You can’t go very far without bumping into an LGBT ‘human interest’ story. Over the last month on the BBC News website there have been coming out stories from the worlds of wrestling, NFL, rugby and opera. Inevitably, the stories are powerful as people speak of being able to be themselves. I’ve got no objections to the stories being told, but they can undermine the confidence of those of us seeking to live in line with Christian ethics and to find our identities in a completely different way. And, sometimes, our truths from the Bible can feel weak compared to the power of these stories. How do we respond?
It can be good to use our own stories, such as those on our website. But even those are slightly limited, because as Christians, we don’t believe our stories are limited to this life. So, when I’ve spoken on sexuality in recent years, I have covered plenty of truths from the Bible but then have often ended the talks with the ultimate ‘human interest’ story – a composite of various testimonies I have heard plus wonderful promises for the future from the Bible. It often sounds something like this:
‘Let me tell you about Jane. Jane became a Christian whilst she was a teenager. She was so thrilled to discover that Jesus loved her and died for her. But around the same time, she started to feel attracted to other girls. And over the years, that didn’t change. For a while she wrestled with what to do but concluded that she should stay true to Jesus’ teaching that marriage was for a man and a woman.
‘That was painful for Jane. She didn’t think marriage to a man would work for her, so she decided to stay unmarried. The weddings of friends felt like being torn in two. She was happy for them and yet it was so hard to think it would never be her. There were times of loneliness, and there were tears. But Jane did find that knowing Jesus was a real comfort. And she threw herself into her local church. She made good friends, she ended up helping young people to know Jesus, and she was well loved.
‘Eventually Jane died. She passed straight into the presence of Jesus. "I saw it all. Well done, good and faithful servant." And he wiped away her tears. The next thing she knew it was the wedding day. Alongside countless others, she was married to Jesus – and it really was the greatest day ever known. And we can say that from that time on Jane did indeed live happily ever after. Ten thousand years into eternity she looked back and thought to herself, "I’m so glad I stayed true to Jesus."'
Here is the good news: Jane isn’t a special case. This is just the normal Christian story. We simply need to remind ourselves – it is the best story in the world.