A wonderful young man sent me his story and I thought it would encourage many of you so, and also break your heart. So with his permission, here it is.
Hi, Susan! My name is Jake* and I’m 19 years old. I’m currently a freshman in college and loving it! I’ve known that I was gay for as long as I can remember, and I don’t find myself attracted to women. Ever since I can remember, I’ve known that something was just different about me, it wasn’t bad, it was just different. It has taken me a long time to figure out that these different feelings I have are my attraction to men. I think I was about 12 years old when I realized that I was attracted to boys and not girls, and that’s what the different feeling I had was. I’ve grown up in Community Bible Church* my whole life. I grew up in children’s ministry, middle school youth group, high school youth group, and I’m now in a community group that meets every other Friday. I also teach fifth-graders every Sunday morning. I absolutely LOVE my church, and I love the relationships that I have built throughout my life at CBC; however, my church is not affirming at all. I’ve never heard explicitly a sermon about homosexuality, but I know the attitudes of the pastors and staff have about gay people. And I have heard very rude things about gay people from people who go to my church, and it breaks my heart because they don’t know they’re talking about me. I pray for them, and I hope that one day the staff at my church and people who attend will see that there is room for us at the table and that God does love us. One thing that I am afraid of is that when I do come out someday, I will lose relationships with people whom I love dearly — but all I can do is pray that God opens up their eyes! I love Jesus, and I was baptized when I was 13 years old, along with my siblings and my Dad, it was an awesome day. I’ve been wrestling with my feelings and attractions and I’ve prayed for God to take them away, and make me straight — but that is a lot easier said than done. But through your ministry, and doing research, I’ve found that there is nothing wrong with me, and that God loves me. That is a such a great thing to know. I’ve never told anyone that I’m gay until now, but my best friend is coming up to visit this summer from college, and I’m going to come out to her. I know I can trust her, and I know that she’ll accept me, and love me. I also saw on your website that coming out to a trusted friend is probably a good thing to do, before your family. My Mom has been especially offensive towards gay people before with the words she has said, and my Dad isn’t much better. Also, my siblings are not supportive of gay people either. I’ve heard my brother talk about how sinful and how broken and how bad gay people are, I asked him why he thought this way, and he pointed out the verses in Leviticus, Romans, and 1 Timothy. I didn’t argue with him, because I didn’t want him to get any hints that I am gay, and I also didn’t know how to rebuke his argument very well. Also, I’ve heard my sister talk about how “disgusting” homosexuality is. I’m not ready to come out to my family at all, but I will be someday, and I know that I will have God on my side and my best friend in my corner too!
I love my siblings more than anything and I am so afraid to lose them. But I keep praying that when I do come out, whenever that may be, that God will soften their hearts, and they can see that I still love Jesus, and that I am still the same person. I pray that over my whole family, really because almost all of them are Christian or Catholic and hold very traditional views on marriage and homosexuality. But I just need to keep praying for them. Susan, I just want to thank you so very much for being there for LGBT Christians and showing us the love Jesus shows. I appreciate your work so much, it’s so comforting to know that I have brothers and sisters in Christ who care and know that we can be who God made us to be and love Jesus too!! So, thank you again so much, Susan! 🙂 🙂
I don’t care who you are or what you’ve done. God invites you into relationship with him. He invites you to come exactly as you are, period. As Christmas approaches, you be anticipating a visit with family, or their church, and feel overwhelmed by pressure to measure up. (Spoken or unspoken.)
But those who say you are unacceptable do not understand Jesus. Those who tell you to make some monumental change are reading the bible incorrectly. Oh, we change! — but God changes us. We don’t have a hope to change ourselves.
And what we think others must change — surprise — may not be what God changes! (Just imagine that!)
We were ALL given one job: love God, love others. (“But badmouthing them and talking about how disgusting their behavior is is loving them.”) No, it isn’t. (“But telling them what they need to change is loving them.”) No, it’s isn’t. Telling someone everything you think is wrong with them, with scripture to ‘prove it’, is not loving them.
Loving them is loving them.
Church, we cannot sing about God’s acceptance of anyone and everyone who comes, and then tell people what they must change to be acceptable. That violates the whosoever of John 3:16.
Just as I am – without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
-O Lamb of God, I come!
If it’s not about coming as you are, then stop saying it is… and stop saying you’re teaching the Bible because you’re not. Let this season be about loving as Christ loves, and gratitude for the gift he gives. (He’ll deal with whatever needs to be dealt with.)
Much love – Susan