The other day I noticed that another Facebook friend had joined a somewhat exclusive, online club; the Facebook official club. For those of you unfamiliar with what Facebook official represents, it’s the act of announcing your dating relationship to the world via Facebook. The Facebook Official proclamation falls somewhere between “You’re kinda cute” and “I wanna have yo baby”. Oftentimes it announces a relationship previously in progress. One trend I am noticing is that gay couples are using it to announce their relationships, but as a way of coming out to friends and family who might not have a clue.
This is where I found myself the other day. I was trolling the newsfeed, looking for funny videos, searching for a daily life slogan and catching up on the latest political and social gaffes that Barack or Michelle had perpetrated on the highly esteemed office of POTUS or FLOTUS. I happened upon a guy that I shared my testimony with about 10 years ago. We have been facebook “friends” this entire time. We met at a Christian, collegiate conference called Sonburst. I spoke at the conference and shared about Jesus and leaving homosexuality with a group of about 100 students. One of the students grabbed my email and shared his similar struggle with same sex attraction. We met to hangout and conversed off and on for a few years. Eventually he moved and the lines of communication grew quiet. The cold hard fact about Facebook though is that you can think you know so much about a person and still know so very little about their lives.
I saw that my friend had announced that he was Facebook Official with a guy. I know I hadn’t talked to him in years, but my heart sank. Homosexuality develops as a result of brokenness in relationships and other developmental factors. I hate to see that someone has simply resigned himself to a life built on a foundation of dysfunction. It hurts my heart to see any man, let alone the men who know the truth of the bible regarding homosexuality, choose a different path than the one that God has ordained for all men. Homosexuality is not in God’s plan for us. It is simply not His best for his creation. No matter how many times gay christians manipulate and twist scripture to suit their need or omit the bible’s condemnation of homosexual acts, it doesn’t change the fact that God designed man for woman and woman for man and that any sexual relationship outside of marriage is sin.
So there I was, reading and disbelieving my friend’s post. My heart sank a little further as read the comments below in support of his proclamation; nothing but “love” for this man and his relationship. Then I began to wonder, how will he know the truth if no one tells them? How will they find their way back to the will people know the truth of God if they are surrounded by only by the voices of sinful, broken people? I knew I needed to once again, share the truth in love with my friend. I felt in my heart that a loving, compassionate, private message was the way to go. I simply said, I saw your post about dating a guy. I remember where we met and what we talked about together. I have continued my walk out of homosexuality. Homosexuality is not God’s best for you. His reply came a few days later.
My friend was no longer the receptive young 20 something that had pursued me for the truth. His reply represented the burgeoning and hybridized viewpoint of many gay Christians today: a little bit of truth mixed with some misinterpreted scripture and a whole lot of defensiveness. It was hurtful, but I understand his response. You are living your happy life, that you have fought hard for and some guy sends you a message after 10 years to tell you that he doesn’t feel that you are doing the right thing and he calls out your relationship with God in the process. Even though my intention was nothing but true love, what I did was put him on guard.
So what is the proper response. I wouldn’t change the fact that I spoke truth to my friend, but I would change the fact that I didn’t invite God in to help me process my friends announcement the minute that I read it. I knew I needed to be the only voice of spiritual reason in my friend’s life, but my response was reactive, not relational. My friend said something that stuck in my throat and put a knot in my stomach. He said, unless I had been talking to God on his behalf for the last ten years, I had no idea what God’s plan was for him. Though there’s truth and falsehood to that statement, it was a convicting thought. How much had I prayed for this boy over the last 10 years? How much had I even involved myself in his life? These were all ponderings I took to God in prayer. I knew that a three sentence Facebook message wasn’t going to bring down the power of the Holy Spirit and immediately bring conviction to my friend. I did believe that it would start a dialogue not a “forest fire”.
Over the next couple of days, I took my friend’s name before the Lord. I asked for forgiveness for not praying for him more. I asked God for intervention and healing in his life. The entire event has led me to pray more attentively for guys I am mentoring, have mentored or simply gay men I see when I am out and about. I don’t have all the time in the world to pray for every guy, but I know that a number of them have given up on God and given up on walking away from homosexuality. Many have resigned themselves to a form of spirituality called gay christianity as a means of managing their homosexual desires and their desire to serve Christ. I know all too well the battle that rages on in one’s head regarding Christianity and homosexuality. I tried for years to comingle the two. At the end of the day, gay chrisitianity isn’t a life of denying oneself daily, taking up your cross and following Christ, but a patchwork quilt of partial obedience to certain scriptures and a complete disregard of scriptures condemning homosexual practices.
I have been led to pray differently for them. Scripture says in Philippians 1:6 “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;”. God is faithful to save our loved ones from the bondage of sin. We must not have more faith that satan has our friends bound, but extreme trust that God is at work in their lives. We must in fact, trust in the Lord with all of our heart.
God loves our loved ones and friends so much more than we do. He created them. My prayer for each one of the men I pray for is that they would know God more and more each day. When it comes to the LGBT community, there seem to be two schools of thought, “Support them fully or you’re anti-gay” and “Condemn them completely, because they are all lost”. Personally, I don’t subscribe to either. I can’t support their pursuit of things outside the scope of God’s will for them, but I can love them as God’s creation and hope that one day they all become children of God through an active relationship with Jesus.
Even as the world blindly and unwittingly supports all things LGBT, we as Christians must share the truth in love, risk facing persecution and stand before God bearing the names of gay identified men and women in our lives. A while back, I was led Acts 27. Paul is traveling by ship to stand trial before Caesar. Acts 27:23 Paul says, “Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me 24 and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.”
I was moved by the Holy Spirit to ask God to graciously give me the lives of “the men traveling with me in my ship”. I felt led by the Holy Spirit to speak out the names of the men in my life. God warned Paul that the men must remain on the ship for their life to be spared. Inevitably in ministry there are men who chose to ignore the warning and jump ship even as others heed the warning and remain with the ship regardless of the impending doom they see. Prayerfully, I’m asking God to spare the lives of the men in the “ship in my mind”. It is not God’s will that anyone should perish.