In the new movie Beauty and the Beast, Disney has created its first openly gay character. This has provoked anger in some Christians as well as fear. Perhaps most important, this legitimization of same-sex relationships in popular culture is clouding the hope of the gospel for the same-sex attracted. It can seem like God is distant, his Scriptures out-of-date, and his redemptive love impotent.
But this is not true. God is on the throne. And for the same-sex struggler, the gospel is gloriously good news. There is reason to hope.
Psalm 27 is one of my favorite psalms. The reason I love it is that one of the central themes of the psalm in my opinion is that the presence of God is the factor that can change everything. This is why David says his one aim is to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord. Enemies are all around. Things need to be learned. God might even be silent. But all of these things pale in comparison to the manifest presence of God in David’s life. This is David’s hope. The same-sex-attracted Christian needs to place his or her hope in the same place.
The thing to pursue in your life is not sexual desire change. Or heterosexual marriage. Or even singleness. While all of these things are good things, they are not primary. They only have significance and can only be helpful categories insomuch as the Lord is near. You want hope to flourish in your life? Seek the face of the Lord! Seek his presence. Set everything else aside and make this your work. This can be counterintuitive. When same-sex attraction or sin overwhelms us, we are tempted to focus on it. But this will sap hope. Instead, seek his beauty and do not relent until you see it. His presence brings hope.
My favorite verse of Psalm 27 is “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!” (v. 13 esv). For David, this goodness hadn’t necessarily arrived yet. For David, his enemies were near and dangerous. For David, real life looked really complicated. But in light of all that David was experiencing, he placed his hope in hope.
Hope is the settled sense of anticipated good. This is where David was placing his hope. He believed with his whole self that God—the essence of goodness—was going to be good to him. And so he clung to hope. Your life is complicated. Goodness has not fully arrived yet. You have enemies. But like David, let me encourage you to place your hope in the hope found in God.
God will be found faithful. Your same-sex attraction and sin will not have the final word. The enemies of your soul will not be victorious. You will not be overwhelmed by same-sex hunger. The God you place your hope in will bring the goodness he has promised through his son. Do not give up. Place your hope in God. You too will see the goodness of the Lord in your life. Trust the Bible. Trust the Lord. Hope in hope.
Beauty and the Beast tries to give hope to the same-sex attracted through acceptance without discipleship. Jesus offers another way. It is a harder way, but it is the only path available for lasting, durable hope.
Adapted from Hope for the Same-Sex Attracted by Ron Citlau. © 2017 by Ron Citlau. Used by permission of Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
Ron Citlau serves as senior pastor of Calvary Church near Chicago. Ron is coauthor of Compassion Without Compromise (with Adam Barr) and helped produce curriculum on sexual healing now used by Desert Stream Ministries in hundreds of churches throughout the country. Ron lives with his wife, Amy, in Chicago.
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Publication date: March 16, 2017