Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Are we willing?

The other day my wife and I were talking about gender identity and how to support those who continue to connect with us.

A statement that we often hear is “I do not feel safe to talk about my struggle at my Church” or “they don’t understand my issue”.

Interestingly enough those statements resounded in my own heart as comments that I had used years earlier in my struggle with same gender attraction. I hide within the confines of those statements in fear that I would be rejected and tossed out of the Church, or worse, that those in the Church would just ignore me. Sadly, my experience was one of just ignoring the issue. I did talk about it and explain to my pastors that this is what I was dealing with. They referred me to a counselor and then not another word was spoken regarding my struggle. No one asked how I was doing or journeyed through the hard stuff with me.

For years, I held that against the Church. How could they reject me in such a way, shun me with silence. The very thing that I needed to talk about was held in the quiet confines of “he appears to be doing better”, “the counselor will handle this situation”. I began viewing the whole body of Christ through that experience. That the Church would not get this issue, nor would they be willing to walk with me or anyone else in a redemptive way.

I have walked in a season of forgiveness. Both for those who rejected me, but also for my own sinful responses. After my wife and I talked, I sat and meditated on how the Lord has moved in my life and redeemed my sexual identity. I meditated on Jesus. How he was rejected and I felt as if the Lord was giving me new statements to think about.

For those struggling with same gender attraction who are afraid of the reactions from those in the Church, are you willing to be open regardless of what people will say or do? Are you willing to talk, even if you are faced with a brick wall of a non response? Are you afraid that you will be rejected?

Maybe I should say, are you WILLING to be rejected? Are you willing to be misunderstood? Are you willing to press on despite what others will say?

I felt as if I heard Christ say that he was willing to be misunderstood, rejected and he pressed on despite what others said about him. Often times I have heard and I have even shared how I felt as if no one understands the struggle I face and yet Christ knew it first hand. He felt everything that I felt. Why did he feel the same things? He felt it so that I would know that he understands me, even when the world doesn’t. He did it all for me, for us. As Christ hung from the cross he spoke, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Was Christ saying this so that we could better grasp that even he felt forsaken? Did Christ feel alone on the cross, did he experience silence from God his father? How often in my journey with same gender attraction did I feel as if God was silent? When I prayed for him to take away the desires and nothing happened and I felt forsaken, yet God was intimately listening and speaking to me, I just didn’t understand his voice. Even as Christ felt forsaken, he continued his journey on the cross. He was willing to not give in and conform to the cultural influences of his day.

As humans we can aspire to be Christ like (we will never be Christ), and emulate a life that is similar to how Christ lived and breathed. As we seek to be “Christ like” are we willing to not give in to the pressures to conform to the cultural definition of sexuality that says you’re just born this way and you cannot change? Will we believe the lie that Christ cannot redeem our sexual identity rather he embraces us as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgendered people? Will you believe that Christ’s power is inefficient to do it? Or will you believe that in Christ, all things are possible for those who believe? Will you trust a Father who is willing to do whatever it takes to draw you unto himself, so that you would worship Him and Him alone?

Are you willing to press on despite those who do not understand? Who may reject you and say you are foolish and not being true to the real you? For as I see it, just as I was afraid to share about my struggle with same gender attraction while in the body of Christ, there are now people who are just as afraid to step back into the journey out of homosexuality because of what the world around them is saying. I believe the Lord is asking each individual if they are willing to take a step and see what he, the redeemer of all things can and will do, if we would only take the first step.

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