A.J. Castellitto
The great divide
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By A.J. Castellitto
January 18, 2014

Our culture is rapidly changing. Homosexuality, in particular, has been in the forefront of the national debate for a while now.

Personally, I know plenty of individuals that would consider themselves homosexual. They are some of the nicest people I know and I don't begrudge them what they desire. I simply know it wasn't supposed to be this way and that sin has made lots of things come out differently than they were meant to be. That doesn't make people with different desires any different than the rest. I believe we are all screwed up – me more than anyone. But I'm compelled to share the truths of the Bible and the salvation of the soul, no matter how inadequate I am at performing the task.

Unfortunately, cries of religious bigotry and smear tactics applied by radical activists further complicate the matter as Christian conservatives once again find themselves on the defensive. Regardless, the resolve to speak in truth and love remains undaunted by the radical agenda.

Wesley Hill, author of Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality, has revealed his own struggles with homosexual urges and desires.

"Being gay isn't the most important thing about my or any other gay person's identity. I am Christian before I am anything else. My homosexuality is a part of my makeup, a facet of my personality. One day, I believe, whether in this life or in the resurrection, it will fade away. But my identity as a Christian – someone incorporated into Christ's body by his Spirit – will remain."

Wesley Hill rightly promotes celibacy as the only true option for the Christian who struggle with same-sex desires. We must not be defined by (or embrace) dispositions that run counter to holiness, but rather, God will deliver us despite ourselves. Despite the uniqueness of this particular sinful disposition, a gay person should not feel greater shame than the heterosexual sinner. I think often the Christian with these inclinations feels themselves to be the greater sinner; however, we all need to take sexual purity more seriously, especially in our current day.

An individual who has gay urges or desires is not a more condemnable sinner in relation to the heterosexual with impure thoughts or desires. If these same-sex thoughts/desires are conquered through Christ, they will no longer have dominion. Our old nature and private sins will progressively decrease as Jesus Christ is increased in the life of the regenerate child of God.

Ultimately, same sex desires basically becomes a small blemish, a mere trifle, for the redeemed lover of Christ. We need not despair of these worldly afflictions and temptations, even if they are sometimes too much to bear. That is what Jesus is for – we cannot do it alone!

I'd like to share some more heartfelt words of candid encouragement by Wesley Hill -

"Claiming the label "celibate gay Christian" means, for me, recognizing my homosexual orientation as a kind of "thorn in the flesh." When the apostle Paul used that phrase in his correspondence with the Corinthian church, he made clear that his "thorn" was indeed an unwelcome source of pain (2 Corinthians 12:7). But he also made clear that it had become the very occasion for his experience of the power of the risen Christ and, therefore, a paradoxical site of grace (2 Corinthians 12:8). Paul, I think, would have had no qualms about labeling himself a "thorn-pricked Christian" – not because he recognized his thorn as a good thing, in and of itself, but because it had become for him the means by which he encountered the power of Christ. Likewise, living with an unchanged homosexual orientation may be for many of us the means by which we discover new depths of grace, as well as new vocations of service to others.

{Note: I believe the point Mr. Hill is making is that he accepts the fact that he experiences homosexual inclinations, but he does not embrace these inclinations nor does he despair on account of these inclinations because he has been made a new creature born by the shed blood of Jesus Christ}

"He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please The Lord"

– 1 Corinthians 7

© A.J. Castellitto

 

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