Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Gender and it really that important?

I have had several emails from those who read my last column “Born this way? CC August 22, 2011), and I want to thank all my readers for taking the time to consider the words that I put together. This column dealt with social issues, focusing primarily on same gender attraction and the church.

To some, this issue may be something we “just don’t talk about,” while to others there may be an attitude of “what’s the big deal, it really isn’t much different than someone dealing with heterosexual lust issues.” I believe that our gender and sexual identities are very important not just for us, but to God and how he designed us. Culturally speaking, we live in a hostile climate. My mom, who has spoken along side my wife and I at various settings, states that there is a “climate change” that is happening and she’s not talking about the environment. Rather, she’s talking about a change in how the church and society views gender and identity. Some church communities are slowly becoming an affirming place for those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered, and by doing so are encouraging these people to continue walking in their broken state rather than offering the hope of restoration through Jesus Christ.

Gender and sexual identities are important. I believe that God formed us and made us male and female, and that he created us to be this way for a reason. Specifically, he did this so that we could bear his image to the world around us as we walk in whole and holy relationships with the opposite sex. What we are seeing is a distortion of gender, a confusion regarding sexual identity and an embrace of a fallen, broken state. The enemy of God loves this. The enemy of God (Satan, Devil or whatever name you call him), wants to wipe God off the face of the earth. He will do whatever he can to accomplish this. This is a bold claim, but I believe that one of the last frontiers that the enemy has is our gender and our sexuality. Abortion has been going on for years, killing innocent babies. Babies that God knew, created and had plans for. The enemy continues to have his hand in the whole area of abortion, but that isn’t enough. If he can distort the image of God in any way, then he has done his job.

Someone who read my last column asked me “Really, what is so different about same gender strugglers?” For myself, I came to the place of realizing that my unwanted same sex attraction was no different than a heterosexual man dealing with lust (other than
the object of our lust). The root issues for me were very similar. I struggled with shame, insecurity, low self esteem, control and anger. When these core issues are triggered it caused me to seek comfort in the arms of another man. Often when these core issues are triggered for a heterosexual man dealing with sexual addiction, it causes them to seek comfort in the arms of a woman.

It’s important to realize though that those who struggle with unwanted same sex attraction come from varied background and experiences, and that the issue is very complex. It isn’t just a pat answer that will help the struggler. The person who struggles has often spent years in silence, often fearing a negative response from those in their community, specifically within the body of Christ. How we respond and how we love is very important to those who struggle with gender and sexual identity issues. If what I believe is true regarding the enemy destroying God’s image by distorting gender, then the body of Christ needs to rise to be a different voice, a voice of hope and restoration. It needs to rise to it’s place as a community of grace and truth. Affirming and bringing people into the healing presence of Jesus Christ is crucial. Loving people and being truthful about our own broken places will hopefully allow others to realize that the body of Christ is a safe place to seek out the restoration of God’s intended purpose for our gender and sexual identities. This is a huge issue we are facing. One that won’t “just go away,” but is at the very heart of a God whose image depends on how we walk out our gender and sexuality.

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