This shouldn’t shock anyone reading this blog post. We live in a broken world. Few among us are healthy, whole, and living out our full redemption in the areas of gender, sexuality, and romantic relationships.
Through Christ, I am on a pathway to wholeness, but I, like everyone else, struggle with a measure of brokenness in this world. If I weren’t a Jesus-follower, though, I’d just be sexually broken.
One of the barriers I have in talking with people about LBTGQ concerns is that I don’t understand why our Christian culture insists on categorizing sexual/gender-related sins on a spectrum.
For me, this isn’t an “us vs them” conversation, as in hetero’s vs others. For me, this is an “us as related to Him” conversation as in, how do we humans, wrestling with the brokenness and sin of our most intimate relationships (that with our own gender, our own sexuality, our partners, and our God) find redemption, reconciliation, and healing this side of glory?
When we create a false divide as if some ways of being broken are more desirable than others, we lose a significant pathway to dialog. WE all struggle with lesser attractions than those to which we’re called. WE all are barraged by temptations from without and within to lust, to wander, to withhold, to twist, or to distort this gift of gender and sexuality created by God.
I’ve never wrestled with same-sex attraction, but I have done harm to myself and others by wrestling with same-sex repulsion. Hating, fearing, and hiding from other women has created significant sin issues in my life and the life of the church.
Certainly, there’s a well-documented history of misogyny in society and the church, but it’s no less damaging now to witness man-hating, male-bashing, and gender-centric fear-mongering made the norm in many circles, including some within the Body of Christ.
I do believe the Bible speaks against the practice of homosexuality, but it also speaks against sex-outside of marriage, lustful thoughts, pornography, divorce, abuse, and withholding sex from a spouse without cause.
I Timothy 5:24 (ESV) says this: “The sins of some people are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later.” We know that while some sins of gender distortion and sexual perversion are apparent to all, there are others hiding behind closed bedroom doors in relationships that appear as straight and godly as church pews.
This isn’t to say we should be suspecting or condemning everyone, but to say we should engage others with compassion knowing we all bear pain, scars, and private failings because of sin. There are people who weep alone in their bedrooms, who harbor deep shame, who try again and again to overcome a besetting sin made more insidious because they feel they cannot tell another soul.
The brokenness with which they struggle is no better than those who parade theirs for all to see. To hide sin or to embrace sin are coin flips in the world’s ineffective solutions to a problem only God can solve.
It’s a wise practice for us to have conversations around these issues as people mindful that one day, all things hidden will be made known. We would all benefit from practicing greater compassion, humility, and honesty.
Which is not to say, we should accept one another’s sins! If I confessed any sexual/gender brokenness to another Christian, or shared thoughts that were inconsistent with biblical truth, the other Christian would be right to encourage me in the direction of repentance. Why my brothers and sisters who confess to same-sex attraction feel their sin belongs in a separate category than mine is beyond me.
When God introduced us to ourselves in Genesis one, He immediately told us three things. One, we were created in His image. Second, He gave us dominion over the rest of creation. And third, we are created male and female –there is some mystery in that this gender-ness of us still reflects His image. Doesn’t it make sense that the evil one would make a full-on assault in this aspect of our lives?
In Genesis two, He expands our understanding of ourselves. He explains that although Adam was surrounded by all of creation and walked in union with God, it still was not good for him to be alone, so God created Eve, flesh of his flesh, bone of his bone.
There we were, male and female. Individuals and yet, intrinsically linked, necessary to one another, partners in every way. Doesn’t it make sense that the evil one would devise schemes to make us enemies, one to the other? Doesn’t this assault lead to a greater sense of isolation and loneliness than we can bear without God?
God explains that though separate beings, we can become one flesh. And He feels it important enough to mention that Adam and Eve were naked, yet unashamed. Of course, our enemy works to destroy this unhidden one-ness, just as a jealous painter might deface the work of the masters to appease his own inferiority.
This was all before the brokenness. Before the serpent whispered to the woman. Before she responded with a half-truth. Before he tempted her and she fell with Adam falling alongside. Before the sin. Before the impulse to hide from God, to blame, to shame. Before the need for curses, for covering, for exile.
We don’t live in the time before. We live in the legacy of brokenness and we all experience it in some way.
I am a woman who has always identified as female. I have always been attracted to men. I am the wife of one husband. And yet, I have experienced my own share of sexual brokenness, of gender frustration, of temptation and falling short of God’s intended design.
I do not live in the time before, but through Christ, I have stepped into the Kingdom Come and so I have glimpses of that glory that makes me long for more.
Loved ones, our gender, sexuality, and marital relationships are designed by God, gifted from God, and governed by God for His glory and purpose beyond our pleasure, procreation, and politics. We would be wise to lessen the discourse that divides, and with the mind of Christ, bushwhack our way through the rhetoric to words that carry with them the hope of redemption, reconciliation, and restoration.
There is a more excellent way; let us walk in it together. Let us unite against the one who has only our destruction at heart to move toward the One who desires that we would have life to the full.
— Lori Roeleveld (@lorisroeleveld) July 26, 2017