I’m not a shining beacon of holiness. Nor am I a stalwart of example of chastity. But I love Jesus, and I have hope in him, and each day I like to think that I’m growing in holiness and chastity so that I may one day arrive at the perfection of the Father. And I wanted to take this moment to just encourage any Jesus-loving guys who might be struggling with being attracted to other guys. So from one guy attracted to guys to another, this is from my heart and from the lessons Jesus has taught me:
First, you need to realize that you are not alone. You might feel alone because this secret might be something that you’ve been bearing alone for along time. Its ok if you don’t want to talk about it or don’t want to tell others. Sharing is up to you, but do realize that you aren’t alone in the feelings that you are experiencing. In fact, I’d be highly surprised if you were the only one worshiping in your church on Sunday morning who feels this way. So don’t despair, there are many others like you.
Second, don’t forget that you’re identity as a person has nothing to do with who you are sexually attracted to. Our culture is obsessed with categorizing everyone and identifying them by silly labels: conservative, liberal, gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, etc. But our identity is founded in Jesus Christ, through whom we have been baptized into his very life, death, and resurrection. Being gay is not who I am. Who I am is a child of God. The same goes for you.
Third, don’t be a pawn for the culture. Our culture is fighting hard for you to believe that the only option that you have is to give into your sexual desires. It doesn’t matter what they are, but the culture believes and teaches that with very few exceptions, sexual passions must be expressed in order to be the real you. This is simply not true. Like I said, you are not defined by who you want to have sex with, but by belonging to the One who saved you.
Fourth, there is an alternative path to doing as the culture dictates. Jesus Christ offers us another way. He asks us to take up our crosses and follow him. He created a beautifully ordered universe, and ordained human sexuality beautifully as a way to take part in the ordered and the life-giving universe he has made. He has designed sex with great purpose, but it is not for all of us. Some of us are called to something else. Some of us are called to chaste celibacy, whether it is for the purpose of devoting our life to prayer (such as a nun or a monk) and for others it is simply because we do not experience a call to marriage and rearing of children due to our sexual inclinations towards the same-sex.
Fifth, celibacy does not diminish one’s ability and freedom to love. If you believed the culture, sexual expression is the only way to love someone else, and any sort of restriction, whether legal or religious, on one’s right to have sex is the cruel punishment of not allowing someone to love another. But this just shows a lack of understanding of the Gospel and of love. Jesus himself was unmarried and showed a great amount of love towards the human race. The Apostle Paul writes about the freedom that the unmarried man and woman have to serve the Lord. Would anybody claim that Mother Theresa loved less because she did not have sex, because she was not married? Those who live within in the confines of the rules that Jesus has for us are not prevented from loving, but in fact, have greater freedom to love more greatly!
Lastly, I just want to say that I know how difficult following the plan of God is. It is so easy to want to give up. It is so easy to give in. But the cost of giving in is not worth it. I know. The price for following Jesus is more than worth it though! Just take discipleship with Jesus one day at a time. And rather than mourning the shall not that we’ve received, focus on the shall. Focus on the freedom we gain to love God and neighbor more greatly when we are obedient.
Finally, it might help to confide in someone who is a shining example of Christ, maybe a pastor or a priest or a family member like a brother or sister. A real lover of Christ will understand that we are all broken and that this is just another one of the many ways our humanity has been broken since the Fall, but that it is not insurmountable. A real lover of Christ will encourage you and help you bear your cross. You don’t have bear this burden alone.
Always remember that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.
P.S. Jesus doesn’t desire that you “become straight”. He only desires that you be obedient. Remembering this important truth will hopefully eliminate frustration in “not becoming straight” as well as help you focus your prayer less on changing passions and more on asking for the grace to persevere and asking for an increase in your love for your neighbor.