Then I heard another voice from heaven saying,
“Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues…(Revelation 18:4)
“Come out, be yourself. How long will you deny you? Come on, this is who you are!! Be real for once!”
If you experience same sex orientation, then there are high chances that the above statements have been hurled at you many times. There are some levels of truth in all these. That is for sure but then, I am convinced that what most of these people tend to encourage is, one for people to come out (which is great) and two, to pursue a life that is contrary in many ways to the wisdom of God in his word( which is not okay). That kind of brings us to crossroads i know but not to worry because the word always provides a way out. God constantly says:-
Come out of the world
As Jesus prepared to physically depart from his disciples he prays,They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Jn 17:16. The Bible depicts the world as a unit run by a particular system. And God forbids us against falling in love with the patterns of this world.
In the period that I have wrestled with same sex orientation, following are some key areas that I would like to strongly highlight:-
A)Making sexuality our identity. While it’s true that orientation colours many things in our lives like the kind of conversations we are likely to have, who we are drawn to spend our time with, the Bible verses that we often think about etc, the truth is that, it is never our truest authentic self. The sexualized world where we live in, popularizes that you are first your sexuality then all other things follow and that no law should prohibit you from responding to what you naturally feel or hinder you from pursuing that which will give you maximum joy. It also promotes the notion that the road to a happy life is cast only on one site- sexual satisfaction. This is not true for those who have set their eyes on the Calvary spot. They have relinquished the temporary satisfaction brought about by embracing self and its longings and said yes to something greater. As CS Lewis states, ‘forsaken a mud pie at the slum and taken up residence on a holiday at the beach. They are first Christians before anything else, and that is their truest self. And that sexuality is not what should dictate their being and doing.
B) Indulgence being the only lifestyle. The world denotes that same sex desires are too strong and thus every bank must break when they set in. And so many cannot help but get trapped in gay porn sites, gay bars and promiscuous sex. Being a minority and having to operate more in the shadows, such a lifestyle seems inevitable. And it seems like the only script set on stone for all. But is that the only script? Well, an author by the name CS Lewis said that, “it’s not that the porn addict desires are too strong but that his other desires are too weak.” This means that, we are not left to the fate of our sexual craving, not doomed to the joy of our orgasm. But rather, that we can cultivate other sweeter things. The beauty of intimacy and communion, the very one that David talked about, …Your (Jonathan) love to me was extra- ordinary, surpassing the love of women. We can enjoy the sweetness that comes once a sin moment has been delayed. And oh the glory of being free, never giving the flesh power to rule you by succumbing to every appetite it has. Yes the desires are likely to storm in with great pressure, but, since when did we become slaves to our desires? And is God not able to rule our emotions so that we can please him in all ways? CS Lewis goes ahead to say, “If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
c) Painting God as cruel and hateful. Some go ahead even to disregard his existence. Growing up as the black sheep in Christian families, living in shame and having had to endure painful practises in the aim of changing your sexuality has a way of shaping who a gay person thinks God is, which leads to some even denying his existence. It’s true that God has been misrepresented many times by those who profess to be his followers. Having said this, I have no doubt that it’s God who created us all. That the fall of man in Genesis 3 hurt him deeply since he loved us and knew the consequences of this fall. It is true that he has been in the process of reconciling all people to himself. That he would no longer be an enemy to his children. Jacob wrestled with him the whole night (Genesis 32:22-32) without knowing who He really was and at day break, God made himself known to him. I would wish to invite those who experience same sex/gay orientation to not just be satisfied with the negative image painted of God by those who have gone ahead of them. Just as Jacob wrestled, we can engage God in what we feel and what that means, we can let him know what the prohibitions in his word mean to us and how we feel pissed off when we cannot fulfil them and are considered by the rest as the worst of sinners. Going ahead we can express our unwavering Faith unto his omniscient attribute. And by that, we can choose to let him be a companion in the journey, even with our doubts and failings (which I believe he is not scared of), for he is willing and able to guide in all truth for Life. Thus being an atheist or anti-Christian is never the only option for those who experience same sex/gay orientation.
No human is beyond God’s saving power and no sinner scares God. In reverence to him, we can all come out of that which defiles body and Spirit. Whether facing an opposite or same sex orientation, God calls us out of darkness into his marvellous light. To be his chosen people, his royal priesthood and his holy nation (1st Peter 2:9-10).
And note, it is the devil’s lie that the only escape from tension is through yielding.
Come out- Be free