassion, etc. Scripture is what it is regardless of our interpretations (a rose by any other name is still a rose...) but can one imagine what chance Jailer might have ever had in reaching his friend in the name of Christ had he fired off a letter of 'fire & brimstone'?. And how might he have reflected our Lord in so doing?

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  32. I have a degree in Theology from a conservative school. I am married (happily married in fact). I have three wonderful children. I believe in the sovereignty of God. I am actively involved in my Church, teaching a weekly "family" oriented Sunday School class and a weekly men's Bible Study.

    I am gay.

    No, I wasn't molested. Yes, my dad was actively involved in my life - and still is. I have known I was attracted to guys since my first memory of attraction... when I was five and saw my first GI Joe, and I knew my emotions - even then - were wrong.

    So, I pray daily to 'put on the Holy Spirit'. I wake up in the night and cry out 'create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.' I have BEGGED God to take away the emotions and feelings since I came to terms with them in High School. I can quote you every verse in Scripture about homosexuality, that it is an abomination, blah, blah, blah. But just like a guy whose head turns when a good looking woman walks by - and you can't help it, it just happens - I find mine turning when a good looking guy walks by. And I feel defeated.

    Nurture? Nature? Genetic? It doesn't matter. It's all sin, and the responsibility of the person attracted to a person of the same sex is the same responsibility as that of the person attracted to one of the opposite sex outside of marriage: abstinence. We are not to be controlled by the old nature. We are not in bondage to sin.

    My struggle is like that of the Apostle Paul's in Romans 7. I do what I don't want to do. I don't do what I do want to do. Oh wretched man that I am. Fortunately, there is also Romans 8, where there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.

    So my advice: Hate the sin. Love the sinner. If you can love a gossip (or was that a prayer request), or a glutton (watch out at the next Church potluck), which are also condemned in Scripture yet accepted within the Church, you can love a gay person. Who knows, you might already be doing so without knowing it. Believe me, I'm not the only one in the Church who struggles.

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  33. Raymond, I was touched when I read your blog. I'm currently reading a book to my wife at night called Equipped to Love building idolatry-free relationships by Norm Wakefield (Spirit of Elijah Ministry), and it spoke of the two kinds of love we love with "The World Kind of Love" and "God's Kind of Love." You did a great job in demonstrating God's kind of Love.

    The World's Kind of Love is a love the is focused on self and what "I" can get from a person. Whereas God's Kind of Love is selfless and giving. Sin is sin and we are all sinners. There is no sin bigger than another (except the unforgivable sin). Sodomy is not worse than lust/adultery nor murder. They are all equal to the same thing death! So to love a fellow sinner where they are at and allow God to use you to possibly bring them back to obedience in Christ is God's blessing to you. I just which I could be more like that myself

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  34. I LOVE this phrase (and this Truth): "faith in Christ isn't license to hate, but in fact helps me to love him even more, as I am also a sinner, saved by grace" - Thank you, Jailer

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