My heart really goes out to Trey Pearson, described as "a Christian rock star" who, in a "moving letter," has come out as gay to his fans.
Although his band was not particularly well known, his story is getting lots of online attention, as he has opened up his heart with painful honesty.
He explains that, growing up in a "very conservative Christian home," he "never wanted to be gay."
He writes, "I was scared of what God would think and what all of these people I loved would think about me; so it never was an option for me. I have been suppressing these attractions and feelings since adolescence. I've tried my whole life to be straight. I married a girl, and I even have two beautiful little kids. My daughter, Liv, is six and my son, Beckham, is two."
On the one hand, he states that, "I have intensely mixed feelings about the changes that have resulted in my life," regretting the pain he has caused his wife.
On the other hand, he states that having come out openly, he is experiencing "the peace that passes all understanding."
He believes that, "I am never going to be able to change how I am," and so, "no matter how healthy our relationship becomes, it's never going to change what I know deep down: that I am gay."
He and his wife Lauren, whom he describes as his best friend, are trying to figure out how to co-parent their children, something that will no doubt become more challenging if he begins a relationship with a man.
He believes that this is "who I was made by God to be" and that, "In sharing this publicly I'm taking another step into health and wholeness by accepting myself, and every part of me. It's not only an idea for me that I'm gay; It's my life. This is me being authentic and real with myself and other people. This is a part of who I am."
The reality is that Trey has made a tragic, destructive choice.
He has found his identity in his romantic attractions and sexual desires rather than in his relationship with God, and he has decided that personal fulfillment is more important than obedience to the Savior.
I don't know if he received serious ministry or counseling to help him get to the root of his same-sex attractions - many have found great help and even transformation in doing do - but either way, I do not want to trivialize his struggles for a moment.
And I don't know what his wife's desires are in the matter. Would she rather that they stay married and work on his struggles together?
What I do know is that Jesus said, "If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me" (Matt. 16:24, NET) - and this often means denying the deepest, most fundamental desires in our lives, saying no to the things that are most important to us, crucifying everything that raises its head in disobedience to God.
As expressed by Sam Allberry, a British pastor who is still same-sex attracted but is living a celibate, holy life, "I am to deny myself, take up my cross and follow him. Every Christian is called to costly sacrifice. Denying yourself does not mean tweaking your behaviour here and there. It is saying 'No' to your deepest sense of who you are, for the sake of Christ. To take up a cross is to declare your life (as you have known it) forfeit. It is laying down your life for the very reason that your life, it turns out, is not yours at all. It belongs to Jesus. He made it. And through his death he has bought it."
Remember who is writing these words: An unmarried pastor who is same-sex attracted, a believer who identifies as a son of God rather than as a gay man.
Pastor Allberry also says this, "Ever since I have been open about my own experiences of homosexuality, a number of Christians have said something like this: 'the gospel must be harder for you than it is for me', as though I have more to give up than they do. But [the] fact is that the gospel demands everything of all of us. If someone thinks the gospel has somehow slotted into their life quite easily, without causing any major adjustments to their lifestyle or aspirations, it is likely that they have not really started following Jesus at all."
And, he adds, "just as the cost is the same for all of us, so too are the blessings." (From his book Is God Anti-Gay?)
What incredible words!
Trey is hopeful that he'll be able to continue his career unaffected, but that will only happen to the extent that his audience is not made of committed Christians. Otherwise, his group's popularity will quickly wane, just as has happened to other Christian artists who have come out as gay.
Devoted disciples of Jesus know that the Lord will not bless those who choose homosexual relationships over His Word, and so the songs will now leave a bad taste in their mouths. Listeners will not be able to separate the man from his music and message, and this rightly so.
But this is just the beginning of his wrong life choices, and given enough time, his views on other scriptural matters will most likely change, as doctrinal compromise will lead to more doctrinal compromise, not to mention the downward slide of moral compromise. It is virtually inevitable once these wrong steps have been taken.
A few years ago, a reader of one of my articles shared his own moving story. I pray that Trey will read these words, reconsider his ways, and find grace to deny himself, take up his cross, and experience the glorious fullness that Jesus brings.
This reader, named Michael, wrote: "I have had same sex attractions since I was a young boy. I started to go to church as a teenager and became a Christian. For years, I have prayed for (and been prayed for) these tendencies to go away, but they have not.
"In spite of that, I got married many years ago and have children and grandchildren. My wife knows of my struggles, although because I knew it was sin, I have never acted on my feelings. Is it easy all the time? No, although with time it has gotten easier. But I have made a choice that I will be faithful to God and to my family.
"Was I born this way? I don't know, but that does not matter. I would never choose to dishonor God by living out my desires. I love my wife very much although she understands that I am conflicted inside, but not to the point where I could ever be untrue to her. THAT would be 'living a lie.'
"Am I to be admired? No. Many Christians deal with tendencies which are contrary to God's Word, but I hope to be an encouragement to someone out there that thinks they cannot 'stay the course.' By God's grace, you can and should."
Yes, Trey, by God's grace, you can and should "stay the course," and we are earnestly praying that you would.