I spent quite a bit of time yesterday talking to a friend about the ugliness of sin.

It’s a tough thing to be in love with your best friend and even tougher to continually let those desires go unfulfilled precisely because you love that friend and want what’s best for them, never mind having been bought at a price and honoring God with your body, dying to self and struggling through what that means in your day-to-day life.

But it’s incredibly rewarding to know that in Christ, this is a good work.  Not a work done out of compulsion, but a work done out of gratitude and love for the One who purchased me.  This doesn’t make it easy all of the time and the frustration is very real.

Finding ways in which to convey my love for this individual which don’t cross important physical boundaries is challenging at times, but it’s well worth the effort.  I would lose out on a wonderful friend if I chose to sin against him sexually and as much as I might want him physically, it’s worth giving up that desire to not only honor him but God.

Sin is ugly.  It’s robbing more than one of my good friends of their souls.  I have shed many tears over its affects in the last few months.  It’s robbed me of one of my best friends.

I sleep alone at night and I hate it.  I crave the security of waking up in the middle of the night and seeing someone next to me who won’t leave me…someone who is there that I can lean on and someone I can serve.  The couple of times I’ve been in positions where it was appropriate to sleep with friends in their beds, I can tell you I’ve never slept better.  I think this is because I fear being alone for the rest of my life.  I don’t recall the last time I slept all the way through the night, but I do recall the last time I woke up only once…and one of my best friends was beside me…and all was right with the world.

Sin keeps me from that.  Not from sleeping with my best friends…CHRIST does THAT…but rather being able to love someone that way of the opposite sex with whom such a relationship would be potentially God-honoring in its scope, and with whom I could share my complete self–including, but not limited to, hopes, fears, loves, hates and sexuality.  Sin robs me of the very connection I crave and distorts my love for my friends.

Sin is ugly universally.  My sin-problem is politically charged right now, in my lifetime.  Some people think I should deny my feelings and squelch them and hold my breath until Jesus returns…maybe even find a nice wife, have some kids and keep myself busy.  These same people would probably be appalled if they found out that their worship leader was gay.

Other people think that I should embrace my feelings, equating “natural” with “just fine.”  That’s certainly a leap I’m not willing to make, especially since Scripture specifically teaches that every inclination of the human heart is evil…and every time I look into myself, I see darkness.

But before you write me off as a self-loathing homosexual, let me offer a counterpoint.

Again I say, sin is ugly universally.  A straight man who loves to watch pretty ladies and undress them in his mind has committed adultery.  I’m guilty of that too, just not with ladies.  A mom who gets mad at the ones close to her and unloads about her day to them, taking out her frustration on them and speaking harsh words…that’s ugly.  And I’ve done that too, just not to my kids, since I don’t have any.

The person who decides they can’t cope with life and goes for an extra drink so that they won’t have to think about their problems…that’s ugly to themselves and those around them.  I’ve done that too…just not with alcohol.  My intoxicant of choice is procrastination, but it’s just as ugly as anything else.

The good news is that in Christ, I not only find forgiveness from my sin: I find peace knowing that I will not answer for my sins to God because Christ’s perfect obedience is credited to me.  Every thought and deed which does not line up with God’s law is sin…and Christ bore my sins on the cross.  Past, present and future–all were upon Him.

So what does this mean for me now?  It means that I can honor God with my body with my best friend.  It means I can pray that God would restore to me one of my other best friends, that He would grant him repentance…and I know that God hears my prayer.  It means I can sleep at night, imperfectly desiring God and knowing that though He demands perfect love that I can never deliver, that perfect love was delivered to Him by Christ.

This news is sweet; like a spring day after the cold of winter has finally subsided!

My heart is heavy today, but not because this news is bad…it’s because I’m worried about a great many things.

Sin is ugly.