This is the second part in my blogging series on the varying forms of my church angst. Check out part one if you missed it!
Many of us with same-sex attractions have experienced that well-meaning friend or family member who feels the need to “love us well” by telling us, “God made you gay, so how could marrying someone of the same sex be wrong?”
I appreciate not being cast out by said people because of my sexuality, but they also seem unwilling to believe that I’ve actually given my sexuality some thought. This isn’t some case of “I grew up too conservative” or “I’ll eventually mature beyond these harmful beliefs.”
These particular Christians mean well, but usually I just find their “support” patronizing.
Broadly speaking, this affirming position claims I’m hurting myself by refusing to pursue a same-sex relationship. I grow burdened with discouragement and excess temptation upon being told I’m fighting for nothing, that I’ve essentially “made up” a demand from God that isn’t actually there — and that even if I am right, this is just a secondary biblical issue that God will understand my breaking.
Essentially, the affirming position tells me a same-sex relationship has no lasting impact on my faith or relationship with Christ; it’s just doing what I must to survive.
People holding this affirming position often disregard the damage I’d do to myself and my faith by going against my convictions — what I strongly feel God has asked of me. Rather than making a supportive home for me in their churches, those with this position tend to look down on me, assuming I’ve just been brainwashed by conservative Christians; one day, I will “wake up” from my ignorance and dangerous internalized homophobia.
This group often claiming to be “for me” is also unwilling to take me as I am — the very thing they accuse of those demanding orientation change.
As odd as it is, I struggle more with feeling supported by Christians who want me to embrace my desire to marry a man than with those who think even having a homosexual orientation is sinful. Maybe it’s because it feels as if this affirming position really should be “for” me in being willing to listen to my perspective and my beliefs, and ultimately respect them.
I often hear from people with this affirming position that God would never ask so much from a Christian; of course, that line of reasoning is nonsensical. When I look at stories in Scripture, when I look at the persecuted Church around the world, I know that God has demanded this and more from many of His children.
It seems these particular affirming Christians think a God who could allow someone to remain same-sex attracted but not marry the same sex is unpalatable.
It’s unfortunate, because I can’t help but feel that some people miss out on experiencing the depth of love, peace, and intimacy to be found when being obedient to the Lord in the very things that hurt the most.
Is there chaos and pain in that obedience, too? Sure.
But it has always been the Lord’s kindness to me that has kept me on this path of obedience, not fear of His wrath.
People in the affirming camp frustrate me because they seem to think they know better than me, and yet I don’t think they really understand me at all.
Do you feel misunderstood or even judged by affirming or “Side A” Christians? How do you reconcile the burden of this disconnect?