An authentically Christian evaluation,
offering hope and dignity to hurting, confused
and trapped victims of same-sex attraction
One’s attitude to homosexuality, and towards those who practice it, exposes one’s spiritual flaws more than almost anything else does.|
To imagine that homosexuality is somehow worse than such sins as greed, is as unbiblical as supposing that homosexuality is not sin. God’s holy Word puts homosexuality in the same category as adultery, idolatry, drunkenness, theft and greed (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
If, as Scripture affirms, sex with someone of the same gender is sin, the biblical implications are emphatically not that people suffering such temptation should be considered inferior, much less abandoned. On the contrary, a proper understanding of God and his Word compels us to conclude that the very many Christians undergoing intense homosexual temptation should be the focus of Christian love, and those who keep resisting the temptation should be acclaimed as heroes. If such warmth is not forthcoming, it exposes alarming deficiencies in those who claim to have the Spirit of Christ and where there is particular antagonism, those acting self-righteously might even be impostors, despite all their claims to be godly.
Holiness has nothing to do with lack of temptation, but with suffering horrifically strong temptation and still clinging to Christ. Many of us have been tricked into not realizing that temptation is normal and that its presence says nothing negative about a person. It is so critical that you be utterly convinced that if you have the slightest doubt, I beg you to read the short link, Temptation is Spiritual Rape and then return.
Holy Scripture reveals that suffering temptation – even strong temptation to do atrocious things, such as worshipping Satan (Luke 4:7) – does not defile a person. In fact, being subject to temptation should bond us together, like national unity is strengthened when another country attacks it.
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
Note in the above how the first line of defense when being tempted is the affirmation that we are not alone in our fight but all of humanity struggles with us.
Consider also this Scripture:
1 Peter 5:8-9 . . . Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. (Emphasis mine.)
Here again, the encouragement to keep resisting the devil is the assurance that Christians around the world suffer similar pressures. Additionally, contemplate the importance of Jesus suffering temptation just like us:
Hebrews 2:17-18; 4:15 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way . . . Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. . . . For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are . . .
It was Jesus’ exposure to temptation that qualified him to minister to us. Likewise, our own battles with temptation either makes us feel a kinship with all who suffer temptation or we disqualify ourselves from ministering to others.
“If one part suffers, every part suffers with it,” declares 1 Corinthians 12:26. We are to “mourn with those who mourn,” declares another portion of Holy Writ (Romans 12:15). If this does not happen, something is disturbingly wrong – not with those who are hurting but with any who fail to feel their distress, because:
1 John 1:7,10-11, 3:14-16; 4:8,20-5:1 . . . if we walk in the light . . . we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light . . . But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness . . .
Throughout the Gospels we keep finding our Savior shocking disciples and critics alike by befriending questionable women, tax collectors, pharisaical hypocrites, lepers, beggars, the disabled, the chronically ill, mothers with snotty-nosed children, a Roman centurion, a Canaanite, a Samaritan, and so on. Likewise, when we slip through the rest of the New Testament, we keep bumping into proof that God’s love extends to all and there is meant to be a rich diversity in the body of Christ. To be standoffish because someone is uncomfortably different is to grieve the heart of God.
Will you follow the Christ who gave his all, for all; the Good Shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine to bring back the stray; the exalted Lord who delights in fellowshipping with social misfits? Or will you deny all that he stands for by following the revered Bible scholars and divinely-ordained (note) spiritual leaders who knew Scripture so well and became such experts at judging people that they recognized God’s only Son as being demonic (Mark 3:22) and saw it as their holy duty to put him to death? To look down on anyone we must take our eyes off God above. That change of focus is all it takes to end up terrifyingly lost and never even realize it.
Jesus emphasized that in the eyes of the Eternal Judge, the most critical thing is how much we love. Loving God and loving people, he insisted, is the highest of all our obligations (Matthew 22:36-40). If we don’t get this right, we are nothing (1 Corinthians 13:3).
Our Lord taught that there is no glory in loving those who love us; even the godless do that (Matthew 5:46-47). Likewise, there is no glory in loving those who are virtually identical to us; we are expected to love those who are different.
The entire biblical teaching that we all are part of Christ’s body (e.g. 1 Corinthians 12; Romans 12:4-10) emphasizes that we must love and value Christians who are markedly different from us; just as eyes, ears, hands and feet are very different and yet all of them have divine approval and are essential. In fact, the Bible declares that “those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor” (1 Corinthians 12:22-23).
In another context, Scripture affirms that gender, racial and social differences are of no consequence to God (Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11). No one displaying a different attitude can be regarded as godly. In fact, God’s Word declares that it is as sinful as murder to give preferential treatment to those of higher social status (James 2:1-4,9-11).
Elsewhere, the Bible stresses the importance of respecting Christians who have different beliefs and practices, such as what they consider morally acceptable to eat (Romans 14; 1 Corinthians 8) – a divisive and controversial matter when Scripture was penned. Likewise, the Apostle Paul was appalled at divisions between Christians who felt allegiance to different Christian leaders (1 Corinthians 3). He pronounced this unacceptably carnal (1 Corinthians 3:3). The love Christians show all believers should be legendary:
John 13:34-35 . . . As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
True followers of Jesus must, like God himself, love their enemies and even those despised by non-Christians as too sinful to love. In our era, however, are people claiming to be Jesus’ followers renowned for the way they love the sexually challenged or the perverse? Are they, like Jesus, blasted for loving the depraved and social rejects (Scriptures)? Or, at the very least, are they renowned for how they comfort, support and encourage those in their own ranks who suffer intense same-sex attraction? Is the compassion and understanding of those who claim Jesus as their Lord so profound that all who suffer homosexual temptation rush to tell their fellow Christians about it; confident that they will receive from them all the tender support they crave?
Satan and his evil hordes are like beasts of prey whose primary tactic is to isolate an individual from the flock in order to attack and kill it. You’ve seen wildlife documentaries. When there are predators, flocks/herds not only stick together, they typically gather around vulnerable individuals; risking their lives to protect them. Is this how average Christians run to encourage those attacked by strong same-sex temptation; selflessly sacrificing their own comfort to give them maximum protection; stooping low and openly revealing their own vulnerabilities to lift high their fellow Christian? What an indictment if wild animals act more loving than those who claim to be acting in the name of Christ!
I most certainly am not referring to do-gooders offering platitudes and/or advice. The very act involves assuming an air of superiority. In a link at the end of this webpage, How to Comfort the Hurting, I explain how dangerous advice-giving usually is. What is needed is companionship and all the heart-felt love, empathy, warmth and admiration that we all would yearn for if we had to sacrifice all romance, sex and marriage for the sake of Christ.
Vast numbers of deeply hurting Christians write to me whose distressing situation is worsened by the isolation they feel because fellow Christians cannot understand what it is like to suffer from rape, mental illness, multiple personalities, or whatever. But surely even the dullest of us with a steak of normality can have at least a degree of understanding as to how devastating it would be to have to deny all of one’s sexual and romantic longings.
The tragic reality, however, is that many Christians are so lacking in godly wisdom and Christlikeness that it is dangerous for Christians having a hard time to reveal their torment, least they will be trampled underfoot by ignorant – though often well-meaning – do-gooders. I urge that before giving anyone the slightest hint of your real situation, test the waters by casually asking them their opinion of Christians who suffer homosexual temptation and what advice they would give them. Then there is the distressingly difficult task of ascertaining how jealously they would guard a secret. Only after prayerfully weighing up all of this should one consider revealing one’s secret.
If anything turns God’s stomach, it is religious people who self-righteously consider themselves better than certain sinners – whether it be murderers, rapists, pedophiles, prostitutes, abortionists, or whatever. In fact, I hesitate to refer to them as Christians because Christians are “justified” (Acts 13:39; Romans 3:24; 5:1,9; 8:30 and very many other Scriptures) but in the following Jesus said that only the tax collector “went home justified [same Greek word] before God” – not the one who considered himself superior.
Luke 18:10-14 Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
In another highly significant parable, Jesus tells of a once-forgiven servant who lost his forgiveness and was cast out and tortured indefinitely – all because of his attitude towards a fellow servant who needed forgiveness (Matthew 18:23-34). Our salvation hinges on our attitude towards those who are less than perfect.
It is sheer hypocrisy to claim that one’s own sin is not as wrong as someone else’s sin, but this is the quicksand that many heterosexuals slide into.
In the Word of God – both the New and Old Testaments – the most frequently used term for sin literally means to miss the mark. If your eternity hinges on hitting a target, how little you miss by is utterly meaningless. If you miss the last rescue boat by a millisecond or by a month, you have still missed the boat. The whole notion of some sins being more acceptable than others is an insult to the holiness of God. God’s standards are absolute and to slip into relativity is to slip from God’s standards. Without Christ, all of us are in the same terrifying predicament.
If we were to insist on feeling superior to a homosexual, however, consider this: there is a very real sense in which masturbating when alone is more perverted than homosexuality. This in no way justifies any sexual sin, and I have detailed my objection to regarding some sins as worse than others, but if you feel compelled to explore supposed degrees of sinfulness, you might not like where it goes. Do you maintain that God’s plan is for sex to be reserved solely for relating with a member of the opposite sex to whom you are bound for life? If so, then solo sex while thinking of virtually nothing is even more deviant – deviating further from the divine design – than homosexuality, because solo sex guts God’s precious gift not only of love and life-long commitment but of every trace of interpersonal relations. It completely misses every function that sex is meant to have. It is not just perverting sex; it is twisting it a full 180 degrees – bending it back on itself – so that what was meant to drive us to reach out and connect for a lifetime with another person is instead turned in on itself. That is perverting sex about as far from God’s purpose as it is possible to go and yet, believe it or not, such abuse of sex (masturbating while not thinking of another human) is actually approved of by some conservative Christians who pride themselves in being anti-gay. Truly, none of us are in a position to point the finger at others.
Under divinely-given Old Testament law, adultery incurred the death penalty (Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22) – just like having sexual intercourse with someone of the same gender (Leviticus 20:13). With Jesus declaring that a wrong look at anyone you are not married to is as serious as adultery (Matthew 5:28) it is obvious that we have all been compromised and sexually defiled. Anyone railing against homosexuality is most likely subconsciously trying to deflect the spotlight from his or her own dirty conscience. I recall the famous evangelist whose sermons were filled with rants against sexual sins and it turned out he was using prostitutes. Maybe he was preaching to himself, trying to bolster his own motivation to break his sexual addiction, but whether struggling Christian, blatant hypocrite or simply spiritually blind, none of us can claim the moral high ground. “If any one of you is without sin . . .” (John 8:7) should cause us all to hang our heads, drop our stones, and slink away.
There are “those who are pure in their own eyes,” says the Word of God, “and yet are not cleansed of their filth; those whose eyes are ever so haughty . . .” (Proverbs 30:12-13). People who think themselves better than others belong to this spiritually deluded category. As Jesus told the self-righteous of his day, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you,” (Matthew 21:31).
If you are not absolutely convinced about how alarmingly dangerous it is to look down on anyone, I urge you to read The Terrifying Sin of Feeling Morally Superior.
The God who designed your fingerprints treasures your uniqueness. It is what makes you irreplaceable. We, in contrast, often have an ungodly tendency to want everyone to be clones of ourselves. One of the ways this manifests itself is in many of us expecting everyone else to marry. This is in conflict with the Bible that bamboozles those who want everyone to be the same. The Word of God insists that marriage is not God’s plan for everyone. Jesus specifically declared that some of us are not cut out for marriage (Matthew 19:12) and the Apostle Paul declared, “I wish that all men were as I am (i.e. single). But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that”(1 Corinthians 7:7). By this he was pronouncing that being single is a gift from God. Dare you be found guilty of despising a gift of God? Moreover, he pronounced it spiritually better not to marry (1 Corinthians 7:38). Refusing to accept these Scriptures, some Christians dangerously pressure others by consciously or unconsciously treating as second class those who do not marry. Tragically, many marriages end up disasters because of people not sexually ready for marriage feeling the need to marry in order to be treated as “normal” by fellow Christians.
People not called to marry, or not yet ready for marriage, are under enough pressure, without any of us inflaming this torment by wanting them to marry. This small-mindedness leads some of us to naively imagine that heterosexual marriage is the God-given “cure” for people wrestling same-sex attraction. That is as nonsensical as hoping to cure someone with a broken leg by expecting him to run a marathon. It is as dangerously out of touch as supposing a rape survivor who is terrified of sex would be healed by marriage. Usually all that marriage does is intensify the agony and make the partner’s life torturously miserable as well. People are too precious and the stakes are far too high to test one’s wild theories by experimenting on them like laboratory rats. It hardly takes a genius to realize that marriage is for life and that it profoundly affects not just one person but two plus children.
Just as, with enormous commitment, alcoholics can stop getting drunk but usually only if they abstain from all alcohol, so those who experience little or no attraction to the opposite sex might have to give up all sex, romance and marriage. In a world that is enslaved to pleasure, this seems a stupendous sacrifice, but all true disciples of Jesus are required to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow their crucified Lord to the unspeakable glory awaiting them. All of us are required to love God more than everyone and everything dearest to us (Scriptures).
Sexuality is not like a hat that can be swapped for another. It is an integral part of a person. This is not to say that God can never heal someone who faces sexual challenges. Nothing is impossible for God. Nevertheless, as Abraham sinned by trying to “help God out” in seeking to overcome his childlessness by having sex with Sarah’s maid, so we can sin by not waiting for God’s timing or limiting ourselves to human thinking.
It is easy for Christians afflicted with intense yearnings for a same-sex relationship to feel exceedingly sorry for themselves and to believe that God is not being fair. Nevertheless, temptation is never from God and, as carefully expounded in a link at the end of this webpage, our wonderful Lord truly is fair. When all is revealed it will be seen that the God who declared “Blessed are those who mourn,” ends up balancing out everything perfectly and any who on earth have a hard time will be eternally compensated and end up honored by millions.
It is not only those with gay tendencies who face these pressures. There are Christians unable to find partners and those secretly suffering intense yearnings for other forms of forbidden sex such as porn, pedophilia, multiple partners, or adultery.
I have decided to share my own story because it has a happy ending and I know that your story can also end happily because even though marriage is what I’ve always craved, my happiness and fulfillment ended up having nothing to do with marriage.
As explained in A Christian Testimony of Celibacy & Agonizing Loneliness, in my early twenties I came to the devastating conclusion that God was challenging me to cease my endless prayers for a girlfriend and to remain single. It was a nightmare I could never wake up from; so horrific that for long periods I wished I had never been born. I ached for God to let me kill myself but I knew he would never approve, so I was forced to keep dragging myself through life.
I had a tortuously strong sex drive. This alone generated intense frustration but there were many other sources of agony. I continually ached for physical contact – to be hugged or to hold a woman’s hand. In addition, my gnawing need for female companionship rendered male friendships as utterly incapable of easing my loneliness as a drop of sea water could temper the craving of someone lost in the desert dying of thirst.
For reasons beyond my understanding, my entire self-esteem hinged on having a girlfriend. My self-esteem was so crushed, however, that I dared not even attempt to ask any woman out because I was convinced I would be rejected. I felt it was obvious to any man or woman who ever laid eyes on me that I was too ugly and pathetic for anyone to be desperate enough to be my girlfriend; much less be willing to marry me. Every cell in my body seemed to scream that because I was single I was abnormal; a freak; a misfit; the ultimate loser. There seemed to be a gigantic chasm inside of me that left me just a shell. I barely felt part of the human race.
Had women shown an interest in me I would still have resolutely followed the lonely path the Lord had chosen for me but, by feeling less rejected, being single would have been less torturous.
From the moment I hit my teens my anguish focused on not having a girlfriend and continued hour after hour, day after day, month after month, year after year, decade after decade until finally in my mid-fifties, still a virgin, the Lord said it was time for me to marry.
What for almost all my life had been never-ending pain has now ceased but I am sharing this because if I had a thousand lifetimes I would still take the path the Lord had chosen for me. The spiritual treasure my anguish has produced has made it all worthwhile. It is like an athlete’s years of loneliness, agony and sacrifice that finally produce Olympic gold – except that God’s reward far outshines fame and medals. The pain inside me has enabled me to connect with the pain God feels as he agonizes over those he loves, and also to connect with the pain of so many other people who are hurting. Through this connection with the divine and with people who are hurting, the Lord has graciously granted me the undeserved privilege of encouraging, comforting and supporting people who are of infinite importance to God. That privilege makes the costliest sacrifice fade to nothing. You probably do not understand this at present, but I pray that one day you do and then we will rejoice together. For insight into this mystery, please read The Surprising Joy of Trials link at the end of this webpage.
Bitterness, coveting, gluttony, getting drunk, lust, homosexuality – people falling into such behavior usually have genuine, heart-rending stories of horrific experiences that pressured them into the hole they now find themselves in. These people are most worthy of compassion. Every single one of us stands equally dependent upon Christ’s forgiveness. It magnifies our guilt if we were to point an accusing finger in their direction. We have no idea how poorly we would have fared had we suffered their background. We usually have 20/20 vision regarding the sins of others but are blind to the sins that have sunk their hooks into us.
Bible-believing Christians, are rightly horrified about the corrupting power of sin upon society, and yet adultery and rebellion against one’s parents are two sins that corrupt society just as much as homosexuality. Under the Old Testament each of these sins, attracted the death penalty. This does not excuse sin, but it renders us without excuse if we find ourselves hypocritically more tolerant of some sins than others. We must remove the log from our own eyes, repenting of our own sins and hypocrisies and lack of love before we have a hope of being remotely Christlike in our attitude towards gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals.
Other webpages in this series are designed to attract readers who most need to face the sobering truth that homosexuality is a sin. So unless you read each page fully you will most likely jump to the wrong presumption as to what it is saying. The goal is not to condemn sexual perverts, however. To do so would be to condemn ourselves since few, if any, of us have not, through a wrong look or thought, perverted God’s gift of sex. Our motivation in grappling with the sin issue is that the first, critical step towards a solution is to admit there is a problem. From there, those trapped by sin can make the thrilling discovery that through Christ they can be liberated, just like we can be liberated from our own favorite sin. (If, in fact, you currently find yourself gripped by a particular sin, Finding Supernatural Power to Break Free will comfort and inspire you.)
Not to be sold. © Copyright 2014, Grantley Morris. May be freely copied in whole or in part provided: the text is not altered; this entire paragraph is included; readers are not charged. Many more compassionate, inspiring, sometimes hilarious writings available free online at www.net-burst.net Freely you have received, freely give.