I want to share with you a letter written to me by a lesbian Christian. Here it is:
I’m a lesbian (a dyke, butch, a girl who looks like a man), and I’m a born-again Christian. I was an active worker of the church, back home in my country (Philippines), where my dad was a pastor. I was in a worship team. And I really find joy in serving our Lord Jesus Christ—singing praises to Him, feeling His presence and being filled with the Holy Spirit. I see people being blessed by what I do for God’s glory.
But I sometimes wonder what they would think or do they if they knew I’m a homosexual—which I actually think is pretty obvious, since you would never see me being girly: wearing a dress, putting on a make-up, and doing all those “how-a-Christian-girl-should act” things. I was always true to myself, but not so truthful that I’d stand up in front of the congregation and confess “Hey! brothers and sisters, I am gay and love Jesus!” I dream of doing that though, of letting the people know, or the church know, who and what I really am.
Not long ago I started asking myself whether or not being gay or lesbian really is okay. Is it a sin? An abomination? Is it a given that gay people go straight to hell—doesn’t matter if you love Jesus, doesn’t matter if you serve Him? You are a homo, and that is a sin, so it’s either repent and be straight, or continue your homosexual acts and burn in hell?
It scares me, John. The idea of changing myself because it is the right thing to do—which is what they say what God wants me to do—is scary. It’s like giving up my whole life. And I’ve been like this since grade school. Though I know that’s what serving God is all about—right? About surrendering your all to Him?
Not all that long ago I was in a serious relationship with a girl. We loved each other. But finally she felt she had to break it off, because she couldn’t stop believing what we were both taught to believe: that our love is, and will forever be, wrong.
I honestly don’t wanna think anymore about whether or not being gay is a sin. I just wanna live and be myself and serve God. But there are circumstances that require me to find out more about the whole thing.
My mom has these books about homosexuality: how to come out of it, how to pray for your homosexual daughter/son. And there’s this website she always visits, I can’t remember the site or the speaker’s name. But it teaches that there is hope for gays and lesbians to be straight. And it hurts me. And confuses me at some point.
If God did not want me to be this way, I should have just been straight in the first place. Why would God create gays and lesbians? Or did He really create us to be this way? And If He did made us this way, is it just to prove that there is hope for change for people like us??
I don’t get it. It does not make sense. It’s a torture, for me, as a Christian gay, to feel this way. Because I really don’t think that it was my choice to like girls. What can I do? I never dream of having a man by my side. Just like a straight guy who would never dream of having a guy as his partner for life. I think it’s the same thing.
You are straight. Do you ever dream of having a man by your side? Am I even making sense here? Forgive me. My heart is bursting in tears. I am actually heartbroken right now. So I asked God, am I really not allowed, am I really forbidden, to love someone??
God said whatever our heart desires, ask and He will give it. And my one true desire is to love and be loved. I want who I am and love to be okay for my family, and for the family of the person I love. My desire is just to be free and have no one ,judge me.
Thank you for taking time to read this John. I have so many questions and running across your blog made me think, maybe this is God’s answer.
God bless you,
So . . . yeah. And I get such letters all the time.
When is the caustic, toxic, hateful, homophobic version of Christianity that has so effectively victimized this girl going to stop already?
Look at this person. Look at her love. Look at her desperate yearning to do nothing more than love and be loved.
She wants to love, be loved, and know that God doesn’t hate her. That’s it. That’s her heart’s desire. That’s what she needs. Same as any other person of faith needs. It’s so simple.
And yet there’s Christianity—which is supposed to be founded on the unconditional love of God—breaking and tearing apart her heart. Shredding her sense of worth. Devastating her confidence. Ruining her relationships.
Destroying her life.
And still she loves Christ. This young woman is so deeply wedded to the very heart and soul of Jesus that despite two thousand years worth of ignorant and poisonous institutionalized Christianity being leveled against her and everything she knows about herself, still she clings to God, still she loves Jesus, still she seeks reconciliation between herself and the God she loves.
It’s phenomenal, really. What faith she has.
And there’s her poor mother, reading books on how to “heal” her daughter, praying that God will make her daughter straight.
And what is her daughter’s irredeemable crime? What is it that renders her anathema to the faith that she champions, to the God she continues to love, despite God’s apparent condemnation of her?
It’s that she dreams of having a woman by her side, rather than a man.
And so many Christians, hating this about her, do everything they can to make her hate herself.
And see the effect of their vile bigotry! Look where she’s at now. Looks what’s happened to her. Her letter drips grief and confusion.
The moment I read what she wrote, I answered her back this:
It’s okay that you’re gay. God loves you no less for that. Some people decided to translate their fear of gays into Biblical texts, but those are translation errors, not reality. And then some Christians decided to believe in that translation, not because they were listening to God (who welcomes everyone), but because they were listening to their own fear and anger.
I pray she hears that.
Are you out there, girl? Hear that! God doesn’t care if you’re gay. God made you gay. God likes your being gay. God likes girls; you like girls; I like girls; everyone likes girls. It’s perfectly okay for you, my friend, to be perfectly lesbian.
The only people who don’t like homosexuals just because they’re homosexuals are dented in the heart. Something awful happened to them. They (very often) were inculcated with a version of Christianity that you can be sure sickens God. Someone infected them with the awful anti-gay virus, and they sneeze and spit that nastiness onto others, because they just don’t know any better.
But you do. You know better. You hear God telling you that he loves you as he created you. You know your church is wrong. You know your loving and hopeful mother is wrong. You know the love you can feel for a woman is every bit as strong, pure and right as the love any person ever feels for another.
All you have to do is accept with your mind what your heart already knows. That’s it. Just accept it, and let all the rest of it go. Because none of that matters. Love alone matters, and you know what love is.
So, no—again and again and again, no—you won’t go to hell for being a lesbian. That anyone is automatically condemned to hell just for being gay or lesbian is absolute, one hundred percent medieval bullshit. You are absolutely and unconditionally free to toss out the sad ridiculousness of that twisted “theology” like the sack of putrid garbage it is.
You love. What could be less of a sin than loving? Loving is what humans are supposed to do. When you love, in exactly the way God made you to love, God wins. You win. I win. We all win. Even your church (though they may not yet realize it) wins.
God is love—period, end of story, forever and ever.
So love whom you love! And, insofar as you can, love, even, those those who would condemn you for that love. Because Jesus was right when he said that such people know not what they do.
John Shore is author of the books Everywhere She’s Not, and UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question.