Students Respond: Everyone needs grace

Following the publication of ‘Gay: What would Jesus do?’ in the March 18 issue of the GlimmerGlass, many people voiced their opinions.

Open letter to students who have spoken out

By Sophia Erzumiah

Recently, I was sitting in my room doing homework when I received a phone call from a girl back home that would, by definition, be called one of my best friends.

As the conversation began, she bluntly informed me that she had recently obtained a girlfriend and that she was “coming clean” about it. Then, ironically, she ended the declaration by saying, “Please don’t judge me.”

I responded to her by stating the following, “You are one of my best friends. Nothing will change that. But, I do not agree with your decision nor will I encourage it.” She was not shocked by my response, nor was she angry.

The conversation went on as casually as two people having coffee and we ended by saying, “See you over Easter – I love you.”
I do love her. But I will not tolerate her sin. Make it sound as harsh as you want in your mind, but facts are facts. And the fact is, sin should not be tolerated.

In the article (“Gay: What would Jesus do?” March 18, 2011), the first paragraph stated that a student transferred schools hoping to find that Olivet would be more “accepting” of his homosexuality. I find that an interesting sentence because the student did not say that they hoped Olivet would be more accepting of “him” (as a person), which is actually what has happened.

I have a class with said student and never once have I seen the teacher call him out, or students refuse to sit beside him or people staring harshly at him. I’m afraid to say that if this is the kind of lens he sees the student body through, then I believe there is personal guilt there, and he is seeing us in a light that we cannot avoid.

A disciple asks Jesus what is the greatest commandment of all. Jesus says, “The greatest commandment is to love God and love your neighbor as yourself.”

It does not say “accept” or “tolerate.” To love and to accept are two very different views.

I apologize that you were frustrated when you happened to run into several students that were not comfortable in the situations they were put in, but you need to understand two things from that:

They have every right to be outspoken about their discomfort, just as you have spoken out about your discomfort.

You cannot take the opinion of a few and lump us all into the same category, just as you would never want us to take something we think we know about homosexual and lump you into that category.

We do have an idea of what you are going through. We are all consistently struggling with our sins on a daily basis. But sins are sins, and my friends who love me do not accept mine.

If you were coming here for “acceptance” of your sin, I will be blunt with you and say that that will not happen, and I applaud Olivet for its decision. They should not be accepting of any sin, and homosexuality falls into that category.

If you came here to be loved as a person, I can tell you that you can find it here. From other points in your article, it looks like you have found it.

I will be honest when I say that I do not know what is expected of me now. I, along with many others, feel that I have not treated you any differently than you have treated me.

If we have met, then I say hi in passing. If we have not, then I don’t. Such is the routine for most students, homosexual and not.

Do not picture me angry or yelling at you in this response. I am not. I am responding to you the same way I responded to my dearest friend that I spoke of in the beginning: calmly, patiently and most importantly, with love.

• Sophia Erzumiah is a senior at ONU. She can be reached at serzumia@live.olivet.edu

All are sexually broken

By Jordan Bergren

In the previous issue of the GlimmerGlass, an article was published raising talk among the student body concerning the issue of homosexuality. Even among our generation, this is a hot topic that the western church will no longer be able to be silent about.

I am thankful that we can have open dialogue about this topic instead of shoving it under the rug, because in reality many people are afraid to talk about it. Jessica, I am glad you were willing to write this article. I want to start off by expressing my heart for this issue.

If you are struggling with same sex attraction or a practicing homosexual, I want say that if anyone has hurt you, abused you, or made fun of you, I want you to know that Jesus Christ has not and will never do that to you. No matter what you have done, you are His prized possession.

Often we take the abuse we have received from people—even those that are supposed to support us—and we either blatantly or subconsciously think God will do just the same. I want you to know that is a lie from the pit of hell. For the trampled person, it is actually easier to view God that way.

To view God rightfully, as a Father who will not abandon the struggling, would mean taking a leap of faith. This leap of faith means putting your vulnerable heart out on the line, a heart with a history of being trampled. Our fatherless generation desperately needs to hear the loving truth of the heavenly Father. God loves you.

On another note, the truth that the Father loves you does not mean He tolerates every behavior. In fact, to tolerate corrupt behavior is to not love at all. If a child asks his father, “Daddy, can I touch the stove?” the father who has any ounce of care or love for that boy will immediately tell his son, “No! You will burn yourself.”

We have smudged the lines and distorted what it means to love. Telling those who struggle with same sex attraction that living in a homosexual lifestyle is okay, and that it is the way God wants one to live, is not love at all. Any relationship or marriage outside of God’s intention leads to pain and bondage in the end. It is not God’s purpose for anyone to live that way.

Too often, people have used pharisaical, judgmental mistreatment as a platform to make living in compromise valid. This mistreatment should certainly not be ignored, and God will righteously judge the oppressor. At the same time, the liberating truth in God’s word cannot be compromised.

In an article found at www.exodusinternational.org, a website for a ministry that reaches out to those who are sexually broken, Andy Comisky writes, “Jesus came to save sinful people like us. Let us not forsake the truth of that sin and brokenness for anyone’s agenda. The mercy is too good, its power to transform too real to squander by placating deceived ones. Extending the mercy that disciplines is our good news, the whole Gospel that Jesus has entrusted to us.”

I asked a local youth pastor who struggled with same sex attraction for ten years what he would say to encourage those who are struggling with this very issue, or even just sexual brokenness in general. His response was, “Do not give up. There is freedom, and there is mercy in the fullest sense. The power of freedom lies in learning the Lord loves and likes you even in this struggle. God fights for your freedom even more than you do. God loves you too much to let you stay and live in that. It only leads to more brokenness and more pain; what good father would want despair for his children?”

After dialoguing a little bit more about the issue, he said, “To say that homosexuality is a part of the will of God is a complete assault on my testimony of freedom. I take it offensively and I know many others who would as well.”

I had never looked at it in that light before. I do not have a testimony where God has brought me out of homosexuality, but to those who do, to say God did not want them to break from that in the first place robs them of their testimony.

As a brother in Christ, I want to echo the words of Comisky, leader of Exodus International, who wrote, “I encourage you to reclaim the reality that all are sexually broken and all are in need of the grace that abounds.”

I do not claim to have it all together. I am a sexually broken person just as the next guy or girl. My heart is to see a campus declaring the truth and kindness of God because the truth will set us free (John 8:32), and his kindness will lead us to repentance (Romans 2:4).

• Jordan Bergren is the VP for Spiritual Life. He can be reached at jbergren@live.olivet.edu

0 Comments

  1. Interesting responses. I’m not sure how I feel about these. How about some fuel for the issue then:
    A friend of mine went to a church in the south burbs that told him God didn’t want him to be friends with anyone outside of that Church. If he believed this and severed his friendships, and then got over the loss, does that make it good? A lot of people think “God” tells them to do a lot of things, and when they do them they call it Testimony – the seal of Christian legitimacy. But in my opinion that neither assures its truth nor goodness.

  2. Jordan Bergren, I am deeply concerned that you would point vulnerable souls to the website of Exodus International, an organization that promotes a view of homosexuality which has been rejected by the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, and every other major mental health organization which together represent over 480,000 mental health professionals. The types of therapy that Exodus and other “ex-gay” organizations promote have been proven not only to be ineffective but deeply psychologically harmful to those involved.

    http://www.aap.org/featured/sexualorientation.htm
    http://www.apa.org/monitor/2009/10/orientation.aspx

    Secondly, to say that homosexuality is not a part of God’s will is to completely malign a text that was never meant to speak to the issue of homosexuality in the first place. The sexual ethics of the Bible are quite different from the sexual ethics you discuss here, Jordan, so I’m going to give you some required reading on this subject:

    http://www.amazon.com/What-Bible-Really-About-Homosexuality/dp/188636009X/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
    http://www.godweb.org/wink.htm
    http://www.jeramyt.org/papers/paulcybl.html#_Toc261766991

    When you’ve done that, get back to me and we can have a real conversation.

  3. By the way, Andy Comiskey is not the president of Exodus International — Alan Chambers is.

  4. Aubrey,

    I will read this information and get back to you. I am glad you want to have a conversation. We could get coffee some time if you are willing to do that.

    Grace, truth and peace to you,
    Jordan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *