By Matt Moore – BarbWire Guest Contributor
Michael Sam goes down in history this weekend as the first openly ‘gay’ player in NFL. I couldn’t care less about football — really, zero percent interest — but I can see how this is a massive deal for many NFL fans across the country. I wrote a blog last year when Sam first began to hit all of our news feeds and just shared how I thought that this would be great opportunity to engage our unbelieving friends (specifically the ones who love football) with the gospel. Moral controversy, especially sexual moral controversy, always gets people talking and I hope that Christians will take advantage of that and try to direct the conversations around them about Sam and his “gay-ness” to the gospel.
While I’m obviously not down with condoning homosexual behavior, I do think that in some ways this whole GAY NFL PLAYER “scandal” can be used for good.
It could, hopefully, be used to destroy some of the silly stereotypes out there when it comes to what being “gay” looks like. People think of gay guys and they picture drag queens or skinny jeans (sorry, hipsters!) or man purses (sorry again, hipsters!) I hope that the “out-ness” of Michael Sam will open all of our eyes a smidgen more to see that homosexuality affects way more types of people than we think. Like people who play football or fish or hunt or do other things a “man’s man” would do.
Have you ever considered that maybe there are people around you that you would never expect — like Michael Sam — to be attracted to the same sex, but are? Like, maybe your coworker? Your boss? Your workout buddy? Your student? Your teacher? Your pastor? Your brother?
Our culture – including our church culture – remains plagued with the mocking of gays; especially of gay men. It’s all in “good fun,” so they say…and to a degree I believe that. I don’t think that there are many people out there going around mocking gays with intentions on actually making people feel insecure or inferior.
But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t.
I hope that if you’re one of those guys who are constantly cracking the homo-jokes that you might entertain the possibility that there are guys close to you who are struggling with homosexuality. And that maybe they are hell-bent on keeping that part of themselves a secret because of people like you. And that maybe that secret is eating them alive — to the point of causing them to contemplate suicide?
You might be like, “Oh, Matt, don’t be so dramatic!”
I just got an email yesterday from a young “closeted” 21-year-old guy who was contemplating taking his life Saturday night. And I’ve been in regular communication with another “closeted” guy in his late 20’s who said he was going to kill himself Friday night…. and then he cut off communication from everyone. Deleted his Facebook, turned his phone off… everything. Thankfully, another friend of ours was able to get a local pastor to go find him at his workplace and reach out to him. But my point is that there are people everywhere who are suffering in ways you can’t imagine. Fearful in ways you can’t imagine. Hating themselves in ways you can’t imagine.
My goal isn’t to guilt trip anyone – although some may need just that – but to encourage guys to consider putting the gay-mocking to death and to stop contributing to the fear and self-hatred of those around them who might be secretly struggling. There are a million other things you could laugh and joke about. Would you instead consider trying to become the type of person – a Christ-like person– that they would feel safe disclosing a secret like this to?
The world – and the Church – would be a much better place if you would.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”- Ephesians 4:29
Matt Moore is a 25-year-old writer who has spent the last few years engaging the culture in discussions about sexuality and faith. In 2010, Matt converted to Christianity from a lifestyle of homosexuality. He greatly desires, through his writing, to help the gay community understand homosexuality from a Biblical worldview and to know the hope that is available to them in Christ. Matt lives in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he moved in 2012 as part of a church planting team.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.