Nearly everybody would respond favorably if the title of this post was "Praying for other people". Even if you were skeptical about the power of prayer you would probably think there was no harm done. That is the lens that I am attempting to project through.
The problem is that the most strident Christians (or perhaps the ones who get the most media coverage) seem to fixate on condemning gay people. That is a dead end. Condemning is above my pay-grade. I am working hard to not project through this lens.
We are all walking wounded
We are all in need of prayer
I subscribe to the theory that most, if not all, gay people were deflected from the biological and social norms due to trauma during their formative years. There are some studies of identical twins with impressive sample sizes (+20,000 sets of twins) that support this theory. All other theories are opinions until hard data is supplied.
The trauma could have been bullying. I know a slightly built young man who was physically beaten up by girls and had his lunch money stolen when he was in middle school. The only "script" that allowed him to salvage any dignity was "I am gay."
If you have any doubts about the power of labeling, then you should look up the Stanford Prison Experiment.
|This is a real person. Clearly, the image she sees when she looks in the mirror is a cruel distortion of reality. But the image she sees is the only reality to her.|
I know a young woman who was humiliated by peers over the course of many years because her parents could not afford the latest fashions, coolest cars or fabulous vacations. After bouts of bulimia and other destructive "adaptive responses", she decided to not run that race. She is now in a stable, long-term relationship with another woman. Frankly, she is in a much better place than when she hyper-focused on her body weight.
I know of a young woman who was a neighbor for a short period of time. Her mother was a crack-head who let her "boyfriends" (drug suppliers) do anything to the girl for her next fix. That would turn anybody off to "cis" orientation.
I learned much later that this young lady never received a Christmas present as a child. Her grandmother would send them but the mom traded them for drugs. They never lasted until Christmas. THAT is hurting.
Sometimes it is guilt. Sometimes it is due to being sexually or physically abused as a child. It is impossible to list all the ways a young person can be traumatized. Just know that there are many situations where saying "I am gay." appears to be, in the moment, a rational response.
As Christians we are called to pray for healing of the injured...all of the injured. I think we need to spend less time focusing on how they adapted to their injuries and more time praying that the actual injury be healed.
Please note that this essay is NOT supporting gay marriage. In a twisted way, supporting gay marriage is to normalize or tacitly approve of the trauma and abuse that deflects young people into those choices. We can NEVER condone abuse of any kind. We can NEVER let abuse of young people be normalized.