I write to you with humility. I don’t have all the answers. I write simply what is in my heart and if I offend at any point I hope you can forgive me, I do not intend to harm you. I have been wondering whether this was something I should say, something to write, and decided that in the end if I could speak a little bit more love into your lives I should. I hope that is how this comes across.
Recently, I was told that someone I admire, but haven’t been close to for a long time, had come out to her family and friends. She is a woman of God, of that I am sure, and yet she struggled with coming out as homosexual. From what I understand she had decided that despite this being part of who she is she was not going to act on it.
I felt that this was uncommonly brave. Hearing some of how she has been treated since, however, has made me want to cry, and hug her, and cry some more.
Whatever you think, whatever your belief, this decision was brave because she put herself in the firing line of two very large groups of people. One who believe that being Christian means not being attracted to those of the same-sex. One who believe that choosing to deny yourself a same-sex attraction for God is foolish, unhealthy and, in a way, disloyal to others who have come out.
Personally, I believe both groups should butt out. Right now, I do not know whether this woman is still of that original opinion. She may have changed her mind. Honestly it doesn’t matter to me because she is still the woman I met all those years ago, she has a name, a soul, and she is loved by God.
As someone who has (and still does as much as possible) studied theology I know that the more I learn, the less I realise I know. I know interpretation has always been the trickiest of tasks, that the mystery of God is far larger than our capacity to understand, and that His love is more important than anything else in the world. That’s about it. The rest is quite nice and interesting, but very rarely clear.
In relation to homosexuality I do struggle to find an answer because I’m not completely sure there is one. There have been literal translations of certain words, and cultural suggestions put around them for context, and yet there is still no crystal clear answer. But, then again, Jesus spoke in parables and stories, none of which were particularly clear.
In my faith journey I seem to have come a little closer to an answer, but it is only my own answer. There was a time where I felt very strong feelings for a woman I knew (I’m not sure I can call it love completely). I am not about to say it was a phase, because I know it was not. I still have those feelings on the odd occasion, but God gave me an answer. I prayed (not having talked to anyone about my thoughts, not been pressured or taught or brainwashed) and my prayers brought me peace. I wouldn’t be in that kind of relationship again and I had to sacrifice it.
I did. For me it was not as if I didn’t also have feelings for those of the opposite sex so I guess it was possibly easier. I am now married, happy and I have a child. I thank God for that.
I am not about to suggest everyone will, or should, have the same story – it is not my place to say. Only God can tell you which path He wishes you to take, and only you can decide whether to follow Him in that.
I want to say to you that I am a sinful creature, made by God, loved and blessed, and I have no right to speak judgement on your life. I may have my opinions and if you ask you may hear them, but I will protect your freedom right alongside you until the very end.
I do have one request though: please give your faith and God a chance. The church can be wretched, hurtful, and blasphemous; it can hurt you, corrupt you, and condemn you. I make no excuse for any of us – we suck! But God loves you, as you are, in everything you do, and He will try to guide you into the best version of yourself if you let Him. I can’t tell you what that will look like, but I will pray that you have support through the process, and know love and life in its fullness.
If the church loses you it is our loss. If we don’t show you love we have disobeyed our God. If we don’t pray for you and treat you as the brothers and sisters you are, it is our sin that should be pointed out.
What I’m trying to say, badly, is that you are loved. We suck. I hope you forgive us and that God has great things in your future.