This article is an answer to a question posed in our Facebook group, the Pulpit Bunker, which you can join on Facebook to pose sincere questions in exchange for Biblical answers.
The idea that homosexuality is ‘a cross to carry’ comes from an idiom taken from Jesus in Matthew 16.
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? (Matthew 16:24-26).
So then, is homosexuality or Same-Sex Attaction (they’re synonymous, no matter what someone tells you) a “cross to carry?”
As John Gill explains this passage (particularly the first verse cited above):
let him deny himself: let him deny sinful self, ungodliness, and worldly lusts; and part with them, and his former sinful companions, which were as a part of himself: let him deny righteous self, and renounce all his own works of righteousness, in the business of justification and salvation; let him deny himself the pleasures and profits of this world, when in competition with Christ; let him drop and banish all his notions and expectations of an earthly kingdom, and worldly grandeur, and think of nothing but reproach, persecution, and death, for the sake of his Lord and Master:
The ‘gay Christian’ (if ever there were such a thing) should be willing to deny homosexuality a place in their identity. Continuing to identify with homosexuality is the opposite of denying oneself. The real Christian walks away from sins rather than making peace with them (1 Corinthians 6:11). The process of ‘denying oneself’ requires not holding onto the sin, but letting it go. Therefore, as sin, it’s nothing to pick up and carry.
take up his cross; cheerfully receive, and patiently bear, every affliction and evil, however shameful and painful it may be, which is appointed for him, and he is called unto; which is his peculiar cross, as every Christian has his own; to which he should quietly submit, and carry, with a resignation to the will of God, in imitation of his Lord:
A “cross to carry” is not a sin-nature that you’re carrying around like a dead, diseased and rotting corpse strapped to your back. Your cross is not sin. Your cross is the penalty for sin (just as Christ’s cross was a penalty for sin).
In fact, the sin itself was imputed to Christ, with Christ becoming sin for us according to 2 Corinthians 5:21. The cross was not imputed with our sin…Jesus was.
Therefore, it is improper to speak of your sinful proclivities as your “cross to carry.” The cross is not sin. Sin is something you drop…it’s not something your pick up.
According to Gill’s interpretation of the passage (and others), the cross is emblematic of the consequences of sin-bearing, which include the internal and external – perhaps negative – consequences of sanctification or of identity with Christ.
Identifying with gayness is not cross-carrying. Identifying with Christ is cross-carrying.
However, evangelicals leaders like Same-Sex Attracted Jonathan Merritt and Ed Stetzer in this video discuss homosexuality going from a “curse,” to a “cross” to…a “crown.” Watch below.
No, homosexuality is not a cross to pick up. It’s a curse to put down.
[Publisher’s Note: By the way, try not to get your theology from a gay guy. Just sayin’]