Your heart is racing. You feel a little uneasy, maybe a lot.
Your roommate has just revealed what you already thought; maybe you had no idea at all. Time seems to stand still for just a moment as you look into each others eyes, both wondering what your reactions will be. It could just as easily be your office mate.
What do you say? What do you do? If something is difficult for one roommate, that difficulty is likely to affect the other. Your roommate may have a keen interest in how you handle this disclosure. What you think and feel about your roommate matters. Like yourself, your roommate is a precious person made in the image of God. Like you, this person is a sinner, prone to doing the wrong thing and to taking things the wrong way. You may feel a tension between standing up for what you think is right and living out what you believe.
Standing for the truth and acting in love can seem almost completely at odds with each other. This is a kind of pressure Christians feel all the time, but homosexuality is such an emotional issue it can heighten the tension. Sharing a common space with someone usually involves conflict, and living or working together everyday creates a lot of opportunities for friction. If you are a Christian, these conflicts are also opportunities to extend the grace of the gospel. Things you will want to be sure not to do include the following:.
Yes, it is of course appropriate and even necessary at times to communicate clearly to people what God says is true about their conduct, even or especially when what they are doing is sinful and destructive Ezekiel Your heart. To put the truth up for grabs only makes things more confusing Proverbs If you are really not sure what God thinks about same-sex attraction, or if you are not sure you really care all that much what God thinks, it is important to be honest about your doubts.
You may be tempted to quietly smolder in resentment, thinking your roommate has mistreated you by putting you in this situation. Better you should have a conflict over something important than about who left a dish out on the counter or who left the window open when it rained 1 Corinthians The disclosure of sensitive and potentially damaging information by one person to another is an occasion for caution, not for chit chat. Someone may or may not care a great deal about what you say about them or to whom you say it.
Address the desire in your heart to gossip. To help you process the information, perhaps you can identify one trustworthy person whose insight you think might be helpful to you and who will keep the information confidential.
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Talking with one good confidante is fine; choose well and stop there Proverbs ; ; Especially if the person telling you he or she is gay appears hostile, defiant, or overly assertive, you may be tempted to fight fire with fire by being similarly hostile, defiant, or assertive. Even if the person with whom you are speaking is mild-mannered and polite, just the potential for conflict can provoke you to want to forcefully destroy what contributes to your tension, even if that something is another person.
Fighting only gives your roommate good reason to dismiss everything else you might say or do Proverbs ; In avoiding a fight, you may be tempted to take little jabs here and there at your roommate, moving from holding a grudge to spiteful, indirect conflict to effectively mistreating a person because he or she has told you they are gay. You may find yourself wanting to get back at your roommate in little ways, only to find you are reinforcing what he or she may have already taken for granted C Christians hate gays Proverbs Finally, in an attempt to avoid both conflict and mistakes, you may be tempted to retreat from the situation altogether.
You may even consider having your room asment changed. Before you do anything, before you say anything to anybody else, pray. If you are not sure what to do or say, you can ask God for wisdom and know he will give it to you NehemiahJames Sometimes the person making this disclosure may not want to talk with you anymore about it, but that would be unusual. You can volunteer your own thoughts too, being careful not to insist that the other person agree with you. I appreciate you being honest with me that way. One way not to feel like your options are taken away is to know what those options are.
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For example, there are circumstances in which you could understandably request a room reasment. You may not necessarily want to change your living situation, but knowing whether and how can make you feel a little more like you could if you had to. At the same time, roommates are often very insensitive to how they use their common space, and there are some concerns that, while not unique to having a gay roommate, may make a move advisable.
If your roommate is participating in activity in your room that bothers you e. Your RA can help Having a gay roommate sort out your options in a peacemaking role. These may not be concerns related specifically to same-sex attraction, just average roommate problems.
Knowing your options can help you feel less trapped by your circumstances. Showing compassion may be the hardest part of dealing with your roommate. On the one hand, you may not feel a lot of compassion, so that being motivated to be compassionate Having a gay roommate seem impossible. Obviously, as with all people, your roommate may rejoice in sin or despair under conviction, and you may not find it appropriate to rejoice or sorrow with them in all instances. Jesus did not wait for us to agree with him that we are sinners before he showed us compassion. Sometimes if your religious convictions are known to others, folks will have understandable assumptions about what you think, feel, or believe.
Often the relative importance or particular place that same-sex attraction holds in your own world view may not be immediately apparent, and the more you talk about it, the more likely it will appear to others that it is a colossally big deal in comparison with other issues in your mind. Without trying to prove that you are right, you can try to help your roommate understand why you are uncomfortable, why other issues make you uncomfortable, etc. If you are uncomfortable with your roommate, without realizing it you may be withdrawing yourself from that person in such a way that he or she may feel excluded.
While this may not be your intention, what you communicate to someone when you are reacting unconsciously out of personal interest is that such people are to be avoided. You can go a long way towards relieving tension and living out the gospel just by deliberately including your roommate in all kinds of things in your life. Because you are a Christian and your roommate is gay is no excuse for your sins.
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Indeed, if you think you can sin openly with impunity is to communicate that hypocrisy is okay, but same-sex attraction is not. Show your roommate what confession, repentance, asking for forgiveness, and restitution look like. Maybe he or she will catch on. Life is not easy, neat, or okay, and neither are people.
There is an understandable impulse to change conflict and tension into peace and order. All you can hope for between two sinners is either a honest humility amidst sin in our hearts and conduct, or b superficial conflict avoidance amidst sin in our hearts and conduct. Think about your own sin. Is it in your own power alone to change your whole heart and life Having a gay roommate be what it should be? Often people will get very resentful towards God for not relieving their tensions the way they want when they want.
God is wiser and more patient than we are, and he knows best how to work in your circumstances. God has called us to love our neighbors as ourselves Galatians How would you want anyone to react to you when you were celebrating something that was wrong? Can you imagine the disappointment you might feel to learn someone close to you objected to something that in your mind was foundational to who you are as a person?
On the other hand, can you imagine how distrustful you might feel toward someone you learned had been less than honest with you about something so important? Whatever you do, you must be honest. Be yourself, be real, and trust God to work in your circumstances for his glory through your weaknesses and failings, for his glory and for the good of all who will heed him. Share This Story:.