I am Gay. Does God Love me?

Monday, July 19, 2021

My father and I had what can only be described as an up and down relationship. My father was immensely proud of the fact that I was a priest and earned a Ph.D. and was able to teach in Seminary, educating future leaders of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. And yet what worried him constantly, and even embarrassed him, was my life-long struggle with weight. For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a priest and for as long as I can remember I have struggled with weight issues. Although I never questioned my father’s joy and happiness with my pastoral achievements, I did have a life-long question: “Would my father love me more if I were not overweight? Not far from that question, was another disconcerting and constant question: “Would my father still love me, if he knew I was gay?”

Does God love me? This is one of the most frequent questions and subjects of the numerous emails that this website receives. Frequently this question is framed with heart-wrenching stories by LGBT individuals who have been rejected by their parents, families, friends, and church communities. Rejection by others can easily lead to us hiding, self-isolating, and isolation can easily lead to self-hatred. The belief is that if no one else loves me, then I shouldn’t love myself. Would other people love me more if I were not gay? Would I love myself more if I were not gay? Would God love me more if I were not gay? With whom could I share these questions that haunted me?

In such times of questioning and even despair, it is vital to remember that there is someone with whom you can share these questions. There is someone who does love you, God loves you! It is such a simple idea, almost a cliché, but it is not only true, it is life-affirming. On some level, we know that our parents, and friends, and families who have rejected us, probably love us. But they may have demonstrated, by their words and actions, that if we were straight, they would love us more and fully accept us. When we have lost those closest to us, what we need is a true friend, who loves us unconditionally, listens to us, and supports us. Consider the words of a twentieth-century Orthodox saint, Nikolaj Velimirović[1].  “Concern yourself only that you have God for a friend and do not be afraid of anything. Behold He is your only friend who loves you without change.”

Read and listen and hear and enshrine in your heart what St. Nikolaj (Nikolai) is telling you: God is your friend. God is your friend who loves you without change. He loves us as He made us, straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered. It is God who always listens to you, it is God who provides you refuge, it is God who embraces you because He made you as you are. Like any good friend who can guide you to better thoughts, words, and actions, without rejection, such are the actions and will of God. Commit the words of St. Nikolaj to your heart: “concern yourself only that you have God for a friend and do not be afraid of anything. Behold He is your only friend who loves you without change.”

 

[1] Saint Nikolaj Velimirovic was canonized by the Serbian Orthodox Church in 2003. Some of his sermons and writings are viewed as anti-Semitic. Velimirovic was arrested by the Nazis and he spent time in the Dachau concentration camp.  To read more about his life https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikolaj_Velimirovi%C4%87

 

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