The Contemporary Journal for Youth Ministry
Youthworker, January/February 1998
"I'm a 17-year-old Christian guy, and I think I'm gay."
I know its a sin, but as hard as I try, it never seems to go away. I try to like girls, but I cant. Im almost positive that I was born with this. I know that according to the Bible you arent born gay, but why else would I be feeling this way? I would never wish this upon myself, and I dont want to be gay. I think its in my genes. My aunt is a lesbian, and I know of other relatives who are homosexuals.
Dont think that Im not a Christian, because I am. I was saved last year, and I believe that Im going to heaven. God loves everyone, right? And forgives sins? Well, if someone can commit murders and have his slate wiped clean, they why cant Ias a person who strongly believes in Godbe gay and still go to heaven? I attend church, pray, go to youth group and FCA, and surround myself with Christian friends. Im a 4.0 student and participate in many school activities. But I know that Im gay.
I guess all Im asking is WHY? Why me? What did I do? I dont want any part of this. I end up crying when I wonder how Im going to tell my family and friends. Why are gay people so bad? I dont understand. Maybe Im just not old enough to understand the whole sex part of it, but I do know that Im experiencing the mental and psychological part of it. Im 17, and I know for sure that Im homosexual and this isnt just a phase of puberty.
Why exactly are gays so bad, according to the Bible? Well, just because Im gay doesnt mean Im going to give up on God. I believe he loves me FOR mesexuality and alland I know that Im going to heaven. I hope that you can understand, as hard as it may be for you to do so.
See you in heaven!
The anonymous letter above was sent to the Youth Ministry Message Boards, which are part of the Youth Specialties Web site. We invited youth workers to respond to this boy. Their answers follow.
I know first-hand how difficult it can be just to admit to homosexual feelings. I had intense homosexual feelings since about 12 or 13 and kept them inside until I finally shared my struggle with a friend when I was 17. When I became a Christian at 18, God intervened in my life at a point where I was about to throw myself wholeheartedly into an actively gay lifestyle. But after coming to Christ, I thought my homosexual feelings would take care of themselves. They didnt.
After a few years of suffering in silence, I began to open up to some friends. Real healing didnt start until I received pastoral counseling, and God began to reveal the roots of homosexuality in my life. That was 12 years agoand though God has done a great deal of healing in my life since then, it hasnt been easy.
You say you believe you were born gay. Thats a very commonly held belief for many with strong homosexual feelings. I would have said the same thing before God started to heal me. Ive learned that often the roots of homosexuality go deep into early childhood, and as a result, many say theyve "always felt different." A lot of Christians dont understand this and assume homosexuality is a simple choice.
People who work in "ex-gay" ministries (Christian ministries which help people overcome homosexuality) have identified some common roots of same-sex attraction. They include (but arent limited to) a lack of or unhealthy bonding with parents, peer rejection or feelings of not measuring up as a boy or girl, sexual abuse, and generational sin. It varies from person to person, and there may be other factors in your case. But make no mistakeGod did not create you gay. It only feels that way.
There are really two sides to the struggle. One is with sin. You seem pretty sure that Scripture teaches that the homosexual lifestyle is wrong. Youre correct! There are many who would love to tell you that living a gay lifestyle and being a Christian is okay. Its not. Half of the battle (maybe more than half) is saying no to Satan who wants you to give in to the lust of your flesh. Though resisting can be harder for those struggling with homosexuality because of isolation and alienation, its no different for Christian males struggling with lust toward women (or vice versa)or any other sin were called to give up when we follow Jesus.
The other side is what you call the "mental and psychological part of it." I want to tell you emphatically that Jesus loves you and can heal you! Whether its a lack in your relationship with your father or sexual abuse or something else, God can restore your sexuality to one that reflects his image. I know of many "ex-gays" now happily married (though marriage is a result of healingnot a way to be healed).
You ask why gays are "so bad" according to the Bible. I dont see it that way. The Bible says "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Homosexuality is just one aspect of sexual sin. Its listed along with adultery and fornication (see 1 Corinthians 6:9-11), sexual sins much more widespread in our culture. The real reason behind some Christians hostility toward gays is merely their own prejudice and insecurity.
God can heal you, but you also need support. If possible find a mature Christian friend in whom you can trust and share your struggle. Most people I know whove found healing have been involved on some level with an ex-gay ministry. Not only will you find support and caring in these safe places, but also the expertise in dealing with issues the church isnt as well-equipped to handle. You may want to contact Exodus (206/784-7799) and find out if theres a ministry in your area. You can check their Web site (http://exodus.base.org) as well. There are also many good books that can help, tooLeanne Paynes The Broken Image and Andrew Comiskeys Pursuing Sexual Wholeness: How Jesus Heals the Homosexual are two of my favorites.
God bless you, brotherand dont give up!
a youth worker in Pennsylvania
Im a 39-year-old, single, Christian male who desires marriageto be intimate with a woman physically. I ask questions, too: Why is God keeping me single when its my desire to marry? Why has God given me these strong sexual desires he knows I cannot fulfill? I dont know. Perhaps it has something to do with submitting to his will and learning to be like him. Either way, I do know the Bible says sex is for marriage, and so I choose to abstain from sex until Im married. As much as I often dislike that choice, I know its best because God says so.
Let me share something about my singleness that may help you get a handle on your situation: I used to think that being single was a curse because it was costing me one of the greatest joys a man can havebeing totally intimate with a woman. But I came to realize that in heaven husbands will probably be more intimate with the strangers next to them than they are with their wives while on earth!
So Im merely missing (for the time being) a reflection of true intimacy for a relatively short time. Ill get to experience greater intimacy for all eternity in heaven with others and with God.
You may struggle with homosexual feelings all your life and never be able to have an intimate relationship with a womanbut you will experience true intimacy for all eternity in heaven.
And remember, homosexual feelings arent sinfulthe practice of homosexuality is. So give your feelings to God, day by day, moment by moment. And I pray that as I abstain from sex with women outside of marriage, you will abstain from sex with menand that your healthy relationships will lead you to new places in your walk with God.
Ed Reese, firstname.lastname@example.org
Does it matter whether one is "born gay" or "becomes gay" when it comes to living the Christian life? All of us are born in sinand yet we have no excuse for our behavior, according to the Bible.
In fact sinful and righteous natures are always waging battle in the lives of Christiansyet were no longer obliged to sin. In fact we, through the Holy Spirit, are able to resist sin.
So whether youre born gay or become gay, your requirement as a Christian is to stand against your homosexual tendenciesincluding "sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like." (Galatians 5:19,21) So just because you have sexual desires for men doesnt mean youre allowed to give in to themjust as heterosexual Christians who are tempted to disobey God arent supposed to sin, either.
On the other hand, heterosexual Christians need to stop hating people burdened with the sin of homosexuality especially when they tend to more easily accept sins such as laziness, lying, speeding, and drinking too much. The attitude of many Christians in this area is incredibly unloving and very, very hypocritical. We all sin and struggle with sinin fact, Im sure theres sin all of us do nothing about. You know: "Its no big deal."
Many of us offer no compassion or acceptance or forgiveness to people who are gay, yet each of us do things we know full well are against Gods will. Do you deny it? Then youre a liar.
Brendan Daly, email@example.com, http://www.dot.net.au/~bjd
I believe the Bible isnt as clear as Christians typically believe it to be regarding the sinful status of homosexuality. Reading the English translations, it appears clear that homosexuality is sinful. But if you do in-depth work with Greek analytical tools, you may develop a different perspectiveas I and many mainline scholars have.
Its easy for conservatives to conclude (as I once did) that those taking this stance are waffling on the Gospel, on Jesus as the only way to God, on the integrity of Scripture, et cetera. But this isnt the case. Rather its a return to the integrity of Scriptureto a hard analysis of the Greek. Its an attempt to make sure that our interpretations of Scripture are based on scholarship and prayernot merely upon unchallenged traditions. (Many pre-Civil War Christians advocated slavery, for example, so reexaminations of this sort can be very useful.)
If God has given us free will, and we as humans know were often in error, then I encourage you to consider that the traditional evangelical position on homosexuality may be wrong. I have a more in-depth analysis of this view on my Web site: http://php.iupui.edu/~jtownsle/gay.html
Jeramy Townsley, Indiana University, firstname.lastname@example.org
You ask whether or not God loves you and forgives you. Let me assure and reassure youhe does! Regardless of your sin. Nothing you or anyone else can do will change that.
You say youre gay and you "know its a sin," then you ask, "Why are gay people so bad according to the Bible?" Being gay isnt a sin anymore than being left-handed or color-blind is, in my book. After all, Paul warns against all sexual immorality. In Mark 7:20-23, Jesus puts fornication, adultery, and licentiousness on equal footing with envy, slander, and pride (which are all in line with murder and theft). So this idea that gays should somehow be singled out for special condemnation by the church or by Christians would, I think, be puzzling to early Christians (themselves outcasts largely) and appalling to Jesus.
You ask, "Why? Why me? What did I do?" These questions could well be put into the mouths of Job, Elijah, Paul, or Augustine of Hippo. We dont always get to figure out the whys in this life. When my firstborn lay in intensive care shortly after her birth, I asked the same questionsfollowed by, "Please, God...Ill be good." Not very sophisticated theology, yet very real. I felt helpless. I sense you do, too. But you arent! In time I pray youll see that.
If you are sexually active, you must know that the activity isnt restricted to your body: One reason the Bible teaches restraint in this area is because of the mental and emotional "self-giving" that comes with sexual expressiona lot for any 17-year-old to handle. But you dont allude to any sexual activityif thats the case, you do well. Theres no "need" to be sexually active, despite whats broadcast in popular culture. Dont allow yourself to be pressured into it.
In the meantime I urge you to seek the counsel of a pastor who is mature and gentlesomeone you trust. And you must pray. Be assured youll be in mine!
Rev. Kempton Baldridge, Episcopal Student Ministry,
University of Delaware, email@example.com
I understand what youre going through. When I was a teenager, I had same-sex thoughts. Id heard from experts on sexuality that they were normaljust a phase. But I didnt feel any better. I knew they were wrong and that I was wrong. Now Im married and have two teenage sons.Here are some suggestions:
But always remember: You cant be a Christian and live a gay lifestyle. Its like saying to a friend, "Yeah, Im marriedbut I have a girlfriend, too."
- Tell your youth pastor. Explain everything to him or her.
- After prayer and counsel, you may want to tell your parent(s) with your youth pastor by your side.
- Plug into an "ex-gay" Christian organization. Many members of these organizations went through the same thing youre now going through and can help.
And know that no matter what happens, God is with you. Place your trust and confidence in him alone. See you in heaven!
Ruben Soto, Jr., RSOTO@tnrcc.state.tx.us
Being homosexual is not, in itself, a sin. It sounds like if given the opportunity, you would chose heterosexuality. God understands your struggle and the intentions of your heart. But whether you believe you were born with homosexual desires or not, it doesnt change the fact that God gives us the ability, through his power and grace, to choose the right way. You can say no to homosexual tendenciesjust as all Christians must deny our rage or resist addiction.
Be assured that God does love you for who you are but deeply desires that you trust in his plan. The choice is yours. You have the ability, with Gods help, to resist inappropriate sexual acts. Yes it may be hard sometimes, but God will honor your faith and give you the strength to follow his will. Finally remember that Gods love is always available to you, and hes waiting with open arms for you to accept it.
Phil Webster, STBRGDUTH@compuserve.com
© 2000 CCM Communications
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