A Word from Your BCC Team: Today’s blog was first posted at the Association of Biblical Counselor’s website and is re-posted with their permission. You can also read the original post at their site here.
Almost daily we encounter evidences of the current moral revolution occurring in this country; and it is happening at a blistering pace. At the forefront of this discussion is the topic of homosexuality. Depending on which side of the fence you fall, you might consider this an evolution of morality, or you might see morality devolving before our very eyes. Sexual orientation has been a hot topic for some time; and for many, even many professing Christians, the practice of sexuality outside of the traditional heterosexual covenantal relationship of marriage has been seen as progressive.
Sadly, much of this debate is devoid of any real interest in God’s perspective. Sadder still, there is much twisting of what God has to say about it all. This speculation is unfortunate. God’s Word is clear. Homosexuality is sinful and is rebellion against God’s creative design. This increasingly counter-cultural stance on homosexuality will no doubt bring the church to the forefront if we hold fast to this truth. This blog is not an attempt to make an argument for or against homosexuality, but instead to deal with the heart of the matter. And that starts with us, the church.
“Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good character let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be very disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:13-18).
Before we speak as to what God says regarding homosexuality we need to hear from God ourselves. We need to check our own hearts. Do we enter debates to win or in the confidence that, in Christ, we have already won? Our selfish ambition will result in every disorder and we will be shown lacking wisdom and ultimately foolish. But if our hearts are pure it will be expressed in our conduct, we will be peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.
As we move to the topic of homosexuality we need to approach it with sensitivity. I have had the great privilege of walking alongside several men compelled by the gospel to come out of a homosexual lifestyle. Our church is full of men and women who are experiencing redemption in Jesus Christ. Many of these still wrestle with homosexual temptations while others have experienced healing to such a degree that they are now happily married, joyfully expressing their sexuality within heterosexual marriage or have the desire to do so.
I have come to understand that no two stories are the same. Some clearly feel that they were born with homosexual tendencies and others can see clearly the development of homosexual thoughts and behavior’s through experimentation or abuse.
I want to dispel one of the arguments used in the culture to justify homosexuality: The idea of being born this way. This assumes that we are born without distorted desires. You hear things like, “God doesn’t make mistakes.” The assumption is if I was born this way, it must be His design. The truth is that we are born in a fallen state, sinful, and therefore this argument for homosexuality falls flat. Equally invalid is any argument that implies it is God’s design that one express sexuality through innumerable heterosexual encounters.
I think labeling homosexuality a matter of “orientation” is a great point of engagement. What is meant by this term culturally is: Am I personally (as a man) sexually oriented around men (homosexuality), women, (heterosexuality) or both (bisexuality), animals (bestiality), children (pedophilia) or some object (fetish), etc.?
But the conversation must move beyond the horizontal orientation and, instead, must be oriented vertically in terms of our relationship with God. Through the fall of mankind, in addition to having distorted desires, we have become disoriented from God. This means that we are inevitably lost—looking to the culture to define us while simultaneously seeking to have our desires met through creatures for what only He can ultimately provide.
Homosexuality is rarely about sex. It is always about worship. It is about offering myself to the one who is providing what my heart desires and/or receiving the worship of another in exchange for what their heart desires. This, by the way, is true in all sexual immorality regardless of whether it is homosexual in nature or not.
At the risk of sounding overly simplistic, I will give a couple of examples of how people I have known came to practice homosexuality, the counterfeit redemption it offered them, and the superiority of the gospel in resolving the underlying issues.
A young man I counseled grew up in a Christian home. He was perceived culturally as “effeminate,” because he was slim, sensitive, and artistic. His father was perceived culturally as “manly,” because he was strong, liked to hunt, fish, and work on cars. As a boy he identified more with mom. Dad was somewhat disinterested and looked past him. The boy longed for the attention and acceptance of his father. He began to wish he were different, that he was more “manly.” He began to be jealous of the boys who looked more like his dad. He lusted for these things that seemed unattainable.
In his adolescence, one of these young men began to show interest in him. The association gave him the sense that he had gained what he was looking for. As the relationship became sexualized he attached himself in a covenantal act by offering himself in worship to the one who possessed what he was lacking. He became “one flesh” with this young man and this gave him a sense of possessing what he longed for. At the most basic level this is no different than someone who feels they are “important” because they hang out with important people.
Similarly, I have known a woman for some time that was abused by her father and later by her husband. Disoriented from God and done with men, she sought to have her desires met through the gentle nurturing of a same-sex relationship by offering herself to another woman sexually.
These counterfeit forms of redemption pale in comparison to the ultimate redemption found in Jesus Christ. These counterfeits are just twisted replicas attempting to mar the real thing, robbing us of life rather than give it. Through the gospel we find the acceptance of our Heavenly Father. He has not overlooked us in sending His son. His perfection makes up for where we are lacking. In offering ourselves to Him, we receive all that our hearts have longed for. We are nurtured in Him. We are filled with the Holy Spirit and the covenant is sealed. Our value and worth comes through our association with Him. We are given a new heart, which leads us to love and practice the things that He loves and despise that which profanes His name.
If we merely stand on the outside judging whether homosexuality is right or wrong without taking the time to move beyond the behavior to come alongside and know a person, we will never have the opportunity to show how the gospel is applied in satisfying the deepest longings of the heart. Without condoning sin we must enter in.