I just finished reading your well written and informative article "Homosexuality Q&A." Your approach to the issue is refreshing and very new to me.
Your explanation of pre-conditions is solid, but the issue is still frustrating to me. The gay man has stonger sexual feelings toward men than I, thus it is much easier for me to ignore these feelings (which really don't exist at all for many such as myself). On top of that, I (and many others) have a VERY strong sexual feeling toward females. My assumption is that (bi-sexuals excluded) these sexual tendancies do not coexist for the homosexual. So, is the homosexual to fight off the gay temptation as well as manufacture a false sexual desire for the opposite sex? And if so, do you think this is fair? God presents individuals with many challenges, but why that one?
I have a sinking feeling about this issue: As long as Christians regard homosexual acts as sins, we can never be accepted by some. Every time I attempt to be a Christian witness to my fiancee, this issue arises. She (like many gay supporters) struggles to see our God as a just God and Christianity as the true way, as long as we are defining gays as sinners. Is it possible to be a Christian witness to someone who will never concede that homosexual acts are sins? If so, how? If not, is my relationship doomed?
Additional questions: Is the gay Christian's claim that the Bible is NOT clear about the issue completely unfounded? Have you heard of a compelling argument for this point of view? Also, I like your humble approach to dealing with gays (a bit different than Dr. Laura's). But, suppose you are questioned by a homosexual about your true feelings about gay marriage, the act itself, etc.? What then? Take the risk that honesty may end the friendship? Lie to gain more understanding and display compassion? So many questions.
And you may never answer them or even read this email. That is completely acceptable being that you have no idea who I am. If you do decide to reply, thank you. I am having many difficulties with this issue and regard you as someone who is enlightened both by this issue and by the word of God.
Thank you for your kind words about my article. I am so glad I am able to provide a different perspective on homosexuality, because this issue is far more than an intellectual issue for me; I am very involved in the ex-gay movement, helping people come out of homosexuality, and I see with my own eyes, on a weekly basis, how God can change lives.
Your explanation of pre-conditions is solid, but the issue is still frustrating to me. The gay man has stonger sexual feelings toward men than I, thus it is much easier for me to ignore these feelings (which really don't exist at all for many such as myself). On top of that, I (and many others) have a VERY strong sexual feeling toward females. My assumption is that (bi-sexuals excluded) these sexual tendancies do not coexist for the homosexual.
People experience varying levels of attraction for the opposite sex. Homosexuality is really "gender identity confusion." In terms of male homosexuals, they usually don't experience sexual attraction to women because something happened that prevented them from learning what it means to be a boy, then later a man, and being comfortable with their masculinity. Men remained a mystery to them, and we are attracted to the "other," to the mysterious. Homosexual men don't generally experience sexual attraction to women because they're stuck with unmet needs for close, bonding relationships with other males. Interestingly, once they learn to have healthy, non-erotic relationships with other men, some men can start to experience attraction to women. I know one man in his 30's who is going through what he's calling his "junior-high stage," and absolutely marveling at what it feels like to find women attractive for the first time! (He's having a great time of it, too! :::smile:::)
So, is the homosexual to fight off the gay temptation as well as manufacture a false sexual desire for the opposite sex?
To answer, let me draw a parallel to something in the physical realm. Let's say someone has a broken arm. All the indications are that it's broken because there's a lot of pain, swelling--and the end of the bone has pierced the skin! Would we ever counsel them to tell themselves, "I'm not hurt, I don't have a broken arm, I'm whole and well," and suggest they conjure up feelings of painlessness? I hope you're smiling because I mean it to be ludicrous and not judgmental. :)
When someone has erotic and romantic feelings for a person of the same sex, that's a sign that something is broken--inside. Unfortunately, there is no x-ray machine for the heart that gives undeniable proof of a brokenness like we see with a broken bone. The pro-gay voices that seek to identify homosexuality as normal and good have deceived many people into denying that a homosexual orientation is "brokenness." But it IS relational brokenness, and trying to tell someone not to feel same-gender attraction is like telling someone with a broken arm not to feel the pain.
Fighting off homosexual temptations means not participating in homosexual behavior (DOING), and choosing not to lust and sin in the mind (THINKING). It can't mean not feeling the feelings, because that's impossible to do. Trying to manufacture a false sense of attraction to the opposite sex won't work either, any more than manufacturing a false sense of health and wholeness when your arm is broken. The important thing is to realize that having homosexual attractions in the first place is a sign that something is wrong, and then doing the hard work that addresses the emotional and relational brokenness that caused those feelings in the first place.
And if so, do you think this is fair? God presents individuals with many challenges, but why that one?
I hope you can see that I believe in being honest with the situation, acknowledging that there is a problem, that something is wrong, not pretending things are other than the way they are. I believe God honors us being truthful that way; Ps. 51 says, "I know that You desire truth in my inmost part." Instead of saying "Pretend you're not broken, and act like you're something you're not," I believe God says to those dealing with same-gender attraction, "Acknowledge that something is truly wrong, and come to Me to bring healing and hope to you. Don't rely on your own strength, because you don't have what it takes to bring healing to your inmost wounds, or health to those unmet needs, those empty places, that only I can meet now."
I have a sinking feeling about this issue: As long as Christians regard homosexual acts as sins, we can never be accepted by some.
Regrettably, you are right. As long as we insist on agreeing with what God has said, there will always be people who will call us narrow-minded, intolerant bigots. Let me put things in a little different perspective. When we say it's wrong for a husband to cheat on his wife, that it's sin, do people have a problem with that? Do they turn on God and call Him unjust and unloving? Not usually. How about those who have sex BEFORE marriage? When we call that sin, because it defiles the holiness of the marriage bed, do people use that as an excuse to turn on God? Some might, those who are committed to what they want regardless of what God says, but not with the same fervor as their reaction to the pronouncement of homosexual behavior as sin. Something is different, and it's the result of what Romans 12 warns about in letting the world squeeze you into its mold. People who object to calling homosexuality sin have allowed the world to squeeze them into its mold.
ANY sexual activity outside of marriage is sin; God is not singling out homosexuals. But people lose sight of that, and a big reason is that they don't understand the importance and significance of sex. They put it in the same category as scratching an itch or feeding a hungry stomach. But those are not moral areas as sex is, because sex has a spiritual dimension to it, where two become one and there is a mystical unity of husband and wife that reflects the mystical unity of Christ and the Church. (See Ephesians 5.) Homosexual sex (or premarital or extramarital heterosexual sex, for that matter) can NEVER even come close to the transcendent experience that intimacy between two committed people in a covenantal marriage relationship provides. This is not some philosophical pie-in-the-sky absolute I made up; this is the experience of people, some of whom I know personally, who have left homosexuality behind and are now enjoying what God intended in heterosexual marriage.
Every time I attempt to be a Christian witness to my fiancee, this issue arises. She (like many gay supporters) struggles to see our God as a just God and Christianity as the true way, as long as we are defining gays as sinners. Is it possible to be a Christian witness to someone who will never concede that homosexual acts are sins? If so, how? If not, is my relationship doomed?
Yes, it's possible to be a Christian witness, because you have truth on your side. We know what is true because God said it in His word. But you have a larger problem on your hands that your fiancee's refusal to see homosexual acts as sin, I fear; she apparently has no respect for the authority of the Bible. That is what underlies the insistence that what God calls sin, isn't--because people don't want it to be, and loud voices have assured them that it isn't. ____, it sounds to me like you are unequally yoked (2 Corinthians 6:14). If you have trusted Christ and she hasn't, if you believe that God has given us absolute truth and she denies it, how do you walk together with such diametrically opposed world views?
Additional questions: Is the gay Christian's claim that the Bible is NOT clear about the issue completely unfounded? Have you heard of a compelling argument for this point of view?
Yes. They have taken verses that are explicitly clear and twisted them around, creating new explanations that don't hold up to scrutiny. Joe Dallas has done an excellent job of refuting gay theology in his book A Strong Delusion. And he comes with outstanding credentials; for several years he was very involved in the gay church, learning the arguments inside out and backwards, before realizing they were lies and repenting of his wrong beliefs.
Also, I like your humble approach to dealing with gays (a bit different than Dr. Laura's). But, suppose you are questioned by a homosexual about your true feelings about gay marriage, the act itself, etc.? What then? Take the risk that honesty may end the friendship? Lie to gain more understanding and display compassion? So many questions.
It becomes a lot clearer when you see how the Lord Jesus handled this sticky kind of situation. He never compromised on what was true and holy, but He also looked right through the shame and guilt that clung to those caught in various sins and loved the person underneath. ("Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more."--John 8) When someone KNOWS they are accepted and loved right as they are, it's easier for them to accept the truth about themselves and repent. I would never lie, but "speaking the truth in love" (Eph. 4:12) puts me in a position to offer hope and help in pointing the way out. If the person chooses not to go through that door, that's his decision. Some friendships cannot take the strain of one person walking in the light and the other walking in the darkness, and that's part of the cost of following Christ.
I am having many difficulties with this issue and regard you as someone who is enlightened both by this issue and by the word of God.
There are plenty of good reasons to have difficulties with this issue, ____! It's a hard one, but the wisdom and love of God are deeper still. I am thrilled to have learned so much about what often causes a homosexual orientation in the first place, and why that means there is a way out. Actually, there is hope in the truth that homosexual behavior is sin, because sin can be repented of and the broken heart healed; if homosexuality were an unredeemable, unchangeable condition, how tragic it would be for God to call it an abomination and not provide a way to escape it! It is a long, hard process to recognize how deeply the roots of homosexuality go, and invite Him to tear them out and replace them with His love and acceptance and truth. Glorious things happen when people do that--but it all starts with acknowledging the sin. The most grievous sin isn't the sex act; it's the idolatry and lusting and coveting underneath the desire to want what God has said is wrong to have. It's really a heart issue, not a sexual issue.
Are you still awake? :)
Thank you for writing. I pray, as I send this, that God will bring comfort to you and maybe some answers to a difficult question; my heart hurts as I think about the tensions you must experience with your fiancee's very different set of values and beliefs. I suspect this issue of homosexuality is painful for you because of the way it is exposing some major fissures in your relationship, and that's scary and hurtful. I pray God's rich wisdom for you and His blessings to overtake you and make you feel loved.
In His grip,
About the Author
Sue Bohlin is an associate speaker with Probe Ministries. She attended the University of Illinois, and has been a Bible teacher and conference speaker for over 35 years. She is a frequent speaker for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women's Connections), and serves on the board and as a small group leader of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ centered outreach to those dealing with unwanted homosexuality. Sue is on the Bible.org Women's Leadership Team and is a regular contributor to Bible.org's Tapestry blog. She is also a professional calligrapher and the webmistress for Probe Ministries; but most importantly, she is the wife of Dr. Ray Bohlin and the mother of their two grown sons. Her personal website is suebohlin.com.
What is Probe?
Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.
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