Yesterday I blogged about Trey Pearsons' coming out as gay. He is the member of a "Christian alternative rock band" who has struggled with same-sex attractions all of his life and now has decided to leave his wife and pursue life as an openly gay man.
I find this extremely sad. According to the Bible I read, there is no way he can make it to Heaven living that kind of life, and it is also sad he is breaking his marriage vows and also heading into a life that is dangerous health-wise and in other ways.
It isn't easy......
As I have thought about the choice this man is making, I have to wonder if the church failed him. He was raised by conservative parents and raised in the church. Like me, he evidently was scared to confide in anyone and had to hide his feelings for years. Let me assure you as one who has been there, that is tough. You have to wear a mask and worry about keeping it firmly in place. You are one person to everyone else, but an entirely different person to yourself. The burden of carrying such a secret is very heavy and weighs on you in a way not many people could understand or relate to.
There is pressure to date so as to appear normal, and pressure to marry to further this facade of normalcy of a heterosexual red-blooded male. Family wouldn't understand. Friends wouldn't understand and would most likely ditch you. You'd most likely be ostracized, judged, and avoided like the plague from the family of God you attend church with.
So you become a master of disguise. The secret eats away at you like a cancer. You wonder what you did to deserve this, and how a loving God could sentence you to a life with no one to love..... if you do as you know you should and forsake your attractions and desires to serve God. Discouragement and depression are constant companions. You cry yourself to sleep more often than you can count. You look at other guys with their girlfriend or wife by their side and feel a pain that is almost physical. You want someone to love, but for you that would be sin and something you can never have unless God performs a miracle and "turns you straight".
It is a heavy, heavy cross to carry; and I doubt I could put into words the anguish you can feel dealing with this issue; especially if you are in the church and know and believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that to give in is definitely sin and displeasing to God.
And then if you feel you must keep it a secret, that makes it a thousand times worse.
There are Christians and churches that are going too far on the love side of this issue. They twist, reason around, or just toss out what the Bible says about homosexuality and 100% completely affirm gay people as Christians. They claim to do it out of love, never realizing - or choosing not to - that they are helping these people towards an eternity in hell along with a very dangerous lifestyle.
We evangelical Christians who still believe the Bible does condemn homosexuality, cringe and shrink in horror of the very idea of affirming "gay Christians" in their sin.
But what if we are doing as much damage as these gay affirming Christians and churches?
What if Trey Pearsons had grown up in a church where this issue was lovingly addressed, and people were encouraged to talk about it if they dealt with it? What if he had known if he came forward with his struggle that he would be met with love and Christian brothers and sisters willing to do whatever they could to help him? No, I am not talking about encouraging him to pursue his desires/attractions. I am talking about Christian love that doesn't shrink from a confession of a struggle like that, but instead loves that person and commits to helping him on his Christian journey, even if it means inconvenience or discomfort on their part, I am talking about being the family of God to people dealing with this very tough struggle.
Gay affirming Churches and Christians go too heavy on the love, but we others tend to go too heavy on truth.
The heavy love side says we will accept you and you can go to Heaven while living as a gay person. The Bible doesn't really say it is a sin.
The heavy truth side says you are a freak and abomination that is headed for hell. Your sin is worse than any other, and we don't want to be around you.
And then there are those who breed hate against gay people and give all Christians a bad name.
The balance of the two says, yes it is a sin to give into your attractions and desires, but we love you no matter what. You cannot live for God and give into those attractions/desires, but we will walk beside you and do all we can to help you on your walk with God.
If Trey Pearsons had been in a church that had that balance, would he be coming out as gay and walking out on his marriage today? I can't say for sure, but I do believe the likelihood would be cut way down if that had been the case. I know it would have made a big difference in my life if I could have come forward years ago and told what I was dealing with and got support and love, instead of feeling I had to hide it and deal with it on my own.
And it isn't an easy thing for people to hear. "I am gay, I am attracted to other guys", or however else it is said.
You know someone dealing with it
This is an issue that isn't going away. No matter who you are, you know someone dealing with this issue. They may hide it so well that no one, even their best friend and family has a clue..... but you know someone. It could be your sibling, parent, spouse, cousin, best friend....even your pastor.... broken people dealing with something bigger than them and scared to death to tell anyone.
Some manage to marry and hide it for the rest of their lives, even from their spouse. Others stay single and make up excuses why they aren't dating or married. Others live a life of one night stands and anonymous hook-ups with others of the same sex. Others give up on God and the church and plunge headfirst into living the gay lifestyle out and proud. And sadly some, like Trey Pearson, decide to attempt both: God and the gay life.
What if Trey Pearson was your son, your brother, your friend? Would you encourage him to pursue a dangerous lifestyle and one that will most likely end with an eternity in hell? Would you wash your hands of him and have nothing to do with him? Or would you love him, pray for him, and do all you could to bring him back to God?
Every church and family has a Trey Pearson
Our lives and churches all have Trey Pearsons. We need to stop acting like this is the worse sin and issue, and yes.... fight the gay agenda and the insanity from the liberals - but don't forget to love and try to be there for those who deal with this issue while we do so. It is a very heavy cross to carry, and we may be chasing away those we should be helping to carry it.
And that is something we all must do. To truly love and serve God, we must die to ourselves and our desires; whether they be sexually related or other desires. We all must pick up a cross and follow Jesus, and it isn't always easy, no matter who you are or what you deal with. People attracted to the same sex are not the only people guilty of choosing their own desires over what God wants and says.....the church is full of people doing the same thing, it just isn't always as obvious or looked down on.
"Take up your cross, deny yourself, and follow Me"..... a command for all of us.