The title of this article alone is sure to draw fire. And it will sound like something along the lines of, “How dare you think you can even speak to the issue of homosexuality let alone offer advice to someone who is gay. How do you know what it’s like?”
Okay, okay . . . But come on . . . You know it’s a clever title. See, because there was that TV show and I reversed the— . . . . . eh, never mind.
Anyway comments like this have very subtle connotations. They assume that those who have gone through a certain experience, or have certain feelings, or are born with certain traits, have a superior moral compass than those who haven’t. Therefore, if you’re not a minority, you can’t talk about racism, if you’re not a woman you can’t talk about abortion, if you’re not depressed you can’t talk about depression, and if you’re not gay, you can’t talk about homosexuality.
Boiled down to it’s most basic form: Morality—-right and wrong, good and bad, is handed down to us by a small percentage of individuals who possess superior powers of discernment.
Other than the obvious issue of subjectiveness with such an idea, I don’t know if I have ever really bought into the premise.
I’ve found in my own life that not being directly involved with certain situations lends an element of objectivity that is very difficult to have otherwise. In fact, some of the best, most enlightening advice I have ever received came from people who had never been where I was. Those on the outside can often bring a clarity to subjects that have, over time, grown confusing and seemingly helpless to those on the inside.
“But you don’t know what it feels like.”
Right. That is true. But maybe I don’t really consider that a, “disqualifier.” Truth and error, right and wrong, very seldom have anything to do with our feelings. In fact, until recently, much of society’s morality has been arrived at by reason not by human impulses.
Example: I don’t punch someone in the throat when I’m sitting at a stop light and see them throwing trash out their window. Not because I don’t feel a deep, primal need to, but because I override that and instead, side with my intellect. I’m able to step back, evaluate the situation, and call to mind the fact that I have never once in my whole life won a fight. Which then leads me to a much better moralistic conclusion.
So no, I do not think that because I am not gay, and do not know what it’s like, that this therefore means I am incapable of arriving at the correct point of view about it. And, in fact, I believe that people who spend too much time enveloped in the throes of certain situations have the tendency of becoming incapable of arriving at the right point of view.
In a Way Our Situations Are All Different–Yet the Same
But since we are talking about who feels what, let’s look at the other side of this coin: While it’s true I don’t know what it’s like to be a gay Christian and the pressures that it brings, gay folks don’t know what it’s like to be a heterosexual Christian male.
“Oh give me a break! That’s easy!”
Really? . . . How do you know?
Men are not monogamous by nature. They are not born having the desire to be with only one woman for the rest of their lives. And while society is becoming increasingly accepting of men who have extra marital affairs, it is still by in large condemned (as it should be). As Christian men, we have an even higher expectation. Not only are we to stay faithful to one woman, but to love her as Christ loves the Church and to make every attempt to live knowledgeable of her needs. None of these expectations come naturally. They require a lot of patience, endurance and (as my wife will tell you,) practice.
What Not to do
So, that being said, I’d like to share some basic principles that are actually common knowledge among believers. You’ll notice these apply to nearly every aspect of Christian behavior—-gay or straight. I point that out because I think it’s important we clearly establish that those who struggle with homosexuality are not, “weird” or, “abnormal” or anything like that. They’re just like the rest of us, and can benefit from what the Bible teaches about sin, and self control.
1. Whether you’re gay or straight, do not equate feelings with action. It really helps to get this idea clear in our minds: The fact that we experience temptation does not mean we are sinning. The Bible says Jesus Himself was tempted in every way that we are yet without sin. The temptation and draw of something does not equal action of something. This is where our culture and the media have really muddied the waters— especially when it comes to homosexuality. Even though there is an obvious difference between feeling and action, there is a coordinated effort to blur this line. Because if it was ever widely established that being born with certain inclinations does not mean you have to live a certain way, many of the arguments would fall apart. Including the comparison of the homosexual to a minority race —unless we were trying to say that whatever skin color you are born with determines how you must act . . . Which . . . I’m pretty sure would be racist.
Unfortunately, the result of this flawed logic is people who now think they were born with no control over how they live and act. Which is an absolute farce. One does not need to be religious to recognize that, as humans, what makes us unique is the ability to override our more base, animalistic tendencies and when necessary, act contrary to them.
2. Whether you’re gay or straight, don’t pray prayers that sound like, “God take these feelings away or else I’ll know it’s your will to go ahead and do this.” Every straight married man who prays that kind of a prayer has a frying pan to the head in his future.
3. Whether you’re gay straight, don’t buy into the lie that your struggles are unique. Once you convince yourself that there is, “no one who understands” you essentially give yourself a universal pass for any and all behavior. As previously mentioned, experiencing temptations and feelings contrary to God’s Will is far from unique—that’s what makes you a human in need of a Savior.
4. Whether you’re gay or straight, do not let sexual attraction define you. Just because you have these feelings does not mean they are the sum total of who you are. If you buy into this lie, then soon you’ll develop a sense of justification for living any kind of lifestyle you want—After all, we can’t deny who we are, right?
5. Whether you’re gay or straight, don’t search the internet or other sources for permission to do, “whatever you want”–because I guarantee you’ll find them.
6. Finally, whether you’re gay or straight, get it out of your head that there is going to be some kind of finish line in this life. We are all a work in progress and nearly every Christian can tell you they are a recovering, “sinaholic” who occasionally (if not constantly) relapses. Most will live their whole lives revisiting bad habits no matter how hard they try not to. The struggle is not evidence that there is something wrong with you, but on the contrary, actually shows you’re just as normal as the rest of us.