I was on a bus when I saw two young secondary school boys behaving intimately with one another in the seats before me. They were necking each other, kissing and whispering into each other’s ears. While such a scene would have been considered taboo decades ago and probably raised the ire of many on the bus, today there is no such response. Instead, we would politely say that they have a different “sexual orientation”.
Yet, when we use the phrase, “sexual orientation”, we are stripping this phrase of the normative view of sexuality. Perhaps we need to put it into proper context by referring to it as sexual “misorientation” or “dis-orientation”. Just as how we refer to someone who is deaf “deaf” and the blind “blind”, we don’t call it a different “auditory or visual orientation”. So how then, do we as followers of Christ view those who have “sexual dis-orientation”?
It is important to make a distinction between homosexual attraction and homosexual relations. Homosexual attraction occurs when people feel attracted sexually to others of the same gender, without necessarily acting on those desires. Homosexual relations, on the other hand, occurs when those who are attracted to, also engage in sexual activities with others of the same gender. In truth, there are many Christians around us who have struggled in the former way, between their sexual identity and their desire to be faithful to Christ and to keep themselves sexually pure.
I am reminded of Christopher Yuen, whom I met back in 2015 through a conference. He is a reformed homosexual who, upon accepting Christ in his life, resolved to abstain from sexual relations with other men. He admitted that he still struggles daily, even hourly, with his lust and was tempted often, yet he did not give in but sought to continue living a life worthy of Christ.
He advocates a change in mindset for homosexuals who seek the strength to live a life of purity – Christopher said, “What God has called us to is not heterosexuality or homosexuality, but holy sexuality… God’s command to us was not ‘Be heterosexual, for I AM heterosexual’ but “Be HOLY, for I AM HOLY”.
Christopher has learnt to be contented in Christ alone. He still faces temptations and this lust for other men may continue to torment him for as long as he lives. He may not be cured of the attraction for persons of the same gender but he is contented apart from acting out sexually on that attraction.
Moriah, or rather, all churches need to accept people who struggle like Christopher Yuen into our platonic embrace, and as a community, journey alongside them even as they struggle to reshape their identity in Christ.
Mr. Daniel Gan