I got out of the church service, my heart beating fast, 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 with authority to me. Doesn't he know there is a difference between living/pursuing a life of celibacy and being single and abstaining from sex until marriage? You can't force a life of celibacy on someone, that is a calling and a gift from God for the sake of the Gospel for the Church. Abstaining from sex until marriage is something all Christians are called to. That is not a gift, that is a command.
You can't force someone's cross on them, you can only help them carry it.
The cross isn't pieces of wood to put signs on telling others they need to die to their sin and be celibate.
The cross isn't a 45 minute sermon on how you tell others they need to be celibate. The words of Jesus do that and the weight of the cross reminds them what they need to go through.
You can only help them carry it.
Trust me, they don't need reminders on how hard it will be.
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.
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, he knows what I want, to be in a gay relationship, but he also knows what I need, Intimacy with males who are in the Church.
And my other friends know that too.
Jeremy, Kolby, Sith, Geoffrey, Tyler, Nate, Stevy, Ryan, Christian, Josh, Justin, Campos, Jordan, Tank, 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.
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 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 righteousness
Jesus wanted all his followers to be compassionate, forgiving, and seeking holiness as we pick up our cross and follow him.
Picking up our cross means we will feel pain.
Picking up our cross means we will die to our sin and evil desires.
Picking up our cross means we will die.
Picking up our cross means we will be resurrected with a transformed life.
Picking up our cross means we will be glorified like our brother and King, Jesus Christ.
Picking up our cross means at times it will be to heavy and at times someone will help us carry it to our death like what happened to Jesus.
When I called my friend after that Church service, I felt the weight of my cross, and he was helping me carry it.
He was being the Church, he was being the person the Holy Spirit was going to use to help me carry my cross.
He was being the Hands and Feet of Jesus - The Church
and the Church is doing great!
It is learning how to love those that struggle with Homosexuality