Singer/songwriter Brian Bates has been candid about struggling with homosexuality early in his life. Because of the recent gay marriage amendments in many states as well as revelations from Clay Aiken and popular Christian artist Ray Boltz, Brian has been approached by both fans and media to give his take on how Christians should respond. He offers the following editorial:
Two prominent artists, Ray Boltz and Clay Aiken, "came out of the closet" recently. Given my background and passion on the subject, I've had several inquiries recently asking me how I would respond and what I would say to them. I offer these suggestions:
- I'd sit down with them, having left my agenda at home
- I'd tell them my favorite songs of theirs
- I'd get to know them
- I'd ask them about their journey with God
- I'd share mine
If it was still going well at this point, then:
- I'd compare notes about how we arrived at different conclusions of God's take on our sexuality
- I'd ask if they have truly submitted their sexuality to God, like I've had to do, like we all should do
- I'd agree to disagree
A few magazines featured me recently, asking me to give their young readers some "tips" on how to respond to the gay issue. That seems to be the big question I always get: "How do I respond to homosexuality?" To that I say - focus on the person more than the issue.
If you know someone who lives a homosexual lifestyle, it helps to determine how they describe themselves. Do they say they are "gay?" Or do they call it a "struggle?" That helps to know how to respond. Either way, if you know someone who struggles with their gender identity...
- Don't debate. Put aside an argumentative spirit and any need to be right. That doesn't win people's trust.
- Don't be a know-it-all. Be a good listener. Learn. Get in their shoes the best you can.
- Focus on spirituality not sexuality. We all need and desire a relationship with God. Bottom-line.
- Be kind. "It's God's kindness that leads to repentance." Let people experience the kindness of God through you. Let God take care of the convicting part, in His timing.
- Be honest. Don't act like you have it all together. Tell them about your own struggles and uncertainties. That helps others open up.
- Be a friend. Invite them to stuff, have fun, earn trust over time. Don't treat anyone like a charity case.
- Meet their needs. If homosexuality is truly about what I believe it is -- legit same-sex needs simply being met in the wrong way -- then you can be a part of meeting those needs in the right way. Cool huh?
- If you're not sure... WWJD? Study the Gospels. Watch Jesus' life and how he dealt with people, both the "in crowd" (religious people) and the "out crowd" (sick people, outcasts, etc). Live like that.
Anyone who knows me and my life story knows that I am not soft on this issue. I have a traditional biblical perspective on homosexuality, believing it is not God's intent or design and therefore homosexual behavior is sin. And if you know my story, you also know my turnaround started with the relentless compassion of a Christian friend. She put aside the moral debate and appealed to my need for God. That turned my heart towards home, back to a loving Father that I could trust enough to rethink my sexuality and take my narrow path. After all, it is God's kindness that leads to repentance.
Brian Bates' latest CD, Worlds Collide, was given a four out of five star rating by Christian Music Today and has been called the "most pleasant musical surprise of the year." If you haven't received a copy to review, call or email us today! Brian's new self-penned Christmas tune is hitting radio this holiday season. You can listen to (and even download!) "Mary Christmas" by clicking here. For review cds or interviews with Brian: Call toll free 888-253-3622, or email: Gina@ChristianMediaPR.com.