Come as You Are – Don’t Let ANYBODY Stop You

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A wonderful young man sent me his story and I thought it would encourage many of you so, and also break your heart. So with his permission, here it is.

Hi, Susan! My name is Jake* and I’m 19 years old. I’m currently a freshman in college and loving it! I’ve known that I was gay for as long as I can remember, and I don’t find myself attracted to women. Ever since I can remember, I’ve known that something was just different about me, it wasn’t bad, it was just different. It has taken me a  long time to figure out that these different feelings I have are my attraction to men. I think I was about 12 years old when I realized that I was attracted to boys and not girls, and that’s what the different feeling I had was. I’ve grown up in Community Bible Church* my whole life. I grew up in children’s ministry, middle school youth group, high school youth group, and I’m now in a community group that meets every other Friday. I also teach fifth-graders every Sunday morning. I absolutely LOVE my church, and I love the relationships that I have built throughout my life at CBC; however, my church is not affirming at all. I’ve never heard explicitly a sermon about homosexuality, but I know the attitudes of the pastors and staff have about gay people. And I have heard very rude things about gay people from people who go to my church, and it breaks my heart because they don’t know they’re talking about me. I pray for them, and I hope that one day the staff at my church and people who attend will see that there is room for us at the table and that God does love us. One thing that I am afraid of is that when I do come out someday, I will lose relationships with people whom I love dearly — but all I can do is pray that God opens up their eyes!  I love Jesus, and I was baptized when I was 13 years old, along with my siblings and my Dad, it was an awesome day. I’ve been wrestling with my feelings and attractions and I’ve prayed for God to take them away, and make me straight — but that is a lot easier said than done. But through your ministry, and doing research, I’ve found that there is nothing wrong with me, and that God loves me. That is a such a great thing to know. I’ve never told anyone that I’m gay until now, but my best friend is coming up to visit this summer from college, and I’m going to come out to her. I know I can trust her, and I know that she’ll accept me, and love me. I also saw on your website that coming out to a trusted friend is probably a good thing to do, before your family. My Mom has been especially offensive towards gay people before with the words she has said, and my Dad isn’t much better. Also, my siblings are not supportive of gay people either. I’ve heard my brother talk about how sinful and how broken and how bad gay people are, I asked him why he thought this way, and he pointed out the verses in Leviticus, Romans, and 1 Timothy. I didn’t argue with him, because I didn’t want him to get any hints that I am gay, and I also didn’t know how to rebuke his argument very well. Also, I’ve heard my sister talk about how “disgusting” homosexuality is. I’m not ready to come out to my family at all, but I will be someday, and I know that I will have God on my side and my best friend in my corner too!

I love my siblings more than anything and I am so afraid to lose them. But I keep praying that when I do come out, whenever that may be, that God will soften their hearts, and they can see that I still love Jesus, and that I am still the same person. I pray that over my whole family, really because almost all of them are Christian or Catholic and hold very traditional views on marriage and homosexuality. But I just need to keep praying for them. Susan, I just want to thank you so very much for being there for LGBT Christians and showing us the love Jesus shows. I appreciate your work so much, it’s so comforting to know that I have brothers and sisters in Christ who care and know that we can be who God made us to be and love Jesus too!! So, thank you again so much, Susan! 🙂 🙂

I don’t care who you are or what you’ve done. God invites you into relationship with him. He invites you to come exactly as you are, period. As Christmas approaches, you be anticipating a visit with family, or their church, and feel overwhelmed by pressure to measure up. (Spoken or unspoken.)

But those who say you are unacceptable do not understand Jesus. Those who tell you to make some monumental change are reading the bible incorrectly. Oh, we change! — but God changes us. We don’t have a hope to change ourselves.

And what we think others must change — surprise — may not be what God changes! (Just imagine that!)

We were ALL given one job: love God, love others. (“But badmouthing them and talking about how disgusting their behavior is is loving them.”) No, it isn’t. (“But telling them what they need to change is loving them.”) No, it’s isn’t. Telling someone everything you think is wrong with them, with scripture to ‘prove it’, is not loving them.

Loving them is loving them.

Church, we cannot sing about God’s acceptance of anyone and everyone who comes, and then tell people what they must change to be acceptable. That violates the whosoever of John 3:16.

Just as I am – without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

If it’s not about coming as you are, then stop saying it is… and stop saying you’re teaching the Bible because you’re not. Let this season be about loving as Christ loves, and gratitude for the gift he gives. (He’ll deal with whatever needs to be dealt with.)

Much love – Susan

16 thoughts on “Come as You Are – Don’t Let ANYBODY Stop You

  1. Jake I happen to be a celibate same-sex attracted man who is a Catholic Christian. While that transition is a story in itself, I would like to applaud YOUR courage in walking your journey thus far. I happen to view the issue more traditionally than you do, although I have not always done so in the past, but having said that I realize and want to affirm with you that it is ultimately between you and a VERY loving man/God, our Lord Jesus Christ to be specific, regarding how you use the very real gift of being “different” than others may happen to. In other words it is not my job to say to you “be celibate” or not, or to determine your standing with God. It IS my job to love you, exactly where you are. And to let you know that God does so as well. And to suggest that, if you keep seeking Him, whatever ultimate conclusions you will come to on the topic will be between you and Him and He will honor that..He loves us without condition. And He knows you are seeking Him.

    I would just invite you to keep searching, and again please know that you are welcome and important as our brother in Christ. Period. If I can be of any help to you let me know and please check out my website as well. And by saying these things I do NOT mean to be nor would I hammer my views upon you in any way, although our conclusions in some areas may differ. I mean being an equal brother with similar pain and struggles as yours, and who cares about the suffering you have endured from, ironically, the hands of many very sincere Christians who cannot see beyond the blinders they have in this area particularly.

    And by the way, Susan is wonderful, isn’t she?

  2. I got this reply from Jake, and thought you who commented would like to read it. 🙂 “Hi Susan! I read all the responses and comments on my story, and I’m so encouraged by all of them, it’s so comforting to know that other believers are there with you. Thank you for sharing my story on FreedHearts and I’m so glad that I can be an encouragement to other Christians! Blessings on you!” 🙂

  3. Jake*,

    I am the 51 year old father of a 15 year old gay son. Although I have suspected he was gay from a very early age we only recently “came out”. I want you to know that I deeply and passionately love my son. My heart is going through an undeniable transformation even though I have always accepted and loved my son. I am fighting tears as I type this. God is doing a good thing in my family even though it is not easy at all.

    I pray and will continue to pray for you and your family. No matter what their reactions are at first I can only hope that God will open their hearts and that their faith in God pushes them to understand his truth that LOVE conquers all and that they will show you the same love that I and others here have for our children.

    Even though we have not and may never meet, know this Jake* I love you. I care about you. I care about your pain and aloneness in this battle but so, so much more than that Jesus Christ loves you and is with you always. He will never forsake or leave you. I truly believe this even though at times I cry out “where are you!!” and then my heart moves and I know he is there.

    Continue to hold fast to Christ young man and never doubt he loves you.

    A dad that cares and loves you.

  4. What a beautiful, beautiful letter! Heartfelt and honest…Jake sounds like an amazing, loving, spiritual young man…I do hope that when he decides to come out to his family and church that they will learn a lesson from him and that there hears will be softened as he says. The rude comments are just beyond belief …there is no excuse for that in church, no matter which side you are on.

  5. This young man’s story reminded me of part of my own story 40 years ago as a young woman in the church trying to figure myself out. Of course the times were much different in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. However the issues are no different. All we want to be able to do is love God, love each other and be in a church where there is no rejection of who we are in our core. As long as people believe we are sinful in our intimate actions, our true acceptance will not happen in the church. There will still be the underlying issue of “love the sinner and hate the sin.” But if people can really give up the belief that our intimate actions are sinful, we might have a chance at being loved, truly loved, in a Christian community, no matter what community that is. I pray this young man finds his path and truly finds a healthy community who will accept him as he is in his core. It is difficult to find in a large group…but much easier on a 1:1 basis. Then that group of people can grow into your Christian community. Be well.

  6. Truth: there is nothing wrong with this young man. Sadly, another truth is that he will lose some relationships when he comes out, but that won’t be his fault. One day he will question why he is giving his time and treasure to church that doesn’t want him? When that day comes, he will find many enlightened, accepting and affirming churches that–like God–accept him just as he is. I know because I found one. Love and luck to him on his journey.

  7. We all are sinners and fall short of the glory of GOD. Yes, we are to love above all things as that covers a multitude of sins. Each beliver is called upon not to judge, but to discern through guidance of the Holy Spirit that lives in each person who professes Jesus Christ as Savior with his/her mouth , and believes in their heart. Each believer will stand before a holy GOD and give an account. We all want to hear “well done thy good and faithful servant”.

  8. “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~ Romans 8:38-39

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