Nearly every gay person raised in the Christian world has heard it at least once in their lives: “You know deep within your heart that what you are doing is wrong. You know in your heart that homosexuality is not God’s best for you, and you are just unwilling to admit it, running away from the truth.”
Far too often, we hear this from the people we love the most: old friends, pastors, parents and siblings – the people who raised us, nurtured us, taught us how to understand the world. They are concerned, well intentioned, unaware of just how damaging, belittling, dehumanizing those 9 little words are: “you know the truth deep down in your heart.”
Underlying these words are a series of unyeilding, unempathetic assumptions: that we all know absolute truth, that knowing truth is a simple task – as simple as opening your Bible – and that anyone who fails to agree with the evangelical orthodoxy is simply delusional, of corrupt intention and character.
It is this series of assumptions – unwritten but universally understood doctrines – that weaponize Evangelicalism, and make it so deadly to so many people of good will who have genuine questions or doubts. When a gay person has doubts about the traditional view of homosexuality, that can only be interpreted as a deliberate blindness. I was told, on many occasions, “You are looking for loopholes to sin,” or, “you are unwilling to accept God’s commands for your life.” Your integrity is under fire, simply for asking a question.
I have a message I want to tell the world, especially my fellow Christians – a message that has been brewing in me for years: stop telling me what I know deep in my heart. You say that I know, deep within my heart, that living with the love of my life is sin, that homosexuality is an abomination, that I am just a wounded heterosexual waiting for the healing hand of God, that I know God’s commandments clearly and am choosing to disobey.
I know nothing of the sort. In fact, I have known just the opposite: that love is good, that homosexuality is natural, and that as long as I resist my orientation, I will resist living life fully in the present moment. A small part of me has known this through darkness and agony, through prayers and tears, and I have even known this when I was an ex-gay, and then a young gay man committed to celibacy and the Church’s teachings on homosexuality. I have known, in my heart of hearts, that the church has been misled.
We disagree, for our hearts know different things. This is the great wonder and tragedy of human nature: our hearts are complicated, incomprehensible things. One man may know in his heart that there is no God, another may know that God is closer than his own skin. Our infallible hearts inform our every step, and we can only follow and discern and question with as much integrity as we can. While truth may be absolute, the human heart and mind are not, and we can only strive to live as best we can, with what little shards of truth we have in the mirror houses of our souls.
I’ve done my best to follow God, to follow truth, to know what is right and wrong, while fully admitting the fallibility of my mind and heart. I will always cherish my capacity to be wrong – without it, I can learn nothing. I now simply ask that you, dear Christian, do the same. I will never tell you what you know deep in your heart, and I request the same courtesy. Because our hearts know different things, and until we accept that, we will never have a life-giving discussion about homosexuality and faith – or anything at all.
9 thoughts on “Dear Christian, Stop Telling Me What I Know Deep in my Heart”
Amen and amen. It hurts a lot when fellow Christians pick up their tray and move to the other end of the communion table every time I try to sit next to them. They insist that I am not invited because I’m unrepentant. I rest in the knowledge that the invitation is not theirs to revoke.
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To Ford1968: So sorry to hear of such bad treatment you get. That is certainly not the way Jesus would approve. Glad that you realize the invitation is from Christ and that he accepts you.
YES! and Thank you.
PS Love your blog!!
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Superb writing. The only thing I know in my heart is that I am different from the majority and that is is natural law for me.
Very proud of you, dear cousin. You are an inspiration and a beautiful young man. Much love and many blessings!
It is sad that people are like this, especially christian people. As a christian I can talk because I have seen it myself….shoot, I have probably done it myself in the past. It does not always relate to being gay but many times it is a different interpretation or denominational belief. I do not know why us christian people feel the need to prove our point or point out mistakes of others (or what we think are mistakes). I personally believe as christians we are called to love. Jesus said love God and love others. The good news of the gospel is that God loves us. Why is it we cannot accept this and love and accept one another? Of course we are going to have our differences, we will not all interpret scripture the same, we will not all consider what is sin and not sin the same, but there is no need to push our beliefs on others. There is no need to have the know-it-all attitude that we know what others are thinking and feeling deep down. Love and accept others, be open to the opinions of others knowing that none of us have everything correct and figured out, Live by your personal beliefs, interpretations and opinions but do not push them onto others, just accept them as they are.
Well, I’ll tell you what I know in MY heart – I love you and am grateful to have gotten to be along to witness much of your journey,
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