I saw the pictures on your Facebook wall. The Gay Pride Parade in your town must have been quite the event.
I saw the many beautiful colors you were wearing – and the splash of bright colors all around you as people paraded through the street.
I couldn’t help but think of the bleak darkness you’ve been living in over the past decade or so.
Like a child suffocating under a heavy blanket, you’ve been struggling to find a way out of the asphyxiating shadows holding you under their unrelenting pressure.
We grew up in the same town, with the same people, in the same church.
I always remembered how caring and sensitive you were (You weren’t a push over, though. You gave as good as you took!).
You thought deeply. About life. About love. About God.
So did I. That’s why I think we were such good friends. I remember how often we’d laugh together. How much we enjoyed the arts, theatre, and music.
And that’s also why I was so shocked when you broke the news to me. You decided to be gay.
I know you hate it when I say it like that – to you it wasn’t a choice.
To you it was an unwanted specter harassing you at every turn as you wrestled with the implications of your childhood faith and the growing intensity of your adult passions.
You loved God. I’m sure many times your prayers were more honest and sincere than mine as you fought through the pain, confusion, and desire.
How could you make me this way and then forbid it, God?
If you don’t want me to be gay, take these feelings away – take them now!
When we worshipped the Lord side by side, I’m sure you felt the love of God deeply as His tender Spirit touched you.
And on other days, I’m sure you wept feeling the sting of His disapproval as those uncontrollable feelings came dangerously close to the surface.
I know what you’ve heard from Christians hasn’t always been Christ-like.
You know how naïve and ignorant I’ve been about that.
I never thought Jesus-loving people could be so mean… until I saw them on YouTube videos shouting and screaming obscenities and angry slurs at gays, lesbians, and transgender people with a bullhorn.
It grieves me to see people treat you and others in that cruel way.
It sickens me that anyone would so fraudulently pose as a Christian and bludgeon you with such hatred.
It also grieves me that you couldn’t talk openly about your sexual struggles with us in the Church when we were much younger.
No one wanted to talk about it – it made us feel so uncomfortable.
But then, answers wouldn’t have “fixed” the issue, right?
With all of this, I hope you see how much I appreciate your struggle. This is not a mountain you’ve fashioned from the proverbial molehill. It’s a viscous day-in-day-out fight.
Up until now.
Now the pain is slowly abating. The sharp sting is lessening. You believe you’ve finally come to terms with who you are, and an uneasy peace is starting to replace the inner conflict.
I get it. After all these years, it feels good to finally have a sense of identity, community, and maybe even a chance at love.
Yet my heart aches to see you come to this conclusion.
I would say this is not your true identity. This is not a true expression of your God-given sexuality.
You would say that I couldn’t possibly tell you that. That this is an intensely personal issue that you were born with, and you’re the only one who could possibly decide who you are.
But my dear friend, we’ve been created, and it is our maker who decides who we are. We don’t have that right.
To this, I hear you say fervently: “Yes! And God made me gay.”
But the Maker made clear His intentions and design for us and our sexuality in His letter to us. He didn’t leave us to figure it out on are own.
“This is why a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife; and they become one flesh.” – Genesis 2:24
“Haven’t you read?” Jesus answered. “He who created them from the beginning ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate.” – Matthew 19:4-6
And this is where the cavernous angst of my soul lies.
I’m wrecked for you because you’re living a life incongruent with God’s design for you.
You’ve yet to know what it’s like to be fully alive in Messiah, walking in His commands, pure in heart and in mind.
You’ve yet to know what it’s like to raise a child in a home built by the hands of God (Psalm 127).
You’ve yet to discover the feeling of being completely washed clean in the depths of your soul by His amazing grace.
And you’ll never know eternal bliss until you’ve surrendered your self – sexual identity and all – to the one who gave you life.
Yet that is not to say that I am embarrassed by you. In fact, I’m quite proud of many things in your life, character, and work.
I’m proud of how you worked hard in school to earn your degrees when it didn’t come easy for you.
I’m proud of how you’re raising your children with the commitment and love I’d expect from any parent.
I’m inspired by how honest you are even when you know there will be haters… especially the ones with crosses around their neck and bullhorns.
I tell others about your virtues, your kindness, and all the reasons I’m proud to be your friend.
You’re not what the right-wingers call a “snowflake.” You’re not a brainwashed, bleeding-heart liberal. You’re a deep-thinking, conscientious individual.
I think and pray for you often and have been for years, not just now.
As you would expect, I’m praying that you’ll come to right standing before God.
But what you may not know is that I pray just as fervently for your happiness, continued success, health, and joy – even if you don’t change.
You’re my friend, despite our differences.
I appreciate how you listen to me without anger and scorn.
I’m grateful for your honesty and trust in me. It shows how great a friend you are.
I do not begrudge you (or any LGBTQ individual) the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I’m glad (truthfully, I’m not lying) for the protections you have from government or social persecution.
So in a way, I guess I’m observing Gay Pride Month along with you – but my observance is filled with anguish, foreboding, and intercession for you.
As you celebrate your sexual freedom, I mourn your spiritual slavery and long for your liberation.
May you come to know Jesus. May you come to know His forgiveness. And may you come to know your self as you were created to be.
Until then, I will stand beside you to denounce acts of ungodly hatred, bigotry, and prejudice while always telling you the hard truth you really need to hear.
Your devoted friend,