I got out of the church service, my heart beating fast, I got in my car and starting crying a lot. I was calling my friends, but no one was answering. Then there was the last person I could call, but I didn’t want to call him because he is married, has children, has a life, and maybe he would say, “Sorry Richard, I don’t have time to hear your pain.” Or maybe he was about to have sex with his wife, so he isn’t going to answer my phone call because he knows it will cost him a very intimate pleasurable experience with his wife.
But I know I needed help and I was responsible to reach for help, so I called him.
He heard me.
He talked to me.
He encouraged me.
His name is Matthew.
I was in pain because I heard a sermon that really hurt me. I wasn’t wronged, just felt extreme pain. I was screaming into the phone, sobbing, kicking the inside of my car, cussing really loud towards God because I was so angry, and Matthew just heard me. We processed what I was feeling.
I felt a lot of anger towards God because I was attracted to men and I had to hear a pastor tell me I needed to be celibate. I hate when a straight man thinks he can say that so easily to me.
Although I know the solutions to a lot of the pain I experience, I still feel the pain because of the lack of intimacy that is offered to me through a local Church.
At the same time, so many of my friends who are Christians, who are the Church, have loved me and offered me the intimacy that I need.
And it is great!
I have friends who have held me and hugged me because I just need touch.
I have friends who have held me as I cried in their arms because I feel pain.
I have friends who woke up at 3am in the morning as I was knocking on their door because I thought I was going to kill myself and they answered the door. They talked to me throughout the night, gave me a soda, offered me a place to stay for the night, and just loved on me.
I have friends who have trusted me and been vulnerable with me in ways that is not the norm, but they know I need intimacy in a way that isn’t normal.
I have friends who lend me money. (that is a big deal)
The Church has been there for me.
And it is becoming more of a safe place for others who struggle with homosexuality.
Although the media and Christians who are pro gay romantic relationships paint the church as some evil place that discriminates against homosexuals, it isn’t true.
The reality is that we disagree on this topic and think that gay relationships are ungodly.
So when I called my friend Matthew, who knows I want to be in a gay relationship, but also knows what I need, intimacy with males, it is comforting to know there is someone who will listen to me as I am in pain.
And my other friends do that too.
Jeremy, kolby, Sith, Geoffrey, Tyler, Nate, Stevy, Ryan, Christian, Josh, Justin, this list is quite long.
My favorite stories to hear from them is how they are loving others who struggle with homosexuality or how they are helping others understand how to practically love someone who is attracted to the same sex.
It is a bummer people don’t understand our needs and don’t always think about how they can practically love us, but I’m learning that is what life is going to be about, how to handle curve balls.
It breaks my heart to see so much anger being directed towards the Church because of the lack of understanding the Church may have when it comes to homosexuality and other sexual topics the Church needs to address.
But the Church isn’t Heaven.
It is human.
It will not be perfect and it will lack education when it comes to certain topics.
And it will not agree with certain topics, especially when these topics have already been discussed the past 2000 years within Church Scholars of old.
If you are a Christian that struggles with homosexuality, I urge you to be vulnerable with a group of friends that you can trust.
They will not always understand, but they can try.
They might not always listen, so then you go to other friends.
They can give you a hug, and some might become afraid to give you one.
Others will ask you to move in with them and live with life with them, and others will stop talking to you.
Throughout all of this remember to forgive them. That is the heart of Jesus.
Let’s not lose compassion, forgiveness, and endurance to strive for righteous lives.
Jesus wanted all his followers to be compassionate, forgiving, and seeking holiness as we pick up our cross and follow him.
The Church loves me.
I need to love the Church the way Christ loves the Church.