I’ve told my stories of friendship with my gay brother, Brad, and my straight friend, Brandon. I will continue my stories on friendship by telling another about my long-time friend, Jeremy, who also deals with same-sex attraction (SSA).
When I joined the church I now attend, I started volunteering to help in several practical ways. I noticed Jeremy also helping at the church often. He was older than me, single, and I could instinctively tell that he was also attracted to guys — while fighting temptation like me, too.
We became friends with no apparent effort, probably because we shared so much in common and spent a lot of time together at church. It also helped that Jeremy is an outgoing, ENFP personality. I have always had an affinity for ENFPs.
Jeremy and I mostly hung out during church activities, and we were always careful to keep appropriate, healthy boundaries even though we knew we were not sexually attracted to each other. I think we were just cautious of others gossiping if we appeared to be too close.
Unfortunately, churches like ours are especially prone to gossip about SSA guys.
At first Jeremy seemed to be doing very well spiritually. He shared with me about his struggles, as well as his hopes and dreams, and I would do the same. Eventually, though, I started noticing him gaze at passing attractive guys a little too long.
I don’t know how to describe this, but I could somehow feel the attraction he had for the guy. I called him on it, but he kept assuring me that he was still fighting his SSA and actively following Jesus Christ.
Jeremy started befriending some of the senior guys in our church’s Christian high school, particularly the “bad boys.” These guys were sneaking around behind their parents’ backs to do whatever was forbidden, often successfully deceiving everyone that they were good little church kids.
When Jeremy moved into a new condo, he asked some of these guys to be his housemates. As soon as he told me, I told him it was a very bad idea.
Their parents would never approve, so all the guys planned to disappear at the same time from their parents’ houses and move into Jeremy’s place before anyone could figure out what had even happened.
I urged Jeremy to back down, but he was determined to let those guys move forward. I had been tutoring several of those guys in math and science, so I knew the parents well. He did not want me to tell the parents, and I reluctantly agreed to keep quiet.
On the big day, several families noticed their sons missing, and they eventually figured out they were at Jeremy’s place. They called me, thinking I could persuade their sons to move back home since I knew them from tutoring. I told them I had already tried to stop the nonsense weeks ago but couldn’t change their minds.
When the parents found out I had known about this weeks prior without telling them, the nastiness really hit the fan. Eventually I was able to calm the parents and regain their trust, and the high school guys also trusted me. I became a negotiator who tried to resolve the conflict between both sides.
It wasn’t pretty. Jeremy’s condo soon became the party house for all the “bad kids” at our church. Jeremy often updated me on what was happening, and he was clearly enjoying it: substance abuse, sex, and more.
The pastors from our church got involved but could not stop what was happening.
At one of Jeremy’s high school parties, one of the guests told Jeremy he thought he was gay and of legal age. Jeremy couldn’t resist. They stopped before having sex, but they’d both regret what they’d done. When Jeremy told me the story, I stopped him before he could give me the name of the guy.
I knew Jeremy was straying from his faith, and I urged him to call out to God for help.
Do you have a Christian friend who deals with same-sex attraction? How do you maintain healthy boundaries? Have you ever had to face sexual gossip about a friendship?
* Photo courtesy Mike Pickard, Creative Commons.