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.
Fear can be a restrictive, negative emotion. The fear I experienced on my first – and only! – roller coaster ride meant that I’ve never risked another one. Fear limits us and can stop us from doing certain things or enjoying certain experiences. And yet, we are continually urged in the Scriptures to fear God.
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.
A well-meaning Christian friend put this question to me and I confess that it made me quite angry. I was surprised by the strength of my reaction and have spent some time subsequently reflecting both on the question and my response to it. I want to focus on changing my orientation towards God, towards myself and towards others.
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, and we discover both of them as we more fully understand what God is like.
The Bible allows for disagreements on minor issues. There are, however, other truths which are non-negotiable - these are sometimes called 'gospel issues', i.e. significant matters upon which Christians can't simply agree to disagree because they impact our understanding of the gospel and, therefore, our salvation. The question is, into which category does same-sex practice fall?
The Bible defines marriage in Genesis 2:24 as a union between one man and one woman. Jesus Christ upholds this definition of marriage in Matthew 19:5, as does the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:31. Any and all sexual activity which takes place outside of this context is treated as sinful, what Jesus calls ‘sexual immorality’ in Mark 7:21.
It is tempting to see a loving, committed same-sex partnership as a godly relationship. However, the Bible is clear that a marriage is only the union of one man and one woman. The Bible lists no exceptions to this model regardless of the depth of the love, the quality of the relationship or the level of commitment.
After I confessed my struggle with same-sex desires to a couple of my friends, I acknowledged that I could not fight this battle alone. 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.