I wrote this several nights ago, but had not posted it until now, because I wanted to take some time to pray about it and seek out the “wisdom of many counselors.” Mostly, I wanted to ensure that what I wrote wasn’t unnecessarily offensive. In holding the acknowledgement of sin in one hand and love and compassion in the other, my words are bound to be capable of offense to everyone on some level. This is not my intention. I ask before you read this that you do so carefully and hear what I’m saying and not infer things I have not stated. Please understand that this is a conclusion I have come to, based on many things that God has brought me through, not a premise to justify a position or a criticism of anyone…
I don’t cry easily, but tonight I am sitting at the computer with tears in my eyes. And I don’t know that I can express all that I’m feeling in a very clear way, but I want to try. I want to write about it while I’m feeling it, even before I’ve had a chance to organize my thoughts. I want to be a little raw and rough around the edges and a little bit emotional. I want to speak from my heart, and not my head.
Today, I was led to two blog posts, written by two different people, on the same subject – homosexuality. I wasn’t searching for articles on the subject, through various means which I’m sure were orchestrated by God, they came to me. These articles tore at my heart and tapped into something deep inside of me that should have been there all along, but hasn’t been. Compassion. The truth is that I have judged homosexuals in many different ways, never fully understanding that it is only by God’s saving grace that we are able to change our minds about sin. What hurts about this mirror God is holding to my heart is the realization that I have objectified living, breathing men and women. In my heart, I have seen these relationships as somehow “less than” what heterosexual couples experience, I’ve seen them on the same emotional level as a one night stand or a quick fling. In my heart, on some level deep inside, I have been angry at those not willing to give up their “flings” for something better – namely, a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.
But I am no longer convinced that the love between a husband and a wife is automatically more intense or more holy or more passionate than the love between any other two people, simply because they are married.
1 Samuel 18:1 speaks of the bond between Jonathan and David, saying:
“the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.”
Later, after the death of Jonathan, David laments saying:
“Your love to me was wonderful, surpassing the love of women.” (2Sa 1:26 NKJV)
In searching for the exact location of these two scripture verses, I came upon the following commentary:
Notice that it does not say that [Jonathan] knitted himself, but that the soul was knit. True friendship is a gift of God, and a person who has a true friend should count him as such. We hear much about “falling in love” in our day. I doubt if anyone can really define such a condition, but there is such a thing in the Bible. God knit the soul of one to the soul of another. The words “made one” could be used in the relationship of Christ and the church as well as in the relationship of the husband and wife. In other words, when God gives one a friend, he knits their souls just as really as Christ was knit to the church and as the husband and wife are knit to each other.
The fact is, and what I’ve been blind to for so very long is, that there can exist a level of love between two people that is just as strong as that between a husband and a wife. We, in our ignorance and our love of “romance,” have often taken this kind of love and corrupted it. Our culture encourages the belief that the highest expression of love is sex. When a woman meets her “soul mate” and he is not her husband, she assumes that it must mean that she married the wrong person and will never be truly happy until she leaves her husband and consummates her relationship with the man to whom God has “knitted her soul” (and I am coming to believe that it is possible for a woman’s heart to be “knitted together” with the heart of a man who is not her husband. I also believe that if the hearts of a married couple are not yet “knitted together,” they can become so through prayer. I believe it is possible to have more than one “soul mate.”)
What I haven’t understood, what I have judged wrongly, is the bond that exists in some homosexual relationships. In many ways, this bond is just as legitimate, just as passionate, just as loving and at times possibly even more so than the bond between a heterosexual husband and a wife. And in my heart, I saw this as a fling! In my heart, I condemned my homosexual friends and family members for not tossing this relationship aside like worthless baggage. I am ashamed.
In one of the articles that touched my heart today, I read this story, which outlined an interview between a baptist pastor and the head of a gay and lesbian group called Soul Force:
The [man] explained to me that he now loved [his lover] more than life itself. This relationship that had brought him so much happiness, so much comfort, and so much security was the very thing that Southern Baptist pastors were saying would send him to hell. Amazingly, this man began to weep as he spoke to me. I sat silently as the man attempted to regain his composure. He then went on to explain that his lover was very ill, possibly dying. He hated Southern Baptists because we condemned people like him and his lover to hell.
My heart breaks for this man, who was facing the loss of the love of his life while dealing with those who would seek to destroy the bond between them. My heart breaks for a Church and a religion that would seek to condemn this man for the love he has for another. My heart breaks for my own soul that wished for this man to toss his love aside and never look back. And my heart breaks for a culture that has looked upon this kind of love and believed that the highest form of expressing it is through the act of sexual intimacy.
The reality that I am ashamedly only now coming to understand is that the men and women I’ve so casually labeled “homosexuals” love the partners they have chosen to spend their lives with, sometimes with a love that would probably rival that found in many Christian marriages. They can no more set these relationships aside than we could “rocket others on the moon by sheer will or moral persuasion.” I’m not even sure that they should – not completely anyway. But they, just like many, many heterosexuals, have bought into the lie that sex is the ultimate climax of a loving relationship. That the kind of love that knits two souls together must ultimately knit their bodies together, as well. That without physical intimacy, their relationship is somehow less than what it should be.
For the first time, I feel extreme compassion for those living in homosexual relationships. I am happy for the oneness they have come to find with the people they love. I am sad that our culture has led us to believe that the highest expression of love is sex.
I pray for the gay and lesbian men and women that I know. I pray that they will continue to love and be loved by their partners. I pray that they will experience the love of God. And I pray that God’s saving grace will be a light to their path, and make the bonds they have with their “soul mates” even stronger, in a holy union steeped in God’s love.
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