Recently someone close to me said “I am really sorry that you have to deal with being gay.” He meant it from the heart and I understood exactly what he was saying.
But it got me thinking… is being gay all bad? Would I change the past if I could and make it so I wasn’t gay? If I could wave a magic wand and change being gay right now, would I? Is gay the problem?
These aren’t easy questions.
Here is where I am at today with this stuff (and please know that it may change by tomorrow… this is all still a process and journey for me!)…
FIRST, I don’t think I would change my past in terms of being gay. In many respects, being gay has shaped me in significant ways. I also think it has made me a better minister in some significant ways.
I think being gay has made me more compassionate to people who for whatever reason think they are beyond God’s love. I think being gay has made me understand, appreciate, and extend grace in ways I wouldn’t have otherwise. I think being gay has allowed me to not judge people when they confess their sins to me and to accept them as God accepts them.
I also think being gay has made me a better evangelist. Personally wrestling with these issues forced me to understand and appreciate how complicated life can be, from a pretty early age. This is an invaluable tool in evangelism. To be effective in evangelism, you need a soft heart, an ability to listen, and comfort with messiness.
I think being gay has made the importance of fighting injustice and living out Kingdom values more real for me. I also think it kept me humbled and grounded in the midst of ministry success… I always knew it had nothing to do with me. I knew how broken and hurting I was… and so relied on Jesus and His grace even more every day.
I also think it helped me have more dynamic and effective ministry with women, especially college students and 20-somethings (and high school students when I was a youth minister). This can be a challenge for men in ministry (which is one reason why having women in ministry is so important). But I think it allowed me to minister in unique ways to women. At the same time, by God’s grace, with one notable exception, it never compromised my ministry with guys. God has given me amazing grace in that I can honestly say I have never had serious attraction issues with guys I ministered to (again, in fairness, with one notable exception).
I am who I am today, in part because I am gay. And I don’t regret that.
SECOND, and for the record, I regret and mourn every sin I have ever committed. I hope you do too. Sin is always an offense against God. There is no good that can come from sin that God could not have brought about without sin. So while I would not change my past in terms of being gay (which is not a sin) I would change any sins I committed.
THIRD — and perhaps the big question — given what I have just said, would I change being gay now and moving forward if I could?
If I could change being gay, I would.
I know in some circles that is not a popular answer… and in others it is the only right answer…
Why would I not change the past, but would change moving forward?
In terms of the past, I am thankful for who I am and who God has made me and how God has used “all things” to work in me and form me and grow me. So I am OK with the past.
But the truth is life would be easier being straight. Finding companionship… family… social stigma issues… ministry… you name it… life is simply easier when you aren’t different and an outcast in so many circles…
So what is my conclusion for today?
BEING GAY has not been all bad… and I wouldn’t change that about my past.
That said, like all disciples, I REGRET & MOURN every sin I have ever committed… it is what put Jesus on the cross–and if I could, I would change those sins.
Moving forward, if it were possible (or up to me) — I WOULD CHANGE BEING GAY.
So am I seeking change?
Not in terms of being gay.
Because I am committed as a disciple of Jesus Christ to SEEKING FIRST HIS KINGDOM, trusting God to do whatever transformative and sanctifying work He needs to do in me when He wants to.
God may change the fact that I am gay. But He doesn’t have to. And I am OK with whatever he decides to do.
Because I trust that Romans 8:28 is true… and that God’s plan is better than my own.