The president of Exodus International recently put out an apology to all gay people who have been hurt by the actions of his organization. In that apology he makes this statement: "I cannot apologize for my beliefs about marriage. But I do not have any desire to fight you on your beliefs or the rights that you seek. My beliefs about these things will never again interfere with God’s command to love my neighbor as I love myself."
The bold emphasis is mine, because many on both sides of the gay marriage issue made much of that statement -- much of which I think ignores the statements before and after that one. In any case, I sympathize with what he is saying here.
To vocally oppose such legislation is to burn down the bridge that might connect a believer to one of God's lost sheep. . . We harden their hearts and their potential receptiveness to the message that could result in eternal life. While the traditional family community is standing up for Biblically sound principles, too often they get caught up in the debate and talking points. They forget that there are more important things than public policy in the United States of America. They forget that our goal is to lead people to Jesus Christ. . . We must do this by fellowshipping with those who are lost, revealing to them the absolute truths of the God-breathed Scriptures, and earnestly praying that the Lord works in their hearts. By politically opposing the homosexual agenda, we greatly hinder the possibility of fellowshipping with those who have not been saved . . .
I was never very vocal in the gay marriage debate because I had inklings in my heart of what he expresses here. And now I embrace those inklings. I don't care anymore if gay marriage is legal in America. I understand the consequences, and it's certainly not my preference -- but God is still sovereign, and I have bigger fish to fry.
I have received great encouragement from the book Washed and Waiting by Wesley Hill. (There are apparently other similar books out there; I just haven't read them.) Hill's message is basically this: "I am attracted to men. When I met Christ, he didn't change that; I may always be attracted to men. But I believe that God tells me in his word that he has better for me than to indulge that attraction, that acting on those impulses will be bad for my life here on earth and will stand in the way of my relationship with him. And I am confident that he is telling me the truth -- and I am confident that an intimate relationship with him will be more satisfying than any other relationship. So I choose celibacy for now, and God is daily giving me the grace to do so, difficult as it is."
I am encouraged by that not because his testimony is another weapon to use in America's pervasive "culture war". I am encouraged because I have my own pet sins that stand in the way of my relationship to God (we all do), and my battle with them isn't nearly as public or difficult as the one Wesley Hill is waging . . . so his faithfulness increases my own.
This is my hope for my homosexual friends: not that they give up a gay lifestyle because I or anyone else on earth has convinced them it's wrong -- but that they come to know God intimately and passionately. I'll let God deal with their sex life. He's quite capable.
And now I'm tired of this topic. I'm moving on.