“Seriously, who would choose to be subject to ridicule and inequality?”“If it was a choice, people wouldn't be killing themselves. Nobody in their right minds would choose to go through the things we do.”
First things first.
Yes. I believe choosing to live a gay lifestyle is a sin.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
1 Timothy 1:10
But you know what? I think people can be born gay.
With those two statements, I have pushed myself into lonely corner. Hardly anyone shares my opinion. Don’t my two statements contradict? Why would God create somebody gay?
Ever wonder how many people are born as hermaphrodites? A little bit of google research told me that 3 in every 1,000 people are born with both male and female parts. Now tell me, should a hermaphrodite be attracted to men or women?
Hermaphrodites didn’t choose to be born that way. Did God create them that way? God created us all to be PERFECT. True, but sin has corrupted even our physicality.
And even more, sin has corrupted us morally. I was born a liar. I was born selfish.
With that being said, is it possible, is there any way that a person could be born gay? If hermaphrodites are a real scientific example of people born with different sexual organs, why do we find it impossible to say people can be born with different sexual tendencies?
A tendency that is, yes, sinful.
I find it harder to believe that someone could be born with the wrong sex organ than someone to be born with the tendency to prefer the same sex. The former sounds unbelievable. Yet we have documented proof of such.
What bothers me is that the Christian community leaves ABSOLUTELY NO ROOM for conversation on this topic.
“People choose to be gay! There is no other answer.” they proclaim.
“Those chose to be gay. Now they need to choose to be straight.”
I am advocating that maybe we are wrong. As we have just seen, human sexuality is a highly complex concept. I don’t think we should be so quick to rule out the idea that someone can be born gay.
This is a problem, because we can trivialize the very real pain and suffering of being born gay (exclusion, shame, born as an ‘abomination’, teasing, hazing, violence, alienation from the church, labeled as a pedophile, derogatory comments). If the church leaves no room for the idea of people being born gay, we tell them that all of their pain is brought upon themselves, by their own choice. No exceptions.
Can we not empathize with their struggles?
Is it asking too much to try and understand how painful their life has been?
Does it break our hearts to know that gay teens are four times more likely to commit suicide than heterosexual teens?
Chad Thompson gives this powerful and creative approach in his book Loving Homosexuals As Jesus Would.
“If we wish to be successful in our attempts to bring God’s message of hope to the homosexual community, we must not go running to the door screaming about the spiritual and physical consequences of homosexual behavior. Rather, we must approach it with a plan to reduce the suffering of LGBT in tangible ways.”
I agree with Chad. We have focused all of our effort communicating spiritual and physical dangers. Trust me. They’ve heard it. Loud and clear.
We yell, “Danger!”
But they hear. “Intolerance!”
Chad suggests that we minister to them the same way we minister to everyone else. “How can we relieve your suffering?”
So I ask you. What are tangible ways that we can relieve the suffering of struggling gays? Here are some of my suggestions.
- Tell them, “I cannot imagine how painful it was while growing up.”
- Tell them, “I will accept you as a person, and love you no matter how you choose to live.”
- Make the first and consistent steps into maintaining a friendship.
- And what I stressed last week, simply apologize.
Lastly, if a gay lifestyle is a sin, and people are born gay, then we need to applaud the Christian ex-Gays (people who are born gay, but choose to leave that lifestyle and pursue a life of celibacy or heterosexuality). In a country where the non-Christian culture celebrates gay lifestyle, these people have chosen to leave a life that they inwardly desire for a life of faith, virtue, and purity. Some choose celibacy! They choose to live a life of singlehood so they can grow closer to Christ! They give up romantic love. They give up marriage. They give up sex! For the sake of Christ.
These people know what it means to be tempted.
They know what it means to sacrifice.
Christian ex-Gays have my utmost respect.
Is this what we expect of all gays? To be just as strong, brave and sacrificial as these ex-Gays? If they are to become Christian, that they would have to forsake every natural choice and accept a life of self denial.
We have to understand how much we are asking.
Others, such as my new friends, have embraced both lifestyles (Christian and Gay). But that is a different subject. Something that I may cover next week.
We ourselves don’t know what its like to be gay. What its like to forsake internal feelings of all romantic attractions.
And worst of all, we show impatience and intolerance for those who decide not to be ex-Gay.
I’m not advocating that it is 100% choice. I don’t think we will ever truly know why people are gay. What I am asking is for you to re-think what it means to be gay. To re-think what it means to minister to the gay community. We don't have to be louder, we need to love first.