Thursday, May 23, 2013

A pastor’s struggle with same sex attraction

For the 26 May 2013 bulletin

A pastor’s struggle with same sex attraction

I recently came across this blog / article I found very helpful. It is by Sam Alberry, an associate pastor at St Mary's Church in Maidenhead, UK. The following is some excerpts from his article. You can read the full article at: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/01/10/how-can-the-gospel-be-good-news-to-gays/ )

Homosexuality is an issue I have grappled with my entire Christian life. It took a long time to admit to myself, longer to admit to others, and even longer to see something of God's good purposes through it all. There have been all sorts of ups and downs. But this battle is not devoid of blessings, as Paul discovered with his own unyielding thorn in the flesh. Struggling with sexuality has been an opportunity to experience more of God's grace, rather than less.
Only in recent months have I felt compelled to be more open on this issue. For many years I had no intention of being public about it. I am conscious that raising it here may lead to any number of responses---some welcome, some perhaps less so. But over the last couple of years I have felt increasingly concerned that, when it comes to our gay friends and family members, many of us Bible-believing Christians are losing confidence in the gospel. We are not always convinced it really is good news for gay people. We are not always sure we can really expect them to live by what the Bible says.

As my mind raced that lunchtime God gave me a verse to share with my friend. It demonstrates precisely why following Jesus is worth it, in this lifetime, and even when we have to give up things we could never imagine living without: Peter said to Jesus, "We have left everything to follow you!"

"I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no-one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much as in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields---and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life." (Mark 10:28-30)
Following Jesus involves leaving things behind and giving things up. For gay people, it involves leaving behind a gay lifestyle

He continues by briefly explaining some biblical texts on the issue, and this was his conclusion.

As someone who experiences homosexual feelings this is not always an easy word to hear. It has sometimes been very painful to come to terms with what the Bible says. There have been times of acute temptation and longing---times when I have been "in love." And yet Scripture shows that these longings distort what God has created me for.
And, finally he ends with these words.

There is a huge amount to say on this issue, but the main point is this: the moment you think following Jesus will be a poor deal for someone, you call Jesus a liar. Discipleship is not always easy. Leaving anything cherished behind is profoundly hard. But Jesus is always worth it.




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