I wrote a year ago has been getting a bit of attention lately. You know, the one where I “came out” about my attraction to a certain woman. The content was absolutely truthful and I’m not one bit regretful over publishing it. I firmly and joyfully stand by every word I wrote. However, the feedback I’m getting really makes me want to take a couple of minutes to be clear on one thing: I have not been “healed of homosexuality” or developed a “heterosexual orientation”, as people like to phrase it.
Most of my readers know that for the majority of my life I’ve dealt with homosexual feelings. Those feelings didn’t disappear when I became a Christian in 2010 and still have not disappeared as I now enter into my sixth year of following Jesus. However, last Fall I met a woman that provoked something in me I didn’t know could exist. I didn’t experience a sexual attraction to her equivalent to the level of attraction I’ve felt toward some of the members of my like gender, but something about her captivated me. As I continued to get to know her, romantic feelings and physical drawings toward her began to bubble up in me (to my utter shock). I had never experienced this with a woman before and had never anticipated I would.
I decided to write a blog post about this experience when it was happening because I felt I owed it to my readers. During the first few years of my Christian journey, I believed in the very gut of my soul it was impossible for people who struggle with homosexual feelings to develop authentic affection and attraction for someone of the opposite gender. This deep-seated conviction came across loud and clear in all of my writing. Through this experience with this woman, though, the Lord showed me he can and does do whatever it is that he wants to do. If he wants to give me (or anyone else struggling with homosexual tendencies) a growing natural affection for someone of the opposite gender, he can and will do it. This is the truth I shared with my readers last year.
I tried oh so hard in that blog post to be clear that I hadn’t become “straight” and that amidst these new desires for this specific woman (not all women), I still struggled with homosexual feelings. Here is an excerpt:
“I have learned that sinful desires do not have to be non-existent in order for good, godly desires to grow and flourish. I have feelings for this girl, but that doesn’t mean I still don’t suffer with same sex desires. I do. I’m still tempted. I think that we, the Church, need to stop viewing healing in same sex attracted people as an ABC 123 process. I think we too often come at it like, “well if we can get rid of the same sex attraction in totality, then the natural affection will come.” I don’t think it works like that. I don’t think sanctification works like that, period. As followers of Jesus in the “in between times” – children of God that still presently dwell in Adamic, fallen flesh – there is going to be tension within us. And that tension between the desires of the flesh and the desires of the Spirit will remain until this mortal body is swallowed up by Life. My point is this: healing can and does come in the midst of brokenness. God isn’t waiting for your soul to be clean enough for Him to work in you. He mercifully and gladly enters into the mess, the darkness, the brokenness and the shame.”
“I also want to say that I know the Lord doesn’t deal with all people the same. I’m not here proposing God’s set formula for sanctifying people who struggle with homosexuality. I’m only sharing my experiences. I know men and women who have faithfully followed the Lord and in their pursuit of Him, He wrought in them natural desire for someone of the opposite sex and they went on to get married and have kids. But I also know men and women who have faithfully followed the Lord and in their pursuit of Him, He did not work in them natural desire for someone of the opposite sex and they went on to joyfully follow Him, alongside the incredible community they found in their local church, as a single man or woman in Christ.
I don’t know which of the above scenarios will end up being the story of my life on this side of glory. But I know that the Lord will lead me into whatever lifestyle is best for me and most fruitful for my relationship with Him.”
Despite what I feel was clear communication, I’ve gotten a lot of messages and emails from parents asking me if they think my “180-degree change” or my “being healed of homosexuality” could happen for their kid. Right here and right now I want to say as clear as I can: I have not experienced a 180-degree change nor have I been healed of homosexual desires. Though homosexuality doesn’t dominate me – for in Christ I have died to the ruling power of sin – I am still tempted to sin homosexually (and in a million other ways). I have experienced some level of opposite gender affection for a specific woman, and honestly, I’m hopeful that I will experience that with another woman someday. But there’s no guarantee that will happen (I know many Christians will disagree with me on that, and if you do, I’d ask you to read this blog post I wrote a few months ago about the reality and purpose of Christian suffering). And if I do go on to marry and have a godly, thriving relationship with a woman, that doesn’t mean that the temptation to commit homosexual sin won’t be present. As I said in last year’s blog post, sinful desires do not have to be non-existent in order for good, godly desires to grow and flourish.
In summary, to the Christians emailing me about their gay loved ones: It is totally possible that if your loved one comes to Christ, God will eventually lead them into natural, godly marriage. But it is equally possible he may lead them into singleness and designate them for the front lines of Christian ministry. Singleness is not a lesser calling than marriage. In many ways, single people are more useful to the Kingdom of God than married people (1 Corinthians 7). My advice to you in your witnessing efforts with your gay loved one is to not paint marriage and a “good, easy life” as the great hope of the gospel. Jesus didn’t come to give us the American Dream; Jesus came to bring us back to God. Heterosexual marriage isn’t the prize of the gospel; Jesus Christ is the prize of the gospel. And he is more than worthy of a lifestyle of singleness, if that’s what the Lord calls one to. So lift up Jesus. Only Jesus. And if you’re loved one comes to faith, let Jesus decide whether they experience the joy and fruitfulness of marriage or the joy and fruitfulness of singleness.