Many LGBTI people of faith face a conundrum.
Psychologists tell these believers their sexual orientation is fixed and cannot be changed. Not only can it not be changed, but it is harmful to even try to do so. Accordingly, and thankfully, even the most ardent ex-gay ministries have gone out of business.
But how do you square that up with a belief in a God who can do anything?
They believe in miracles that suspend science. So, they wonder and wait for God to change them.
I was one of those believers. I have also witnessed inexplicable miracles and phenomenon.
During a mission trip to Mexico, I saw a deaf girl get healed. I heard demons speak through a person and I witnessed an exorcism.
I believe in, and have proven, prophetic utterances and speaking in tongues. In high school, I wore a WWJD [What Would Jesus Do] bracelet, and I believe people can be raised from the dead – right now, today.
Yeah, I know: my faith is eccentric.
So, I too faced this conundrum when society, and my own life experiences, say there’s something God can’t do.
If it ain’t broke…
How do I reconcile facts with faith?
In my case, I arrived at the point where I was reading scripture differently, but I still wanted to err on the side of caution. I still wanted God to change my sexual orientation, even though I believed my holy scriptures had nothing direct to say on the subject.
But, one day, here’s the truth that found me. It’s not that God can’t change us: God doesn’t have to change us.
I had been asking God to make me love right. When in fact, there was nothing wrong with the direction I love.
The problem wasn’t with God, but my request. I didn’t realize everything was working as it should.
Essentially, I arrived at the super spiritual idea that, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
‘It’s a misconception that straight love is better by default’
It’s not so much that it can’t be done, but that it doesn’t have to be done. The need to “fix” comes from the assumption that we are broken. It’s a misconception that straight love is better by default. And, therefore, change, for a gay or bisexual person must be heterosexuality.
But many of those believers I mentioned insist they have no choice. They feel God, ‘can and must’ change their sexual orientation, and not that God ‘can but doesn’t have to’ change them.
And so, they wait for a change that’s not needed. I’m more comfortable with the idea that God doesn’t have to change my orientation.
And I realize for some faithful LGBTI folks the idea that ‘God can’ is frightening.
That’s the part of that sentiment that makes us nervous. It almost signals a green light to keep trying. But to keep trying something and always end up with the same undesirable result is the definition of insanity. We already know trying to change sexual orientation is detrimental to all aspects of health.
It’s almost a dangerous thought to believe God can change our sexual orientation. Let’s be honest, in the dogma of LGBTI life, to say, even in part, that God can change our orientation is blasphemy. That suggestion will make some people want to tear their garments and pick up rocks like in Biblical times.
It’s far easier to believe God can’t change me. But, the idea that God can’t, or won’t, change me, is dangerous too. When we hold the belief that God can’t change us, but change is necessary, it’s a setup.
When we believe God can’t, or won’t, but should, we – as humans – try to help God do what needs to be done.
So, my way to fix what God can’t – or won’t do – could be celibacy. Or, my way could be therapy, substance abuse, suicide, or conforming to society.
In this light, we can see how ‘God can’t’ complicates faith and life.
So, I’m not afraid of “God can” because it doesn’t diminish God or me. I no longer have to concede there’s something God can’t do. And, because God “doesn’t have to change me,” I know I am valued, fully affirmed, and acceptable to God.
‘Just because I believe God can do something doesn’t mean I must ask, test, or try’
I can say the same thing about asking God to give me the power to fly. I can ask God to make me fly. And if I try to fly off the top of a building it could be detrimental to my health.
Just because I believe God can do something doesn’t mean I must ask, test, or try. That’s what Jesus said when Satan asked him to jump off a building. He said, do not put the Lord thy God to the test.
Sadly, many LGBTI believers are testing God to change their sexuality. These God-tests are attempts to prove God is real. And maybe sadder than the God-tests are the other believers egging LGBTI people to jump.
The shout to ‘jump’ from other believers may sound like, ‘take a leap of faith and trust God to change your sexual orientation.’
The good news is God doesn’t require that kind of change. We have nothing to prove to anyone by trying and testing heterosexuality.
But does this mean the ‘God, change me’ prayer is all wrong? Does God want to change anything about us?
There may be a lot of things about us God wants to change.
Like everyone else, LGBTI people of faith still need to pray the ‘God, change me’ prayer. I need God to change me to be more loving. Because I don’t need to change whom I love but how I love. I want to love extraordinarily. That’s a request for change that God can and must do because we all need it.
So, if you’re an LGBTI person who believes God can change you, it’s true, God can. God’s change is always love. God wants to change all of us into the best loving version of ourselves.
I am a gay person who believes God can change me. And that change is love.