In the past, I used to believe that love without sex is not true love. “Sexual Intimacy = Love.” Where did I get this idea from?
Growing up in Singapore, tennis was my life. I moved to the United States when I was 14 to train full-time at a tennis academy and spent my teenage years there. Watching American TV shows and movies, I quickly concluded that “Sexual Intimacy = Love.” As soon as there were sparks of so-called “love” on screen, sex would follow very quickly. I learnt that the bottom line is, “Where there is love, there is sex!” This is what I saw on reel life but and also in real life — my peers were frequently engaging in sex with one another. So, this is what I believed. I embraced the “freedom to love.” I believed in the freedom to pursue sexual intimacy with anyone I had romantic feelings for, regardless of gender.
FALLING IN LOVE
In 2003, after graduating from university, I returned to Singapore for a short holiday. This short trip changed the course of my life.
I was 21 and fell in love for the first time. She was female and a Christian.
Soon after, I decided to give up my job, apartment, car, friends, and life of almost ten years in the US to come back to Singapore to pursue the relationship, not knowing if she would embrace “us”.
One day, she said to me, “Jaime, I’m sorry. I love you, but I love God. I cannot walk down this path with you. I will love you as David loved Jonathan, but I cannot be the person that you want me to be” (David and Jonathan are two friends in the Bible who shared a deep friendship and loyalty to one another [1 Sam 18:1–4]). My heart was shattered. I had given up my life in the US and travelled halfway around the world to pursue the woman of my dreams. Back then, I was an atheist. I could not comprehend how this person could choose some “non-existent God” over me, a real person standing in front of her.
I refused to give up and devised a plan to win her over. I wanted to prove to her that there is no such thing as “God” and that the Bible is nothing but a book of lies. That marked the beginning of my journey to disprove Christianity.
THE INCONVENIENT TRUTH
Over the course of two years, I came to realise that science, logic, history, archaeology, prophecy, and philosophy all point to a Creator God, and that Jesus of Nazareth is indeed the Son of God. The evidence was so great that I’ve even written a book called Uncovering the Truth — An Attempt to Disprove Christianity.
But imagine my dismay. My heart and head were pulled in opposing directions! In 2006, I made an unwilling decision to become a Christian, based on logic and rationale, but my heart hated God for taking away my “freedom to love” (to pursue a same-sex relationship). Christians used to say to me, “When you become a Christian, you will experience love, joy, peace, and hope.” But that was not my experience. I felt caged and denied my freedom. I could not understand why, if God is love, He would be against me pursuing the love of my life. For the next seven years, my life was a rollercoaster and in 2013, I fell into depression and became suicidal.
During those years, I used to say to my friend, “If we love each other, it would only be natural that we are sexually intimate. “Sexual Intimacy = Love,” right? But her reply was, “No, Jaime. Because I love you, I don’t want to cross that line with you.” I simply could not understand this.
I BELIEVED IN THE FREEDOM TO PURSUE SEXUAL INTIMACY WITH ANYONE I HAD ROMANTIC FEELINGS FOR, REGARDLESS OF GENDER.
LOVE OF A DIFFERENT KIND
On the one hand, I felt rejected by her. Yet, on the other hand, I experienced a kind of love from her that I had never experienced before. She became a friend to me in a way that surpassed my own understanding. I used to frequently argue with her. Yet, as a lawyer who is far more eloquent and articulate than I was or ever will be, she chose not to win with words in debates or arguments but simply with her actions.
Our views on LGBT issues were clearly divergent. Yet, she was patient in listening to me. She was kind in her responses, always gentle and never rude. She was selfess and forgiving, despite how I hurt her. She was a voice of truth sharing God’s message of love and hope for me. Throughout my journey, she was there to pray with me, sing songs of hope to me, and read the Bible to me. I watched how she continued to trust God, hope for my salvation and repentance, and persevere in prayer for me.
As I studied the Bible, it became clear that God designed sex for enjoyment and procreation between a husband (male) and a wife (female). “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one “flesh” (Gen 2:24). Sexual deviations, whether through pornography, homosexuality, orgies, paedophilia, or bestiality, violate God’s intentions for us. And the day came when the revelation of the truth of God’s Word penetrated my heart. I finally understood what my friend meant when she said, “Because I love you, I don’t want to cross that line with you.” My friend helped me to understand that to love is to protect (1 Cor 13:7). She chose to protect the sanctity of God’s original design for my body instead of violating it. Similarly, if I truly loved her, I had to let go of my desire to push her into a lesbian relationship.
A CHOICE TO BE HOLY
Of course, I have had to deal with the question, “I know it’s wrong but yet I’m still attracted to someone of the same sex. Does that make me a lesbian?”
No. I don’t believe so. I’ve come to realise that because of the fallen nature of humankind, every human being is born with inclinations toward all sorts of sin, be they alcoholism, rage, homosexuality, and so on. It is my view that my inclinations do not define me as a person but rather reveal to me my areas of need to exercise restraint. We are not defined by our inclinations but by our choices.
In studying the profiles of murderers in the world, one common denominator psychiatrists find among them is a high level of rage. Does this mean that if young children exhibit high levels of rage, they are born to be murderers? I don’t believe so — correlation does not imply causation. Just because the two facts are closely related to each other does not mean that one causes the other. Instead, I believe that these children can be taught to exercise self-control, which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.
In the same way, I am not defined by my sexual inclinations. As a person with same-sex inclinations, I have chosen not to act on my inclinations and turn away from same-sex attractions. I have also chosen to turn away from pornography after watching it for over fifteen years.
Christianity is a lifestyle of daily surrender in every aspect of our lives, whether it is in acknowledging and giving up our lust, idolatry, anger, selfish ambition, and so on. Often, society tends to single out LGBT issues, but as I once heard a friend say, “God never said, ‘Be heterosexual for I am heterosexual.’ He said, ‘Be holy because I am holy’” (Lev 11:44; 1 Pet 1:16). Purity and holiness is a choice, beyond sexuality, for every area of our lives.
Today, my friend and I truly have the covenantal friendship she offered to me when she said, “I will love you as David loved Jonathan.” God has answered her prayer. Our friendship is not focused on sexual or physical intimacy as I had once hoped for, but on serving God together and helping young people to fulfil their dreams in sports, arts, media and missions.