January 25, 2024

Jesus and Queerness: The Cross and the Q of LGBTQ+

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Early in my ministry with Harvest USA, a friend put words to angst I’d felt earlier in life. I wasn’t a “boy crazy” girl or young adult and the desire for marriage and kids wasn’t strong, as it was for many of my peers. Things I perceived as girly held no attraction for me. I had a happy, fun-filled childhood. Yet, as I grew up, I felt separated from others . . . different. My new friend’s words seemed autobiographical—for me! She said, “I felt ‘other.’”

At age thirteen, this friend’s experience of same-sex attraction triggered thoughts and emotions that led to her self-diagnosis: I’m different and weird and don’t fit in.

SSA hasn’t been my story. My sense of feeling negatively different from peers stemmed from desires and preferences regarding my experiences as a girl. I felt queer: odd, obviously different from what I perceived to be the societal norms around me.

What Does Queer Mean Today? 

The word “queer” has an interesting history, though its origin isn’t precisely known. Initially used to describe something as strange, odd, or peculiar (how I felt), in the 1800s “queer” morphed into a slur used to describe men who had sex with men. Fast forward to the 2000s and it’d become an umbrella term in LGBTQ+ vocabulary to refer to someone who does not experience sexual or romantic attraction to the opposite sex (what society labels heteronormative) and/or does not identify with or accept the gender binary of male or female (I’ll call this gender binary “creation normativity”).

“Queer”[1] is now a mainstream term attached to experiences that are outside of God’s creation intent. Creation normativity, in contrast, is when male and female image-bearers flourish as relational, engendered, and sexual beings entrusted with the gift and capacity of loving and serving through satisfying community—friendship, family, brother-sister relationships, and marriage.

To be sure, sin’s corrupting power has devastated our ability to enjoy gender and sexuality in the ways God lovingly intended. And the body of Christ has a long way to go in bringing the balm and transformation of the gospel to those who identify with the Q of LGBTQ+. Remember: at the heart of Q is a sense of not fitting in with what is accepted as normal—and that can be painful.

Many who identify with LGBTQ+ have felt their otherness weaponized against them by Christians rather than having the gospel of Jesus offered and explained. Weaponizing sin and suffering against someone is also sin.

The gospel of Jesus is thick with compassion for suffering saints and unwavering in the call to holiness for saints who sin.

The truth is, most of us have felt at some point that we didn’t fit in due to the types of suffering we endure, the sins we pursue, or the preferences we have. And, in response to the pain of feeling on the outside and the confusion of why we perceived we were different from others, we gave way to the common-to-all temptation to interpret our experiences, and our very selves, from a personal grid of truth. We are meaning-makers. When unmoored from God’s Word and the life-giving, freedom-infusing promises of the gospel, we develop and live out false identities based on those false diagnoses. “Live your truth” is not a helpful mantra because our truth is not reliable!

Queerness Through a Gospel Lens

What does Jesus and his good news say about queerness and the experiences leading some to identify as such? He, the one and only unique Son of God? Jesus, God come to us in the flesh, the one beside whom there is no other? Jesus, our Lord, who alone has been exalted to a unique place and shares his glory with no one? This loving king, gentle friend—the truth incarnate—is the ultimate Other. It’s only in him that our otherness is redeemed and beautifully serves his unique purpose: to make us more like himself.

I can assure you that Jesus does not say, “Get over it. I’m done with you till you drop  the ‘Q.’” He’s the truth, the light, and the healer of broken hearts. He doesn’t forget that, as Savior, he came to rescue us from the pain and suffering we face due to this sinful world and our sinful hearts. He sympathetically knows that feeling ‘other’ is often excruciating.

Yet, my friend, we won’t read anything in the Bible that encourages us to understand ourselves or cultivate an “identity home” based on our unique experiences, worldly categories, or perceived queerness—whether despised and hated, prized and craved, or celebrated and worshiped. The gospel of Jesus is thick with compassion for suffering saints and unwavering in the call to holiness for saints who sin.

Jesus is utterly OTHER than us. He is the only Savior to become human, die, rise, ascend, and send his Spirit to indwell us. He is the only Redeemer who will come again to transform every drop of sinful brokenness in this world. He offers to be our life, our home, our truth, and our transformation as we identify with him. He brings his children from death to life, darkness to light, blindness to sight, heart-crushing pain to ecstatic joy, gut-wrenching isolation to soul-filling relational celebration—from being ‘other’ to belonging. And that’s just for starters.

Jesus commands that we bring every part of what may feel queer about ourselves to him. We must understand who and what we are through Christ and what he has accomplished through the stunning uniqueness of his cross.

Your home and safe place of acceptance, comfort, and eternal identity can only be IN Christ.

And for readers who distance themselves from anything or anyone connected with all things LGBTQ+, Jesus commands you, too, to yield your heart under his loving lordship and guidance. It is vitally important to remember that if someone identifies with any LGBTQ+ letter, they are revealing something which has become precious to them. Learn why and how that is by humbling yourself with curious questions and patient listening.

The Cross and the Q

Jesus IS unique! He lived an extraordinary life, suffered an extraordinary death, and extraordinarily rose from the dead, ascended to heaven, and will return. Friends, for those who feel odd, other, in a unique category of sin or suffering—if you have attached to the Q of LGBTQ+ because of things you’ve done or your sense of not fitting in with societal or creation normativity—look to Jesus, receive his loving care, and submit to his rule. Your home and safe place of acceptance, comfort, and eternal identity can only be IN Christ.

I don’t know your unique story, but Jesus, uniquely, does. Because of his extraordinary and accomplished work through the cross, you can believe in and identify with his life, death, and resurrection rather than your feelings, personal beliefs, and even man-made identities.

Christ became human, and if ever there was a person who did not fit in, it was him. He is sympathetic[2] to how and why you feel queer; he is compassionate toward you regarding the path that may have led you to identify as a queer person. On the cross, he was uniquely wounded to bear our unique sins and heartaches—including the fallout of false teaching and unbelief. He is the one and only Savior who renews our minds and heals broken hearts from the inside-out. And he’s the only spiritual leader to die for his followers, rise from the grave, and offer us the unique, living hope of transformation now in this life and a life to come that will be beautifully, redemptively ‘other’ than the life we know now (2 Cor. 5:14–17 and Rev. 21:5).

Steps of Faith for Someone Who Feels Queer

Believer, Jesus knows you thoroughly; he really does. Name your feelings and questions to him, reflecting on the Scriptures I mention above. Then, share your story with someone in your life who loves Jesus and is devoted to his Word. If you don’t have anyone in your life, our team would love to listen and walk with you.[3] Finally, consider getting Remade: Embracing Your Complete Identity in Christ, which I’m reading. It gives bite-sized, Bible-rich encouragement that I hope will stir your heart to rest in the truth of who you really are in Christ.

[1]  There are academic and sociological concepts and theories connected to the word “queer,” such as Queer Theory, that go beyond the focus of my article.

[2] This is a wonderful book to understand the heart of Jesus: “Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers.

[3] Click one of the following links to set up an appointment:

More resources you might like:

Ellen Mary Dykas

Director of Equipping for Ministry to Women

Ellen joined Harvest USA in 2007 as our first full-time women’s ministry staff. Ellen received her MA from Covenant Theological Seminary and a graduate certificate in biblical counseling from Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF).

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