Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”
For LGBTQ+ Christian believers and non-believers alike, there is no promise more powerful than what Jesus said in John 8:32: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” When we come out, we live and know our truth and it sets us free to be our authentic selves. In the book The Rock That Is Higher, Madeleine L’Engle says, “If it’s hard for us to accept our monsters and love them and free them to become the beautiful creatures they were meant to be, it’s even harder for most of us to believe in the happy ending.” Many in the LGBTQ+ community may have thought of their sexual as a monster within them because they were told their sexuality or gender identification was wrong, but once we come out, we can embrace our true self and realize just what beautiful creatures we are. Yet, it is often hard for us to believe that we can experience a happy ending, but we can and will if we can accept ourselves and become comfortable in our own skin and in our own minds.
In her writing, L’Engle recognizes the universal human longings and considers how literature, Scripture, personal stories, and life experiences all point us toward our true home. In The Rock That Is Higher, she also wrote, “We are all strangers in a strange land, longing for home, but not quite knowing what or where home is.” As we grow up in a world where heterosexuality and gender conformity are considered “normal,” we do feel like we are strangers in a strange land. We long to be normal, and it’s sometimes hard to realize that what is normal is not heteronormative social conventions, but “normal” is being your authentic self. However, L’Engle writes that we get a glimpse of our true self, “…sometimes in our dreams, or as we turn a corner, and suddenly there is a strange, sweet familiarity that vanishes almost as soon as it comes.” We have to learn to grasp onto and accept that sweet familiarity.
If we do this and accept ourselves for who we are, then it is an affirmation of God’s love and truth–an acknowledgment of our longing for a rock in the midst of life’s wilderness. Gay activist and former Jesuit priest Robert Goss wrote in his book Jesus Acted Up, “For queer Christians, the Bible is read intertextually with their own resistance to homophobic oppression. The truth of a particular text requires an interpretation that includes the social context of the text and the truth of their own queer lives.” Contrary to what many conservative Christians want us to believe, God will never forsake us. He is always there for us and wants us to be happy. Isaiah 54:10 says, “‘For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has mercy on you.” Nothing will ever stop God’s love for us.
If we accept ourselves and accept the infinite diversity of humanity, we can become closer to God. He accepts us the way we are, and if we slip up Jesus died on the cross for our sins and salvation. We will all make errors of judgment occasionally. Romans 3:21-26 says:
But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
My mother used to sarcastically say about my father, “Only two perfect men have ever existed: your father and Jesus Christ.” This was usually said when my father claimed he was right, and she knew he was wrong. My earthly father is flawed, but my Heavenly Father is perfect. My father (and my mother, as well) hold grudges, but God will never hold a grudge against us, especially if we accept and live our truth, because “the truth shall set you free.” We should celebrate our freedom and live our truth.