I’ve thoroughly enjoyed our morning “Big Fish” devotions. Scripture serves as a guiding light for me as I minister to the gay community. This past week I read a story about a woman with a crippling spirit. She was listening to Jesus in a synagogue. The woman’s ailment reminded me of my struggle with homosexuality from childhood to my late 20’s. The bible said the woman “had been crippled by a spirit for 18 years.” She was a woman who was crippled by a spirit, not a crippled woman. Her identity was rooted in her gender, not in her infirmity.
So many aspects of the woman’s story mirrored mine. As I struggled with homosexuality I began taking on a gay identity. When I began the process of walking away from homosexuality, my mentor challenged me to change my thought process. Don’t call yourself a gay man and label yourself according to your ailment, because then “gay” becomes your identity. Call yourself a Christian with homosexual struggles. Your identity as a Christian then moves to the foreground and the ailment is a sinful condition that affects you, but doesn’t define you. The process of separating myself from a gay identity had begun. I was not a gay man any more than the lady in the bible was a crippled woman.
Here is the full scripture passage, Luke 13:11-13 11 “and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” 13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.
Here is what God revealed to me as I read.
1) Jesus saw the woman’s need, 2) Jesus had compassion on her, 3) Jesus was willing to heal her, 4) Jesus called her forward.
Jesus then put the healing in her hands. Everyone around her knew that she was crippled. They could see the evidence of it. She had to recognize that she was crippled and in need of Jesus’ help as well. What happened? The woman stepped forward when Jesus called her.
What went on here? She had to recognize that there was something wrong with her. She had to get beyond her shame. She had been tormented for a long time. She could have given up, accepted her fate and identified herself as a crippled woman the same way many identify themselves as gay or gay Christians. But…her handicap was evident and debilitating. She still had a choice of what to do. She chose to step forward. She chose to place her life in Jesus’ hands. She believed in Him or she had simply been ravaged by her infirmity far too long.
After Jesus laid hands on her, the bible says, “…immediately she straightened up and praised God.” She praised God for her healing, not for her infirmity. This stands in stark contrast to the belief of some gay Christians that homosexuality is a gift from God. They, unlike the woman, praise God for their infirmity, and don’t ask or even consider pursuing Jesus healing power for their broken sexuality.
Can you imagine if Jesus had called her forward and she said something like this; “Why should I come forward? There is nothing wrong with me. I’ve been this way for 18 years. Why didn’t you take this away long before now? God did this to me. I was “born this way”. I can’t change. This is who I am. This is my identity. I’ve been this way for far too long. I AM FINE! How dare you insult a crippled woman. “ I remember saying some of those same things to God and many Christians when they identified the sin of homosexuality in my life. In many ways I thought I had brought it on myself. I reasoned that God had made me that way, after prayers to remove the feelings went seemingly unanswered.
Years later when my heart and my mind were exhausted and ravaged by gay relationships and many years in the gay community, Jesus would call to me once again. This time I would step forward from the crowd, not caring what any of them had to say and humble myself, then collapse in His waiting arms.
I find it encouraging that the woman crippled by a spirit hadn’t given up on God. After 18 years we still find her in the synagogue. Where will Christ find you if he calls your name? Have you given up on freedom from homosexuality? Has someone cheated you out of your own shot at freedom, because it didn’t work for them? Have you removed yourself from the presence of God altogether? Gay Christianity is a demonic diversion cooked up by the enemy to keep us from continuing on our journey to true freedom in Jesus. Jesus, like the prodigal’s father is awaiting your arrival my friend. Ask God to give you a clear picture of the sin that you can’t or refuse to see in your life. Be honest with yourself when he reveals the truth.
Proverbs 4:18 The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. 19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.