Updated: Feb 23
Do you know Guy? If you know him, you wonder how someone with that big a smile could have gone through that much hurt. As you watch the documentary Finding Guy, you’ll see a smile that starts out hiding tragedy and shame. But now that big smile shows hard-won joy. How so? It’s because after realizing that he’d been looking in the wrong places, Guy found in Jesus the identity and love he was looking for. Here are 4 takeaways from the Finding Guy documentary (spoiler alert!).
#1 – Churches need to be places of transparency. The documentary shows how Guy grew up as a preacher’s kid, and the only times his dad spoke of homosexuals, it was in a tone of disgust and anger. There was no way that Guy was going to tell his dad, or anybody in the church for that matter, that he was gay and was secretly acting on his impulses. Even later in life when he rejoined church life and secretly committed to stopping his anonymous homosexual encounters, he found himself back to living a double life in shame.
For Christians with same-sex attraction, are the only options to 1) hide your secret in shame, until you 2) publicly and proudly come out as gay and “exvangelical”?
These weren’t the choices to the New Testament church. It was no secret within the Corinthian church that some of their members had struggles with homosexuality (1 Corinthians 6:9). But they had confessed their sins and “. . . were washed . . . sanctified . . . justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (6:11). Although we Christians have plenty of sins to confess, what has happened to make homosexuality the one we can’t seem to confess in church so that we might receive mercy and help? Churches must be places which encourage transparency, and to become so, they must become places of truth and grace.
#2 – There’s a difference between love and attractiveness. Thankfully, Guy found a church which was neither unkind to him nor unfaithful to the standards of the Bible. In this church, Guy experienced authentic acceptance and biblical discipling. It was also in this church that Guy met Cathy. Although Guy loved her deeply and they became a happily married couple, Guy tried but never could feel the same way physically toward her that a heterosexual person would naturally feel.
Yet the marriage still blossomed into one of the most tender, committed marriages you’ll find.
There’s a difference between physical attractiveness and love, and the documentary shows the superiority of the latter, a lesson for every marriage. It’s especially moving to hear Guy’s wife tell him, “You’re more than I could have asked for.”
#3 – Dialogue is possible. Early in the documentary, Guy says, “I would like to think there’s a way to dialogue in a way that doesn’t lower the biblical standard and also lifts up the love, mercy, and compassion of Jesus.” But these are times defined by bitter polarization. Is dialogue between Bible-believing churches and the LGBTQ community a realistic hope? It’s a funny hope coming from someone who gets regularly criticized from people on both sides.
But as we see from the documentary, Guy holds sensible beliefs which should logically make civil, even friendly, dialogue possible, between two sides that have irreconcilable views on sexual ethics. Here are some of those beliefs:
Both sides can agree that every person needs to be treated with dignity, kindness, and respect, regardless of what they are attracted to, what they believe, or how they decide to live their lives.
Even though both sides will continue to disagree on sexual ethics, they don’t have to stay separate on every other issue. There are other concerns, such as feeding the homeless, third world development, and bullying, around which both sides can find common cause.
Most homosexuals are just regular folks who don’t want to fight or argue. They aren’t interested in shutting down bakeries or censoring churches. They just want to live their lives in peace.
True, some debates have no end in sight; for example, the science continues to frustrate those looking for a genetic cause for homosexuality. Is homosexuality caused by nature or nurture? The jury is still out. But the primary issue is one which sidesteps these secondary debates: Regardless of what feels natural to a particular person, God has given that person the ability to choose Jesus over homosexuality. For decades, Guy has been walking proof of this. If, as Guy says, “Our ability to choose supersedes genetics,” then we don’t have to get as bogged down in debates which have no end in sight.
Even when Christians can find themselves distressed and provoked by LGBTQ militance, that doesn’t mean that Christians have to respond with angry combativeness. In Athens, when Paul found that “his spirit was provoked within him” when he saw the city full of idols, he didn’t respond by organizing protests with bullhorns. Rather, he responded by reasoning with people. The result? Some thought he was crazy. Others became curious. Still others became followers of Jesus. When our spirits are provoked, we too can respond by reasoning with people. The responses to our reasoning will be mixed, but more people will be in heaven as a result.
#4 – Some people don’t fit popular narratives, and that should call those narratives into question. We live in a culture heavily influenced by “intersectional feminism.” Emerging in the 1990s, this wave of feminism categorizes people together on the basis of the injustices they have faced. Accordingly, groups living at multiple intersections of injustice (e.g. sexual, gender, racial and religious minorities) are the ones who ought to take their turn defining justice for the rest of society.
It’s not surprising then that intersectional feminists tend to be downright dismissive of people who are perceived as belonging to the upscale groupings of society. If you’re a white, male Christian who believes in traditional marriage? Then, according to intersectionality, you belong to multiple historically oppressive classes, and the best thing you can do for society is keep your mouth shut.
Yet here comes Guy Hammond: white, male, Christian, and completely committed to the sexual norms of the New Testament church. Clearly an oppressor, right?
And yet you’ll find, as even hostile-at-first college audiences have found, that Guy the Christian is no oppressor. He isn’t looking to impose dominance but rather to propose dialogue. Even if you don’t agree with him, he is insistent on treating you with dignity, kindness, and respect. Far from being an oppressor, if anyone knows what it’s like to have life’s dice loaded against him, it’s Guy. This white, male, Bible-believing Christian doesn’t at all fit the cultural narrative. Neither does Guy fit into the narrative that says, “Homosexuals choose to be that way.” Guy grew up in church, knowing just how angry Christians could be at the gays whose agenda they felt was taking over their country. He had zero desire to be attracted to males, as his agonized prayers for change of orientation continued to go unanswered. But there is a narrative that fits Guy well: the imperfect but faithful followers of God we read about in our Bible. Though facing inward turbulence and outward mistreatment, they daily chose Jesus because He was better than what they’d left behind. May we too aspire to deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Jesus wherever He calls us.
(To watch the documentary Finding Guy, click here.)
Originally published at Renew.org, used with permission.