The phrase “Coming Out” doesn’t need an explanation. Our culture has become so overly saturated with gay issues we all know what that means. But what do we do with authentic followers of JESUS who also happen to have same-sex attraction as a part of their reality?
Many traditional conservative churches and believers probably haven’t given it much thought. That usually only changes when someone they know and love “comes out” to them or has been “found out.” Yet, churches have more members than they would ever guess who secretly suffer with shame because of their sexuality and who have nowhere to turn for fear of being judged and ostracized.
Many churches simply continue to bury their heads in the sand and prefer to do nothing. Other churches are loud in their condemnation of gay people but offer no other options for those who are sincerely working through their sexual reality. And then, of course, there are more and more churches who are becoming gay affirming.
I would like to challenge those churches who are not gay affirming for truly sound biblical reasons, to carefully consider a more biblical response to gay people and to individuals who claim to be Christian but who are also same-sex attracted. If we say we believe the Bible to be GOD’s word then it would be expedient that we follow its teachings and the teachings of JESUS as the Son of GOD . . . the Perfect Example.
There is a growing movement of individuals who call themselves “gay Christians” but who also embrace a traditional conservative biblical sex ethic. In other words, they believe the Bible is GOD’s inspired word and is our ultimate authority in all issues of life. They believe ALL gay sex is sinful and contrary to GOD’s plans for human sexuality. They believe marriage is reserved solely for one man and for one woman for a lifetime together. They choose to live sexually pure in a vocation of celibacy and singleness or they choose to enter into a “mixed oriented marriage” where one partner is a “gay Christian” but the other is a “straight Christian.”
While I have serious concerns about using a “gay Christian” label (I’ve written about this in a previous newsletter), I do understand much of the reasoning behind using that terminology. Let me first say that I have personally experienced same-sex attraction all of my life. That should not be shocking to anyone who knows me because I have been “out” concerning my sexuality for almost 24 years! As much as I would love to report to you that after 24 years of walking in a process of healing and recovery through years of therapy, many conferences and workshops, crying out to the LORD in confession and repentance (and much more) that I have been “cured” and am now fully straight . . . BUT . . . I am compelled by HOLY SPIRIT to be completely honest . . . I continue to be same-sex attracted . . . but I love JESUS more than ever. GOD has used this incredible journey to bring me deeper and deeper into intimacy with Him. That has become my over all focus in life . . . NOT my sexuality!
I made a decision many years ago that I would resist hiding in a closet; I would resist allowing myself to walk back into a life of secrets and not be totally honest about my sexual realities. I was trapped in a life of lies, deception, and manipulation. That is a horrible way to live and kept me in slavery and in bondage. I lived that way for 45 years. I cannot . . . I must not ever go back there again . . . I refuse too!
“Coming out” is truly a biblical concept. Clearly, GOD’s word teaches us that we are to walk in integrity, authenticity, and transparency through confession (James 5:13-20; Hebrews 10:19-25). It is critically important for the Church to provide a safe place for ALL people to walk in integrity, authenticity, and transparency, and for them to have freedom to confess their secrets, temptations, and failures whatever they might be. Otherwise, they will remain in darkness and in bondage to their secrets, which causes overwhelming pain, hurt, loneliness, and shame.
That is not the life the LORD is calling us to. None of us are perfect. There is nothing that we can do that could possibly be greater than GOD’s love, mercy, and grace. There is nothing that could cause GOD to not love us . . . and there is nothing that we can do to cause GOD to love us more than He already does. There isn’t any ideology on earth . . . there isn’t any person on earth . . . that can resist the onslaught of the authentic gospel of JESUS. There is power in GOD’s love and it flows through the spilled blood of JESUS! Let it flow through you and through your church!
[Part 2 of “The Importance of ‘Coming Out’” will focus on how incredibly important this truth is for the person who is same-sex attracted and will be the featured article in May’s newsletter]