To live as a same-sex attracted Christian who wants to be faithful to Scripture, is to swim against a powerful tide. Here are five messages such a way of living conveys:
- Sex is not essential to flourish as a human being.
- Same-sex marriage is not the same as opposite-sex marriage.
- Our sexuality is far from being the most important thing about us.
- Not every desire we have should be expressed.
- Living for Jesus is the most important thing in the world.
You are not going to see any of those messages communicated in a TV drama. They won’t be heard on a radio phone-in. They won’t be portrayed at the climax of a film.
So the Christian is living out a message that seemingly nobody outside a church believes. That can make the Christian feel very strange indeed. And it shouldn’t be surprising to discover that swimming against a tide can be a draining experience. Perhaps that’s been especially the case in a year when we are already exhausted by the challenges of living through a pandemic.
But the encouraging truth is that the Bible is far from surprised by this situation. I’ve thought for a while that 1 Peter is a vital letter for our time. The context is of Christians being accused of doing wrong (1 Peter 2:12). It is a period where people assume that Christian morality is evil and harmful. Already, it is not hard to see the link with the 21st century, especially when it comes to sexuality. Peter’s message is essentially to tell the church not to be surprised by this challenge (1 Peter 4:12). After all, we are exiles far from home (1 Peter 1:1). We shouldn’t expect to fit in because we are made for a different place – a heavenly city. In other words, to feel strange as a Christian is completely normal. In addition to assuring us that swimming against the tide is simply part of being a Christian, Peter gives us plenty of wisdom for handling the situation and motivation to persevere.
The encouraging truth is that the Bible is far from surprised by this situation.
All of this is why I am looking forward to being one of the speakers at the Exiles Conference on Saturday 19th June. This is the third joint conference run by Living Out and True Freedom Trust. It will take place online with talks, testimonies, opportunities for questions, and discussion. I’m pleased that 1 Peter will be our base for the day. We’ll look at why it is worth persevering and think through Peter’s instructions on how we should live now.
So, if you are conscious of feeling strange at times or sometimes find swimming against the tide tiring, then please do join us for the Exiles Conference. We would love to have you with us.
Exiles is taking place online on Saturday 19th June, 10.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. Tickets can be booked here.