I am currently a junior in college. When I came to school my freshmen year I met this awesome friend named Justin. Him and I became very close and we were/are prayer partners. Today, Justin told me he was taking me to dinner. As a girl, I thought he was interested in me and or dating me or whatever. When he started tearing up and getting uncomfortable, I got really concerned. He then went on to say that ever since 4th grade he hasn’t been “normal.” And we have a mutual friend that came out as gay but felt like God didn’t want him to be, so he stopped (girls and guys). Anyway, Justin told me to think about Joseph (the mutual friend) and that would explain things. Justin told me today that he is gay.
At first I was a bit confused and then everything made sense. I mean him and I would lay on my bed together and watch movies and he never would do anything to initiate a more “personal” interaction. Many times he would say, that I am the type of girl he wants to spend the rest of his life with. I asked him about that and he said that he lied to me. That really hurt me. At first I thought it was me. Now I know why. Anyway, I asked him why I dated the girls he did these past few years and he said, because he thought that if he tried to act “normal,” he would eventually change and God would take these desires from him.
I love Justin dearly. I would die for him in a heartbeat. I would do anything. I don’t care what he is or who he is attracted to, he is my best friend and nothing will change that.
I am just so confused as to what I believe about homosexuality and Christianity. I was brought up that being gay is wrong and that you are going to hell. But when I look at Justin and all of the ministry he has been a part of and how much he loves God and Christ, I can’t imagine God saying, “You’re gay, go to Hell!” I wish I knew more about what being Gay really is, because I don’t understand what he’s going through and scared for him.
We both belong to a college ministry and it’s been made clear what they stand for and what is acceptable. If he is shunned for this in anyway, I will always stand by his side no matter what.
I just wish it wasn’t so freaking hard to know that him and I could never be. I want to marry him. I want to have children with him. But knowing that if we were together, that he would feel stronger feelings toward the guy on the bus, than to his wife is hard for me. I guess I’m being selfish.
I guess I am writing to you because I am so confused. I want to be supportive and yet I want to be Godly about it. I love Justin so much to lose him to my own selfish pain and confusion.
Thank you so much,
Amy in TX
You are correct in your assessment of yourself and being selfish. The definition of selfish is: “having such regard for one’s own interests and advantage that the welfare of others becomes of less of a concern than is considered just” (Webster’s New World Dictionary, with Student Handbook, 1972). I say this because you seem to believe the lies of the religious conservatives who say there is the chance that people like Justin will change so you can have what you want. What lies am I talking about?
THE LIE: The Book of Leviticus expressly forbids homosexual sex.
THE TRUTH: The purity laws of the ancient priesthood are a code of ethics rooted in a time and culture that is far removed from today’s world. Among other things it forbids shaving, wearing clothing made of two different materials, eating rare meat, and many other things. The edict against homosexual sex is part of this code, no more or no less important than the verse that forbids harvesting an entire field of grain or piercing an ear. It is important only as a historical document, not as a set of rules to follow in this time.
THE LIE: Sodom was destroyed for the sin of homosexuality.
THE TRUTH: Sodom and homosexuality were not connected until the middle ages. In Biblical days it was acknowledged that Sodom was destroyed for greed and inhospitality. While some believe that it was probable that the men of Sodom were bent on raping Lot’s visitors, this was an act of violence, not an indication of the sexual preference of the male population of the city.
There are many references of Sodom in the Bible (Ezekiel 16:49; Mark 6:11; 2 Peter 2:6-8, among others) but none of them mention homosexuality.
THE LIE: There are scriptures affirming the Biblical condemnation of homosexual sex.
THE TRUTH: Many of the references to eunuchs in the Bible refer to homosexual men, not necessarily to just castrated males. Jesus himself said: “For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:12).
The book of Isaiah holds one of the greatest promises to GLBT people. “To the eunuchs that keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, I will give, in my house and within my walls, a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.” (Isaiah 56: 4-5.)
Justin has given you an incredible gift — his trust. I am pretty sure he knows how you feel about him and so instead of lying and leading you on, he entrusted his very life to you. He claimed you as the friend that he needs desperately in a world that hates him, and in a ministry where if it becomes known he is gay will erase all love for Jesus he may have and toss him out of the “kingdom.”
His trust in you says that he believes you will love him unconditional, in the sense of I Corinthians 13 4-7, which says:
“Love is never tired of waiting; love is kind; love has no envy; love has no high opinion of itself, love has no pride; Love’s ways are ever fair, it takes no thought for itself; it is not quickly made angry, it takes no account of evil; It takes no pleasure in wrongdoing, but has joy in what is true; Love has the power of undergoing all things, having faith in all things, hoping all things.”
My dear child of God, it is never easy when the one we really want to settle into a relationship with turns out not to be the one. My heart aches for you. I knew a woman in college that felt toward a man much the way you do toward Justin. She felt hurt and described very much of what you have said in your letter. Being selfish in this case and in your case is a natural reaction to not being able to have what you want and believe you need. However, your experience here is no different than if Justin had been straight and you just weren’t the girl for him. This kind of thing happens all the time. This is why people date and get to know one another before they marry. It is part of the relationship process. It is part of life.
Your challenge now is to get beyond what you want and accept Justin as the child of God he is. God has given you a great opportunity — to practice the “Gospel” in all of its fullness. Remember this incredible gift of trust Justin has given you. He gave this sacred trust to you in the hope that you would not reject him, you will not set him aside, that you will continue to affirm him as God’s creation and the shepherd that God has called him to be. My prayers and thoughts are with you.
Editor-in-Chief of Whosoever and Founding and Senior Pastor of Gentle Spirit Christian Church of Atlanta, Rev. Paul M. Turner grew up in suburban Chicago and was ordained by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in 1989. He and his husband Bill have lived in metro Atlanta since 1994, have been in a committed partnership since the early 1980’s and have been legally married since 2015.