Several weeks ago, Trey Pearson, the lead singer for “Everyday Sunday” came out as gay.
As I read his letter to fans and friends, several things struck me.
First, I felt really sad for him. I can’t imagine the struggle and torture of growing up in a conservative home, getting married to a woman, being the frontman of a popular Christian band, and having two children, all while secretly dealing with same-sex attraction. It sounds absolutely horrendous on so many levels. It’s heartbreaking.
I also noticed that, throughout his letter, Pearson repeatedly emphasized that this is who he is. He has always been gay and always will be gay. Nothing can or ever will change this fact. He said:
I know I have a long way to go. But if this honesty with myself about who I am, and who I was made by God to be, doesn’t constitute as the peace that passes all understanding, then I don’t know what does. It is like this weight I have been carrying my whole life has been lifted from me, and I have never felt such freedom.
I don’t doubt Pearson. He probably has always felt attracted toward men and will continue to feel that way for the rest of his life.
For better or worse, that is who he is.
I’ve heard this argument many times before. It usually goes like this:
- I’ve always experienced same-sex attraction
- I always will experience same-sex attraction
- Therefore, this is who I am
- Therefore, this is who God created me to be
- Therefore, I will live out this lifestyle
And while I certainly understand the argument, there seems to be one crucial point missing from the middle:
Is who I am who I am supposed to be?
I believe Scripture speaks very clearly to this neglected point: No, I’m NOT who I’m supposed to be.
This doesn’t apply only to those who struggle with homosexuality. It applies in a thousand ways to me as well. Like most heterosexual men, I’m regularly tempted to lust. From the moment I began to think girls were cool, I’ve been tempted to lust. This is who I am, and I don’t anticipate this struggle going anywhere in the near future.
I regularly fall into the pit of depression and anxiety. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been prone to stumbling in this way. Unless God miraculously heals me, I will continue to struggle this way until I die or am raptured (the real rapture – not the one involving Nicholas Cage acting and Tim LaHaye theology).
My point is this: there are a thousand parts of me that are NOT as they’re supposed to be.
This is what it means to live in a sinful, broken, depraved, dark world. All of us have fissures and crevasses and caves full of sin. All of us are profoundly disturbed. All of us are out of kilter and off our axis. None of us are who God made us to be.
The solution to being fundamentally broken is not to call the brokenness good. The solution is not to embrace the sinfulness as simply who I am.
The great calling upon the Christian is to live as we will be, not as we are.
To put the old self – the self we always have been – to death.
To take up our cross every single day.
To live in light of our calling rather than our experience.
This struggle is not unique to Christians struggling with same-sex attraction. Yes, it impacts them differently than the rest of us, but the call to die is the same for all of us.
The Samaritan woman at the well probably struggled with infidelity for many years after her encounter with Jesus. Zacchaeus wasn’t cured from greed after Jesus spotted him in the tree. I’ve been a proud jerk for my entire life, and will continue to wrestle until I die.
The bad news: I am who I am.
The good news: God is helping me be who I’m called to be.
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