PART 1: How Can a Christian Reconcile Their Identity as a Christian and as a Homosexual?
There are two different ways to define the word homosexual. There is homosexual behavior and there is homosexual orientation. Homosexual behavior and the word of God are irreconcilable. It’s like a squared circle. You can’t reconcile them.
But if you’re talking about homosexual orientation or what the church likes to call same-sex attraction (SSA), it is reconcilable if a person is willing to deny that aspect of himself, take up his cross, and follow Christ. You can follow Christ and still have SSA and homosexual orientation and not act on it.
In my case, I struggle with SSA still even though God has redeemed me from that life. But because I love Jesus and I want to follow him, I am willing to deny that aspect of myself. It’s just like a heterosexual man who is married to his wife but is attracted to another woman. He may be attracted to that woman, and that is not a sin. But if he pursues that woman and commits adultery then it becomes a problem and it is sinful. In that way, it is reconcilable to have SSA, deny that attraction, follow Christ, and be a Christian.
If anyone wants to be a Christ-follower, there are certain things in your own will and in your own desire that you have to give up. In any situation of sin, you have to die to that to follow Christ and to be obedient to him. In this situation and the issue of homosexuality, you have to be willing to give that up.
But giving up SSA for Christ isn’t an unfair exchange on our end. You’re exchanging SSA for this relationship with the most amazing king of the universe. So to me, it’s easy to give that up to follow Christ.
It is easy to give up homosexual behavior and relationships with guys to follow Christ because he is the king. He has never cheated on me, he has never lied to me, and he will never forsake me. He’s the best relationship I’ve ever had with a man and so I am happy to give up that life in order to follow Christ.
PART 2: How Can the Church Better Receive Those Who are Wrestling With Those Identities?
First of all, I’m so happy that this issue of homosexuality has come to such a dominant position in our culture. It is good for the church because it’s forcing the church to deal with and to confront this issue. In decades and centuries passed the church pretended it didn’t exist. But now the church has to wrestle with this and figure out how we come alongside those in our congregation who are struggling with same sex attraction (SSA).
The best way come alongside to do that is with compassion and love. As Christians we are to bear one another’s burdens, and this is part of that.
When I came to Christ 8 ½ years ago, God had so much grace on me and brought me to this church in Hollywood. The pastor and so many people came and immediately rallied around me when I got saved. They were praying for me, having coffee with me, and discipling me. I felt so loved and so cared for by the local church, and that is how the church can help those within the church who are struggling with SSA.
In terms of people who are not believers and are in the LGBT community, the best way for the church to come alongside them is to lavish them with love and not judgment nor condemnation. I always go back to what Billy Graham said, “It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love.”
As believers, it’s not our job to judge them. We’re here to love them. Jesus said to love God and love your neighbor and that fulfills the law. The LGBT community is our neighbor, and we are to love them. I’ve seen people being loved by Christians into the kingdom. I’ve seen people being loved so generously and lavishly that they come to Christ. It is crucial that we love the community and not judge them because, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” The only reason I’m sitting here right now with you is because God had grace on me. He plucked me out of that life, out of that darkness, and into new life.
It was all him. There’s no possible way I could judge a gay pride parade, for example -- I used to go to those. That was me. And then God plucked me out of it. All I can do now is be grateful that God had grace on me and to love others.
Becket Cook was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. He spends much of his time in ministry speaking at churches and universities helping believers (and non-believers) understand the issue of same-sex attraction biblically, theologically, culturally, and personally. Becket received his master’s degree from Talbot School of Theology at Biola University in 2017.