Who am I?


By Ian Murray

The question: "Who am I?" is one that is old as dirt. When this question is asked, many people take a trip down a common road of qualifications such as name and vocation. It is true that someone's name identifies them and their career says something about them, but neither name nor career defines them as people in toto. There was a time when sexual orientation was also not included as a qualifier, as even though it is a part of who someone is, it does not complete them. However, times have changed, and now when someone in Western society says "I am gay," their homosexuality is not just "a part of who they are"; it is in fact the very essence of who they are.

I recently chatted with a waitress at a local bakery. We talked about a number of things; however, when the conversation turned to church, our conversation got very interesting! I mentioned that my own church had split from a denomination that endorsed same-sex marriage. As she dried some dishes, she politely asked me if I knew any gay people. I mentioned that I had a Christian friend who is gay. However, when I told her that my friend, whom I'll call Frank, chooses to remain celibate due to his Christian convictions, she grew very upset. She held to the view that to ask someone not to act in accordance with their orientation is the same as asking them to deny who they are.

Frank denies such a proposition, because he knows who he is and he knows that his sexual orientation has played only a part in the development of who he is today. He does not deny that he is gay. He does not pretend that he is heterosexual by getting married to a woman and having children. He doesn't talk down to homosexual people nor does he speak about them or homosexuality in any derogatory terms. He accepts that he is same-sex attracted and simply chooses to deny himself the option of acting on it. He does this for one simple reason: he knows who he is.

So without any further ado, allow me to introduce you to my friend Frank. Frank is a same-sex attracted man who is a repentant sinner. That is who Frank is. Frank is saved by the sacrifice of Christ and by the grace and will of God (John 1:12). That is who Frank is. Frank is chosen "in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight" (Ephesians 1:4 NIV). That is who Frank is. Frank is created for the glory of God (Isaiah 43:6-7). That is who Frank is. Frank's identity is not in his job title, his choice of hobbies, his preference of books he reads, or TV shows he watches. It is not found in his sexual orientation or his name, but it is discovered under the protection of the powerful name of Jesus (Acts 4:12). That is who Frank is. That is Frank's identity. When Frank says no to his same-sex attraction, he is not denying his true self, he is denying his sin-stained sexual preference. If he was to deny Christ, then he would be denying who he really is, namely a creation of God, who was created for God's glory. He would be denying the chance to be renewed to the state that God intended him to be (Genesis 1:31). Frank's identity is in Christ.

Lauren Handy on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court, April 2015Therefore, it would be a gross mistake to argue that all gay people identify with their homosexuality.

However, is it really true that there is an overarching positive connection between one's identity and sexual orientation? It is a common belief among many people in the LGBT community that homosexuality is genetic, and therefore it is something that cannot be changed. It stands to reason, then, that if homosexuality is akin to skin color, then just as I was born with Caucasian skin, Frank and every other gay man and woman was "born gay"! This means for the gay man and woman being gay is "who they are."

As a result, many gay activists play the equivalent of a "race card" to stifle any argument against homosexual behaviour. After all, what right does religion or politics have to dictate the bedroom activities of consenting adults? The LGBT community as a whole prides itself on sexual freedom. Gay men in particular are often sexually promiscuous, seeking partners in bathhouses and redefining the term "monogamy" to mean an emotional or spiritual commitment to one person rather than an exclusive sexual commitment.[1] This is why the waitress I spoke to was offended. She believed that to ask Frank to either find physical intimacy heterosexually or forsake it altogether was akin to asking him to deny who he really is.

Frank's homosexual attraction is the result of the fall. Like all sin, homosexual activity originates from Adam's initial sin against God (Romans 5:12). The apostle Paul is clear that we recognize God (Romans 1:20-21), but we deliberately and consciously turn our worship to God's created order (Romans 1:21). Humans are by nature worshipping creatures. We simply cannot not worship something as God, even if what we worship is inanimate and has no life (Romans 1:23). Our foolishness of thinking (Romans 1:22) is brought to light. Humanity also turns their desire to worship only themselves and to serve their own glory and their own will (Romans 1:24). Since he has redirected his worship to himself and his self-centeredness, his wisdom has become what guides his life (Romans 1:21). However, this is now the final ingredient for a recipe of death. As Paul explains, the mind governed by the flesh is death (Romans 8:6). Self-worship and self-centredness, expressed through sexual immorality, degrades the body. The Canadian AIDS Society says that "from 1985 to 2011, just over half (54.7%) of the 69,856 positive HIV tests among adults with a known exposure category were attributed to men who have sex with men."[2] However, lest we think that Paul has a special axe to grind with homosexuals, note Romans 1:28-32 where he offers a long list of other degrading sins that every one of us are guilty of, one way or another.

When sinful wisdom is activated, nothing good can come from it. When you combine foolish thinking with self-centeredness, there is only one outcome: devastation. So what then is the nature of humanity's true identity, whether gay or straight? They are foolish, for turning away from their Creator and turning to created things. They are deluded into thinking that they know best when they use their own thinking. So, do you find your identity in the one who is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), or are you identifying with and following your desires to your own devastation?

For more detailed information about why Christians believe homosexuality is morally wrong, see the article "The Real Lives of Gay Men."

[1] Michael Brown, A Queer Thing Happened to America: And What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been (Concord, NC: EqualTime Books, 2011), 387-88.

[2] "HIV/AIDS and Gay Men," Canadian AIDS Society, accessed March 25, 2015, http://www.cdnaids.ca/hivaidsandgaymen.