What God can do for those with same-sex attraction

This Sunday I’ll be speaking on homosexuality and related topics.  While the number of Americans who admit to being homosexual or bisexual seems to grow all the time, certainly there are still those who hide their desires for fear of the disdain, criticism and rejection they expect should they be honest.
In our churches, there is a comparable fear.  That is, some Christians with homosexual longings are fighting the good fight.  But the storm is fierce and while they desperately wish there could be some believers to stand with them with love, prayers, advice, and friendship, they suspect–probably rightfully so, we’d cut them off and despise them if we knew the truth.  The painful truth is that unless a church revises the Bible’s teaching on homosexual behavior, it’s not the best place to be honest about same-sex attractions.  It seems to be the one temptation that some Christians want to pretend doesn’t exist.  And the one kind of sinner/prospective sinner they don’t want to join hands with and help.  God forgive us.
From a distance I’ve learned how deeply imbedded the homosexual craving must be.  Where is there hope to be had?  Jesus Christ.  No, repentance and faith do not necessarily mean the temptations will flee.  After all, we are in a battle against sin that will last our lifetimes.  But being killed, buried and then raised to life again in Christ, does mean the power is there for victory.  As Christopher Yuan will tell you.

You in your marriage

That’s just great: according to the latest study the US has the highest divorce rate in the world.  The world.  Think of all the countries we had to beat out for that distinction.  Recently a married friend in his 40’s told me it seems like a lot of couples his age are splitting up.  My generation (boomers) is even worse.  In 1990 fewer than one in ten Americans who got divorced were over the age of 50.  By 2009 it was one in four–“Grey Divorce” AARP calls it.  Many of these 25% going their separate ways throw away a couple of decades or more.

It’s no surprise when unbelievers take a utilitarian view of marriage.  “It’s a social/pleasure contract and as long as it does more for me than it hurts me, I’m in.  If it becomes too unpleasant with too many unkind words, too little consideration, too much of your mama, too little sex or too little money, I’m out.”  The prevailing notion that each person has a single soul mate (your perfect match) out there tends to loosen people’s grip on their marriages.  “Surely if I came home to my soul mate every day, she’d/he’d appreciate me better than my spouse does.”  Whether pleased or displeased with our marriage, we humanly and sinfully take credit for what’s going well, and blame the other for what’s not.

[Because I’m happily married some have hinted I’m unqualified to speak to unhappy marriages.  Huh?  Maybe that’s where the cliche “Misery loves company” originated.  I’ve learned that some people think my wife and I just happened to land a good mate.   But Betty and I are not happy because we’re the perfect mates for each other.  Not every day in the last 40 years has been a roses-and-valentines-day.  We picked up some bumps and bruises along the way and have not always been satisfied with our marriage–or each other.]

52 year-old Debbie divorced her husband after 20 years.  “Emotionally, physically we just couldn’t relate to each other anymore…”  50-something Thaddea also ended her marriage  last year.  “I decided to take the risk on myself and take a chance on myself to see what could I do on my own.”

“Myself.”  “Me” matters most.  Hardly a novel observation about the human condition.  Or about marriages.  At least occasional dissatisfaction is part of the landscape of every marriage.  People who stay married accept that some dissatisfaction is normal.  Beyond that, Christians realize that God’s main job is not to ping their happy meters.  He calls believers out from the world to be beacons of light for His glory–which for some means prison or a hangman’s noose.  For many, many husbands and wives, it means staying in an imperfect marriage because they promised “for better or for worse”. 

Then again, you don’t have to just endure.  See what you can do with the person you can change: you.  Unhappy spouses often sound like defendants in front of the judge: “Somebody else did it.” 
“It’s her fault.”  
“It’s his.”

Not so fast.  Every marriage boasts two sinners.  Maybe one’s the primary cause, but both sin so both contribute to problems.  You can’t fix the other sinner but you can work on one all by yourself.  Even just one person’s efforts can enrich almost any marriage. 

Author Gary Thomas asks this provocative question in Sacred Marriage, What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?  Making a Christian more and more holy is the Holy Spirit-run operation called “sanctification” (Rom.6:19).  With his unnerving question, Thomas suggests that the normal wear and tear of married life may be one of God’s main tools to round off our rough edges, and expose our pride and selfishness.  In other words, maybe your marriage tensions aren’t accidental.  Maybe God’s in the thick of it for His glory and your good.

Kathleen and Thomas Hart write, Sometimes what is hard to take in the first years of marriage is not what we find out about our partner, but what we find out about ourselves.  Amen.  Or in the third decade.


The Chick-fil-a controversy has stirred up ominously dark clouds for Americans.  What other nation is as casual as the USA when its citizens say whatever moronic, repulsive, vulgar, or threatening thought crosses their minds?  Yet let a business owner donate dollars to organizations which endorse (which is not the same as enforce) a historical concept of marriage–and  mention it publicly, and suddenly the same thought police that brought us no-holds-barred speech, want it to apply only to their convictions.  You’d have thought Dan Cathy was urging those who agree with him to arm themselves and injure opponents.  You’d have thought that.  But he just used his constitutionally guaranteed rights.  Dark clouds for Americans.
But not dark clouds for American Christians.  Maybe the reverse, actually.  Face it Christians, historically, we’ve never been popular.  Hounded, imprisoned and executed whether for refusing to worship the emperor, or for celebrating communion, or for urging people to repent and turn to Christ, or for insisting there was such a thing as sin.  Our ancestors’ children were killed, their lands and houses confiscated.  That was then.
Today in America, some believers are multi-millionaires, some are in elite positions of civil power, some are professionals who enjoy wide respect.  We’ve got men and women in high places in schools, sports, government, and business/industry.  Some church leaders have the ear of those with secular power.  The children of Christians are protected from bullying like other children.  They get an education.  Christians can borrow money without being cheated by banks.
This is all good; but not necessarily wonderful. 
Honestly, most of us American believers are soft and timid.  Yes, we’re nicer–which doesn’t hurt all by itself.  But people don’t necessarily recognize faith by niceness any more than they do by the meanness of some of our brethren.  After all, some atheists and agnostics are nice.  Faith is a platform for truth.   God says “…speak the truth in love…”.  Speaking the truth without love is godless but so is speaking in a loving fashion without speaking the truth.

I suspect that as American society grows more and more impatient with Christians, our numbers will shrink as the anemic, the pretenders, the cowardly, the “can’t we all just get along?” crowd vanishes.  I suspect that what’s left will have more muscle, and become more effective.  And suffer.  For …to this you have been called. (1 Peter 2:21).

Me First

Some years ago I wrote this poem about human pride and its lifelong attempt to assert its own glory.

“Me first, me first,” the little boy said.
You’re just in the way, got too much to say,
I’m not being seen, I’m not being heard;
“Me first, me first,” the little boy said.
“Me first, me first,” the teenager said.
He cut off the car that was slowing him down,
He chewed out the driver that was making him frown;
“Me first, me first,” the teenager said.
“Me first, me first,” demanded the young man.
So, it’s our third date, don’t want to wait,
If you tell me “no,” I’ll have to go;
“Me first, me first,” demanded the young man.
“Me first, me first,” her daddy protested.
You can just wait ‘til I’ve got some time,
Got things more important now on my mind.
“Me first, me first,” her daddy protested.
“Me first, me first,” shrieked the old man in line.
Then suddenly…, suddenly he was at the head of the line.
His mouth gaped at the Ancient of Days,
Who pointed to his Son filling the world and heaven’s stage.
“No, no, He is first; He always has been.
While you thought much of yourself…, so little of Him,
A tip of the hat, a token of faith
While you gained the glory and attention of men.
Your talents, your home, accomplishments too,
Your grades and your wit were all about you.
Who could see my Son veiled by your pride?
Now He’s no longer hidden, His glory denied. 
All men will worship, and to Him, bow their knees. 
He’s no longer decreasing, while His people, increase.
copyright, 2007 Keith Rohrer
He must increase, but I must decrease (John the Baptist)