Yesterday I got an email from Jeremy “JB” Burgess, the nighttime deejay for Air1 Radio. Prompted by the link to a Relevant Magazine article called “Christian and Gay?” that JB has placed on his Facebook fan page, a married Christian man had written to JB about his secret struggles with his homosexual desires.
Aware that lately I’ve been blogging a bit about the relationship of Christians and Christianity to homosexuality, JB (knowing he could trust me to keep it absolutely confidential) shared the man’s letter with me, inquiring as to how I might respond to it. In the course of our ensuing conversation, I related that in my experience it’s proven helpful for people to simply (and however anonymously) share their story with others. Because I knew the letter’s author would get a lot of love and support from my readers, I told JB that if he cared to, he could offer to the reader my blog as a platform for sharing and receiving input on his letter.
Jeremy thought that a good idea. And so, in my inbox this morning, I found the following letter:
I wrote the email below to JB in reference to an article he linked on his FB page. He suggested that I let you know of what I shared with him, as you have been writing on your blog a lot lately about the issue of homosexuality. I have done some initial reading on your site, and it has been helpful. You’re welcome to copy this and post it if you wish. I would love to hear some positive comments from your readers. I’m also prepared for some negative responses as well. Thanks for listening. I’m ready to move forward.
Hi there JB,
I’m a friend of yours on Facebook. I was reading one of your posts yesterday from the article in Relevant Magazine. Thanks for sharing it. It is actually forcing me to deal with a part of my life that I haven’t.
I’m am married man with kids who my whole life has lived with homosexual tendencies. Scared and still am for most of my life of someone finding out. I have hidden it, and no one in my straight life knows of this side of me. The main reason is for some of the exact responses you received from the post.
I don’t understand why I was born with this—and yes, I feel it is something you are born with, and not something you can get rid of if you want. I’m not sure why I’m emailing you with this, except for the fact that I could use prayer! I can’t tell you the number of times I have cried in desperation to be rid of this, but for whatever reason it is here in my life. I have acted on the tendencies in the past a few times, and fallen to my knees afterward.
I have heard that if those who are like me would just trust Christ, he will take it away. I have reflected on this, and I think it’s not that I don’t trust Christ, but that I don’t trust myself to turn it over. I have read my Bible more, and prayed more to be straight. I don’t feel that I have the strength to let it go. I don’t think it would magically go away, although I wish it would. I think what my desire would be is to find healing, find an accountability partner, and someday even be someone who could counsel those who suffer from.
It’s so hard doing this alone, and it’s not like I can walk up to someone at church and say, “Hi, I struggle with homosexual tendencies, and I would love prayer.” I fear I would be thrown out of the church, let alone what it would do to my family. My world is straight. I have served on the church board, sang in the worship team, worked with the youth. I don’t know what I would call myself, except a follower of Christ who has scars and has tried to do it alone for too long.
By you posting this I think it has given me the courage to at least tell this to you, although it’s anonymous. I had to do this, if for nothing else to say I’m gaining the strength to someday accept who I am, and it doesn’t mean I’m any less loved by Christ. I’m not sure if I’m rambling or making sense. It is challenging to write of this, as this is the first time I have faced it in this manner.
Thanks for being used by God!
Thanks for listening.
I’m going to offer a piece of advice to our new friend, and then throw his letter open for comments. I know this goes without saying, but please respond in the spirit of gentle, supporting love. I know you guys will do nothing less. That’s why I invited him over here.
To our new friend:
You’re going through a gruelingly difficult time; thank you for letting me and my readers share it with you. Lots of struggles in the road ahead of you, lots of valleys and mountains for you to traverse.
I’m not actually keen on giving specific advice before I’m more familiar with the details of a situation than of course I am right now with yours. But even at this point, I think it’s safe to say that you must share this struggle with your wife.
You can lie to the church; you can lie to your friends; you can lie to your parents; you can even (for a while) lie to your children. You can lie to everybody—but not to your wife. She deserves to know of this—and you deserve to have her know of it. By not sharing this with her, you are tricking her into living a lie. Doing that is infinitely worse than anything you could ever do in the gay department.
Tell her, buddy. She might surprise you. She might have a few secrets of her own she’d love to get off her chest. You never know. But you do know that if, by way of protecting yourself, you continue to allow the person who has entrusted you with her life to believe that she’s living one life while in fact she’s living another, you will go to your grave burning with the regret of having caused and perpetrated that tragedy. Don’t do that to yourself; and do not do it to her. However long you’ve been keeping this from her is long enough. Share! She’s your wife; your partner; your mate. She’s your friend. If she loves you, she’ll want above all to be part of everything you go through. If she doesn’t love you—or if she freaks out and decides she doesn’t once you’ve told her about this, or however she might respond—then, yes, you’ll have to deal with every last bit of that. But at least all your cards will be on the table. At least you’ll then be playing an honest game.
Remember what Christ said: The truth will set you free. If you believe anything Christ ever said, please believe that.