After my gay brother Brad’s first year at college, his “girlfriend” dropped out and moved back to our hometown. When Brad returned to school his second year, he stayed in the dorm while I lived off-campus with my Christian friends. Brad grew more sexually involved with other guys, now without the cover of an opposite-sex relationship. I rarely talked to him, and we grew apart — mostly because I was concerned I’d be tempted around him and his gay friends.
Although it was good that I was not living with my gay brother anymore, I regret not making the effort to be in closer contact with him.
Around this time, Brad remembered his Christian roots and started growing concerned about his sins and his need for a Savior. He decided to join a large Christian campus ministry instead of my church — probably because he no longer felt close to me.
Within a year or so, one of the leaders there discovered that Brad was having sex with another guy in that group and also having anonymous sex with many other guys at gay meeting places on campus. This campus ministry was known for “radical commitment” and toughness on sin. You can guess what happened next.
My gay brother was publicly outed in a very painful way.
He was thrown out of the group, and his homosexual sins were revealed to hundreds of members. His being publicly outed wasn’t pretty. One of the leaders who knew me made sure to tell me all the details, even though I was not a member of that group.
It finally hit me that I needed to show Brad a little compassion; as you can imagine, he was bitter at Christians at that point. The painful way he was treated by that campus ministry motivated him to distance himself from all believers. He started expressing his disgust with Christians by flaunting his homosexuality — acting, talking, and dressing in a stereotypical, “gay” way that would be offensive to most of us.
Of course, Brad and I could no longer go on pretending I was ignorant about his sexuality. I asked him why he was “hanging around gays,” and I will never forget his answer:
“They love me, and that is more than I can say about Christians!”
All I could say to him was that I did love him and was a Christian. Years later, this memory still brings tears to my eyes.
Real love is not just in words but with deep feelings expressed by actions and reality.
My gay brother needed me to love him like a real big brother who would care for him and shield him from danger; instead, what had I done?
I had abandoned him to the wolves of selfish gays and misguided Christians.
To be continued…
Have you or someone you know been publicly outed? How did you handle this? Have you ever failed to protect a family member or friend from danger?
* Photo courtesy string_bass_dave, Creative Commons.