I got this blog comment on one of my old posts from 'Anonymous' that I would like to share with my readers. I will be posting this same question on our Courage e-group to get the opinions and reactions of fellow brothers and sisters, which I will collect and post here as a follow-up post to this entry. My reply to his query below sums up what I personally believe on the issue of homosexuality in general.
Does Courage recognize that two persons of the same sex can love each other? I know same sex couples, who are in committed and loving relationships. They care for each other, tend to each other's needs, and plan their lives together. But because they have sex with each other, then all that caring and loving still don't count? Now, I would agree that some - straight or gay - have sex with different motivations (lust, sensual adventure, etc.). Maybe I can understand why some people would object to that. But I can't understand why the same should apply to Joe and Larry who have been together for years and who have been at each other's side in sickness and health, through ups and downs. Their love should not remain as "love which dare not be speak its name." Love is love. - Anonymous
Thank you for taking the time to comment.
First of all, I want to assure you that I truly understand your sentiments and where you are coming from. To address your question, here is my personal stand:
I believe I can love anyone, even members of the same sex whom I feel attracted to, without having sexual intercourse. It is not a condition for me to express my love and for him to love me back in return.
You may not agree with me, but I must tell you that from experience the most fulfilling and enduring friendship between two persons of the same sex is one that is mutual, nonsexual, and pure. When a person loves you this way, you can truly be sure that he is not after your money, fame, or favor. At this level of friendship, there is authentic freedom and space for each one of you to grow as a person without the trappings that come along with an emotionally-dependent and sex-based relationship.
My friend, I believe that deep within a person struggling with same-sex attraction, is that little boy that cries out desperately for love, but that this love is often misinterpreted as sexual love. I am more inclined to believe that our deepest unmet needs are in fact nonsexual in nature, which include affirmation of our God-given sexuality as male and female, true compassion, and a feeling of belongingness which many of us never experienced while growing up. These unmet needs are at the very core of our struggle. For most of us though these legitimate needs have been 'sexualized' in an attempt to fill that huge void inside us and to appease the little boy's desperate plea for affection.
It is noteworthy to mention that many gay men who have been in this lifestyle admit that sex has never really filled up that terrible void inside of them which begs the question why.
This puts the sexual act in its rightful and proper perspective, which is between a man and a woman in marriage, and I want you to understand that this is not some teaching that is imposed upon me by the Church or that which I follow blindly and neither is it discriminatory against gays. With all my personal limitations and weaknesses, God has made me realize this truth early on though somewhat vague which is much clearer now. More than a religious belief or teaching it is a personal unshakable conviction that I have right now. I am also aware though that this can be hard to accept among LGBTs and I cannot force anyone to accept it, but I must stand up for what I believe.
You know, sometimes, love can be misguided and blind as well. It can be very difficult for us to tell two guys who are "in love" with each other that their relationship is not good because we fear to be branded as "homophobic", "narrow-minded", or "politically incorrect." We care more of what other people might think of us rather than what God would tell of us when we come face to face with Him alone one day. We fear to offend their feelings and so we approve of their relationship as something good and desirable. If you know somebody who is running fast towards the edge of a cliff, would you not try to stop him on his tracks for fear of causing him some slight physical injury? Isn't that the most loving thing to do at that moment?
If you happen to be caught in this situation there is a middle ground, which is speaking the truth in love.
In the secular and relativistic society of our times, we need to always speak of the truth with love especially on the topic of gay relationships. I want to share with you this quote from Pastor Bill Campbell, author of the book Turning Controversy Into Church Ministry - a Christlike Response to Homosexuality:
Jesus did not hide the truth; he called the adulteress to repentance. But neither did he insult her, condemn her, or throw her out. His grace embraced her and sent her forth to live a better life. If he had demonstrated grace without truth, he would have let her stagger down the path of personal destruction. If he had spoken truth without grace, he would have clubbed her with the law and sentenced her to stoning by the crowd.
Truth and grace – have you ever tried putting those two together without minimizing either? Without God’s help, it is a daunting task. Grace without truth hampers, confuses, and even deceives. Truth without grace cuts, wounds, and destroys. Those who approach thorny matters such as sexual addiction, homosexuality, and adultery with only truth become experts at alienation. Those who bring love into such discussions but avoid the truth are unable to confront patterns of behavior that hurt self and society. Both are important; neither can function properly without the other. Salt is essential to the body, but separated into its two elements, sodium and chloride, it can be deadly. (p. 13)
Sadly in our times there is too much emphasis on 'love' without regard to what is true. I saw on the news lately that New York has legalized same-sex 'marriage' and that there is a gay church here in the Philippines that are officiating this kind of 'union' even if this is against our civil and church laws. I am inclined to think that this is where you might be coming from. In this case, we need to remind everyone of the truth that gay marriage is clearly not a part of God's original plan for us, that it is something of our own making in defiance to His will, yet on the other hand we need to embrace people who are struggling with same-sex attraction and convince them of the fact that they like anyone else deserve to be loved and respected, and that the Church cares for them and desires only their ultimate good. We in Courage along with other faith-based ministries here in the Philippines and around the world are proof that the Church truly cares for people struggling with SSA (same-sex attraction).
I hope I was able to enlighten you a bit. It is perfectly okay if you cannot seem to grasp this whole thing all at once. Ask God in your prayers for the gifts of understanding and wisdom. I do not pretend to have all the answers to your doubts and questions. God alone, who is Love and Truth, can give you 'THE ANSWER'.
In the end, only His unconditional love can heal us and meet our deepest needs.
God bless you.
Courage Blog Moderator