Have you ever wondered what people think of you? As my husband is Alan Chambers, the President of Exodus International, I have. At present, he is somewhat of a conundrum for a lot of people. There seems to be some confusion about who he is, what he is saying and what he stands for. Here it is in a nutshell: while he has repeatedly stated his biblically orthodox view of sexuality, he has also stated his belief that one particular sin is not somehow more offensive to God than another. As his wife, I have stayed out of most of the chaos, but there are a few things that I cannot be silent about any longer. So here it goes…
It literally astounds me that there are some who would still point Alan, or other same-sex attracted people, towards “heterosexuality”. Heterosexuality by definition is “sexual relations or attractions between opposite sexes”. Alan has openly admitted his same-sex attractions. As his wife, I can honestly say that the last thing I want him to pursue is heterosexuality. Why, you ask? How am I not threatened by my husband’s same sex attractions? If he pursued heterosexuality, wouldn’t I be more fulfilled in my marriage? Truthfully, I know plenty of marriages where “heterosexual” men and women have made very poor choices as they endeavored to fulfill their heterosexual desires. I do not want Alan to be more attracted to people of the opposite sex. I am thrilled that he is attracted to me and that I am the only person he chooses to direct his attraction toward. What wife doesn’t want that from her husband? Heterosexuality doesn’t guarantee that in any marriage. What would happen to the divorce rate if it did? He is a man after God’s own heart. He is the head of our household. He is my very best friend, my lover and he knows all of me. He is the father of my children, the very best son and son-in-law to our parents. Pursuing “heterosexuality” wouldn’t help him do any of those things better. None of them.
While we are talking about our marriage, there is a consensus between two polarized groups of people as to the probability of the demise of our marriage. Their differences lie in what will cause that demise. Some say it will be the inevitability of Alan’s inability to repress his “true gay identity”. Of these folks, some have pitied me. Some say the demise will come as a result of a “hyper-grace” mentality and at any moment Alan will take advantage of God’s good grace and sin all over the place. Of these folks, some have said that I must be on the verge of a total breakdown.
The truth is that both groups are making these assumptions based on the reality of their own personal lives.
I actually don’t need pity because I’m incredibly fulfilled in my marriage. As for “hyper-grace,” how can being in awe of God’s grace destroy my marriage? It is the hope for my marriage. The peace that comes with knowing that I am a daughter and Alan is a son of the King, the peace that comes with knowing I can trust the God who is in Alan and trust the God who is in me, far exceeds any insecurities that come with unrighteous thoughts or deeds either of us experience in our flesh. It is in God’s grace that our marriage is secure.
While we are talking about God’s grace, I’d like to comment on the belief that true repentance and forgiveness and right standing with God only come when we desperately seek Jesus and desperately try to or at least want to fix what is broken. This simply does not logically fit into my heart and mind as a mother. I do not need my children’s desperate pleas for forgiveness in order to forgive them. I do not require them to fix anything they break in order for them to be in right standing with me. Do I want them to recognize when they have done wrong. Yes. Is it good for them to apologize? Yes. Is it good for them to try to fix things they have broken? Yes. Is it good for them to change their minds, learn from their mistakes in hopes of not making them again? YES!! All the while, none of that is required for them to be my children. The moment they became mine, they became MINE and nothing can change that! If I, as an earthly mother feel this way about my children, how much more so does our Heavenly Father feel this way about us? There isn’t anything hyper about that. It’s simply giving God credit for being at least as good a parent as I am…. Knowing all the while He is infinitely better!
When it comes right down to it, I don’t feel “desperate” for Jesus at all. I am not desperate to fix things that I have broken or what is broken in my flesh. I have no ability to do either, even if I “desperately” wanted to. The definition of desperate is “without hope.” Microsoft Word lists the following words as synonyms for desperate: frantic, anxious, despairing, worried, and fraught to name a few. A Google search for desperate synonyms lists “atrocious, careless, dangerous, fool hardy, frantic, frenzied, heinous, and violent”. That does not represent how I feel towards my Savior. I seek Him with hope! Because of God’s good grace, I’m actually in agreement with the antonyms listed for desperate. They are: confident, content, satisfied, secure and unworried.
I am unworried about who Jesus is and who I am in Him. I am unworried about who Alan is in Him. Jesus in Alan is the hope for my marriage. That is Alan’s hope concerning me. That is my hope for my children. That is my hope for my friends and neighbors. That is the hope for the Church and for Exodus…. I am cleansed by God’s grace even if my efforts towards repentance of sin and my conscious need for Jesus falls short of what they should be. We can be confident, content, satisfied, and secure in Him. If we are relying on anything within our flesh or on anything we can do to earn or to receive any part of what He has to give away… we are without hope and should feel desperate!
Instead, show me a rooftop where I can shout… THANK YOU JESUS! Christ in me … I am confident of this, that He who began a good work in me and in Alan and in all of us who believe in Him, He will carry it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus!! He will do it. He has done it. Amen!