Friday, August 05, 2005

My Gay Friends

One of our social circles (as if there are so many) includes several gay friends. This is a circle we've become a part of within the last 5 years or so. We get together with this group maybe 3 or 4 times over the course of a year....sort of a seasonal thing as I think about it.

Anyway....I can honestly say that my dealings with homosexuality have taught me more about being Christ-like than any other single factor in my life.

Being married to a man who struggles with unwanted same sex attractions was my first experience with homosexuality which caused me to re-examine everything I believe about being a Christian. This ultimately inspired me to begin to actually live and make choices based on my beliefs, most notably when those choices go against the world's view of what the most practical, realistic thing to do might be in a given situation. Doing that put me on the fast-track toward growth in Christ. I'm not boasting, don't get me wrong, because there is absolutely nothing I've done that's within my own power and ability in all this. In fact, if I had a dollar for every time I've threatened to cut my losses and head on down the road, I wouldn't have to worry about helping my son get student loans for college. The bottom line is that the only way to deal effectively with being married to a man broken as my husband was/is, is to focus on my own brokenness and restore my own relationship with Christ to the place it should be.

The 2nd way that homosexuality has taught me what it looks like to be Christ-like has to do with these gay friends of ours. You see, I really love them. I've had to examine what it looks like to love them as Jesus loves. I've come to the conclusion that if I'm operating in a Christ-like spirit and with Jesus as Lord of my life, then any way that I love them is the same as the way He does. And so....what does that look like?

For me, it looks like someone being completely honest and yet not condemning or judgemental. Which I've found, actually can be done. These friends of ours know that we believe homosexuality is a sin. They don't agree with it, but they know it. Occasionally, one of these guys will keep me up talking ALL night about homosexuality and gay issues (like marriage). I always indulge him when he wants to do this because I love him. And it is quite an indulgence for me to stay up all night because it literally ruins the next day for me what with a large family and all. He, on the other hand, gets to catch up unencumbered by mouths to feed or household calamities to prevent (4 boys).

He seems most offended by the religious right and evangelical Christians. He wants me to explain how I can be associated and worship with these people who do nothing but condemn, judge, and limit his rights to happiness and freedom. It just almost makes him mad that I continue to "church" with people who are so offensive to him....and then I remind him that, if we are truly friends and care about each other, his tolerance of me and my choices should reflect my tolerance of him and his choices.

And that's pretty much how it works. I think every time we visit like that we each go away believing maybe we've made a crack or dent in the veneer of the other.

I'm basically still figuring it all out. The whole religious right political thing, that is. I'm very certain about my opinions on sexual brokenness but I do have a difficult time reconciling right wing politics with the love of Christ.

What I have no trouble reconciling is a love for my gay friends (and I mean love in a lay-down-my-life sort of way) with my Christianity. The two are one in the same.

grace

18 comments:

Greg Kendall-Ball said...

Thanks for sharing this story. I hope that more personal testimonies like this will help de-objectify the "gay isssue."

Blessings,
greg

Gay Restorationist said...

I'd like to join Greg in thanking you for your post. This 'issue' isn't really an 'issue' at all, is it? It involves people's day to day existence in a way that many don't appreciate.

Though we may disagree about a few things, I join you in affirming the primacy of love.

Best,
GR

grace said...

GR,
Thanks for reading it and commenting. I've been reading a bit over at your place as well. :)
grace

Robert said...

Grace,

You and your husband have obviously had to struggle through a lot -- and yet you have managed to stay together. Reconciling differences is never easy, but it does appear that you have done very well with your friend's opinions and your husband's same sex attraction.

I hope you continue to learn and grow when these inevitable differences express themselves -- and I hope your friends and family do too!

grace said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and for commenting.

I've come to believe that God's truths are actually all about redemption and reconciliation. There is no situation that He can't redeem for his glory. It doesn't mean the earthly consequences go away....but that God is soveriegn over all.

Catez said...

Hi Grace,
This is a beautiful post and I'm glad I became aware of it. I've featured it on my blog in Scene and Herd. Thankyou for this.

Julana said...

I do have a difficult time reconciling right wing politics with the love of Christ.

Me too.

The Bishop said...

I am sure God is using this opportunity to help you influence your friends and I believe the best about your situation. Certainly, I don't know all the factors and circumstances involved.

The question that leaps to mind, however, from this limited discussion is, "Why do you hang around with gay friends if your husband has a problem being attracted to them?" "Bad company corrupts good morals," I Cor. 15:54 comes readily to mind.

Please don't be offended. Perhaps I am not seeing the situation clearly. But are you and your husband both hanging around with male gay friends when he has a problem?

I want to see prostitutes saved, but if I am struggling with immorality, I wouldn't go witnessing in a gentleman's club.

The Bishop said...

It's difficult to reconcile any sort of politics, left or right with the love of Christ.

I should think it would be even harder to reconcile left wing politics with Christ's love.

I would content myself with opposing and supporting issues one by one that are clearly right or wrong.

Abortion is clearly a heinous wrong which left wing politics support. In the past, similar evils such as slavery have been rooted out by political action supported by religious backing (abolitionists). So it makes some degree of sense to seek the end of abortion through political means.

However, we are all discovering that a major part of ending this holocaust is to change peoples' hearts through love and the gospel one at a time. Without the transformation of ideas and society through the reform of individual hearts, no political action will have lasting results or support.

Certainly we all long for love to triumph in the lives of our gay friends and for them to forsake their sin and come to the righteousness of Christ.

grace said...

Bishop,
For some reason, I'm just now finding your question about hanging around with gay friends. First of all, I'm not offended by your question. It makes sense to me. Believe me, if the time we do spend with these guys made either of us the least bit uncomfortable we wouldn't do it. And...we're actually pretty choosy about when we do socialize (with anyone, not just them) because of all sorts of factors, not the least of which is the prioritization of our time.
1) we aren't with them all that much...just a few times per year...they are friends....but not in a talk to you all the time and check in with each other on a daily or even weekly basis...mostly a birthday/holiday sort of getting together kind of thing. we're not the only straight people at these gatherings.
2) my husband's struggle has never been of the "having sex with random strangers" or of the more
"addictive/compulsive/high risk" nature which is pretty common among married strugglers who've hidden for years and years
3) my husband has had great success in overcoming what used to be a sexualization of male relationships and has formed some very close relationships with male friends (not the gay guys). oddly enough, while he's compassionate toward our gay friends, he's probably not AS compassionate toward them as i am, if that makes sense.
5) they are gay....not completely immoral. my husband and i are married. none of our gay friends are the type of people who would be interested in interferring with the sanctity of our marriage (or any marriage, for that matter).

I hope that helps you understand. There are actually many dynamics at work here. It's a valid concern on your part. But, like most everything, you can't generalize because for us, and in this particular situation, having friends who are gay is not a problem.

Anonymous said...

Nice post....

And I have to agree with Bishop also that it is a whole lot harder reconciling the Left with Christ's Love then anything on the left...
I am shocked that anyone would be so undiscerning to think otherwise!!

Anonymous said...

Then anything on the right that should read...

Thanks

The Bishop said...

Grace,

I understand. Thanks for clarifying.

Paul

chris said...

but I do have a difficult time reconciling right wing politics with the love of Christ.

I can relate. I have come in contact with a couple of people through my job that have gay tendencies. In fact, I have become good friends with one of them. It is hard to take a hard line stand (like the right wing) when you actually know someone that wrestles with this issue. I believe God's grace and love extends beyond our understanding, and we should never judge based on the orthodox teachings.

Great post! I will check back often
Chris

chris said...

I hope you don't mind, but I am going to put a link to your blog on mine.

BrettFusion said...

I was just thinking about your posting and wanted to ask you a question: If your husband is struggling with temptations in same sex attractions, isn't it made more difficult for him by having gay friends?

This is something like a person who is desperately in need of a life-saving diet being dragged by his/her friends to a favorite local ice cream store.

Just having those friends who are gay could cause your husband to stumble.

Have you thought about that?

grace said...

Brett,
I answered that question in the comments above since it had already been asked. Also, my husband at the time did post his own response to this sort of question and it's linked in the favorite posts. His leaving the marriage to pursue a gay relationship wasn't tied to these friends, they weren't, in fact, pleased about it.

Jessica said...

Wow!! This blog was a miracle for me to find today! My best friend is gay and I am a Christian. Now, when I say best friend, I mean that we went to Elementary school together and have been very close, talk or see each other everyday kind of friends for more than 20 years. I am also a single mom of two and my friend has been there in a male role for them thier entire lives. I have always made my views known to him but also always told him that I accept and love him for what he is no matter what. We also through the years have spent random nights staying up for hours discussing our core differences....Last night we had a huge argument where he asked me how can I be his best friend in this world and not support his beliefs. I have never waivered from my Christian beliefs that homosexuality is a sin and I have always let it be known to him. There has never been a time when either of us has been on the fence about our views. My problem is that I don't want to lose his friendship but I think he somehow feels betrayed by me because I haven't changed my views. The biggest part of that, I think, is that he feels that I am closed minded about this issue because I stand firm in my Christian beliefs. I disagree, I believe in what I believe in because the bible tells us so, and because I have faith that it is truth. I can't change my core beliefs for that, I just can't, he isn't the one who saved my soul! It is possible to have unconditional love for him and still not agree with his lifestyle isn't it? Am I fooling myself thinking that we can live as best friends even though our core beliefs are so different? As a sidenote, he is attending a Unity church and is a Christian also, just with a few small difference in our doctrines, lol. I appreciate your blog, it really hit home for me! I would appreciate any feedback! Thanks for listening.