Sunday, November 21, 2010
Through My eys...thoughts on the documentary
Through my eyes:
A documentary of individuals who have come to understand their gay or lesbian identity. They share their experience within the church community and their struggle prior to embracing themselves as gay and lesbian Christians.
My heart went out to the individuals sharing their stories of how friends and the church reacted to them when they inwardly struggled with their feelings, and how they reacted when they outwardly embraced their gay and lesbian identity.
I too experienced that within my years of inwardly struggling with my same gender attraction. Silently praying and pleading with God to take away these feelings. Crying out to him…endless prayers and petitions. Saying I would be a good Christian if only I did not have these feelings. I told God that I would do anything for Him if he took ‘it’ away. Since the age of 10…till I was 29, I struggled. The last few years of that struggle, I opened up and began to share the issue with others and sought help. I received good support in certain areas, but I thought the feelings would go away…why didn’t they?
I was in a healing community…what was wrong with me?
I could sympathize with each person…and yet…what was missing? Was it the environment that the movie was played in? Was it the people in the audience? Was it the facilitator? Was it just because I was at a different place that it somehow, felt hopeless and sad? Was it because at the end…there really was no hope? They had found hope in embracing their gay and lesbian identity, but is that hope?
I wondered and began to ponder?
Are we cheapening grace when we welcome people to stay in their captivity? I realize that someone who is identified as a Christian gay or lesbian no longer views themselves as being held in captivity but, as someone who holds a traditional Biblical Sexual Ethic does this make me unloving and unkind to say they are still in captivity? Jesus loved radically. I heard many times this week that Jesus walked in the market place, he ate with tax collectors, prostitutes…the down and out…those called ‘sinners’, if we use that analogy when we talk about Christian gay and lesbian people we are placing them in the same category as those called ‘sinners’, and Jesus never ate and walked with people so they could stay in the same place in their sin…he walked with them so they could rise out of that and live in the fullness of who He had desired for them from the beginning.
We cheapen Jesus’ love when we water down truth. Jesus isn’t this hippy love guru, who said only nice lovely things about love…and only challenged the religious leaders. He challenged all of us. He does not define us by our unmet needs, our brokenness, or even the ways we label ourselves in sin. He calls us out of that, into generous spaciousness with wonderful, healthy, safe boundaries for our good.
Having walked out of the struggle when I was 29…into the arms of the gay community (and yes, there is a gay community out there). I hung up all the guilt…and lived gay identified for 8 years and partnered for most of the 8 years. I walked out of the boundary lines that God has given his children to walk in for our good. I was angry at the church, and to those who spoke negative comments…about me…within hearing. So those were the last people I would associate with. Hmmm, yet God had other plans. God brought two people into my life who were in relationship with me. Both of them Christian. I find it interesting that we did not talk about God a lot but rather talked about our lives.
I was an activist. I wanted to change people’s minds. I wanted them to stop saying I was going to hell. I wanted them to stop saying that homosexuality was a sin. I read small booklets on what the Bible really says about homosexuality…and to my surprise…I was told those verses were taken out of context…and because man wrote the words, they interpreted it all wrong. Wow. I couldn’t believe it. Finally it was true. Yet…it still didn’t add up for me. I still could not believe that those verses did not mean exactly what they said. It did not make sense to what the rest of the Bible said about marriage, or how God created us as distinct genders. So I hung up the Bible too. Away, so I wouldn’t have to think about that. I prayed, I did good things, I tried to be a good person…and when I wasn’t I asked for forgiveness.
The last year of my partnership our relationship wasn’t going all that well and I had grown in who I was as a person, as a man, and I realized that this wasn’t healthy for me. That the relationship that I was in wasn’t good. So I broke it off. For me that took courage and guts. I began to work out how my life would look and what I would do. My plans were to begin again. Get a condo, keep working, maybe begin dating and life would continue on.
When we step out of the boundary lines of God’s design for our sexuality and who we are as gendered men and women, we invite distortion into our lives. We begin to be deceived by the world’s view of homosexuality and we believe that we are finally being true to ourselves when really we are being lied to and deceived. The enemy comes to kill and destroy and he is like a thief in the night…quick and silent.
I had silently and quickly slipped into the gay identity yet, God is the author and finisher of my faith…and He always has the last word. Not because He is controlling and unloving, rather He is our Father…who is kind, loving, a Father who painfully lets us go our own way.
God spoke to my mom in a real and powerful way one day. It didn’t impact me until later but she heard the holy spirit speak to her and tell me one day that I did not have to go back to Egypt. I was thinking this meant my ex partner…so I continued to make my own plans.
I know the plans I have for you…plans that are for your good! His plans for me. Not my plans for myself. Whenever we leave God out of our plans…and I mean, laying down our sinfulness and then ask Him…What are you plans for me God?...we enter into being our own god.
A few weeks later, I was out for a run. Troubled by legal issues regarding our separation and the dividing of the property…I called out to God and just said…I could use some help here, if you are there, I need you.
I heard God say to me immediately… “You do not have to go back to Egypt!”
I knew at that moment, that God meant my gay identity.
Do we wait for our lives to hit rock bottom before we need God? Do we become so successful that we do not hear him? Do we ever allow God to evaluate our lives in every area? Are we willing to lay down our gay or lesbian label at the cross of Christ? Does God really affirm us in our gay and lesbian identities?
God did not affirm me in my attempts to be my own god as I lived gay identified. I spit in God’s face. I cheapened His creation. I changed the Bible to suit my needs. I read the Bible with bias and could not allow the holy spirit to convict me of that sin.
I walked out of the wilderness…still same gender attracted. WHAT!!!! Not totally healed? Free of the attraction?
Nope. That was never God’s intent. I had to come to a place of understanding why I felt this way and I had to submit this to the Lord and begin to walk in relationship with others…of both genders. I had to begin to stop lusting after my own gender. I had to begin to love myself, and learn about who I was really created to be.
This weekend, someone labeled me as being in a mixed orientation marriage. I was offended by that. I do not label myself by my issues in my life. Do I still have same gender thoughts? Yes, but they are submitted to the cross of Jesus, nailed there, not being held by me, rather Jesus holds the issue. For I am dependant on Him, to be my strength when I am weak. For when I am weak, He makes me strong.
Being married to a woman, has been one of the greatest gifts I could ever imagine. I can’t imagine life without her. She is my best friend, my lover, my companion, my partner, and she is Christ to me and I to her. Her femininity welcomes my masculinity. As I take initiative, she is able to receive and we walk life out in love and respect, honor and trust.
Both my wife and I are not defined by our struggles or our weaknesses. I do not label myself gay…just because I have a feeling every once and a while. We are born again…washed clean, set on a new course. My label comes from Christ who bore my sin and shame. My label comes from my heavenly Father who calls me his beloved son…whom he is well pleased with. To call myself a gay man would call God my father a liar. He deserves much more glory and honor than that.
In all of this reflection over the movie. My hope is that each person in this movie would come to the full knowledge of God’s plans for them. To bring them into the fullness of their true identities.