Sunday, February 24, 2008

Love Your Enemies

Brandon put up a post on the Afterthoughts blog about how it can be cruel when someone looks at a guy’s mannerisms or appearance and then asks if he is gay. In a comment Brandon said, "The point of this post was ... also to get across that judging people on their looks is wrong. And backing people into a corner where they either have to out themselves or lie is wrong too."

I thought others might appreciate my response. Yes, it is definitely wrong to judge others by their looks or mannerisms and then back them into a corner by asking if they are gay. I hope I never do that.

If someone mistreats me like that I want to remember that Jesus said to love and pray for our enemies. He taught us to do good to those that mistreat us instead of repaying evil for evil. Once a straight guy did that to me, only he didn’t ASK if I was gay, he TOLD ME “You’re gay!” I answered him gently and with respect, showing I cared about him. I explained that I was tempted, but God helps me resist. He and I had regular conversations over a long period of time where I kept trying to show him God’s love. We eventually became friends and he apologized for his bad behavior. Last week he actually told me that I am his closest friend!

So God may use you to change the heart of the one mistreating you. Love your enemies.

Luke 6:27-28 (NIV)"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you."

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Let your light shine in a different way

Sometimes we fear open discussion of sexuality issues with straight guys because of past hurts. Of course, there are some straight guys who are willing to deal with these things in a friendly way.

A few weeks ago I was eating dinner with two of my friends who also struggle with same-sex attraction. We were openly discussing sexual subjects and, uh, …maybe not appearing very masculine to the waiter in the process… The waiter was an obviously straight ex-marine who had served in Iraq. He actually stayed and talked to us after we got up to leave, even asking us questions as we talked about Christianity, freedom from legalism, and a real relationship with God.

Sometimes even tough guys can be open in these situations. We just need to create a normal, trusting environment and encourage 2-way conversations.

Matthew 5:15-17 (NIV) Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Earth's best will fail, but God will not!

Thy Word commands our flesh to dust,
“Return, ye sons of men:”
All nations rose from earth at first,
And turn to earth again.

The busy tribes of flesh and blood,
With all their lives and cares,
Are carried downwards by the flood,
And lost in following years.

Time, like an ever rolling stream,
Bears all its sons away;
They fly, forgotten, as a dream
Dies at the opening day.

Like flowery fields the nations stand
Pleased with the morning light;
The flowers beneath the mower’s hand
Lie withering ere ‘tis night.

Under the shadow of Thy throne
Thy saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is Thine arm alone,
And our defense is sure.

Before the hills in order stood,
Or earth received her frame,
From everlasting Thou art God,
To endless years the same.

-Isaac Watts (1719)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Coping with Singleness

This entry is from an email I sent to a friend. I removed a few details to hide who he is, but it is essentially intact. He had expressed to me that he was facing the possibility of living the rest of his life without sex. I thought others might appreciate my response, so here it is:

You said "I am beginning to feel." I want you to know that I have been praying for exactly that for you and I am so glad to see God answering so quickly. I know what it is not to feel as I should. There was a time when I had not cried in years. For me the process of starting to feel was extremely painful, but SO worth it!

As you know, mere logic is insufficient to persuade people. You are very skilled in presenting arguments clearly and logically, but you can only convince people to change when you feel deep inside how important the truth is that you are communicating. One such moment happened for me at the restaurant when we had breakfast. I don't know if you could feel the depth of my emotion, but I remember looking you in the eye and telling you that the only way to happily live single is to look beyond this life and into eternity! I was being powerfully affected by the beauty of glorifying God eternally and expressing His love through denying myself, taking up my cross, and following Jesus. Eternal rewards are so much better than earth's best!

It is a great blessing to hear that some of the Psalms in your Bible are stained with your coffee. I pray that soon they will be stained with your tears of joy! When you experience the depth of beauty found in God, you will gladly give your life to showing Him to others. I pray that many will turn to Jesus because they believe the truth you speak and feel the beauty you feel!