I’m appalled at our behavior. Well, maybe you haven’t been as bad as me, or maybe you haven’t been as bad as so so many Christians I’ve encountered, but most of us need a good kick in the rear today.
Let me start from the beginning. Exactly a year ago, I wrote an article on homosexuality for Crosswalk.com entitled, “Homosexuality: Can I Blame My Genes?” This was right after Ray Boltz came out of the closet with his confession that shocked evangelical America. The article aims at balancing truth with grace. Whether or not I succeeded in this goal, I’m not sure. But I received a letter thereafter from a reader…
I read your article on homosexuality. I do realize that this is due to the fall of man. I hate the fact that I have to deal with this everyday. Julie, this is the hardest single sin to ever have in your life. I am saved and I know that I’m covered by the blood, but unless you’ve had this kind of struggle in your life…you will never know what hell this is.
I started dealing with these feelings as early as 6 years old. I can still remember as a young boy having strong desires for men and even then I knew it was not normal. Yes at 6 years old, I knew I was different. I have dealt with this ever since then and now I am 50 years old, divorced, and involved in many different ministries in the church. Please understand, I do agree that homosexuality is from the sin of man’s fall.
The sad thing is that those who have had this attack on them since youth can mostly only talk to God about it and not share with anyone in Christian circles. If you say anything, even if you are not practicing the sin, you will be excommunicated from any ministry and, of course, you will not be trusted any longer since this sin is labeled as greater than others. This silent hell is horrible and to those who say, “You must leave it at the altar and not look back…” –that person is so fortunate not to have had a “great sin” grab them in their lives.
I actually got out of church for a few years because I had no one to share with without risking everything. So I left and became my own little island until I was longing for fellowship with other Christians. I finally decided to just talk to God about it and go on with my walk and bear this until I either meet Christ in the air or in death. If some sins can be harder than others…I would put this right up there with other addictions that can be so taboo to talk about or admit in our wonderful, forgiving Christian circles…and sadly I mean that sarcastically. Thanks for listening. God is so good…all the time!
This letter brought grief to my heart as I realized what a lonely prison it is for believers in uncontrollable addictive sins. I mean, as a Christian, you are supposed to be “free” in Christ. That is why I think many Christians are the most miserable people in the world. At least in the world you are not supposed to be free. The agonizing paradox stares many people down in the mirror every day, as they can’t seem to overcome by the supposed power they’ve been given. Add to that, those Christians around them rub their noses in their sin at every opportunity. They snub them, exclude them, ridicule them, and mercilessly judge them. Meanwhile, these same Christians are at home every week (in between church services) looking at pornography online, watching sexually explicit movies, stuffing their gluttonous faces while ignoring the needs of the poor, backbiting and slandering their brothers and sisters, telling white lies, lusting after their coworkers, and a host of other sins that don’t seem so bad (to them) in comparison.
Jesus had a name for these kinds of people. They are called Pharisees. I’ll admit, I’ve been one of the biggest Pharisees ever for much of my life. I have judged, snubbed, rejected, and killed my brothers and sisters with my words, thoughts, and actions. But it is time to make a change. Jesus did not criticize or condemn the sinners in His midst—those who were HONEST about their sins and failures and who were seeking His healing touch. He condemned those who thought they were good enough and who looked down on sinners. Jesus condemned Pharisees (pious, religious folks who went to church every week and looked great on the outside).
Jesus ate with sinners. Jesus reclined with “scum.” Jesus loved (and loves) prostitutes, adulterers, homosexuals, the demon-possessed, prisoners, outcasts, and drug addicts.
Jesus condemned, avoided, and hid truth from Pharisees.
I want to be more like Jesus (not the condemning sense—He had that right and I don’t). I want to avoid those who are merciless and dishonest, and gravitate to those who are painfully aware of their lack.
Thankfully, by the time this man’s letter reached my inbox, God had already begun a work of grace in my life through my own failures and need for mercy, and through certain life-changing books I had discovered such as Donald Millers, Blue Like Jazz. Here are a few words I shared with him:
I am so proud of your ability to be honest, as well as your recognition that this is a fight and a war. That you have not given yourself over to this battle but have continued to fight says so much about you. I am very proud to be your sister in Christ. Please be encouraged, knowing that someday soon we will all get to shed this body of death that constantly tries to sabotage our pure and simple devotion to Christ.
I feel as you do that as believers we should provide a safe environment to voice our struggles. The church has not raised struggle free people, but liars and captives of the worst kind—those who live in sin willfully and then judge those who are honest about struggling against sin. We have it all wrong.
My heart goes out to you today. It is a huge blessing to hear from you. Someday we will celebrate together that we are at last free from our flesh, deal?
I never heard back from this man. But about a month ago, I received this heartbreaking letter:
I found this email [from you] in my uncle’s belongings. He killed himself and my mom found him two days ago. He had the Bible open next to him and a letter that said he was sorry for not being able to be stronger. I just thought you should know what happened. Perhaps along your life’s way you can encourage other people that are struggling with “whatever” to seek help…to keep fighting. He was my only and favorite uncle and he left my only cousin (his son) and two little grandbabies.
Folks, we are killing our brothers and sisters. What are we going to do?