Friday, July 19, 2013

Being Celibate Is No Joke

As I was walking through the mall today I saw a couple holding hands and giggling and loving on each other.  

What kind of picture did you just get in your head when you read that first sentence?  Most of you probably pictured a heterosexual couple.  But you were wrong.  The couple I saw walking hand in hand in the mall was a lesbian couple.

What reaction did you just have?

It's the reaction of Christians to the picture that I just painted with my words that I want to address.

I came across a quote today.

"Being celibate is no joke and we can't knock the struggle."

The person who said this was reprimanding another Christian person who was being condescending toward people who struggle with homosexuality.  She was telling this Christian that no matter what "orientation" a person has, the struggle for abstinence is real for everyone.  

This is true.  Many Christians fail to feel or show mercy to those who struggle with homosexuality.  Instead they seem to feel as though they have license to despise gay people as though their sinfulness is MORE sinful than the heterosexual couple that gratifies their desire for intimacy before marriage.  

Most people desire intimacy.  Finding someone to share life with is a privilege that God grants to some.  But for others who have not been blessed with a God given spouse there may be the desire for intimacy that can not be satisfied apart from living outside of God's will.  But having desire does not mean we get to act on that desire.  No matter if you are gay or straight. 

The struggle for celibacy is just as real for a gay person as it is for a straight person.  The only difference is, for a straight person there is always the hope of finding that special someone in God's timing.  But for the gay person...there is no hope for this.  There is only sadness in the realization that God will never allow them intimacy in a homosexual way...because it is against His will.  And this is a temptation they must resist for their entire life or until God gives them victory over it.

So why am I bringing this subject up?  Why risk offending someone?  I risk the offense because as I passed this couple in the mall I was aware of the scornful looks of others around who also saw their brazen display of affection for one another and it made me a little sad.  I wasn't sad for the couple (they actually seemed oblivious).  I was sad about the lack of mercy for this couple.  Why is it that mercy is readily afforded to some but not others?  I think in our hearts we may have learned to empathize more with the promiscuous heterosexual couple because we can relate to their passion and we understand how hard it is to be alone or resist temptation.  But not many of us make the same effort to empathize with a person who struggles with homosexual feelings.  But when scripture says,

"The Lord is not slow about His promises as some would understand slowness, but He is patient with you not wishing for anyone to perish but for all to come to repentance" 

it applies to everyone, even the lesbian couple walking in the mall.  God does not wish them to perish but wants them to come to repentance the same as you or I.

I am not saying that we as a Church should embrace the homosexual lifestyle and condone it.  I'm saying we must put a stop to our own personal indignation for this sin and love with Agape love those who are in bondage to it.  And we need to remember that their struggle is just as real as our own, because they desire closeness too. Being celibate is no joke and we can't knock the struggle, no matter if the person who struggles is gay or straight. Rather than being hateful we should be compassionate and yet strongly hold to God's word, as we would for anyone else who is struggling with any other sin.  

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