Who Am I?
Last weekend I addressed the issue of homosexuality in our Ten Tough Questions sermon series (listen here). While all these messages are challenging, this was easily the most difficult. The reason is simple: this issue touches so many people, so deeply and so personally, most of all, obviously, those who find themselves attracted to the same sex. The feelings they experience force them to wrestle with the foundational issue of identity.
“Who am I?” The gay community says that if you are attracted to the same sex that means you are gay, and embracing your feelings is the only way you can be true to who you really are. But what if you are also a Christian who loves Jesus and believes the Bible is God’s infallible Word? The Scriptures that condemn homosexuality are frighteningly clear. Explaining them away is intellectually dishonest and rejecting them as erroneous is patently unsafe. Yet the feelings of attraction are real, powerful and apparently permanent. What to do?
Having never struggled with this issue personally, I was grateful for the insights of other believers who have shared their experiences. One of the most helpful was Christopher Yuan’s story in Out of a Far Country.
“As I continued to read the Bible, I realized my identity shouldn’t be defined by my sexuality…My identity was not ‘gay’ or ‘homosexual’ or even ‘heterosexual,’ for that matter. But my identity as a child of the living God must be in Jesus Christ alone.”
I suspect many long-time straight Christians will nod their heads in agreement. “Yes,” we comfortably say, “Our identity must be in Christ alone.” But it is important that we recognize we are all naturally inclined to build our identity on something other than Jesus. A turn of circumstance is all it takes to bring it to light and force an identity crisis. Mom, who are you once your kids grow up and don’t need you anymore? Dad, who are you when you get laid off and can’t find work for several years? Teen, who are you when you move to a new school and you are on the outside looking in? Pastor, who are you after a younger man is in your place and you discover the church will be just fine without you?
There is a healthy way to delight in all the God-given roles we fill in life, but we must remember that none of them are strong enough to sustain a soul. In the end, when all else is gone, I am His.