I remember sitting across from my friend who was in tears. He was gay and he had been living with his partner for 3 months now. Every time I brought up anything to do with Jesus there was this massive amount of hostility and so one day I asked him where did this hostility come from?
He said that he was a Christian once and he grew up in a Christian family. He also told me that he knew he was gay since he was a kid and one day he plucked up the courage to tell his pastor about his sexuality and his pastor asked
“Why did you choose to be gay?”
As you can imagine he didn’t stay long at that church. He went to eleven other churches and every time he brought up his sexuality he was told that he chose his sexuality.
He said he didn’t choose it. He told them he didn’t want to be gay.
They told him he obviously did want to be gay that is why he chose it!
When I hear Christians say that gay people choose their sexuality it raises a whole heap of questions
Why would a person who is a Christian choose to be something that they know is wrong?
Why would anyone choose a lifestyle where they know at least one person they love will reject them because of their choice?
If they chose it so easily why don’t they just choose heterosexuality when the gospel is made clear to them?
I think when a Christian says that gay people choose to be gay they don’t understand the doctrine of Total Depravity. Total depravity means that sin has corrupted every part of our nature and therefore what we like and dislike, what we find attractive and unattractive will be marred by sin’s stain.
Total depravity has affected my sexuality when I struggled with pornography. I didn’t want to be attracted to the images on the screen but I was.
Total depravity affected my friend by making attracted to other men. He didn’t want to be attracted to other men but he was.
If we take total depravity seriously we have the theology to say to a person who says they never chose to be gay “I believe you.”
This may be the first step in sharing about how we are all sinful and need Jesus. Or it may be just the first conversation they have with a Christian who has not tried to correct their experience.
We all know gay people, we need to learn, as a church, how to speak to them with grace and love.