I've been learning, writing and teaching Christians about LGBTQ people for the last eight years. And most of the people I meet with are thoughtful, smart, spiritual people. Nevertheless it's still surprising how many myths about LGBTQ people and the Bible are still out there like "urban legends" believed only because others we respect have passed them on to us. And like most myths there is often some truth to them. However, they often become the basis for applying the exception to everyone who identifies as LGBTQ. That is stereotyping which prevents us from understanding LGBTQ people as unique individuals.
Before we get too far into this subject I'd like to remind you that the "Uber-Myth" the mother of all LGBTQ myths is that "all gays are alike. The average older Christian tends to think of gays as "loud and proud," having sex with multiple partners, living a "gay lifestyle," and openly rejecting the Bible's claims regarding human sexuality. For sure that describe a segment of the LGBTQ community. But I've met many LGBTQ people who are single and celibate, some married to spouses of the opposite sex, others Christian and even more not. So please try to get the TV version out of your head for this conversation. Just as there is no single "straight lifestyle," there is no one "gay lifestyle" either.
Now that that's out of the way I thought I'd list a few other myths with a brief response and I invite your comments. (By the way, I'll occasionally use the term "gay," as shorthand for people who are not straight.)
Myth #1 Homosexuality is a choice.
With some rare exceptions, homosexuality is no more a choice than you chose to be straight, if you are. Asking a gay person "Why did you decide to be gay?" You better be prepared for them to ask you, "When did you decide to be straight?"
I've never met a Christian LGBTQ person yet who as a teenager coming to the realization that they were attracted to others of their same sex, hasn't begged God for years to be straight before realizing this is the way he/she are and they eventually come out. Most Christians who are gay know this is going to alienate many family and friends and it scares them to death. This absolutely would NOT have been their choice. It's still unknown whether same sex attraction is something a person is born with, or is the result of life experiences or some combination of both.
What is a choice is how they chose to live it out. It's the same choice I have as a heterosexual. I am prone to "wander" sexually as the old hymn says. But the Bible commands that I may not act on my "proness." Will they, or I live out the historical biblical understanding of marriage and sex, or reject it? That is the choice every believer has.
Myth #2 Being a homosexual, or LGBTQ is a sin.
The Bible does not teach that simply being LGBTQ, or non-straight is a sin. Yes, it is a result of the Fall. That event made humans sinful by nature, gay and straight. However, on the Day of Judgement God will not hold truly born again Christians, gay or straight, morally responsible for simply being tempted to sin sexually as long as the temptation to lust, or act on that temptation is resisted. If we fail, admit our failure is sin and ask God to forgive us, he is faithful to forgive us. If gay or straight Christians willfully sin without repentance, yes the Bible says all of us will have to give an account for unconfessed, unrepented sin.
"And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books." Rev. 20:12
Myth #3 Christians who are LGBTQ can "pray the gay" away?
That isn't entirely a myth. But very rare. There are Christians who were gay who have cried out to God to take away all sexual temptation toward the same sex and God has answered. I've met some of them. However, while no one is keeping the statistics, all the antidotal evidence suggests that God healing a Christian from a same sex attraction is very rare. Think about it- when we know someone struggles with an addiction, or has a violent temper, while they and we should pray without ceasing for them, even if God never removes the temptation, or desire we should cheer them on if they stop drinking, or being abusive. Why would we not be over joyed with a gay person who chooses celebacy? We should encourage all Christians who are LGBTQ or straight to pray for holiness even if he/she are not freed from the temptation. That is the will of God for all humans- holiness.
Next week I'll tackle a few more myths.