What It’s Like Struggling with Same-Sex Attraction as a Christian

Written By Jemima*, Singapore

“Yes, but how long should we tolerate what they say and do?”

At the word, “they”, I felt a huge gulf open between me and the world around me. Everything shrank into “us” and “them,” and I had never felt so alone.

***

I am a member of a local church in Singapore. I profess faith in God, and I believe in the resurrected Christ and His redemptive power that can save us from our sins. I believe in grace that is freely given and salvation received only through faith, not from works done by our hands, but by the work that was completed by Jesus Christ on the cross.

I am also same-sex attracted (SSA), and I want to share my experience in the hope that it may help Christians understand other believers like myself a little better.

When the question above was asked, I was at a seminar about Christianity and LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender). As the speaker moved on to talk about the experience of SSA Christians in the church, I started to notice an older couple asking many questions. They were both involved in the hospitality team at church, and it seemed like they had more than once felt uncomfortable talking to SSA people.

The questions started out innocuous. “How can I speak to them?” and “What should I do if someone tells me about being same-sex attracted?” seemed like good, constructive questions. Then we started to move into territory that made me feel more and more uncomfortable.

“I understand that we should be accepting them, but shouldn’t we be praying for them to change?”

“What do I do if a same-sex attracted person tries to start a relationship with me?”

And finally . . .

“Yes, but how long should we tolerate what they say and do?”

The speaker was silent for a long moment. When he spoke, his words were heavy, and I could hear my pain mirrored in his voice.

“For as long as you would tolerate [that every Christian should struggle against] any other sin, like lust, jealousy, or coveting. Even lying and anger,” he said quietly. “And we do not just tolerate [believers who are same-sex attracted], we accept them as Christians and children of God first. Same-sex attraction is not the first thing that needs to be addressed when someone steps into church. Rather, it is the heart that needs Christ that must first be addressed.”

 

A Personal Battle of Worthiness

We live in an era where right and wrong are being muddied. In a world of grey, it is easy to want to define sin and people in only black and white. I have always been taught that homosexuality is a sin, and never learned to distinguish between SSA and homosexuality until it became a personal struggle.

I cannot speak for every SSA Christian, but for me, an early conviction was that I was a terrible person unfit to stand before the King of Heaven and blemish Him with my terrible desires. These “perverted feelings” belonged to the world, where people agree that it’s okay to love anyone and anything you want. Some Christians’ unknowingly thoughtless words and deeds—like that couple’s—also reinforce the thinking that I am not “good enough” for the church, or for Christ.

Conversely, more and more of my non-Christian friends are coming out in support of same-sex marriages, ready to egg me on to pursue a same-sex relationship. Sexuality is their identity, and it means everything to them. They would do much to convince me to follow my feelings in the name of love.

That leaves me in a constant tug of war where I’m not sure whose side I’m on, and sometimes even what the sides are! I wrestle with understanding I’m forgiven and loved by God, and it’s a long way from head knowledge to heart knowledge. The world constantly tries to lure me away with its call to “freedom,” and coming back to Christ is a constant battle.

 

Helplessness and Loneliness

I have also come to understand that romantic and sexual love are gifts—precious gifts from God. We even have a whole book in the Bible (Songs of Solomon) that celebrates the beauty of romantic love! It unashamedly talks about a young couple who are truly, madly, deeply (pun intended) in love.

I do long for a life partner at times, and looking at couples makes me feel melancholic. Sometimes I think about romantic love . . . and I weep. I weep for the fears of being alone. I weep because this is my burden to carry. I weep because I cannot change myself, and I don’t know if God will ever change this aspect of me.

I have prayed many, many times for my same-sex desires to be taken away. At the point of writing this, they still remain. I don’t know if God will choose to grant me that, so rather than pine away for it, I have learned to pray that whatever my sexual orientation, God may be glorified through me.

***

Same-sex attraction is a difficult topic, but that doesn’t mean it should be pushed under the carpet. I hope that though my sharing, I can contribute to helping brothers and sisters-in-Christ understand each other better in matters of same-sex attraction.

For those who may be same-sex attracted—please know that you are not alone. You may be confused, lost or discouraged. Though it may sometimes feel like the world is against you, remember that God is always with you.

 

*Not the author’s real name.

16 replies
  1. Donna
    Donna says:

    Hope everything’s okay with you now. And that you have accountability partner or group. Praying for you.

    Reply
  2. Elaine
    Elaine says:

    Thank you for sharing 🙂 <3
    I have friends of SSA and I struggle to believe that they are outcast by God, for I know He is a God of love. Hang in there!

    Reply
  3. Vania
    Vania says:

    thanks for sharing Jemima! it truly is a difficult topic that shouldn’t be pushed under the carpet.

    we are worthy, not because of who we are but we are made worthy because Christ had bestowed upon us His goodness. remember that the Lord is good and faithful, always. praying for you

    Reply
  4. Tola
    Tola says:

    You are loved! Loved! Loved! By a personal God, who sees you, sees the struggle and sacrifices beyond this article, and longs to keep sustaining you. Keep clinging to him, sister! We love you, no matter what.

    Reply
  5. Ollie
    Ollie says:

    I am an SSA Christian for 29 years. I discovered my sexual orientation and discovered God at the same time. I’ve been in ministry over half that time, and feared losing my job and losing the chance of doing what I love most, which is helping people discover Jesus. I tried dating the opposite gender, imagine my future with a family, and tried all kinds of ways to reverse my feelings. But I didn’t feel like I was true to myself anymore, just living pretentiously as someone I aspire to be. Even though working so closely with churches, yet, I feel so far from the community that said they would love unconditionally and accept people the way they are. Loneliness is not a joke as I resonate with you. For the fear of anyone finding out, and putting me on public display and shame, I’ve withdrawn from any form of community including workplace. Living in that kind of condition, needless to say, unhealthy habits develop. I could be just anyone that’s standing beside you in church for anyone reading this. I have a partner, we go to church together and have to enter the building separately. We could never share our relationship, and live under cover. But we strive to read our bibles, pray, and support each other in this journey together. Unfortunately, the status quo and constant fear and struggle of being expose will remain as long as we are together. And if you want to know, we don’t sleep together. All we want is friends who accept us, and that we can spur each others faith to hang in there until the race is finish.

    Reply
    • Stanislav
      Stanislav says:

      Hello Ollie!

      I am currently going through the same struggle and I feel like you might understand what I’m going through :/
      If you ever have the time, I would be very grateful if you get in touch. I’m taking the risk of dropping my email: spbalakchiev@gmail.com
      God bless you, my brother in Christ, whether you do get in touch or not ^_^

      Warm regards,

      Stan

  6. Lee
    Lee says:

    Thank you for sharing J and I totally feel you Ollie. It’s good to know that I am not alone in my struggle. The irony is, while I long for someone who loves God, ‘that someone’ chose God over me and there was nothing I could do. The feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. Recently got to know that ‘that someone’ is getting married at the end of the year. Been having sleepless nights, which explains why I am still up in the middle of the night reading this article.

    Reply
    • L
      L says:

      Hi, Lee

      I read your response, and tears crawled out beneath my glasses. I am sorry for what has happened to you. A similar circumstance has gripped me too. Happened just days ago. Im Catholic and ex partner is evangalical Christian. He just told me that our 2 year relationship was to be broken as God had told him to so. My struggle seems impossible as i try to grapple with my own faith in the Lord, my own feelings of worthiness, the grief of losing someone i love, and the double whammy blow of what seems like a two-pronged rejection (by him and by God).

      I wish u well, and i’d really like to know how ure doing.

  7. Jeff
    Jeff says:

    Hi there, great article. I can honestly identify so much with Jemima’s story. I was born into Christian family, then because serious about my relationship with the Lord at age 21. But ever since I was 15 I have been attracted to men, in the begging I’d ask God why I liked boys instead of girls, and asked Him to remove it from me, but I don’t know His plans for me and I know they are great but I still struggle with SSA. I have struggled with all the things Jemima described and with the empty feeling that I will never get to enjoy the love of a relationship much less a marriage. I’m nearly 24 now, and met this person, he is also a true believer in God and the sacrifice our Lord Jesus did in the cross for us, and he is really amazing and also shared his SSA experience with me. We are meeting each other now but I feel lost and confused. I’m not sure if I can create a type of relationship with him as he is a great person. In my church SSA is not spoken of and I believe not approved but I have never discussed with them because I would be ashamed. I love the Lord and I always will, and will serve Him as well , but my loneliness leads to anxiety and questioning even God. Because deep inside I would love to experience love with a person as well. I hurt when I see all the happy husbands and wife with their children too, knowing that for me it will be very different. Stay strong brothers and sisters experiencing SSA. And let God guide us.

    Reply
  8. Eddie Bassey
    Eddie Bassey says:

    This hurts. I lost my marriage because of my SSA, and it still hurts. But what hurts more is she has found love with someone else. Only good thing is we have a 5 year old son.

    Reply
    • Jeff
      Jeff says:

      Stay strong brother.
      We don’t fully understand ssa or why it happens and how hard it is. People don’t understand that we have truly asked the Lord to change us but the longing to find love with somebody else is still there, the human shared feelings to form a family and to enjoy it is there but we aren’t attracted to the oposite sex. I suffer a lot and I’m 24 years old. And I met this guy who is great and loves the Lord but I believe I will have to tell him that we won’t be able to grow a relationship. Because we are both man. It breaks my heart in 2 pieces, but there’s nothing I can do.

  9. Stanislav
    Stanislav says:

    A moving article, which has resonated with me…

    I have been SSA for as long as I can remember. There has never been a time when I have looked at a woman in real life and felt a romantic/sexual attraction. However, my attraction to men has been overwhelming.

    I won’t go into the details because I feel like most of you are aware of the strength of the desire I have to be in a relationship with someone.

    I have tried in the past numerous times, despite my conflicted conscience, and each time it has broken down, leaving me in tears on my bedroom floor at night.

    I’ve turned to God so many times, asked for answers, for hope, for a promise of why I need to suffer like this… what is the point of staying celibate when I have this overwhelming desire to share my life with someone, to be held close at night and comforted when I jump out of one of my nightmarish dreams… Because while we all want a relationship with God, we also know that you cannot have a cuddle with him… (I hope my dreary humour makes you smile for a bit)

    I’ve been single again for over a year now. At this point I feel like I’m losing the race. I’m getting heartaches (literal ones) because of my sorrow and I don’t really see an end to this. The only solution I imagine is God erasing my memories in the resurrection when there will be no marriage, but I doubt he’ll do that.

    I just do not see how my sorrow is on par with other straight Christians who have the free choice to marry or not to marry, when I am stuck with one choice, regardless of the fact that I long for a soulmate I can share life with…

    It just feels like a curse hanging over me, the consequences of which I’ll carry for all of eternity, when resurrected couples will jump into each other’s arms and I will have no one.

    I tend to walk outside on my own quite a lot, looking for quiet, green places to be with God. And while being with God is wonderful… spending all eternity alone under the tree is a dreary thought 🙁

    I’m sorry for the rant… I’ve just been heartbroken for days or weeks now… every time when I’m not distracted by work my heart slumps down, like there’s a hole inside that nothing fills, and even the joy of the hope of the resurrection doesn’t fill it

    Holding my arms out for a hug…

    Your brother in Christ,

    Stan

    Reply
    • Jamie
      Jamie says:

      Hi Stan, I battle with SSA too, and I really feel your pain. I feel really lonely too. I’m sorry it’s been hitting you really hard recently. I wish Jesus was here right now to give us both the biggest hugs and to wipe our tears away. I look forward to the day we will see Him, and be free from loneliness, be free from pain.

      I’m holding out my arms to hug you back,
      Jamie

  10. KT
    KT says:

    Wow I have the same struggles you all. Its like I am reading my life here. I have delt with this my whole life as well. I have cried, prayed, fasted, ect and nothing as changed. I feel so alone even though I know God with with me. I like many of you asked God to take it, to change me, but it remains. Brothers and sisters I really don’t like this cross. But one thing I won’t do is give up on God. And I will not stop focusing on his love. Does anyone know of a support group or maybe we can help eachother?

    Reply
  11. Alan
    Alan says:

    I’ve been walking with this most of my life, and following Jesus, ssa is a hard road. And trying to understand it hasn’t been real easy, there’s not a lotta Christians wanting to really talk çabout it. Jesus must be great if we’re all still following him 🙂 I know now ssa isn’t a penalty or punishment but dang if a lotta days it feels like a curse. I think Jesus knows what we’re going thru. He became cursed, for us. There’s this lyric, “And in his wounds I saw my sin.” I don’t know if ssa is sin, it hits like that a lotta times, but there’s something better ahead cause of Jesus. And some days, you can get a taste of that now. Fwiw, if you’re walking with this, you’re not alone. We’re brothers even tho we haven’t met.

    Reply

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