sinner

Recently, I’ve been having difficulty writing for the blog.

It’s partly because I’ve been busy. There’ve been family functions, apartment searching, and lots of work.

It’s also partly because I’m not always exactly sure what to write about. When I first started the blog, I had many thoughts and feelings about homosexuality that were pent-up inside of me and that I desperately wanted people to hear about because I was so exhausted and frustrated by the ignorance around me. I felt like I had to do something about it. The first month of the blog and the wide range of its impact has somewhat satisfied that appetite, at least for now.

But as I’ve reflected on why it has been so hard for me to write, I believe a deeper reason is that I feel like a fraud, like I’m unworthy to be doing this. The truth is that during the last month, I’ve struggled with my faith. Except for a few momentary exceptions, God has felt distant, and I don’t really know what I’m doing right now to serve and love Him. There isn’t any passion in my faith, no excitement for how I am contributing to the Kingdom. And when it comes to my same-sex attraction, I am letting my thoughts go too far. In short, lust has been an issue, more so than usual for me.

And for whatever reason, I feel that if I want to maintain integrity while writing this blog I need to have my faith in order, especially when it comes to my homosexuality. I seriously feel like I should only write a post if I’m not struggling, if I’m not having any lustful thoughts.

Now after seeing that last sentence written out on my Word document, I see the absolute absurdity and arrogance of it. Since when did I ever expect myself to be perfect, or think that I could be flawless? Since when did I expect myself to be beyond sinning (or at least to never pass my arbitrary “acceptable allotment” of sin). How prideful of me. I’ve been sinning in how I’ve been viewing my sin.

If I try and present myself as the “perfect” gay Christian who never struggles with lust or wrestles with depression and doubt, then I defeat the entire purpose of this blog. The point of us writing has always been to tell our narratives truthfully so as to shed light on a group of people that many conservative Christians have no idea actually exists. More than that, we also want to help the Church (and the rest of the world) understand, a little better, what it’s like to be a conservative Christian who is attracted to the same sex. Experiencing lustful thoughts about men is a reality of my life, and thus I have no idea why I felt like I needed to “hide it” from the blog.

I’ve believed the lie, like I have many times before, that God can’t use a sinner – that God only uses people who have their lives put together. This is entirely false, and the Bible unequivocally speaks against it. As I write this, I’ve been thinking of the many sinners who God has used for His Kingdom, like Peter, who denied knowing Christ, or  Paul, who went from killing Christians to writing most of the New Testament.

What has made this “lie” have more power in my life right now is the nagging fear that perhaps my theology of homosexuality is the catalyst for my struggle with lust. Maybe I’ve been wrong this whole time; maybe those with more fundamentalist views on homosexuality are right and I really do just need to try and “stop” being attracted to males. I fear that my admission of lust will give credibility to these people, or that someone could be reading the blog and think “see, he wouldn’t be struggling with lust if his views were right, so he must be wrong.” I know this isn’t true and that whether one is struggling with sin is not really an indication of correct beliefs. After all, the Bible says that even the demons acknowledge that Christ is Lord, yet they don’t follow Him. Correct belief does not always equal appropriate action, and I think Satan really wants me to believe that I wouldn’t be struggling with lusting  after men if I had the correct theology. Satan would rather I believe that my same-sex attraction is the real sin (rather than lust), and that I need to wallow in guilt every time I have any inclination towards a guy because I am choosing to be attracted to him, somehow. This would take me out of the picture, turn my focus away from  pursuing Christ, and prevent me from contributing to the Kingdom.

God always wants to use us to bring redemption and healing to the world. No matter what we’ve done, He’s ready to forgive us, to put us back on the battle line. His arms are always open wide, waiting for us to return to Him.

This doesn’t mean we take that for granted. As I believe Paul says, we shouldn’t keep on sinning simply so that grace may increase. And ultimately, our behavior can be an indicator of how much we actually love God (John 14, 1 John 2). If we love Jesus, we will obey Him. I know that I must keep on fighting the sin in my life by pursuing Jesus more determinedly. I will only be able to face the lust in my life if I am strengthened by Jesus’ overwhelming love, which is why the first thing I must do in this fight it is turn to Him.

There’s a strange tension between not falling into despair when we sin (i.e. realizing we are still human) and not taking grace for granted. This tension is true for everyone, including me, a sinner.

Tony

 

 

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “sinner

  1. Tony,

    Thank you for sharing so openly. You are certainly right: God uses sinners like you and me. And you are certainly right to turn to Jesus first. My question is this: What are all the ways we can turn to Jesus? Is it only through prayer and listening to Christ’s words, or do you think it is important to turn to the body of Christ, the church?

  2. I find it remarkable yet devastating that right now, as so many faithful Christians are starting and growing SSA blogs, so many are struggling. And I’m not a blogger, but I have definitely been in such a rut right now.

    Maybe because I’m new to this whole “openness” thing, and don’t realize just how many people share our struggle, or just how painful it can get.

    Or maybe, just maybe, it’s because Satan is on a warpath right now. That as we seek the truth more boldly, Satan steps up his attacks against us. I feel like he’s screaming at his demons “NOOOO … fight harder, they’re slipping away!!!”

    I pray for all who are hating, and fearing, their SSA right now.

    May Christ keep us.

  3. When we read that we are made in God.s image, we first wonder who or what God is. What we should be considwering, is “Who amd I/ Am I humble?” Well, no, humility is not a human characteristic. So I am better than you, my sin is less than yours. But if we are made in the image of Jesus, then we need to carry our cross, and be willing to die for others. Wow, Tony, acquaint me with your blessings! .

  4. hi, tony. found your blog in a round-about way and when i read this post, my heart just went out to you. this is the only post of yours i have read, so i apologize that i don’t know much about you before commenting. a little about me: i know Jesus and i have a mental illness. i write about it sometimes (not often enough, i struggle with it a lot) on my blog. i feel like i could have written this post. and i wouldn’t have ended it as well as you did.

    there are a lot of people in this world that would say that the differences between your struggles and mine are VAST. but i don’t think Jesus would say that. i don’t see Jesus making an issue of the differences between the struggles of martha (the martyr-complexed perfectionist) and the woman caught in adultery. or between the struggles of mary magdelene and saul/paul. i do see him making an issue of the differences between the religious pharisees, trusting in their own goodness, and the prostitute who poured out her wealth on His feet out of her knowledge of her desperate need for Him. He said He came for people like you and me: the sick. does it matter what our particular “brand” of sickness is? He came for all of it; His stripes heal all of it; His death and resurrection erase all of it.

    i’m nobody, but i want to re-affirm: Jesus does love you. sometimes people say that to me in such a trite way that it seems as if they are saying “oh you wouldn’t struggle with this or that if you just remembered that Jesus loves you!” ugh. one more thing for me to feel bad about! one more failure to add to my long, long list. i am NOT saying it to you like that. i’m telling you this because i swear to you it is the most powerful truth i have ever known. it has been the lifeline that has literally kept me alive. even when i can’t feel his love at all. even when i have been certain that i could. not. go. on. Jesus has faithfully reminded me of the FACT of his never changing, life saving love for me, exactly as i am, right where i am, even if i never get better. there’s nothing more hopeful than that to me.

    Ephesians 3:14-21
    For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

    Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

  5. .
    My dear little brother (sorry that I ask no permission for this title):It is late and then probably I’ll be writting in a lousy way, but want to do it.
    I’ll pray for you in this difficult moment. I fully understand you didn’t want to write about this issue as in a certain way you have been encouraging us with positive views and now..what? are you failing? Of course not. At least from my experience, you and Jordan have collaborated a lot in making me have a more normal view and perception of other men, how to feel myself part of the same group.
    What is a more fundamentalist view of homosexuality? Usually trying not to feel will probably lead us to put more importance in the object and then making it stronger. Of course I am not saying: OK let’s be indulgent.
    When I was younger I thought “I” should avoid any SSA feeling and “I” should be flawless and “I” should work on “this hated problem” . That and thinking too much led me to a catastrophe. I can assure I would blush myself to tell you about some things in my life. But the One who “thought me before I was born” had to make me learn about humility. And you can’t learn it from a book but from pain. And here I am after many mistakes and sins. I now see, but not then, that He kept blowing and saying “get up, move forward again and learn that you cannot trust your own. I am patient, learn and go ahead there is still a long way to go”. I guess that is in part what you are saying.
    Again, may you count on my prayers and my gratitude.

  6. When I read this — “The truth is that during the last month, I’ve struggled with my faith. Except for a few momentary exceptions, God has felt distant, and I don’t really know what I’m doing right now to serve and love Him. There isn’t any passion in my faith, no excitement for how I am contributing to the Kingdom.” — my first thought was how of course satan would be attacking you. What you’re doing with this blog is amazing. I have shared it with family and friends and know of many people who have had their preconceptions, thoughts, ideas about homosexuality/faith/celibacy/intimacy/desire challenged, my own included. Praying for you, for protection from the despair of the enemy.

  7. God seems to use the most tripped up screw ups because when He works through us there can be no doubt where the power and goodness comes from. 😉 And you are absolutely under attack… I’m sure you can practically feel the weight of it, feeling dragged down like you have shackles around your soul while you try to function spiritually. One thing that helps me is saying the Jesus prayer out loud (demons run from it, sometimes you can feel the release even, I use it when I’m getting overwhelmingly angry at stupid stuff and its like a breeze over my heart): Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me a sinner. (a butt ton of miracles are associated with this prayer, you can say it like a mantra too, it goes perfectly with your breathing, saying each part with your in-breath and out-breath) And I have to say… I have really developed a love and devotion to the Holy Spirit… when I am feeling like there’s a two ton weight on my love for God, it really seems to help to go to adoration, even better if you’re alone, and kneel right in front of Jesus, and talk to Him, and talk to the Holy Spirit, and tell Them everything you are going through, and how much you wish you could feel your love for them and how much you miss them. I usually end up crying. Of course reconciliation is the next step! Then rinse and repeat. We ALL struggle with this stuff, I’m glad you shared. I like how C.S. Lewis put it in the Screw Tape Letters, how we as humans subject to time and change wax and wane, and though we are dealing with the eb and flow of our fluxing humanness, we are more than likely to flow right back into Gods arms if we are willing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s