I knew if I touched the topic of homosexuality, even to address the issue of how to encourage those who grieve, I’d get some diverse responses, because it truly is a hot topic right now! However, it seems like the best way is usually an attempt at open communication, so I’m going to share why I don’t think grieving over a loved one who has headed into homosexuality is necessarily outrageously selfish. In fact, I think it can actually be a sign of deep love.
However, I want to begin by pointing out that people who are offended because it will cause them personal embarrassment probably aren’t grieving; they are more likely frustrated or angry. I’m not talking about those people, although I empathize with them, because I’ve been guilty at times of feeling more concern for my own reputation than loving my neighbor, and so I am not blameless. Also, people who think homosexuality is immoral but don’t have a deep love for the homosexuals as individuals are likely to be angry because they think those people are wrong and will be “messing up society,” just as many people react negatively to those who commit adultery. I’m not actually talking about those people either, although I think all of us have a natural aversion to people whom we believe will be a negative influence on us or society. That’s just being self-protective, and I think we all have to fight and overcome that battle if we are truly to love our neighbors.
I am talking about people who grieve their loved ones choosing a homosexual lifestyle because they believe it will not ultimately bring them happiness…at least not one that lasts. Here is where walking by faith and living without faith diverge. Those of us who believe the Bible is true, and that there is a God who loves us intensely and has designed the world for mutual communion and joy, typically believe that God has set out for us in the scripture how to live for our personal and corporate well-being as human beings. To us, biblical principles are like a manual on “how to live a happy life,” the way a car manual describes how to keep our cars running smoothly. We don’t look at biblical teachings as laws to prohibit our pleasure but rather as a light to show us the way to true pleasure!
In the Bible, there are about 11 instances of forbidding homosexual union, most commonly in lists that also forbid incest and bestiality. For whatever reason, our culture still considers incest and bestiality inappropriate but has judged that homosexuality is now acceptable. If you don’t believe in God or in the Bible as the Word of God, can you at least see how those of us who believe the Bible was written for our good can also believe that homosexuality will not bring true happiness to those who engage in it?
For the past several days, I’ve also been pondering: What are the pros and cons of a homosexual lifestyle? Why does it appeal to some? My mind went immediately back to the humorous line from My Fair Lady: “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?” Although I’ve never felt sexual attraction to women, I do remember that my older sister and I were inseparable buddies throughout college, teaching school afterward, short-term mission work, and seminary. If we disagreed, we’d always invoke “listen to the voice of reason,” trying to work things out logically and spiritually, guided by our desire to find unity in the Spirit. When I married Alan, he teased that he really hated to break up “such a far out pair of old maids.” (I was 22.) The next 43 years were not only almost twice as long but seemed way more than twice as hard. So…would I have been better off to skip marriage to a man?For me, no. Even though it was harder, I think it was also better. I really do appreciate the complementarity. Although I truly believe the pinnacle experience in life is communion with God, I will vote for intercourse as the second best, and true intercourse is only possible between a male and a female. Life is much more than physical. Beyond the physical is the universe of spiritual mystery…the kind of experiences where orgasm results not only in transitory pleasure but in the creation of a new life…a completely new creation where two have become eternally one. Life is full of mysteries! I’ll never know my husband completely, but for all my trying, I’ve learned a vast amount about men generally….more than would ever have been possible had I continued to experience life only with the perspectives of another woman. And, men represent half the world, right? The other half of the world is definitely worth trying to understand! A heterosexual relationship is more challenging, but it’s also more expanding. Other is hard, but it’s good! Two gloves match, but oh the warmth when you slip a glove onto your hand! Contrast heightens perception. Different isn’t bad, it’s just different, and it’s often helpful. For instance, in rearing kids, the complementarity is good: “Two contrasted theories, such as the wave and particle theories of light, may be able to explain a set of phenomena, although each separately only accounts for some aspects.” Yup! Alan and I had 6 sons and 1 daughter. We failed a lot, but there’s no doubt in my mind that I would have failed a lot more had I not had the influence of a man in making decisions. And on, and on. This is turning into an essay instead of a post, but it’s just the beginning. Even if you’re not a believer, I hope you can see why some of us think homosexuality isn’t as rich or beautiful as heterosexuality, and therefore why we might grieve when someone we love chooses what might seem to be (for them) an easier path to sexual pleasure and companionship. We believe an even happier life is possible, and we grieve what they might miss.
“He that handles a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusts in the Lord, happy is he” (Proverbs 16:20).