“Yes, could I make an appointment?” the young man on the other end of the line asked. I said, “Sure!” and we set up a time for mid afternoon on Tuesday.
When Brian* showed up he wasn’t alone. I had not expected that he would bring his lover, Steve*. They were both around twenty years old, and I have to tell you their clothes were huge. I heard the shuffling coming from a mile off.
Looking at Steve I said, “Are you interested in joining the group?” “Yeah, sure,” he said with a quizzical look. So I handed them each an Intake Interview Form and new member paperwork, and asked that they fill them out, and then we could talk. To make a long story short and get to the point of the article, I learned that they had no intention of joining the group.
The younger one was there only to appease his parents. I explained to them what we were about and received a “talkin’ to” by the older one.
The young man’s impassioned speech hinged on one theme. All he had ever known was being gay. The only person he had ever loved was Brian, and he could not see how a mutually beneficial relationship could be sinful. I looked at them with true love and understanding. I fully understood their point of view. I also knew that I couldn’t say a word to change their minds.
So, instead of taking them on point for point, I just said, “Our ministry is here for those people who are in agreement with our beliefs. The material I just gave you will adequately explain our position and probably lead to questions. If you would like to ask me questions, or talk one-on-one at any time, feel free to give me a call. However, I do not think that discussing it today would be fruitful. Take this, read it, and think about it.” They said they would.
I kept thinking about the young one’s assertions because they were exactly what I once believed. Ironically, before I became a Christian, I helped some of my friends accept homosexuality at a 12-step program I attended. I used to say the same thing these two young men were saying: How can love be wrong? How is it possible that my passion and care for someone is wrong?
One time my stepmother asked me if I was gay because it was the only thing I ever knew. That floored me, and I thought the woman was out of her mind! But the Lord reminded me that this was His question to me even before I got saved, to prepare my heart to receive His point of view.
Is it possible to have known love only from a homosexual definition of it? I am here to tell you, “Yes.” People often come up to me after I speak and ask, “Didn’t you always know in your heart that you were wrong, that your love for men was just lust and an abomination before God?” I look them squarely in the eyes and say, “No, I didn’t know that. I was quite happy with who I was at that time.” When you spend your entire life calling carrots apples, your apple may be red and delicious, but my apple is orange and is tasty steamed.
If people have only experienced intimacy and connection within the context of same-gender attraction, that is the only way they will define love, and they will attempt to run their lives accordingly. To step outside of this false definition of love will lead them into waters they may have never been in before, and into which they are afraid to step. God comes crashing into our world with limitless love to redefine our fallen perceptions of what love means. What was the very first expression of that Love? He came as a baby, an innocent. He started off by role modeling the need for dependence.
We, like Mary, must be available to nurture. When we encourage someone who has never before experienced love outside of same-gender attraction to turn away from that behavior pattern, we are literally asking that person to sacrifice the only love he or she may have ever known. If we do not offer these precious souls an opportunity to know a different Love, a Love that is beyond anything they could comprehend, a Love that cannot be compared to homosexuality because it transcends human thought, then we don’t have a right to interfere in their lives. If we cannot nurture them into the kingdom and introduce them to the Transcendent Love who designed them for something better than being gay, what hope can we offer them?
In my own experience, it was only when God showed me that I could trust Him that I was able to sacrifice my false erotic and romantic love for other men. It is because of His unfailing love and commitment to me that I am able to see and love men the way He intended for me to – as Brothers in the Lord or men in need of the gospel. This leads to a sacrificial love where I can give up all false loves in pursuit of Divine Love and Righteousness.
Many times, those of us coming out of homosexuality find it hard to believe that there could possibly be a Greater Love. That is where God comes in as the Lover of our Souls. He woos us, He comes for us, He defends us, and He disciplines us. We are His Children through Christ, and His love isn’t based on what we do, but on who we are. When we come to that realization, false loves (homosexuality being only one of them) cannot even compare, and are sacrificed.
Today I can honestly say that my worst day as a Christian is better than the best day I experienced as a gay man. I can say this only because my God honored my hope and faith in Him and has proved Himself to be a greater Love than the “love” I experienced as a homosexual.
So, what do I say to Brian and Steve? “Gentlemen, I know you both have a definition of love and each of you feels you are the completion of the other. I used to think that was possible, too. Today my mind has changed, and I see that same-gender love is only mutually beneficial when it is expressed in a sibling relationship in Christ. Same-sex erotic/romantic unions are inferior loves, based on meeting personal needs rather than celebrating and serving the God-created opposite sex partner in marriage (men serving and celebrating the creation of woman as a wife, and women serving and celebrating the creation of man as a husband.)
This divinely-inspired and beautiful order is the capstone, the ultimate expression of God’s image on the earth. Men and women each carry the image of God in a unique way. Together, they are the centerpiece of a universe created by God and declared by Him to be good. God can give you a greater love than what you two can give each other. It may seem impossible right now that this could ever happen. Right now it is! That’s why we take this journey on faith and wait on God to lead us. We lay down our personal agendas and expectations and wait on Him to show us the next step.
“Our Father God is so loving He can tell us when things are good for us as well as those not good for us. If you had a child, wouldn’t you do the same? In Christ you become His child and He tells you what is good for you and what is not good for you. Homosexuality is not good for you if only for the reason that it separates you from God and His Divine intent for you as a person. For instance, a child might rebel because he or she is not allowed to play with matches. He wants to play with the sparkly sticks, not realizing that those sticks are incendiary and can destroy life. The child doesn’t know this …yet. You may not know any other love …yet.
“God is righteous and allows us free will, so He will not coerce you. And neither will I. I can tell you, though, that I have discovered that God’s Greater Love is available to everyone who is willing to sacrifice lesser loves on the premise of faith. Living Hope will always be here if you need us.”
*Names have been changed to protect anonymity.