*Some weeks ago I decided that I wanted to do a series on sexual orientation for TCT. A few friends kindly agreed to share their stories and thoughts on the topic on this blog, this is the first of four that I will share. I have spent many weeks asking myself what my aim is and I have decided that the point is to start a conversation. Please don’t get bogged down on terminology and technical definitions about things like “gender”, “same-sex attraction”, etc let’s focus on the main issue.
Please engage: I have some questions at the bottom that I would love for you to respond to, feel free to share your thoughts. Most of all, please respect this person’s story, their experience and their views but feel free to challenge them, or disagree.
I’m going to write a follow up post to this and it will be based on your responses to this post- happy TCT!
“I’ll never forget the day – I was 11 or 12 years old when I read an article about a woman who said she was gay. She wrote about her childhood, how she had been raised by her single-parent mother and preferred spending time with boys more than she did with girls. I could relate to that. Further on, she explained how she began developing crushes on girls, in the say way as boys would. I didn’t finish reading the article as it began to make me feel uncomfortable. I knew what the end result would be and I was afraid I was heading in the same direction. I kept it to myself for a few days, but my mother could sense that something was bothering me. After endless hours of probing and interrogating, I broke down in tears and showed her the magazine article.
Sometime prior to that experience I remember my mom lamenting on how deranged and twisted homosexuals are.
I was going through puberty – apparently it was normal to be feel this way at that particular age. My mother convinced me that I was simply going through a phase. Life went on. Instead of confronting my emotions, I suppressed them.
Tertiary is where everything intensified. I entered into an environment where it was generally acceptable and encouraged to be openly gay. Once again I was plagued with feelings I had tried so long to avoid and this time they were stronger than ever. After another brief emotional breakdown, I confessed to my mom that I was attracted to women. I have always admired her for her strong faith and wisdom, but this time she looked so helpless and disappointed. I knew that she was partly blaming herself. She’d ask questions like: “If you think you’re gay, why were you in a relationship with a boy?” and “Are you saying these things to punish me for not giving you the life that you wanted?” It was an issue that would gradually cause us to drift apart.
I was raised a Christian and had accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, yet there was still an emotional barrier between me and Him.
Like my earthly father I perceived God to be emotionally distant (and only willing to participate when it suited Him). Since my own mother had trouble accepting me unconditionally I had little faith in anyone else. The genuine prayers I prayed to God were for Him to either remove my attraction towards women, or to end my life. The last thing I wanted to be was gay (especially if it would bring shame to my family). Ironically, this experience eventually drew me closer to God. There were no pretenses – I was angry because I felt that He wasn’t answering my prayer.
My most severe breakdown was a turning point in my relationship with Him. Over time I was led to the right counsellors and friends who displayed compassion and unconditional love, especially when I struggled to love myself. God had kept His promise – He had been with me all along, I was just too blind to see it. As the walls of pride and distrust slowly broke down, my desire for Christ grew stronger. When I asked for my sins to be forgiven I could forgive myself for the wrong choices I had made. My relationship with my mom also improved.
Many Christians I know don’t experience same-sex attraction (I have met very few who honestly do), so they cannot relate to a gay person’s plight. Like the world, I have seen Christians fall into two extremes: they will either be liberal towards homosexuality (these tend to be young Christians), while some may hide their apparent prejudices behind Bible scriptures. Other Christians genuinely love their gay friends because they see more to them then their sexual orientation. They try to be an example of Christ and not base their acceptance on their own preferences or feelings.
I find that there appears to be too many assumptions: Christians have many preconceived ideas about gays and lesbians, and vice versa.
I have learned that when a man says he is gay, it does not necessarily mean that he is engaging in sexual activity. To him the term “being gay” is a noun as opposed to an adjective. He does not view women the same way a man with heterosexual desires would, nor does he want to be sexually intimate with her. He doesn’t believe that there is anything wrong with feeling this way, until people convince him otherwise. Perhaps then there’s also an issue with definitions?
“The opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality, it is holiness.”
I believe that until biblical singleness is revived, the Church will not be ready to address homosexuality. Singles fall into a wide spectrum and also have their own unique challenges and temptations. Their voices deserve to be heard, and they need to be utilised more efficiently in the body of Christ. Marriage is good and it certainly needs all the support it can get from the Church, but it has been idolised in so many respects. For this reason, it comes as no surprise that many gay people now view marriage as a right. We live in a sex saturated culture and it is therefore imperative that the Church does not shy away from the topic of sex and sexuality.
Ultimately our goal is to be Christ orientated, not fall into the traps the enemy has laid out.
I am not saying that we should wait until biblical singleness is addressed until we speak about homosexuality. It is a current topic that should be openly spoken about just like everything else. A Christian who experiences same-sex attraction should be comfortable in openly expressing the challenges that he/has faced among fellow Christians without feeling as though they are being patronised.”
What kinds of assumptions do people have about homosexuality?
In what ways does her story challenge your views?
Do you think the issue of sexual orientation, particularly issues to do with lesbianism, gayness, bisexuality should be talked about more? Why/ why not?
Please comment, I would love to hear your thoughts!
Thanks for reading.