Whenever someone comes out as gay, lesbian, transgender, or some other alternative sexuality, they are inevitably lauded as brave, courageous, strong, and a host of other forceful words. They are praised for the boldness and commended for the courage. Barack Obama himself said that Caitlyn Jenner was courageous for sharing her story.
And I think I understand why people make those types of comments. I can imagine that it is quite a scary thing to tell your loved ones, as well as the broader world, that you are not the person they always thought. It is a terrifying thing to make yourself vulnerable before others. It is a terrifying thing to expose your deepest feelings and secrets to other.
But I am increasingly convinced that the most courageous people in the LGBT movement are those men and women who have come to the conclusion that they are gay, have publicly told their friends and families that they are gay, and yet for the sake of Christ, have chosen to remain celibate for the rest of their lives. To make such a choice requires incredible, God-given, Holy Spirit-inspired courage.
These men and women are willingly laying down their sexual “rights” for the sake of obedience to Christ. They are sacrificing their sexual preferences in order to bring glory to Jesus. They are choosing a life that will involve great sacrifice because they know that Jesus Christ is worth it. They are counting the cost in a way that I will never have to, and I applaud their courage.
As the world praises those who have chosen their own sexual identity over God, let’s give honor to the men and women within the Christian community who have taken the more difficult path. Let’s encourage them, strengthen them, and make sure they feel welcomed into our church communities. Let’s be with them when they struggle, and learn from them when we stumble.
For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. (Hebrews 10:34-36 ESV)