Same-Sex-Attraction

DENNIS JERNIGAN, who wrote the worship song "You Are My All In All" shares his testimony: "I grew up in the church...imagine my horror when, at the age of 10 and already knowing my struggle. I overheard the men of the church discussing homosexuality....."


WHEN MY DAUGHTER SAID I'M GAY is one person's experience with Lead Them Home ministry as he worked to face the message from his daughter that she is homosexual.


A MOTHER'S PERSONAL TESTIMONY.


LETTER TO A LESBIAN:

Dear _____ ,

I just want you to know that I understand.

I understand how it feels to be in love with a woman. To want nothing more than to be with her forever. Feeling as if the universe has played a cruel joke on your heart by allowing it to fall into the hands of a creature that looks just like you.

I too was a lesbian. I had same-sex attractions as early as five years old. As I grew up those feelings never subsided. They only grew. I would find myself having crushes on my female best friends, but I was far too ashamed to admit it to them - let alone myself.

At the age of 17, I finally made the decision to pursue these desires. I entered into a relationship with a young lady

who became my "first". The first time we kissed it felt extremely natural, as if this feeling is what I had been missing all along. After her came another woman and then another woman. Both relationships were very serious, each lasting over a year. I enjoyed these relationships and loved these women a lot. And it came to a point that I was willing to forsake all, including my soul, to enjoy their love on earth. 

In October 2008 at the age of 19, my superficial reality was shaken up by a deeper love - one from the outside, one that I'd heard of before but never experienced. For the first time, I was convicted of my sin in a way that made me consider everything I loved (idolized), and its consequences. I looked at my life and saw that I had been in love with everything except God, and these decisions would ultimately be the death of me, eternally. My eyes opened, and I began to believe everything God says in His Word. I began to believe that what He says about sin, death, and hell were completely true.

And amazingly, at the same time that the penalty of my sin became true to me, so did the preciousness of the cross. A vision of God's son crucified, bearing the wrath I deserved, and an empty tomb displaying his power over death - all things I had heard before without any interest had become the most glorious revelation of love imaginable. 

After realizing all of what I would have to give up, I said to God, "I cannot let these things or people go on my own. I love them too much. But I know you are good and strong enough to help me."

Now, at the age of 23, I can say with all honesty that God has done just that. He has helped me love him more than anything.

Now why did I just tell you about this? I gave you a glimpse of my story because I want you to understand that I understand. But I also want you to know that I also understand how it feels to be in love with the Creator of the universe: to want nothing more than to be with him forever, to feel his grace, the best news ever announced to mankind. To see his forgiveness, that He would take such a wicked heart into his hands of mercy.

But with that in mind, we're in a culture where stories like mine either seem impossible or hilarious, depending on the audience. Homosexuality is everywhere - from music to TV, even sports. If you'd believe all that society had to say about homosexuality, you'd come to the conclusion that it is completely normal, even somewhat admirable. But that is far from the truth. God tells us that homosexuality is sinful, abominable and unnatural (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13; Romans 1:18-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Timothy 1:8-10). But if I were to be honest, sometimes homosexual attractions can seem nature to me. 

I don't think it's a stretch to say that this may be your dilemma as well. You see what God has to say about homosexuality, but your heart doesn't utter the same sentiments. God's Word says it's sinful; your heart says it feels right. God's Word says it's abominable; your heart says it's delightful. God's Word says it's unnatural; your heart says it's totally normal. Do you see that there is a clear divide between what God's Word says and how your heart feels?

So which voice do you believe?

There was a time in my walk with Christ where I experience a lot of temptation about falling back into lesbianism. These temptations caused me to doubt God's Word. My temptations and desires began to become more real to me than the truth of the Bible. As I was praying and meditating on these things, God put this impression on my heart: "Jackie, you have to believe that my Word is true even if it contradicts how you feel." WOW! This is right. Either I trust in his Word or I trust my own feelings. Either I look to him for the pleasure my soul craves or I search for it in lesser things. Either I walk in obedience to what He says or I reject his truth as if it were a lie.

The struggle with homosexuality is a battle of faith. Is God my joy? Is He good enough? Or am I still looking to broken cisterns to quench a thirst only He can satisfy? That is the battle. It is for me, and it is for you.

The choice is yours, my friend. I pray you put your faith in Christ and flee from the lies of our society that coincide with the voices of your heart - a heart that scripture says is wicked and deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9). Run to Jesus instead.

You were made for him (Romans 11:36). He is ultimately all that you need! He is good and wise (Psalm 145:9). He is the source of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3). He is kind and patient (2 Peter 3:9). He is righteous and faithful (Psalm 33:4). He is holy and just (1 John 1:9). He is our true King (Psalm 47:7). He is our Savior (Jude 1:25). And He is inviting you to be not just his servant, but also his friend. If lasting love is what you're looking for anywhere else, you are chasing the wind, seeking what you will never find, slowly being destroyed by your pursuit.

But in Jesus there is fullness of joy. In Jesus there is a relationship worth everything because He IS everything. Run to him.

In Jesus' love,

 


HOW CAN THE GOSPEL BE GOOD NEWS FOR GAYS? 

Sam Alberry is associate pastor at St. Mary's Church in Maidenhead, UK, and previously worked on the ministry team at St. Ebbe's in Oxford. He is the author of LGifted: Experiencing the Resurrection Life (P&R, 2012) and Connected: Living in the Light of the Trinity (P&R, 2013).

We were having lunch together, and I was praying like mad. My friend had been in a committed same-sex relationship for about 15 years. He was interested in Jesus: attracted to his teaching and message. But he wanted to know how becoming a Christian would affect his gay lifestyle.

I had explained, as carefully and graciously as I could, that Jesus upheld and expanded the wider biblical stance on sexuality, that the only context for sexual activity is heterosexual marriage. Following Jesus would mean seeking to live under his Word, in this area as in any other.

He had been quiet for a moment, and then looked me in the eye and asked the billion-dollar question: "What could possibly be worth giving up my partner for?"

I held his gaze for a moment while my brain raced for the answer. There was eternity, of course. There was heaven and hell. But I was conscious that these realities would seem other-worldly and intangible to him. In any case, surely following Jesus is worth it even for this life. He was asking about life here-and-now, so I prayed for God to lead me to a here-and-now Bible verse. I wanted my friend to know that following Jesus really is worth it - worth it in the life to come, but also worth it in this life now, no less so for those who have homosexual feelings. Yes, there would be a host of hardships and difficulties: unfulfilled longings, the distress of unwanted temptation, and the struggles of long-term singleness. 

But I wanted him to know that following Jesus is more than worth it, even with all it entails for gay people. And I also wanted to tell him that I had come to know this not just from studying the Bible and listening to others, but from my own experience.

More Grace, Not Less

Homosexuality is an issue I have grappled with my entire Christian life. It took a long time to admit to myself, longer to admit to others and even longer to see something of God's good purposes through it all. There have been all sorts of ups and downs. But this battle is not devoid of blessings, as Paul discovered with his own unyeilding thorn in the flesh. Struggling with sexuality has been an opportunity to experience more of God's grace, rather than less.

Only in recent months have I felt compelled to be more open on this issue. For many years I had no intention of being public about it. I am conscious that raising it here may lead to any number of responses - some welcome, some perhaps less so. But over the last couple of years I have felt increasingly concerned that, when it comes to our gay friends and family members, many Bible-believing Christians are losing confidence in the gospel. We are not always convinced it really is good news for gay people. We are not always sure we can really expect them to live by what the Bible says. 

As my mind raced that lunchtime God gave me a verse to share with my friend. It demonstrates precisely why following Jesus is worth it, in this lifetime, and even when we have to give up things we could never imagine living without:

Peter said to Jesus, "We have left everything to follow you!"

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life." (Mark 10:28-30)

Following Jesus involves leaving things behind and giving things up. For gay people, it involves leaving behind a gay lifestyle.

God's Clear Word

The Bible is consistent in prohibiting homosexual practice. Jesus himself condemns "sexual immorality" (Mark 7:21, for example). Though Jesus does not directly mention homosexual activity, he does include it. The Greek word we translate as "sexual immorality"  (porneia, from which we get the word pornography) is a catch-all term for any sexual activity outside heterosexual marriage. 

Paul is more specific, directly referring to homosexual practice in three passages. In Romans 1:24-27 both homosexual and also lesbian activity are given as examples of the "unnatural" behavior that results from turning away from God. In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 "homosexual offenders" are listed among those whose behavior will result in their exclusion from God's kingdom. The word Paul uses literally translates as "men who lie with men" and comes again in 1 Timothy 1:10 (where the NIV 1984 unhelpfully translates it "perverts".)

It is simply not possible to argue for gay relationships from the Bible. Attempts by some church leaders to do so inevitably involves twisting some texts and ignoring others. God's Word is, in fact, clear. The Bible consistently prohibits any sexual activity outside of marriage. 

As someone who experiences homosexual feelings this is not always an easy word to hear. It has sometimes been very painful to come to terms with what the Bible says. There have been times of acute temptation and longing - times when I have been "in love." And yet Scripture shows that these longings distort what God has created me for.

Extraordinary Returns

However much we have to leave behind we are never left out pocket. Whatever we give up Jesus replaces, in godly kind and greater measure. No one who leaves will fail to receive, and the returns are extraordinary - a hundredfold. What we give up for Jesus does not compare to what He gives back. If the costs are great, the rewards are even greater, even in this life. For me these include a wonderful depth of friendship God has given me with many brothers and sisters; the opportunities of singleness; the privilege of a wide-ranging ministry; and the community of a wonderful church family. But greater than any of these things is the opportunity that any complex and difficult situation presents us with: to learn the all-sufficiency of Christ - learning that fullness of life and joy is in him and his service, and nowhere else.

There is a huge amount to say on this issue, but the main point is this: the moment you think following Jesus will be a poor deal for someone, you call Jesus a liar. Discipleship is not always easy. Leaving anything cherished behind is profoundly hard. But Jesus is always worth it. 

 

REAL stories by debora barr

My life was completely transformed by the Word of God and the unconditional love of a church body exemplifying Christ to me in a tanbile way! By 1994, I had been living as an atheist for 6 years and a homosexual for six yers when my lesbian partner...

 

 

 

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