Saturday, June 20, 2015

Washed & Waiting - Christian Faithfulness & Homosexuality

A few weeks ago on a staff retreat the subject of homosexuality came up as some of the staff were discussing this upcoming message. I had the opportunity to share some of my thoughts and hear from others as we tried to navigate a conversation that has plenty of land mines. One of the things that came up were books to read or sermons to listen to that could help with dealing with this issue. Someone recommended Washed and Waiting by Wesley Hill.  A few weeks later I went on vacation with my wife and her family. Each morning that week I got up and went for a walk and listened to the audio book version. This book has provoked even more thinking and wrestling with God’s truth.
When it comes to issues like homosexuality it is easy to have a belief about what is right and wrong and see things in black and white when I am not dealing with the issue personally. It’s easy for me to say “of course it’s wrong” and go about my life with no real consequence. When I have encountered people in my life who are trying to deal with the complicated process of living out their faith while dealing with homosexual desires then the issue becomes much less black and white. I’m forced to think about the struggle that it must bring for that person. Reading Washed and Waiting was like an encounter with someone else’s life and story as they deal with all the problems and difficulties of having homosexual desires and trying to live out their Christian faith. Wesley Hill is a Christian who has homosexual desires and has decided scripture has shown clearly that he must be celibate as long as he has those desires. In his book Wesley Hill shares about his story as he grows up knowing he was different and feeling automatically ashamed of that difference. He talks about those formative years in his life where he was trying to figure out where he fit in the world. I felt impressed with the work and struggle that he has lived out trying to pursue God’s plan for his life. It is difficult to even hear about some of the things he had to live through and deal with. It is from this darkness and brokenness that the redemption of his story comes. Wesley Hill’s answer to the question “Is God enough?” is so rich and full of God’s goodness that the picture of the gospel it paints is incredibly beautiful.
One of the unexpected things about reading this book was that much of what I took away from his story and explanation had more to do with issues of faith, suffering, and the gospel rather than just to do with homosexuality. I have thought about different parts of the book since reading it and would like to sum up a few points that I took away from reading it.
1.       Living a homosexual lifestyle is a sin and I sin every day. So why do I get so particularly judgmental about homosexual sin vs. my sin?
2.       The gospel demands that we surrender our whole life. Reading Wesley Hill’s story reminds me that this can have a great cost as he gives up his own desires in exchange for God’s desires in a profound and sacrificial way.
3.       The gospel brings healing but it also will offend the parts of us that are broken and far from God. Tim Keller says “Only if God can say things that make you struggle will you know that you have met a real God and not a figment of your imagination.”
I would certainly recommend this book for anyone struggling with homosexual desires and their faith, but I would almost recommend it more for any Christian out there who wonders what their response to this issue should be.

My name is Jay Cook and I’m a counselor at the Point Church as well as the Care Pastor. If you or someone you know is struggling with homosexuality you can email me and we can connect you with a counselor or pastor who can come alongside you. 

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