Last week I wrote a response to Wesley Hill’s article about Christian homosexuals and the struggles they face. Misty Irons also wrote a response to that article and to several blog comments related to it. Her response has been discussed on numerous blogs as well. This is my response to Misty.
I agree wholeheartedly with Misty that the way to reach out and minister to those struggling with SSA is to be their friend. Because SSA is a sin that is so entangled with one’s identity, simply offering a trite, quick fix will not suffice.
But we do a disservice to those struggling to overcome SSA by simply encouraging them to remain steadfast in their celibate homosexuality. This implies that God created them to be homosexual and then called them to suppress who He created them to be. Is that an accurate picture of the loving and just God we worship? We can help who we are attracted to through the redeeming work of Christ! We can help how we relate to those around us, both male and female.
I spent many years believing the lie that my cross to bear in life was one of loneliness and self-sacrifice because I was a homosexual Christian who was simply called to remain celibate. What a life of defeat! That is where the loneliness comes from. The Scripture is full of passages describing homosexuality as a past tense event in the life of believer. Paul tells us if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. God did not create anyone homosexual. We cannot help how we are tempted, but we can help what we do with those temptations when they are exposed to the light and truth of God’s word.
Misty is right, there is a lifetime of relational issues to overcome, there is a worldview that must be radically shifted, there is a root heart issue that must be put to death. If the believer who views themselves as a homosexual continues to view herself as such, she is believing a lie.
1 Corinthians 10.13 says, “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.” The act of homosexual sex is not the only homosexual sin. Jesus said to lust after a woman is to commit adultery in your heart. Sexual sins have a root issue in the heart. The temptation to identify yourself as homosexual is a temptation to view yourself as something other than what God created you to be.
But these points are not things that should be launched from a distance at those struggling with SSA. Had someone sat down with me and given me a point by point analysis of this at the beginning of my journey from homosexuality, I would have balked at them and their high and mighty judgmental views. But there were people who were willing to struggle through Scripture with me. They answered hard questions, spent endless hours listening to me vent and self-justify my life. They walked with me as I demanded God prove Himself to be the all-sufficient sustainer.
People struggling with SSA need faithful Christians who are willing to walk with them with all of the grace and mercy and patience of Christ. But those faithful Christians must be equipped with the unwavering truth of who God is and who He created us to be.