I use to think that when I opened up to someone regarding my issue with homosexuality, it was a desperate cry for help. I came to the point where I recognized that I was incapable of dealing with my struggle alone and I needed people to come support me. I always feared their response because I was only concerned about how it would affect me. I was afraid to lose their friendship.
As I have slowly reached out to people and continued to develop relationships, I have come to realize that sharing my story isn’t just a cry for help. As I open up to somebody, it is an invitation for them to join my on this journey, to walk with me, and grow together through the experience. I am learning that it is isn’t just me that benefits from them, but it is mutually beneficial.
The reality is that as they walk with me through my struggle, they will grow. There is an entirely new paradigm that they will be able to look at life through. They will be exposed to new ways of how they view people, how they view love, and how they view the church. It is a side of the human struggle that they have never comprehended or experienced. For me to be vulnerable to people and open up, it is more than me just screaming out in desperation. I am learning that I am creating community by opening up. For most Christians, unless they know someone who is gay, befriend them and hear their story, most people stay compeletely oblivious. They remain stuck on the stigmas that they have and judge others off of stereotypes. No wonder the church is viewed as full of hypocritical and hateful bigots. If I am doing what I am suppose to be doing by pursuing Christ whole heartedly and continuing to mature in my relationship with Him, when someone joins me, they are exposed to a whole new side of life that they have never gotten to see. It is a journey.
With my friend Will it has taken over four years. It definitely has been hard for me at times. Initially, I desperately needed him and I struggled to communicate with him what needs I had and how he could meet them. I have always felt insecure about the fact that I needed him to help me in my struggle. However, just tonight I finally recognized that he has grown a ton through this relationship. It hasn’t been just one way. Will is seeing the church in a new way, he is seeing brotherly love in a new way, and he is seeing what it means to be Christ to someone else in a new way.
We are both realizing that it is not about what it is to be a gay Christian or what it means to be a friend to a gay Christian. It is far bigger than that. The bottom line is… what does it mean to love like Christ would? Normally in our comfortable and safe environment in the church, we are never forced to do that. However, through our friendship and this journey, we have been given an avenue to learn this together.
And by the way, tonight when he hugged me good bye, it was the longest hug yet. It felt good. He still does that “bro hug” where he pats me on the back, but we will work on it.