Every talk show and news clip I have seen has been filled with “experts” and activists from both sides of this great gay marriage debate. People, who can passionately defend their point of view, and some, ready to go down with their proverbial ship. I am tired of seeing them bicker and preach their enlightened opinions. Some of them with compassion and love, others with none. I am tired of seeing only these two sides represented. They have never asked me about my perspective.
Perhaps they don’t know I exist, or maybe they just don’t care. Maybe it’s just easier to write people like me off as “freaks” or well intentioned, yet misguided. You see, I am part of the small and (sadly) quiet minority of Christians who struggle with homosexuality and yet choose not to give into those feelings, knowing that God has called us for something better. Some call us “ex-gays” and indeed if Scripture is correct, that is what some of you were (1 Cor. 6:11). I believe homosexuality to be wrong. I believe that these feelings, which sometimes seem so strong, are not something I chose, nor something I was born with. They are the thorn in my flesh, which I have been allowed to work through, This struggle has also taught me about compassion for others, about tolerating that which I don’t understand, and about God’s grace. It has also made life interesting, especially in a culture where “my sin” is such a hot topic. I am your neighbor, your friend and your coworker. And just like you, I have my demons, which I fight on a daily basis. Just like you, I know the joy of victory and the pain of defeat. However, with this debate, each word strikes a chord a bit too close for comfort.
I simultaneously sympathize with both sides of the debate while also feeling strangely marginalized by them. I am afraid for the future generations of children who will grow up in a world where same sex marriages are just as accepted as heterosexual unions. But if we are debating the sanctity of marriage, I would argue that for the most part, marriage lost its “sanctity” a long time ago. I am afraid for those who still struggle with this in silence, watching as their friends make comments. Feeling as if the only options they are presented are to either embrace it or to spend the rest of their lives denying their feelings. I am also afraid that this may cause, otherwise well-intentioned Christians, to write off homosexuality as the abominable sin. I’m afraid they will assume everyone dealing with this is just like the gay activist I sit watching on my TV screen.
No one asked for my thoughts. Maybe I need to be louder, or maybe my opinion doesn’t fit in. It’s not the typical conservative Christian answer, nor is it acceptable to the gay agenda, who would have people like me silenced if they could. I don’t support gay marriage. I’m still trying to figure out what role the state plays in marriage in the first place. Is it a matter of semantics? I do support civil unions. Even a homosexual deserves equal treatment. The logical conclusion of homosexuality being wrong does not mean that we should withhold benefits from those wishing to pursue it. While I may not agree with their lifestyle, if they do not know the faith we profess (Heb 4:14), how can they be held to the same standard?
If the church was doing its job, I don’t think so many people would leave churches to pursue the lifestyle we are now debating. I am one of the lucky ones because I have people who walk this road beside me, who are as the church should be. There is hope for this generation, for our church. But I’ve found that it really is easier to throw rocks than to sit in the dung heap with someone. I blame myself as well, for I have been silent for far too long.
It is easy to say “love the sinner, hate the sin” but I don’t always see that in regards to this debate. You can’t tell a gay person that you love them but disapprove of their homosexuality because to them, it is part of their identity. What does loving someone who wants to marry a same sex partner look like? How can I defend the word of God and speak truth into such a volatile situation? Questions I ask myself … even when no one else asks.
I never wanted to be on TV. I never wanted this struggle. I didn’t expect to see something misunderstood by so many, being debated across this great nation, and I don’t expect accolades. I don’t want to be like the mayor of San Francisco, hailed as some hero of civil rights. I also don’t want to turn people off from our Savior. But I do want this side of the discussion to be heard. I want people to know that I am out there, and I am not alone. I want people to know that words (from both sides) still hurt, and that this is not as black and white as some make it out to be. This is my cross to carry, my battle to fight. I will be heard … even if no one asks. Yet at the end of the night, it is not public opinion I wish to change. As I close my eyes for sleep, it is enough to see two nail pierced hands clapping and to hear His quiet voice saying “well done my child … ”
[Burke Wallace lives in Los Angeles where he is a seminary student taking a break from full time ministry. He also volunteers with Exodus Youth, a ministry of Exodus International that reaches out to youth struggling with unwanted same sex attractions. For more information check them out on the web at www.exodusyouth.net]
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