I’ve just read an article in a prominent news magazine that demonstrates a serious challenge Christian men and women who struggle with homosexuality face in our day.
Whether or not you experience same-sex attractions personally, please, for the sake of our brothers and sisters who do, read on.
The bulk of the article centers around one man who left homosexuality because of his Christian convictions. He got support along the way from other Christians and Christian organizations. Eventually, he married and he and his wife (who had walked away from lesbianism) had two children together. For several years, he advocated that homosexual men and women can change, and he and his wife spoke widely about their experience.
Over time, however, he grew disillusioned. His internal struggles continued to resurface and he eventually divorced his wife, broke up his family, and is once again living as an openly gay man.
He’s not the only one.
But to read the article, you’d think this kind of thing is uniquely true of homosexually oriented men and women. It’s not.
Although other people experience conflicting desires, or struggle to remain true to their convictions and commitments, no other group in our culture gets pounded so relentlessly that their desires are innate, unchangeable, and must be obeyed.
Men and women who are overweight and try to change but regain the weight they’d lost aren’t told it’s because it’s just who they are, and they should go with what they feel.
A man who’s been sober for 12 years but succumbs to that old desire after a stressful season isn’t pointed out in the news as evidence that recovering alcoholics are just duping themselves.
A woman who’s gotten out of two abusive relationships and finds herself in a third isn’t told by her therapist it’s because battered women can’t change.
And those who, despite their heterosexual desires, choose to wait until marriage to have sex, or to remain faithful to one spouse till death do they part, or to forego sex and marriage altogether and live a celibate life, may be a cultural rarity, but they’re not usually told they’re frauds, or liars, or doomed to a life of lonely disillusionment unless they give in.
A Christian sexual ethic is a radical one for all of us, to be sure. But in contrast to the culture, orthodox biblical Christianity is consistent in its teaching about desires, including sexual desires:
- God gave us desires and they’re very good.
- Because of sin, each of us experiences desires that are out of alignment with God’s will and our design.
- Because of Christ’s work, God can change our desires and sometimes does, but whether he does or not, he calls us to obey.
- In Christ and with the help of his body, we can walk in obedience to God, one day at a time.
Alone, none of us could bear long a relentless chorus proclaiming that our misaligned desires are innate, unchangeable, and must be obeyed.
So let’s be in this together.
And for the sake of all, hold to a more ancient chorus: That wherever our attractions point us, we all are in need of . . .
- God’s mercy through Christ’s atoning death.
- God’s holiness through Christ’s resurrection.
- God’s power through the indwelling presence of His Holy Spirit and the community of the saints.
And to my brothers and sisters who experience homosexual attractions, who hold to that radical Christian sexual ethic, who seek to live it out, thank you. We’re with you. And we need you as much as you need us.