“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?”- Jeremiah 17:9.
My life over the past few months has been consumed with grappling over the truth that this verse communicates. Am I really that bad? Is my heart really corrupted? I know that sometimes I desire “bad” things. But Jeremiah 17:9, along with Genesis 6:5 and Romans chapter 3 all tell that the state of my natural will, inclinations, and desires are much worse than just imperfect. Pretty much everyone, even most religions, would agree on one thing: we as individuals aren’t perfect. But the majority of people and religions and ideologies would still say that even though we aren’t perfect, we are still mostly good. The Bible crushes that kind of thinking. The Bible is at times brutally communicative of how wicked, foolish and dark man is at his core.
A couple of months ago I was found out to be behaving hypocritically, and was publicly exposed for it—as most of you are aware. Due to the publicity of my actions, my email inbox was flooded with well-meaning messages from a lot of gay people assuring me that there was nothing ungodly or unnatural about my attraction to men. At the time, I automatically rejected what these people were saying and held to the truth of Scripture. But as weeks passed on, doubts about all of this (i.e. God, the Bible, the gospel) started rising to the surface of my thoughts.
Have I been not acting out on these desires just because I was scared of hell? Or was I doing it so I could be looked on as a “hero” in the Christian world, due to the rarity of homosexuals who turn away from the behavior? And why would a loving God deny me a loving relationship with someone I am attracted to—not just physically, but mentally and emotionally? Why would a caring, compassionate God want me to pull myself away from the people I feel comfortable with (gay community) and place myself within a group of people I felt so different from (straight Church people)? Why would a God who really cared about me ask me to walk such a hard path?
This has been such an intense time of questioning. Some days I have convinced myself that the Bible is not the ultimate source of truth, and that there was nothing wrong with being gay. But even on those days, I still couldn’t be happy… because I was deeply afraid. Afraid that at any moment God could and would justly strike me down and cast me into hell—-because somehow, no matter how hard I tried to silence it, there has remained a small voice in the back of my mind that will not allow me to reject the Bible. Now, this voice isn’t the echoing of other Christians around me, as many would say. I don’t believe what the Bible says just because everyone else believes it or because people says it’s “God’s Word”; I believe it because it resonates with my soul. Nothing else—no idea, theory, religion, or philosophy makes sense of the world we live in like the Scriptures do.
BUT….. merely believing the Bible doesn’t make me like it or fix my heart. Although I may not be able to deny the truth God has revealed, I have still been able to be ticked off about it. I’ve been angry with God; very angry with God. God ordained this life, these struggles, and this path for me personally. It may very well be that He has allowed this darkness in my life in order to glorify Himself in bringing me out of it (John 9:1-7), but that still doesn’t ease the suffering of right now. And it has made me incredibly resentful….and rebellious.
But since I can’t deny the truth of the Bible, I realized that I have two options:
1) submit to God, trust in His provision (Christ), and live a life of repentance and faith
2) reject God, live my life the way I want, and be in constant expectation of eternal condemnation.
Logically, I knew that I needed to choose option 1. But I have found it impossible to do so, sincerely.As I’ve struggled to choose option 1, something that has become more and more clear to me is that this (my questioning, straying, rebelling, inconsistency, anger, resentfulness) is not about me being attracted to men. This isn’t about homosexuality. It’s much bigger than that.
Like my pastor has said to me multiple times in past weeks, we naturally don’t want to submit to God, trust God, believe God and obey God. This is seen in the very beginning of Scripture when Adam and Eve’s distrust in God leads them to want to live independently of Him. They wanted to choose their own way and gain their own wisdom<—-this is my real problem. There are parts of me that still deeply desire to live a life of prideful independence instead of humble reliance.
The only thing I’ve known to do, and that anyone could tell me to do, is to ask God for help in overcoming this. So that’s what I have been doing. I’ve been asking for the grace to be humble and obedient. I’ve also been asking Him to help me view Him rightly. To see Him not as a God who stands far off and carelessly observes our suffering, but as a God who enters into our suffering; a God who instead of rightly destroying us all, in great humility takes on a human body and allows Himself to be destroyed for us.
He is answering my pleas for help. I can see my heart softening toward Him once again.
I know this post isn’t fully of happy feelings or super encouraging words—there’s a whole Joel Osteen section at Barnes & Noble for that. This is a reflection of my life lately….and life is often times messy, sad and ugly. But I am thankful today for a good God who endures the ugliness of it with us. He doesn’t get impatient or contemptuous with us. His wrathful anger for our sin has been extinguished on the Cross and will never be rekindled. When He disciplines us, He does it in love—and no matter how many times or how far we stray, He continually leads us back to the truth that sets us free. The truth that He really is everything we need.
If you’re a Christian and are feeling the resistance toward God that I’ve described above, I hope that this post does encourage you. If the Lord won’t let me go, I assure you that He won’t let you go either. Be honest with the community of believers around you with what you are going through. I could not have made it through the past couple of months without my brothers and sisters in Christ.
“The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.”- Psalm 103:8-14