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This cultural identity puzzle is complicated. I’m going to pull out some of the elements that make this cultural impasse so problematic and share with you where I align with my gay friend’s worldview.
Regardless of the gay person’s life choices, he is an individual made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Think about it. Triune God, whom we worship and adore, made the gay guy in His image. No doubt this man is choosing a sinful lifestyle, but that does not remove his image-bearing identification with God.
Let me illustrate my point this way. If your son rebelled against your teaching, you would be in a similar situation. He would always be your procreated child, but he would be living a lifestyle that is counter to your beliefs and practices.
If I were to confront your son about his lifestyle choices, I would do so from a heart of pity and patience while being courageous enough to speak into his sinful lifestyle. Why would I do this? Because I’m your friend, I respect you. And though we both disagree with his lifestyle, we understand that God made him in His image.
Fundamental Idea: I want to be courageous in speaking into the sinful chaos of our culture, but out of reverence (respect) for God (James 3:9-10), I want to be careful how I respond to His rebellious creation.
There is no disagreement about the gay guy’s brokenness. The biblical record is clear. We’re all born that way–broken (Romans 5:12). There are no good people in the world (Romans 3:23). We are “totally depraved” (Romans 3:10-12). It is biologically and psychologically impossible for fallen people to procreate non-fallen people (Job 14:4).
Every person comes into the world broken, depraved, fallen, and corrupt. And in addition to “total depravity,” each one of us is uniquely broken. It makes sense when a gay guy tells me that he has inclinations toward same-sex relationships.
I’m not attracted that way. I have never had that kind of attraction but to think that I’m any better than him, as though there are gradations of fallenness, is biblically ludicrous, as well as self-righteous posturing that offends God.
To acknowledge fallenness is biblical sanity. To hate fallen image bearers is insane, as well as an attitude that puts you out of step with God and His Word.
The irony and the hypocritical twist to the culture’s argument that we can’t deride them because of how they were born and how they are, is their disdain of me for how I am. They want me to accept them for who they are while they reject, mock, and even create laws to restrict me from being who I am.
In Jeremiah 1:5, the Lord told Jeremiah that before he was born, He had in mind who Jeremiah was and what He wanted him to do. Omniscient Lord has never been in a place where He was making things up as He went along.
He has always known the beginning, the end, and every moment in-between. Every author or screenwriter knows what is going to happen before it happens. You may be sitting in the theater, on the edge of your seat because you have no idea what is going to happen next but not so with God.
He is the Author of the story. He has written the script–my script. He knew before I was born that I would be His child. Being God’s child is my identity. I am a Christian. This reality is more than the clothes that I wear or the actions that I commit. It is who I am (John 15:5; Ephesians 4:15-16).
It’s my identity. My very ontological self is Christian. It’s more in-depth than actions and attitudes. It’s more comprehensive than biology. To say I am a Christian is different from getting a job that I can quit. You don’t stop being a Christian any more than you can quit being human.
Being born a second time (John 3:7) is fulfilling who I was always meant to be (Ephesians 1:4-5). Jeremiah was not the only person God knew before they were born, and what they were designed by Him to be. It’s crucial for you to know you’re not the only one claiming a unique identity.
What I do may be a religion to you but who I am is a Christian. Practicing religion is my practice, but being a Christian is my essence.
I know it would be easier for you to hate me, tell me how wrong I am, and demand that I change. Your offensive posture toward me motivates you to make laws to reduce me to a pre-civil rights black person–a “no rights” slave.
And it would be easier for me to hate you while creating laws that bind who you believe you were made to be. Yes, that would be easier for both of us, but that is not how we should try to resolve our mutual puzzle.
We not only have competing worldviews, but we have competing identities. I don’t have a satisfying answer to this problem, and neither do you. But I do know that hating me for who I am is not only hypocritical, it’s something you despise, as you have reminded my tribe for many years.
But if you continue to mock and ridicule me for who I am, it won’t be the first time in history. Jesus let people know about His identity, why He was born, who He was, and the purpose of His life. People hated Him for it. Eventually, they killed Him because they did not like His identity.
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).