Happy ‘warriorering’

How to interact with those dealing with same sex attraction who embraced a traditional biblical belief about homosexuality and then switched to an affirmation of monogamous gay relationships, has been a consideration of mine recently.

In the past I’ve not done it particularly well, but hopefully I’ve matured to the point where I can be healthier in these interactions (or lack of interaction).

This is my manifesto of sorts, but perhaps others will find it helpful for their thinking as well. It’s broader than simply tips for what to do and encompasses the attitudes necessary to maintain hope as more and more people embrace the idea that God sanctions same-sex partnerships.

The idea of the ‘happy warrior’ comes from a poem by William Wordsmith. My interpretation of this concept is that people doing their duty for powerful reasons find happiness focusing on God and those reasons rather than getting too caught up in what others are doing. They are able to be ‘happy’ as they deal with the pain of life due to this.

 

A happy warrior is trusting: There’s a reason you’re not getting a boyfriend and ultimately it’s because you trust that God is good. That he created in the world to work in a certain way and that your response when it doesn’t is to seek restoration rather than capitulation. You trust God that it’s a good thing for you to follow Him and His ways rather than the worlds. You trust God that he means this life for your good and eternal life for your joy and reward.

 A happy warrior is joyful: Our God is awesome. His ways are beyond us sometimes. But He is good. How joyful are those who submit to the ways of a good God. Sure it hurts sometimes, but we can be joyful knowing that He is for us and we are seeking to serve Him. ‘What joy, what joy for those whose hope is in the name of the Lord! What peace, what peace for those whose hope is in him alone!’

A happy warrior is confident: It can feel like ‘everyone’ has changed to the affirming side and this can cause some doubt, but ultimately a happy warrior is confident that because God is true and trustworthy, their personal faithfulness to God and His ways is important.

A happy warrior is a long-term example: It’s probable the best way you can be a representative of God to your affirming friends is over the long run. It took them a long time to come to that position and they aren’t going to change back overnight. Perhaps at some dark night of the soul in 10 years’ time they’ll read a status or tweet you post (or whatever people do then) and it will open up communication and you can talk about your faithfulness over the years.  

A happy warrior is prayerful: God changes people. We don’t. It’s not on us whether people stick with a traditional interpretation of the Bible. It’s up to God. We pray and serve and work, and ultimately He does.

A happy warrior is not alone: While many have become affirming; many have not. The happy warrior is glad to be part of a group of faithful men who in turn are supported by churches. This encourages the warrior to persevere and provides a place for support and encouragement, and a place to support and encourage.

A happy warrior is treated unfairly: A happy warrior does not become bitter or angry when they are treated unfairly or held to differing standards. The happy warrior trusts God and not men and so they accept unfair treatment.

A happy warrior is not clingy: It is not your role as someone who is non-affirming to continually offer yourself to someone who becomes affirming for conversation or catch-ups. In my experience I’m usually keener to maintain contact than those who switch sides and I need to learn to let them go. If they don’t respond to an email/text/call/fb message, there really is no point sending another one a couple of weeks or a month later. You tried; it’s okay to go your own way. Maybe in a few years’ time it will be nice to check in on them, but that’s a few years away. (Obviously if they are happy to continue communicating, you shouldn’t cut it off.)

A happy warrior is not mean and argumentative: When your affirming friend posts a status or similar celebrating their escape from oppressive Christianity or promotes gay marriage, you really don’t need to say anything. At all. The happy warrior’s confidence is in their God not in their ability to think they are right. Remember, most affirming people used to be non-affirming. They know what you think. They used to think that too. Also if they did actually want to know what personally you think, they’d send you a message or email.

A happy warrior is not jealous: When someone becomes affirming, it’s likely they’ll experience a sort of freedom and enter a new social circle and feel excited and thus this will make them happy. Probably happier than you feel. When they get a hot boyfriend and pose for shirtless pics at the beach, they are probably happier than you are. But the happy warrior does not get jealous. They know Whom they are following and trusting in. There’s a reason and there’s a good God. Think about that and not that tanned and toned chest of the significant other.

A happy warrior is not a quitter: Ultimately, you need to persevere. Life is hard. This is hard. But God is good and heaven is sure. Keep going. Look to Him and not to what others are doing.

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10 thoughts on “Happy ‘warriorering’

  1. As far as you’re concerned, I suppose I fit into this camp now, except for the part about “getting a hot boyfriend and posing for shirtless pics at the beach”. Lol. I’ll be sure to post a pic when that happens.

    For me changing to an affirming position resulted from staying in communication with a number of guys who came out and came to believe that committed monogamous relationships were not sinful based on their understanding of the Bible, and also from reading James Brownson’s book “Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church’s Debate on Same-Sex Relationships” this summer. For the first time I saw an affirming position as credible from an hermeneutical perspective even though it put my mind in turmoil for a while.

    I treasure my friends like you who hold and will continue to hold the traditional position, and I hope that I continue to be seen as a supportive friend even I no longer believe exactly the same.

  2. This is great advice not just for people dealing with affirming friends, but for everyone. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Mmm. I wonder what harm your associating with affirming friends could possibly do.

    Are you worried it might tempt you into affirming, yourself?

    Are you worried it might encourage them in their affirming? But they see that you are not, and you will tell them that.

    Or is it that you want them converted to your way of thinking, and you are angry that is not happening?

    • Hi Clare, I have no problem conversing and catching up with affirming friends and so none of those things you mention are concerns of mine. When friends become affirming I would dearly love it if nothing particularly changed although in my experience that is not the case. Often, it feels like they ‘move on’ from their friendships with people like me (ie people dealing with same sex attraction who believe the traditional interpretation) and my point is that I do not need to continually chase them for contact if it is not reciprocated. Friendship should be mutual rather than me initiating all the time and so it is unhealthy for me to continually chase (or cling to) someone who has moved on from my friendship.

  4. Outstanding post. I would completely agree with what you’ve written. It reminds me of Proverbs 23:17 – “Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the LORD all the day” (ESV). That lifestyle can look so incredibly inviting, and it seems so much easier to just affirm it publicly to avoid the hardship of holding to unpopular opinions. But perseverance in standing up for biblical convictions will not go unnoticed by God.

    Again, great post!

  5. Needed to hear this when I read it; gonna post it on my bedroom wall!

  6. Pingback: Gifts & Crickets

  7. This is Great! I needed to read this. I especially liked the one on being Joyful. It’s easy to get upset, and discouraged that we are in constant spiritual warfare. But, when we realize our Captain is already Victorious, we have lots to be excited, and Joyful about!

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