I knew I was attracted to the same sex when I was seven — in some capacity, anyway. I don’t think it’s physiologically possible to truly feel sexual attraction at such a young age. But I knew there was a drawing in me toward the same gender — and drawing that was more than what some would say is “natural” or “normal.”
As I grew up in a rural Louisiana town and teenage hormones began to surge throughout my body, my drawing toward the same gender intensified — sexually and emotionally. While I was definitely not engulfed in the life of a church during my adolescence, I was raised in close enough proximity to religious things — and religious people — that I knew the Bible referenced homosexuality as an abominable thing.
The Bible referenced to me as an abominable thing. That was my understanding anyway. And not only did the Bible paint people like me in the light of all that is grotesque, but so did the people around me. Family, friends, football coaches. Everyone. To be gay was to be gross. To be gay was to be wicked. To be gay was to be scum.
So I prayed. Oh. How. I. Prayed.
“God, make me normal.”
“God, make me straight.”
“God, make me like everyone else.”
But God didn’t answer those prayers. Why?
I hear my experience repeated by others all the time. Just yesterday, actually. A Christian friend of mine was conversing with a guy who is living a homosexual lifestyle. He pleaded with her to believe that he had prayed for years for God to make him straight…to no avail. She was speechless. She didn’t know how to respond.
“Matt, why didn’t God answer his prayer? I mean, he prayed God’s will? Why was there no answer?”
I’m not God, so I can’t know all the reasons why He wouldn’t have answered this guy’s prayers to be made attracted to women. But, I do know what He’s revealed in the Bible and I do know what I now, as a believer in Jesus, believe to be true of my own “unanswered prayers” experience.
Firstly, when I grew up pleading with God to make me straight, I had no real interest in God Himself. I wasn’t praying for God to do this because I loved Him or wanted to live my life for Him. I was actually pretty unconcerned about Him, to be honest. I wanted God to take away my same-sex desires for my own benefit — so that I could fit in, be normal, be one of the guys, and even so that I could just have sex with girls like all of my friends were. Being straight would make life so much easier. So I obviously wasn’t worried about being sexually moral. I just wanted to be sexually normal.
My desire to be made straight was all about me. I had no interest in being reconciled to God or having a relationship with Christ.
Which brings me to [my] second point. From what I see in the Bible, God is far more concerned with first fixing our hearts than he is with fixing other things in our lives. Same-sex attraction included. Yes, it’s true that God hates homosexuality. But more than that, He hates that our hearts are opposed to Him and that we long to live our lives separated from Him. God’s foremost desire is that we would come to Him through Christ to receive new hearts that love and adore Him.