Tears streamed down my face one September eve as a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders when I finally realized that God loved me. There is a freedom that comes with that kind of love, which is neither conditional nor capricious. It is the very essence of God.
I want to tell you something personal: I am gay. For some of you who don’t know me, this may come as a complete shock. “What! You’re gay? Scandalous!” But why does it have to be scandalous? Why is it scandalous for me to be me? I think it has to do with the fact that JBU treats the issue of homosexuality as taboo. Nobody wants to talk about it, and I think that’s a problem here, especially since there is a growing number of people on this campus who are wrestling with their faith and their sexuality. Let me be the first one to talk about it.
I have been a Christian ever since I was seven. I’ve always loved God, and I grew up in a Christian home, so this will give you some perspective. At 13, I started noticing that I was attracted to men. I was never attracted to women, but once I started to notice these feelings, I began to question what this was. I asked my family about this and I began to realize my family was not okay with it. According to my family, God and the Bible both say that homosexuality is wrong. Period. Well, that didn’t stop my attraction to men.
For many years, I felt like I had to work hard to receive God’s love and acceptance. I thought I needed the approval of others. I thought God was angry with me because of my attraction to men, so I would often “pray the gay away.” For many years I prayed, “God, if you love me, please make me straight.” I then realized, after many years of praying, God wasn’t taking away my attraction to men.
When I came to college, I went through a dark time. I tried desperately to find a way to build a bridge between my sexuality and my faith. After many years of praying, meditating, studying scriptureand talking to some of my closest gay Christian friends, I came to realize God loves me.
That was the day tears began to stream down my face. I realized God wasn’t angry with me. He loves me and he created everything about me—including my sexuality. I realized I don’t need the approval of others because I know God loves and values me for who I am.
This is the hope I want to give you. If you are a Christian or not, who is struggling with your sexuality, I want you to know there is nothing wrong with you. You are not morally depraved, mentally ill or possessed by the devil as some Christians argue. Remember that God delights in you. He loves you. His thoughts for you are as countless as the sand on the sea shore and as vast as the stars in heaven. When you keep that in mind, you’ll remember that it doesn’t really matter what others think of you. After all, God created you—straight or gay.
Hook is a junior majoring in English. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.