Your Struggles Aren’t Your Identity

adobestock_105368573_wm***This is a guest post by an anonymous author who is a devout follower of Jesus and has struggled with same-sex attraction his whole life. He’s also a close friend and a hero of mine.***

I’ve been walking with Christ for the last 8 years but can honestly admit same sex attraction is something I have personally struggled with my entire life.

Homosexuality is something that has been culturally present throughout history. In the last decade we witnessed countless debates on the subject of gay marriage and ultimately its recognition and passage by the US Supreme Court in 2015. In the 21st century, there is no question the Church has been confronted with the question, “Where do you stand on this topic?” This is a topic that has torn church communities, families, and friendships apart. Why is this issue so divisive? My goal for this post is to offer a perspective that may not be familiar to you; a viewpoint that I hope would allow you to approach this topic from a Christ-centered stance.

Many of you are probably at the point in reading this wondering, “Is this guy trying to say its okay to be gay or to be in a same-sex relationship?” Let me be clear that I wholeheartedly believe in the authority of the Bible. I believe Scripture is clear that living a homosexual lifestyle is a sin; among many other things named in the Bible. Having said this, Scripture tells us we are all guilty of sin, that like sheep we have all gone astray and turned our own way (Isaiah 56:3). Jesus addressed the sin of pride and greed far more frequently than we ever see homosexuality addressed. Why is it that the Church treats those of this community or those who struggle with this topic with estrangement and even hostility?

It is for this reason I hope you can view this as a non black and white issue. Do you think Jesus’ ministry and message would have been affective if He isolated himself from those deemed too sinful by society? If we look at Jesus’ ministry, He was the one dining and hanging with sinners; the ones in the community deemed unworthy of Holy presence or Heavenly love by the spiritual leaders. Jesus shattered those stereotypes and standards. He saw people as people for their hearts and engaged them unconditionally. Jesus met with the corrupt public servants, the prostitutes, and the “unclean” because He cared about their stories and struggles and could see beyond their sin. He recognized their need and offered them hope. Jesus knew ALL children deserve the Father’s love and like every person, we must die to ourselves to know His glory (Luke 9:23).

This is the same love and sacrifice I experienced 8 years ago when I heard the Gospel explained to me for the first time. I had been physically attracted to other guys my entire life but when I heard the Gospel, I knew this love was worthy of sacrifice. I knew in that moment that if I wanted sincere relationship with the Creator of the universe, I had to deny myself. I had to deny the same-sex temptation I had faced my entire life. God made it clear to me that my identity from there on out was rooted in Him; not any sinful temptations I faced. I had grown up previously believing religion was man-made because I identified as gay and the constant argument I was hearing from the church was that being gay was a “choice.” I felt misunderstood and hated by the church. To this day, I know I never made a conscious decision to decide which gender I would be physically attracted to.  What I do know is all believers must decide every day whether to obey His Word or succumb to the temptations of this world. We can choose to serve our own earthly desires and ourselves or choose to serve the Lord and His will for our life.

I hope my story can offer some perspective and humanity to this topic. We as Christians need to know we have brothers and sisters in Christ who are struggling with these temptations. We need to know our words around this topic can have lasting affects on others. It took me over 4 years as a Christian to confess my struggle with same-sex attraction to another believer because of the dialogue I witnessed by other Christians on this topic. I had fear of being looked and treated differently. I was terrified my church community would disown me if others were to find out. I was scared my leadership responsibilities would be stripped from me. I feared I would be viewed as a sexual predator for my involvement with youth. I feared this struggle would define me in their eyes. There are many like myself that carry fear of truly being one with the body for fear of judgment. We need to change this culture within the Church.

We must also be vigilant of how we address same-sex attraction and its potential causes. To the best of my knowledge, homosexual attraction has not been proven genetically nor is there consensus in the psychological community for how an individual develops these attractions. What I can say is if we are quick to judge these individuals and how their attractions developed, we can be unintentionally assigning blame to family members or others. When I hear Christians argue that someone adopts these attractions because of a broken relationship with a parent, do we ever think about how that makes the parent feel? When I hear these arguments, I think of Jesus healing the man born blind. His disciples were convinced this man was born blind due to generational sin. Jesus disproves this criticism in stating, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:1-3).

I like to think Jesus says the same thing about my life. I never made a decision to have same-sex attraction nor do I think my parent’s sin purely caused this for my life. What I cling to knowing is that I will live my life as obediently to His word as I can, knowing that the Lord will continue working in my life. I’m not saying if I follow Him, He will take these attractions away from me but I am confident He is using me for His kingdom as long as I remain in Him. To me, there is nothing more encouraging than this.

The reality is that with our current cultural climate, more and more individuals are identifying with the LGBT community and fleeing the church in droves. What is this telling us? To me it says those that experience same-sex attraction feel there is more hope, life, and love to be experienced if they can identify in this community rather than Christ’s body of believers. What does this say about how the church has loved these individuals? Let’s change the conversation with our prayer partners, small groups, and churches when it comes to homosexuality so we can begin to love these individuals as Christ commands us.

Same-sex attraction is something I’ve dealt with my whole life, yet my identity isn’t my struggles. My identity is Christ. To use Paul’s words, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

 

Published by Mike

@m5mcgregor

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