Does God love gays? Does He love people with same-sex attraction? This is a heavy but important question. Anyone God-loving person who struggles with a homosexual attraction wants to know the answer to this question. It is foundational to our relationship with God and with ourselves.
The answer is obviously yes! We cannot even address this topic or converse about it unless we understand this principle first. God loves everyone! For God doesn’t have love, He is Love, as it says in the Bible.
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I recall one time where one of my inner city students asked me to pray for her. The conversation went a something like this.
“Yo, mista, can ya pray for me?”
“Sure! But, why don’t you pray for yourself too?
“‘Cuz God hates me.”
“What? Why would God hate you?”
“‘Cuz I’m gay.”
I immediately became angry, (of course, not at her) but because this poor girl had been lied to her whole life. She had been living with the false notion that God hated her. The conversation continued, and I responded, “Somebody has clearly lied to you. God loves you.He loves you as much as he loves Mother Teresa, the pope, or anyone else. You are His daughter and He loves you.
She thanked me and told me that she was going to go home and pray to God that night. Awesome! It does not matter if we are gay or straight in the sense that God desires a personal and intimate relationship with all of us, every one of us.
See persons with same sex attraction often see themselves wrongly or in the wrong light. They most often label themselves as “gay,” and define themselves by their sexuality. However, they are not gay. Gay is not who they are. Straight is not who I am. Our sexuality is only a small part of is. The truth is that we are persons. That is who we are. Even more, we are sons and daughters of God. That is our identity! We may have a homosexual or heterosexual orientation but that is not who we are and it does not define us. I’m also French, German, tall and skinny. Those are traits, aspects of me. They are not who I am thought and they do not define me. Likewise, our sexuality does not define us either. It is a small part of us among other things. Some people reduce their entire person down to their sexuality, and that is a disservice. God doesn’t look at us and gay or straight–He looks at as His son or daughter. See, we’re the ones who make divisions on sexual orientation. But the reality is we’re all simply human.
Many people that I’ve met who are homosexual often have a love-hate relationship with God. They wrestle and struggle with how God sees them, and they often feel like God is gazing down on them with disappointment or anger. They wrestle with how to live a life as a homosexual and how that fits into being a Christian. This is a completely understandable struggle, which is why whole organizations have been formed, like Courage International, to help Christians, or anyone, struggling with this question. They are kind, compassionate, real, and have helped many.
The beginning of our relationship with God starts with the truth that we are loved by Him and He wants a deep relationship with us.
I once had another conversation. One of my students came up to me and asked me a similar question. She was curious about whether I hated gays, or if the Catholic Church did. Of course, I let her know that Jesus taught us to love everybody, and so I too loved everyone. Likewise, the Catholic Church loved everyone too, including homosexuals. In fact, the last couple of popes have put out documents on how to deal with this question, and were firm in respecting homosexuals, affirming their dignity, and speaking out against them being bullied or maligned. (For example, see document here).
Of course, there are some individual Christians who may dislike gays, but they are wrong to do so. Jesus taught us to love all, and there were no exceptions in His teachings on love. It is not right to persecute anyone, for any reason, at any time.
As a substitute teacher, I hear everything. One day, two boys came up to me and said, “Hey Mister, look at that kid over there; he is so gay!” I responded, “So what?” They were like, “Wait, what?” Then, they asked me if I was gay. I told them “No,” and went on to say, “But I don’t think it’s right to belittle, look down, or judge other people just because they’re different than us.”
Their only response was to shrug their shoulders and walk away.
You may not know this, but the Catholic Church faced a lot of persecution in her early years. Catholics were persecuted to the point of being tortured and killed by the thousands. So, believe it or not, the Catholic Church understands the need to be compassionate and loving, even if we do not always see eye to eye on all subjects.
So, with that being said, just because we are infinitely loved by God does not mean we can do whatever we want or that everything is acceptable or permitted. I am loved by Jesus, yes, but that does not mean I can cheat on my wife, look at porn, use contraception, or many other things that are against His plan for love and sexuality. However, it does mean that at a basic foundational level, the truth is that God is Love, and that He has a purpose for our life and for our happiness IF we follow Him and His will. Whether gay, straight, male, female, black, white, slave or free, God desires a relationship with each one of us. He created us, and He wishes to be close to us in an intimate way.
Be encouraged, and know that you are loved and you are lovable.
God loves you and invites you to start loving Him and finding Him deeper. Moreover, God made us to love and be loved.
At this point, some wonder why people of same-sex attraction cannot be married if God wants us to love and be loved. They wonder why there is no gay marriage. This is a great question and the subject of the next blog.
What are your thoughts on being loved by God? Do you feel it? Do you struggle with it or find it difficult? Do you struggle loving and accepting yourself? Leave a comment below and God bless you.