Honestly Thinking

Honestly thinking (& rethinking) about God, the universe, and everything in between

A Sordid Tale of Sex and Sin…and grace

Adam & Eve hide

(Part 3 of 3 of God, the church and LGBT)

In my first post on LGBT I explained how God favors those who are LGBT.  God’s favor is never lost and never has to be earned; he simply likes you – always has and always will.  The church has sadly failed to express that.  In my second post, I explored the question of whether same-sex marriage is sin, saying how it (along with any similar questions related to LGBT and sin) is nearly impossible to answer; for in that one question is actually 1000 other deeper questions being asked.  To try and answer it in a short soundbite without first listening to others is often costly as it ends up hurting people along the way.  With that said, I’m actually going to attempt now to answer the question – or on a broader scale the question of whether being LGBT (or other similar variations) is sin.

But first a disclaimer: As I write this I am very consciously aware that some who are reading this have dealt with this issue for a very long time and that there is no way that I could fully even begin to know or comprehend the details of your life.  There are others who come into life with a unique set of circumstances, whether experiential or due to medical conditions, which no single blog post could possibly cover or include.  For those I simply have to acknowledge we live in a broken world and that there are no easy answers.  I have to in many ways speak more for the general population.  But whatever the circumstances of your life, if you get nothing else from this blog post please hear this: God is for you.  If you hear anything different from me by the end of this post, then I have simply failed to communicate my message.

In answering the question of LGBT and sin it is important that we first have a much better understanding of sexuality and sin; for in addition to the 1000 questions being asked, at the root of the problem is that we as people are confused about both.

SEX

We are confused about sex.

The statistics are there to prove it[i]Sex trafficking is currently a $32 billion industry.  Worldwide, it is the second most profitable industry next to drug trafficking and expected to soon pass it up.  Over 1 million children are forced into sexual slavery every year at a rate of 1 child being taken every 30 seconds.  The question is how could it be such a profitable industry if there were not plenty of “customers” to take advantage of it?

In the U.S. 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18.  Most are abused by someone they know and trust.[ii]  At our nation’s college campuses, 1 in 4 girls are victims of rape or attempted rape.  How are there victims if there are also not perpetrators?

Sex is the number one topic searched on the Internet.[iii] Porn sites receive more regular traffic than Netflix, Amazon, & Twitter combined.[iv]  68% of young men & 18% of young women access porn regularly.  47% of U.S. families admit that porn is a problem in their home and out of divorce cases, 56% have one party admitting excessive interest in porn.  If you think about that, it means the 56% have ultimately chosen digital pixels over live flesh and blood.  Pornography use increases the marital infidelity rate by more than 300%.[v]  In addition, 20% of men and 12% of women admit accessing porn at work, and in an anonymous survey, the number of pastors admitting to accessing it in the last year was 54%.

As a result of our “habits,” children are vulnerable.  The average age a child is first exposed to porn is 11 (and it’s getting younger). [iii]   Child pornography is a $3 billion industry and is one of the fastest growing internet businesses,[iv] with over 100,000 child pornography sites existing.

The Ashley Madison scandal has brought to light infidelity with 37 million registered users.  Factoring in fake accounts and people who registered more than once, some estimates state somewhere between 1 in 10 and 1 in 6 married men in the U.S. had signed up for the “anonymous” cheating site.[vi] Outside of Ashley Madison, surveys found that 41% of marriages admit that one or both of the partners have had an affair (either physical or emotional).  The number grows larger when you include any type of relationship (married or unmarried) with 57% of men admitting to infidelity and 54% of women.  And when asked if they would have an affair if they knew they wouldn’t get caught, 74% of men and 54% of women said yes.[vii]

Our confusion about sex is also illustrated by many of the physical consequences.  There are 19.7 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases every year.  In addition there are over 820,000 teenage pregnancies a year.  The consequences for that are significant, with somewhere between 30% and 50% of pregnant teens never graduating from high school and 80% ending up on welfare.[viii]  For the general population, in spite of massive pushes from both sides of the spectrum (from abstinence education to contraception provision) approximately ½ of pregnancies are unintended.[ix]  Do we still not know how that happens?  There are also an estimated over 1 million abortions in the U.S. every year.[x]

All these problems are not just limited to “secular” society.  There seems to be equally (if not more) confusion within the church itself.  In spite of all its teachings on sexual purity, according to pastors, the 8 top sexual issues damaging to their congregation are: 57% pornography addiction, 34% sexually active never-married adults, 30% adultery of married adults, 28% sexually active teenagers, 16% sexual dissatisfaction, 14% unwed pregnancy, 13% sexually active previously married adults, and 9% sexual abuse (though I strongly suspect based on all the earlier statistics that these percentages are actually much higher).[xi]

This is not to mention all the problems in the bedroom.  One of the top reasons for divorce, aside from infidelity, is sexual incompatibility.[xii]  Even if your marriage does not end in divorce, almost any couple will admit (at least to themselves) sexual compatibility or confusion issues in their relationship.  66% of married couples express concern about their differing levels of sexual interest.  And what is the percentage of Cosmopolitan or similar themed magazines offering the Top 10 or similar newest revolutionary sex tips?  100%.  But if they are so revolutionary and successful, why are there new articles every week?

Part of the problem is simply our unwillingness to talk about it.  We are constantly bombarded with images and stories of sex on the TV, at the movies, in songs and other media.  We are not shy to have it as such a large part of our entertainment.  And yet we continue to be embarrassed when it comes to having frank conversations about it – with each other and with our children.  But why are we so introverted about something that is very building block of life?  It is the foundation of the family unit and one of the first commands by God to people (remember “be fruitful and multiply”?).  Why are we so embarrassed to all admit that the majority of the 7 billion of us on this planet are here because our father put his penis inside our mom’s vagina?  Why did some of you blush just reading that?  Is it really that big of a secret?

And when we do talk about it we still don’t know what to say.  Through abstinence teachings we’ve often turned sex into something dirty, and through contraception distribution we’ve often made sex something cheap and no big deal.  But ask anyone who has ever been violated (even just once) if it’s no big deal, and they’ll tell you that touch, just that one single touch, messed with their entire life.

Another part of the confusion is the unspoken belief that attraction = sex; in other words:  if you are attracted to it then you must have sex with it (whether physically or at least in your mind).  We have reached a point in our culture where we fail to recognize that beauty (whether physically or on the inside) can simply be beauty and attraction can simply be attraction, in the same way you can recognize the beauty of a flower or the eloquence of a poem.

We see this played out in more extreme cases such as pedophilia where an adult cannot separate “attractiveness” of a child from their sexual urges or in fetishism where a person applies sexuality toward attraction of an object.  But it also shows up when individuals find themselves attracted to the personality of a neighbor or a co-worker and end up in an affair.  Is it not possible for us to find something attractive in an individual without it ultimately being about sex?

This further occurs with pornography, where attraction to a picture of a naked human body leads to a person having sex with it in their mind.  This likewise illustrates our confusion about sexuality of the human body.  We blush at the sight of the naked body and hide in embarrassment with our own, all the while forgetting that our bodies were made to represent the living God and it was only our own sin that caused us to hide.  We think that nakedness equals sexy, while doctors that examine us think none of the sort.

Meanwhile we blush at the site of underwear but fully accept swimsuits half the size.  And we fight about yoga pants, low cut blouses, and public breastfeeding, all the while at the malls we shop at, in the magazines we buy, and on the TV shows we watch there are naked or near-naked bodies in full on display.

And, of course, sex sells…right?  So we see images of cars that will make us sexy, shampoos that will make us sensual, and hamburgers that will make us “hot.” Of course, we all complain about such objectification but the truth is it must still work.  For we have seen the buyers and the buyers are us.

But sexuality is not the only thing we are confused about.

Similarly, we are confused about intimacy.

Due to technology, we currently live in the most socially connected world in the history of humankind.  Yet studies show we are lonelier than ever.  40% of adults in two recent surveys said they were lonely, up from 20 percent in the 1980s.[xiii]  In fact some researchers are actually saying loneliness is the next big health crisis.[xiv]  Loneliness is also a large contributor to depression which appears to be continually on the rise.

city-man-person-skyline

We have seen, and possibly even experienced, families sitting at a restaurant or in the living rooms with each one connected to their cell phones and no one talking with each other.  Sociologists will tell you that connecting with others via text or status updates does not provide the same kind of intimacy as one on one, face to face communication.

The second highest cause of divorce is problems in communication.  Many couples simply lack the communication skills to work through life’s problems or even to share their inner most desires or thoughts.  68% of married people say they are dissatisfied with the amount of affection they receive from their spouses.[xv]

The number of people who indicated that they had a neighbor with whom they could confide has dropped more than half since 1985 — from 19% to 8%.[xvi]  And while movies and TV shows often portray a best “buddy” of the same sex that someone can confide in all the time, that is often just as much of a fantasy element as the plotline – for many people, especially men, while having lots of acquaintances simply do not have the sort of friend that they can share their innermost secrets with.

The popularity of Brene’ Brown’s TED talk on “vulnerability” suggests that we all believe in its value and we desire to be more vulnerable; yet amidst the shame culture that we still live in, how many of us really do feel the safety to actually be that vulnerable?  How many of us feel like we are hiding a part of ourselves with fear of what people might think if they find out?

We are equally confused when it comes to human touch, particularly when it comes to men.  Mark Greene in his article “Touch Isolation: How Homophobia Has Robbed All Men of Touch” shows old time photographs, revealing that men in the U.S. used to be not nearly as afraid of touch as they are today.  In many other cultures outside the U.S., heterosexual men frequently hold hands.  Paul in the Bible even encourages everyone to greet each other with a “holy kiss” (Rom 16:16).  But that is primarily unheard of in America.  In other words, not all touch is sexual.  Yet our automatic association of touch with sexuality keeps people from the sort of non-sexual touch that is essential to healthy relationships and thriving.

But there’s even more we are confused about yet.

We are confused about identity

Scriptures tell us that we were made in the image of God.  Yet 80% of women and 43% of men are dissatisfied with their body image.  One of the consequences is that 50% of teenage girls and 33% of boys end up with some type of eating disorder.  In spite of a host of awareness campaigns, we are obviously still confused.  While we celebrate Dove Soap commercials, click “like” on viral videos about unmasking the Photoshopped image, and sing “all about that bass,” we still vote for the top 10 hottest actresses and actors, buy the same skinny fashion magazines, and download songs about “bringing sexy back” and wishing “girlfriends were hot like me.”  We constantly preach you are good enough as you are, while continually propagating lists of 10 ways you can be better, stronger, smarter, sexier, healthier….

We are confused about our masculine and feminine identities.  We tell jokes and write books about the differences between how men and women think and act, leaving those who don’t fit our prescribed outlines to feel they must not be in the norm.  We tell our boys they should like sports, fast cars, hunting and someday beer, but if you like dance, pretty things, fashion and fruity drinks, then for God’s sake please keep it to yourself.  And, son, you can dream big dreams, be what you want, but no matter how much God has gifted you, just don’t do classical music, cut girl’s hair and definitely not ballet.  And if you want to do that acting thing, please do movies and not the stage – for the theater is for “sissies” but film’s for “studs.”

We write Christian books about what a “real man” should be: they should lead, they should be buff, they should be wild, and always tough; but those whose gifts more land with the other fruits of “patience,” “kindness,” and “gentleness” are something “less.”  And so our more “sensitive” sons are bullied, last to be picked, called derogatory names while the church is notably absent from its silence.  And we hope above all hopes that our daughters will date the all-star studly ones who sometimes take advantage of our girls, while the more “effeminate” ones are the ones who often care for them the most.

We tell girls and women they can be their own person, just don’t be too b**chy or take any roles from men.  We now advise young ladies don’t go to college for a “Mrs. Degree” – be what you are called to be, but still stay away from science, technology, engineering and math.  And God forbid you go into ministry (except children’s ministry, of course) no matter how much His voice has been calling you all your life.  And while you had fun, daughters, when you were young catching frogs and playing in the dirt, if you want to grow up to be a “real woman” don’t forget to wear high heels, a dress and mask your face with paint.   And finally, ladies, be wary of what you wear or how you act, for if us men stumble, just like with Eve, it’s always your fault.

And, of course, Sunday afternoon and Monday night, we have our finest family hours – the NFL, where men get to be men and women get to be pretty objects cheering by their side.  All the while our children watch as we enthusiastically adore the teams, asking is this what it’s like to be a “man” and is this what it’s like to be a “girl?”

We are confused about the primary purpose of sex.

The primary purpose for sex, but not the only purpose, is reproduction.  I repeat, it is not the only purpose – for I am not a “reproduction-only” advocate.  But the reality is, it is the primary purpose.  This would be true both from a creationist standpoint as well as an evolutionary; otherwise, sex would have looked and developed a whole lot different (and be a whole lot less messy).  The sex organs developed or were designed the way they were so that people could make other people. It is also the most essential purpose.  The other purposes serve very essential functions, but reproduction holds the very keys to the continued existence of mankind.

Couple w baby

The best thing I can compare it to is eating.  Eating serves multiple functions: nutrition, pleasure, and community.  Pleasure and community are both very important (for pleasure is a gift from God, and God certainly ordained many festivals that involved eating), but nutrition is the primary function.  Problems arise whenever we prioritize the other two functions over nutrition.  The result can be obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other health problems associated with not eating properly, with the most significant consequence being early death.

In the same way, sex has multiple functions.  In addition to reproduction, it serves to provide intimacy and pleasure.  All of them have their essential purpose and all are ordained, and even encouraged, by God.  However, when a culture elevates sex as primarily about seeking pleasure and intimacy, the result is much of the sexual confusion described above.

To prove my point, imagine a world in which reproduction served as the only function and there was no pleasure or intimacy involved – where no one would experience those things even if they tried.  Sure, some new problems would arise, with potentially less overall intimacy in marriage and perhaps a lower population.  However, how many of the statistics I gave earlier about sexual confusion would still be around?  Would sex trafficking be a problem?  Would pornography exist?  Would there still be STD’s?  Would there be as many unplanned pregnancies as there are today?

On a side note: I am consciously aware that some reading this may have medical issues that have may have made it difficult or prevent you from being able to live out this purpose.  For that I am so sorry.  I do not have all the answers for that other than to again say we live in a broken world.  But I do still believe reproduction was the intended purpose and I strongly suspect, just like with blindness, deafness, or any other medical condition that keeps body organs from fulfilling their intended purpose, if it could be corrected you would likely snatch up that opportunity in a heartbeat.

When we are really honest with ourselves, I think all of us on some level fall under at least one (and most likely several) of the above described confusions.  Some have more serious consequences than others, but the point is we are all confused about sex.  As revealed in my recent post titled My Evening With a Prostitute I am certainly no exception.

SIN

As much as we are confused about sex, we are also confused about sin.

When we think of “sin” most of us tend to think of it as a rules list, stating specific things we are not supposed to do.  We often think of those sins as being on a scale, with some being clearly worse than others and some so bad that they completely disqualify us from any real relationship with a holy God.  And while we teach and recognize that no one can be truly holy and, therefore, we are covered by God’s “unmerited favor” called grace, we still tend to think there are some sins that are too far out to be included in that covering.  Consequently, we end up telling some they must get rid of that sin before they can be included in God’s grace, while at the same time living on edge ourselves wondering which sins are too far out and which ones are in.

sin 1

However, when we look at the original Greek meaning of the word “sin” we get a different picture.  There are several words in the New Testament translated as “sin” but the most commonly used, hamartanó, is derived from an archer’s term meaning “to miss the mark.”  The important thing to remember is that if it’s possible to miss the mark then that means there is a mark.  An archery instructor doesn’t teach his student how to hit his mark by pointing at all the individual trees and the sky and the ground that he is supposed to miss.  Instead he directs him toward the target and says, “Aim for that.”

So if sin is missing the mark, what is the target?  The key is where scripture first mentions the creation of man:

God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature.” 

(Gen 1: 26, The Message)

We are to reflect God’s nature – all the qualities that essentially make him holy and good: his love, his kindness, his grace, forgiveness, creativity, joy, patience, selflessness, self-sacrifice, faithfulness, justice, and more.  These are the qualities we are to aim for, as opposed to it being about things we are to avoid.

But one might say, “Wait a second, Paul and others in the Bible certainly didn’t hesitate to point out specific sin.”  But that’s because people were already missing their target.  To him it was obvious:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse

(Rom 1:18-20, NIV)

Instead of hitting the target that was plain for everyone to see, people were hitting all the various trees.  The goal of Paul’s listing of different “sins” was not to give us another checklist of things that make us in or out with God; the point was to help everyone realize they were hitting the wrong thing.

Quite frankly, we have all missed the mark.  As Paul states, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23, NIV).  Not one of us can even come close to becoming reflecting the character of God and becoming holy on our own.  Our confusion about sex alone should show that.  In other words, we are all in the same boat.

But is there even hope then?  Yes!  Because first of all, when it comes to sin we are so far off the mark of reflecting God that it basically becomes irrelevant which sin is which.  Does different sin have different consequences?  Yes, with some much more severe than others.  But we are all so far off the mark that God doesn’t see it as “this sin is bad and this sin is really bad and that other sin is really, really bad.”  Consequently, we often spend way too much time trying to point out the “bad sins” of others when we are all in the same place.

Secondly, God’s grace is far bigger than we give credit.  As shown in my post God Really Likes You, But You Suck: The Confusing Message of Grace God favors everyone no matter what they do or have done.  We are under God’s grace regardless of whatever sins we commit.  This is the story of God’s amazing grace – he likes you, and always will, no matter what.  You don’t have to work for it.

Sin 2

But just because God likes you no matter what, doesn’t mean he approves of everything you do – nor is it even good for you.  After all, when you fail to live out your purpose, you also fail to thrive.  And just because you are under God’s grace does not mean you are in relationship with him.  Another part of God’s nature that we are to reflect is that he is relational.  Therefore, part of God’s purpose for our lives is to not only be in strong relationship with each other but also with him.  And this is ultimately a choice we all have to make.

Consequently, because it’s impossible for any of us to perfectly reflect God, it’s not a question of which sins you have committed so much as the direction you are heading.  You can either receive God’s forgiveness offered through Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection and enter into relationship with him or you can reject relationship with him and live content in your own sin.

Sin 3

When you do enter into an authentic relationship with God, you also begin the process of simultaneously starting to shed your sin so that you can more and more reflect his character and your purpose.  The reality is that we are so far off of the mark that it is a lifelong process and you will stumble and fall along the way, never fully getting rid of all of your sin and never completely reflecting God on your own.  The cool thing, though, is that once you commit to relationship with God, he sees you as already there.

Sin 4

There are two more points to hitting the mark and reflecting God that are important to understand.  First, the narrative of God’s creation of humankind goes on to say:

God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them
reflecting our nature
So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea,
the birds in the air, the cattle,
And, yes, Earth itself,
and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.”
God created human beings;
he created them godlike,
Reflecting God’s nature.
He created them male and female.
God blessed them:
“Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!”

(Gen 1:26-28, The Message)

Thus, two key ways we reflect God is by taking care of the earth and everything in it and by creating new life through reproduction.  When we fail to be properly responsible for everything in the earth and when we fail to remember sex’s primary purpose, we miss the mark.

Secondly, while humankind is to reflect God as a whole, we were all made as individuals.  God made each and every one of us uniquely with our own personalities, abilities and special gifts and each have a unique contribution toward reflecting God.  Thus, God has an individual purpose (or target) for your life.  This can be true both regarding your overall purpose as well as individual daily tasks that he calls you to.  When you fail to fulfill that purpose or any goal God specifically sets before you, you miss the mark.  Consequently, sin once again becomes not so much a list of things you are not supposed to do but a reminder that you are missing out on doing the things you are called to do and being the person you were made to be.

But remember, even though you may miss the mark as we all do, God still likes and loves you.  If anything, you are hurting yourself, your purpose, and those around you when you sin.

But it’s never too late.  God is quick to forgive and help set you back on course when you choose to follow him.

The End of the Confusion

So where does this bring us? In order to avoid missing the mark, it is important for us to not only know the character of the God we were made to reflect but also know God’s individual plans for our lives.  This means not only spending a lot of time in prayer, thus getting to know what God is like and allow him to speak into your life, but also looking honestly at the things God has gifted you for.

Now here’s the straightforward reality – yes, much can be determined by both our cognitive abilities and our individual passions, but also much can be known by who we were physically made to be.  In other words, if you are 4’10” tall, no matter how much you may dream about, you were probably not made to play NBA basketball; and if you are 7’2” tall there’s a good chance you weren’t designed to ride a horse in the Kentucky Derby.

And so the truth: if you are what has been considered the traditional definition of a “male” then you were born with sex organs (scrotum, testes, spermatic ducts, sex glands, penis) capable of creating and delivering sperm into the vagina of a human female, which in turn can fertilize an egg cell and ultimately create a brand new human life.

Sperm-egg

If you are what has been considered the traditional definition of a “female” then you were born with sex organs (ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, vagina, vulva, mammary glands, breasts) capable of not only producing the egg that helps create a human life but also, after the egg is fertilized from sexual intercourse with a male, facilitating the safe growth, nourishment and development of that child.

We spend so much time asking what our individual purpose is in life, what type of career are we called to, should we start a family, where does God want us to live, and how can we make a difference and leave a mark.  For some those choices are obvious, while for others much of it escapes.  Yet here, within our own biology, is a built in purpose when it comes to your body’s sex; and it should say something significant when it comes to being a part of God’s individual plan for your life.

Add in the fact that there is a natural instinct for both the male and female involved in creating the new life to want to bond with and participate in the growth of the child, and it should speak largely about the kind of relationship God designed you to have.

Yet amidst all the confusion that humankind has about sex, I realize that for some of you reading this that is not so simple.  For you there has always been a great conflict…a conflict between the biology you were born with and the way you actually feel.  For some that conflict has to do with who you are attracted to which ultimately would affect your choice of a mate.  For others that conflict has to do with how you feel about yourself and ultimately who you really think you are.  It’s a conflict where your biology and your head and heart simply do not meet.  Consequently, you find it very difficult to ever hit the mark.

I can’t even begin to imagine how tough that must really be.  I’m so very, very sorry…sorry for the inner conflict you’ve had to endure and sorry for the lack of compassion and understanding of others who simply aren’t in your place.

While I do not know all the answers as to how and why and what next, I at least do know this: when it comes to sexuality we are simply all confused.  Therefore, we cannot look to the world for answers; the answers can only truly be found in God…the one who purposefully and wonderfully designed you and absolutely loves you the most.

As I’ve previously shared, I myself am one of the confused – just in a different way.  For I’ve often chosen digital pictures over my real living wife and nearly sacrificed my family and marriage.

Therefore, I and the rest of the confused world don’t get to judge you for who you are or wherever you are at.

I don’t get to tell you that your missing of the mark is somehow worse or less acceptable to God than mine.

I don’t get to tell you that you must get rid of your sin before coming to Christ while I continue to walk through my own church doors.

I don’t get to pretend what you’re dealing with is some kind of easy “choice” while writing off my own as some kind of lifelong “natural vice.”

And I don’t get to mock you or bully you or call you demeaning names while calling myself a forgiven child of God.

When I first started this blog site I made a promise that I would always tell the truth so I’m also, as my first post said, “Not Gonna Lie.”

Therefore, I’m not gonna lie to you and tell you that being LGBT is not sin – because I believe that, just like the rest of us, you are also missing the mark.

I’m not gonna lie to you and tell you that you’re acting perfectly within God’s will – because I don’t want you to miss out on this amazing thing called grace.  The lies of the world say you must do it right to be acceptable to God while grace says you are favored no matter what.

I’m not gonna lie to you and tell you to keep living the way you are – because I believe the only way to fully thrive is to live out your life the way God designed.

I’m not gonna lie to you and tell you that everyone has “rights” – because the belief in sexual “rights” is an extension to “attraction = sex;” and we all have varying points at which we believe, whether because of age or lack of consent or the unnaturalness of the act, that “attraction = sex” isn’t always best.  And just because you are attracted does not mean you have to.

I’m not gonna lie to you and tell you what I’m asking is easy – because you’ll have stumbles and falls along the way.  It will be a lifelong pursuit of self-sacrificing your sexuality just as Jesus self-sacrificed his whole life.

I’m also not gonna lie and say that starting a family or having children is for everyone.  Even Paul made it clear that marriage, which would obviously be a pre-cursor for children, was not for all.  There are obviously still choices that God allows us and there are obviously different physical life stages; my point was about the primary design for sex..

I’m not gonna lie and say the answers are always simple – because they are not.  I don’t have answers for why some children are born intersex and what to do.  Nor do I have answers for those who desire children and are incapable.  As I’ve said before, we live in a broken world and often finding an answer can be very tough.

I’m not gonna lie and say that every aspect of same-sex relationship is sin.  For same-sex relationships are not entirely about sex.  In fact it could be easily argued that some same-sex relationships have a better sense of God’s intended non-sexual intimacy between male to male and female to female than the rest of the intimacy confused world.  Is this an area where same-sex relationships get it right while the rest of the world, and the church, miss the mark?

I’m not gonna lie and say that people who are LGBT do not have God given gifts to offer the world.  We make a mistake when we judge an LGBT person entirely on their sexuality.  That is only a small part of them and they are so much more than that.  Many that I have met or seen are some of the kindest, most loving, creative, and caring people around.  There are so many areas where they hit the mark, and we do not get to condemn them based on one area, while giving unkind, unloving, selfish heterosexual and cisgender people a pass.

I’m not gonna lie and say the church or western society has it right when it comes to gender roles – because in many ways it’s gotten it completely wrong.  When you tell a person they cannot follow a God given gift or calling in their life because it’s not right for their sex are you not then forcing them to miss their mark?

Finally, now that I’m done telling you what I’m not going to tell, here are the things I want to say:

We are all in this boat together, you and me.  And whatever your confusion or struggle or wherever you are at, God will always like and love you.  So will I.

Even if you choose to continue to miss the mark, God will always like and love you.  So will I.

But if you choose to head a different way, God will be there right beside you.

You’ll still stumble, you’ll still fall and miss the mark along the way and God will still like and love you.  So will I.

That’s the amazing thing about grace.

(Please share with me what you honestly think in the comments section below).

References:

[i]Please keep in mind that statistics are a tricky thing and vary from site to site.  Therefore, I can offer no guarantee of their accuracy, though similar statistics could be found on multiple sites.  I simply am quoting ones that stood out to me, and the point is to illustrate the overall problem of our confusion.  Most of the figures are for the U.S. unless otherwise noted.  Below are some of the specific sites referenced:

[ii] http://nctsn.org….

[iii] http://www.xxxchurch.com….

[iv] http://www.fightthenewdrug.org….

[v] http://www.webroot.com….

[vi] http://www.forbes.com….

[vii] http://www.infidelityfacts.com….

[viii] http://www.teenhelp.com….

[ix] http://www.cdc.gov….

[x] https://www.guttmacher.org….

[xi] http://purehope.net….

[xii] http://www.top10stop.com…

[xiii] http://www.slate.com….

[xiv] http://time.com….

[xv] https://www.couplecheckup.com….

[xvi] http://spectator.org….

 

3 Comments

  1. Best explanation I’ve ever read.

  2. I have so much to say about this, but I tend to ramble, so I’ll just hit the biggest issue I have experience with. I am one of the 1 in 4. Even before my father began abusing me at age seven. I denied all of my experiences for so long that I had blinders on when I married for the second time. He abused my youngest daughter (at the time) and I never knew. Not until years later when I discovered that she had been cutting herself. I taught my girls about their bodies and good touch versus bad touch. But still it happened, and even though I’ve been forgiven, I may always feel guilt over it.

    • Steve Baldwin

      October 25, 2015 at 1:21 pm

      Thank you for so courageously sharing your story, Aimee. I am so sorry that happened to you and your daughter. That type of thing is a tragedy that unfortunately happens way too often. I know personally so many women (and even men) that it has happened to that I’m beginning to think the 1 in 4 statistic even underestimates it.

      Regarding what happened to your daughter, I know how easy it is as a parent to blame myself for anything that happens to one of my children. I’m sure you have heard this before, but I hope you understand that it was not your fault. The perpetrator was your 2nd husband. You are a good mother. I watched you before as you were dealing with some of the later issues your daughter went through and your love for her and desire to do what was best for her was clear.

      Secondly, knowing the reality that you will always still take a part of the responsibility on yourself, please hear this: God referred to himself as “I Am” – which means he is “what is.” He is truth and reality itself. Whether you were guilty of anything or not, God has declared you not guilty. What is true is that your slate is completely clean. What is real is that you are a good mother. What is true is you are a new and pure creation forever welcome in God’s presence.

Join the discussion. Please tell me what you honestly think. My comment policy is simple: you are welcome to disagree with me or others on here as long as you do it with respect (no insults, personal attacks, etc). Of course, if you'd like to tell me how awesomely wonderful my points are then you make my unofficial favorite commenter's list. ;-)

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