Being in an accountability relationship has been a source of great blessing in my life and, therefore, writing an article on the topic is a positive step forward for me. I am aware, though, that this subject is not always one that is met by others with the enthusiasm I view it.
I was brought up in a loving, moral, church-going family and benefitted from Christian input at Sunday School from a very early age. From around about the age of 10 or 11 I became very conscious of being attracted, both emotionally and physically, to my male school friends rather than to my female school friends. I hadn’t chosen to have those feelings and I spent most of my teenage years fighting against them and tormenting myself with guilt over them. Finally, aged 17, I reluctantly started to identify myself, inwardly at least, as being gay.
God is love (1 John 4:8). This truth about God is used by some people to argue that, therefore, God must approve of any relationship that our culture defines as loving. But there are two key flaws to this argument.
About a year ago, I confessed my struggle with same-sex desires to a couple of my friends. I acknowledged that I could not fight this battle alone. I had tried unsuccessfully for nearly 25 years. If I was going to be victorious, I needed someone to come alongside me and help me. My two friends were very loving and gracious as I unburdened myself to them. That night, I installed an accountability app on my phone and my friend, Roger, became my accountability partner. We never made any kind of formal commitment to help each other. Nor did we discuss what accountability should look like.
When asked to write this article I was forced to the realisation that I am a 30-year-old male choosing celibacy. That is probably relatively unusual, so I must know at least something on the issue. The teacher in me couldn’t resist loosely dividing this into three areas: what does it mean to be celibate, what can help us achieve that goal and why bother?
One of the most frequently asked questions when I speak at churches and conferences on the subject of same-sex temptations is this: “Is it sinful for someone simply to be attracted to a person of the same-sex?” Trying to give an answer that is both true to scripture and practically helpful in just a few sentences is always something of a challenge, so this article is written in part to provide a more comprehensive and thought-through response.