Why Being LGBTQ IS “God’s Best” for LGBTQ People


I was already thirty minutes into an ever-intensifying conversation with my then Senior Pastor, about the many LGBTQ students in our student ministry who were clearly becoming a source of mild discomfort for some concerned older folks in our community. After a frustrating half hour of evasive theological language, a good deal of hair-splitting semantics, and lots of vague non answers, I finally just laid it all out there:

“So, what exactly do you want me to say to these kids?” I asked.

He replied flatly, “Tell them that this is not God’s best for them.” 

I’d heard that phrase hundreds of times before; from pastors and Christian speakers, from church friends and parents in our community. I’d heard it so many times in fact, that it had become religious white noise that I barely noticed. Yet this time, in this very moment I suddenly realized that it didn’t ring true for me anymore. It was no longer a good enough response. It actually felt more like a lie—and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to say it to hurting kids any longer.

That was the day that I became a fully LGBTQ-affirming pastor, though it would take years to get up the nerve to admit it to myself, let alone to anyone else.

I’d already long ago wrestled through the “clobber passages” in the Bible regarding homosexuality and had come to the conclusion that they had no relevance to a modern understanding of gender identity or sexual orientation; nothing of consequence to say about the inherent moral value of someone born LGBTQ. Now though, I started to recognize the way the Church was damaging young people in the gay community, even while using language that on the surface appeared compassionate and tolerant. As that great poet James Brown used to say: Like a dull knife, you just ain’t cuttin’. You’re takin’ loud, not sayin’ nothin’. 

Telling someone that their identity and orientation are “not God’s best for them” is really a clever cop-out; an attempt to seem both benevolent and firm, kind but faithful, sinner-loving but sin-despising. 

In reality though the phrase smacks of laziness, allowing the speaker to:
– avoid engaging the Scriptures thoroughly and thoughtfully regarding complex matters of sexuality.
– ignore what Science has been speaking clearly to us on these matters.
– sidestep what a practical working out of the statement really means as it relates to things like ministry involvement and open, committed relationships for LGBTQ Christians in the Church.

In other words, those who are saying this phrase to and of the LGBTQ community don’t usually mean that these people are living a life that is less than God intends for them (because this is impossible to determine), it means that they are not willing to fully welcome these folks in their churches without eventual change. It is ultimately a devaluing of people disguised as affirmation: “I believe God wants better for you, and I will demand that you ultimately agree with me in order for you to remain here in good standing.”

Telling any human being that something fundamental and involuntary about them is not God’s best for them, leaves them in the tragic position of believing that they themselves are inherently less-than. It births a lifetime of self-loathing and guilt that suffocates a soul rather than giving it life. It makes people feel alienated from the rest of the faith community (who, curiously already apparently have God’s best).

The logical follow-through to such a position is to ask LGBTQ people to change (however that is supposed to work) or to be celibate; to live a life without intimacy and companionship and the deepest connections with another. I don’t believe those are things we can impose on other people.

Jesus speaks in Scripture that he comes so that we can have an experience of “abundant life”, but he doesn’t succinctly describe what that looks like, and we would be foolish to determine his meaning for anyone else. God works in and around and through people as God desires, and this is never our jurisdiction.

Here’s what I do know about “God’s best” for people:

God’s best for people is not isolation or denial or exclusion or conditional acceptance.

God’s best for people is authenticity; the truest truth about who they are.
God’s best for people is being free to love and be loved, to know and be known, to care and be cared for.
God’s best for people is them recognizing they bear the very likeness of God.
God’s best for people is being allowed to spend a lifetime alongside someone they love.
God’s best for people is being able to participate fully in the life of the greater Church and the local church of their choosing.
God’s best for people is them realizing that they are inherently good because that is their default condition.
God’s best for people is to not have to continually overcome Christians just to get to Jesus. 

It’s the height of arrogance to assume that the way someone defines themselves and the manner in which they love another human being, is up for another’s debate. I’ll never tell an LGBTQ person that their gender identity or sexual orientation are not God’s best for them, because I simply do not believe that to be at all true.

And I trust that the God who made them—already knows what is best for them and speaks more clearly to them on these matters than to anyone else.

As for me, it is enough in my lifetime to devote my energies to determining what God’s best is for me—and if I am to believe Jesus, it all starts and ends with loving all people as I desire to be loved. 

Go and do likewise.

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161 thoughts on “Why Being LGBTQ IS “God’s Best” for LGBTQ People

  1. I see that you appear to have no room for those outside of your perspective who are happy in what they are doing by not walking in their SSA.
    I guess we just hang around different folks.

    Have a blessed night

  2. The difference between you and I is that you are looking from the outside, trying to judge and understand something you never will. You have ZERO insight into what it is like to be gay and trying to live a lie to make others happy. I’ve been there. I tried it. I know that it leads only to misery, no matter how big a smile is painted on the face. And make no mistake about it: any gay person trying to live in a heterosexual relationship is living a LIE. And I seem to recall Revelation having something to say about the fate of ALL liars.

  3. I’ve been following your comments, Sean, and just love your attitude of love and respect for others, as well as the depth of wisdom in your responses. I so so agree with you too in your outlook. I supressed my SSA for so long and so very firmly that I was in total denial, though not unhappy, if somewhat frustrated perhaps. I married and had children and now grandchildren (that’s something I could never regret) though I eventually separated from my dear wife after 40 years of marriage, which were good but never sparkling from a sexual point of view, and have been somewhat latently exploring and discovering what it means to be gay. I am, totally bowled over by my discoveries and doing the best I can, though somewhat in the mind set of “better late than never”, to live pleasing to God as He made me, and rejoicing in who I am in all facets. It has been the most traumatic few years of my life, but I am finally coming to peace with myself.

    • Hi Jem, thanks for your very kind words. I believe the world is full of love and is a very beautiful place; blessed at all times by the source of all love and life that is the Holy Trinity. I have come to believe that we all hold God essence within us; the Devine spark which connects us to God, and, to each other. God made us not so much in his image but in his His essence, I believe. Whilst a tough and painful journey, my relationship with God is probably the most important and amazing aspect of my life.

      I often avoid telling the following story because it can come across as a little, let’s just say, crazy, but it seems fitting here. In my darkest hour Jem, many years ago, I came up against a spiritual brick wall. I couldn’t reconcile my sexuality with my love for God. I felt totally and utterly broken and un-fixable. It was then that I had a deeply spiritual experience. As I lay with with my eyes closed I had a vision which I believe was offered to me by God, in my hour of extreme need and distress. I saw ‘Judgment Day’ and it was not at all as I would ever have imagined it. It was very beautiful Jem, serene and incredibly peaceful with such love everywhere; such incredible amazing love that illuminated me and everything around me. No hell fire and brimstone anywhere, no angry cries bellowing down. Instead, a continuous harmonious sound that calmed my soul as though speaking to it directly without words. Judgment was not harsh and scary at all but an almost gentle instant experience harmonising my very essence with the source of all love that is God. I couldn’t resist this, it was instinctive; an irresistible desire to be absorbed and become one with God’s love and grace. Judgment was more a letting go of all earthly matters, concerns, doubts and weaknesses and simply falling head first into Devine light. It was an instant cleansing experience of being washed with God’s love and also through a harmonious sound, like a hum that I could hear all the while. God showed me that he would draw, gather and claim every soul, and that no one would be left behind, no one. This was very clear as though God needed me to never forget this. There was no Hell.

      There were many other lessons in my vision but I wanted to focus specifically on ideas about judgment as I think many posts reflect this often distressing concept. In my darkest hour what I was most cut up about was how God would judge me. I thought that I had no chance of passing this test and that an inevitable fate had already been sealed for me. Yet, my vision depicted something very different. What I was shown was that judgment is more about love than punishment; more about reconciliation than damnation. In judgment my wrongs were not exposed and quantified but my soul was redirected and re-connected with God’s love and grace. Judgment was more about healing and making me whole again. I learnt that I must let go of my ideas about judgment and instead accept God’s love and allow it to permeate through every aspect of my life including my sexuality. I learnt that to focus on judgment wouldn’t get me any closer to God; only giving into God’s infinit love could do that. I also learnt that God is so in love with each and every one of us, that He simply won’t accept anything less than all of us returning home at some point.

      Ultimately, and the most important and invaluable lesson I took from my vision is that God does not want to judge me, He wants to love me and I accept His love with open arms.

      May God’s love manifest in everything we do.

      • Hi Sean,
        I absolutely don’t want to be offensive to you, but I’m surprised your vision is actually at the opposite of many verses in the Bible describing Judgement Day : several times in Matthew and one time in Luke the Lord said that ‘there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’. It is said that unfaithful servants will be thrown into a furnace of fire. As scary as it might sound, it isn’t uncompatible with God’s love : God’s justice cannot allow sin, but His love provided a treatment, His sacrifice on the cross. If God wanted to save all men and women from the beginning, why would He have endured such pain and suffering for us ?

        However, I agree with this thing you said : “I learnt that to focus on judgment wouldn’t get me any closer to God; only giving into God’s infinit love could do that.” Indeed, only His love can get us reconciled with Him, and not the fear of His judgement. But the problem is, those who don’t accept His love will not experience salvation, but will rather be judged according to Romans 2: 11-12.

        The whole book of Revelation, really, already gives a good insight on what will and what will not happen in the last days. I don’t believe it says all men will repent, turn back to God and be saved from His judgement. I don’t believe either that it says that God, considering His infinite love, will set His perfect Justice aside and be unjust instead.

        • Hi Aurelian, thank you for your time and thank you for your response. I respect your perspective and understand, to a degree, how you may have come to your conclusions. Your thoughts and ideas are all part of your life journey and I respect that. However, right now where I am along my path th God, I don’t share your understanding at all. I just want to leave a thought with you. What do you think is more fruitful, to try and get inside God’s head or to allow God to get inside ours? Have a great Sunday and may God’s love manifest in all we do.

  4. I hear what you are saying, Aurelian, but you have missed it on the homosexuality bit since the Bible in its original languages does not condemn homosexuality at all. I battled with this for years and no amount of leaving my sins at the foot of the cross of Jesus had any effect whatsoever. I eventually left the church where I had served full time with total commitment in order to be set free to explore and discover some truth about homosexuality and myself. I am so very glad I did that and have drawn closer than ever to my God as a result. I am learning so much about His marvellous grace, mercy and love, and I am learning to accept who He made me to be including the SSA part. I still love the Bible, but not the modern translations of the clobber scriptures which have done such a huge dis-service to the truth of God’s Word, and resulted in so much pain and condemnation instead of healing and restoration and love.

    • I’m not qualified to talk about the Word of God in its original languages since I have no knowledge in Greek or in Hebrew. However, I will look into that, and I thank you in advance for opening my eyes to the need of staying close to what the original text said!

  5. Wow, Sean! That is so beautiful! And it so resonates with the love of God. Thank you for sharing it. I can see how it has affected your outlook so profoundly that you emulate and exude that love.

    I’m curious to know more. Do you go to or have a church or group you meet with? Do you have your own blog site?

  6. Respectfully, there’s simply no historical, theological, biblical integrity for this position, friend. One must entirely discount the plenary teachings of both old and new testaments – both in the affirmative AND in the negative – and place one’s self above & beyond 1900 years of pastoral thought. You’re compounding confusion, as well as the curse, brother.

  7. John lost me here:

    “God’s best for people is them realizing that they are inherently good because that is their default condition.”

    If path to becoming LGBT affirming involves leaving behind Jesus’ own teachings about sin, repentance and forgiveness, then the price is too high. Without those truths, what exactly does it mean for someone to “get to Jesus”?

  8. I have a question for members of the LGBT who have been participating in this discussion. There is something that has stuck with me for many years. I’ve had friendships with 11 professing homosexual men over my lifetime. There was one common factor in each and every one of there lives. As young children, they all had been molested by someone much older than them. Meaning they had been taken advantage of sexually by a man. I realize that 11 people is a small sample. Yet, my research seems to show that this isn’t an uncommon situation. In fact, we have a family member who was raped at 5 years old by another man and then became a practicing homosexual back in the 1960’s. His life ended in suicide.

    I would like to know if anyone else has noticed / experienced this correlation?

    I would also like to know if anyone else here thinks that childhood sexual abuse could have an impact on sexual orientation?

    Thank you in advance for sharing your thoughts and helping me understand your perspective.

  9. I have also had friendships with several gay men. My sister’s stepson is gay, a cousin of ours has been in a long term relationship with another man, and a younger second cousin came out several years ago. Although of course I can’t be 100% positive that one of them were sexually abused, I was very close to a few of them. A couple of them, having been raised in a very conservative evangelical church, were conflicted about their sexuality, but they never talked to them about abuse. One of them was like a little brother for years, he would have told me. My brother-in-law is an amazing father and has a fabulous relationship with both of his sons. If they had ever been harmed that way, they would have told him. My sister in turn would have confided in me, that’s the kind of relationship we have. So I think your experience might be a bit of an outlier. There is plenty of evidence out there that sexual identity really is an inherent thing.

  10. Pingback: That Post where I tell more of my story (and kinda knock a good preach out) | thatstorygirl

  11. “God’s best for people is being allowed to spend a lifetime alongside someone they love.”

    To the aromantics, and asexual people reading this: God’s best for you is to be allowed to choose not to spend a lifetime with a romantic/sexual partner. Choose to be celibate and single if that’s God’s best for you! It’s God’s best for me.

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