“Come unto Me”: Exploring the Heart of Christian Discipleship

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(This is an excerpt from the chapter "'Come unto Me': Exploring the Heart of Christian Discipleship" from the book Voices of Hope.)

Homosexual behavior is a sin requiring repentance and behavior change, while vulnerabilities associated with same-gender attraction might be seen as weaknesses that we can humbly learn to manage. As we do so, with God’s help, weakness can become a source of great strength, learning, growth, and even peace. We are not doomed to white-knuckle resistance to temptation for the rest of our lives, even if we may need it for a time while we build other resources. Managing weakness includes working to understand what makes us vulnerable and what our truest needs are. It includes developing skills to manage our stress, gain support from healthy relationships, engage in meaningful work, find opportunities for creativity and service, and consistently nurture our spirituality.

When we have sinned, God calls us to repent and then promises us forgiveness; when we face weakness, God calls us to humility and then promises us grace. The LDS Bible Dictionary defines grace as divine help made possible by the Atonement of Christ. It says that grace is an enabling power that strengthens us to “do good works that [we] otherwise would not be able to maintain” on our own. As Ether 12:27 states, we qualify for grace by humility, which means being teachable, meek, and patient. With humility we recognize we can’t do everything. We seek out tutors and helpers, we practice, and we keep trying when we fail. We take the necessary risks to improve, building on what we do right as well as learning from our errors.

When Moses was called as a prophet, he worried greatly about his weakness, and he wrestled with God about his poor speaking ability, lack of leadership stature, and fear of Pharaoh and the children of Israel. For each of these weaknesses God graciously promised help, answers, even miracles. But when Moses then told the Lord to go find someone else for the job because he was too weak, God became angry at Moses for claiming weakness when he was actually rebelling against a call from the Lord. Moses repented of his sin and tackled his weakness, setting an example for us on both counts. God is patient with our weakness, and we are to be patient with one another’s weakness and with our own.

Christ not only atoned for our sins but also succors us in our weakness. Alma describes seven categories of experience Christ would atone for on our behalf. One of these categories is sin, which He took upon Himself “that he might blot out [our] transgressions according to the power of his deliverance.” In addition, Christ took upon Himself our “pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind . . . sicknesses . . . death . . . and . . . infirmities.” He took upon Him these mortal weaknesses “that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor [comfort and help] his people according to their infirmities” (Alma 7:11–13).

The pains, afflictions, temptations, infirmities, family dynamics, and physiology associated with same-gender attraction are not something we need to repent of but something we need to be humble about—that is, learn from, learn about, and plead with God for comfort and grace (help, strength, and enabling power) to manage. As we humble ourselves and call upon God, He will strengthen us to bear our burdens and grow from our difficulties. He will make weak things become strong unto us. He may not change us any more than He changed Moroni’s ability to write when he complained about this weakness. But He can ensure that our weakness does not stop us from completing our personal mortal mission or finding happiness and peace. We may not gain the approval of the world by trusting God’s grace, but we can obtain the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, the friendship of Jesus Christ, and the approbation of our Father.

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