Working the Emotional Roots of Homosexuality - Part 3
By Robert Schaeffer
Any effort to uproot homosexuality which does focus on the emotional roots of this evil desire will fail. The counselee must focus on his/her feelings in order to understand what causes homosexual attraction. Once these painful emotions are identified and the sinful reactions they gave rise to are acknowledged, the counselee can begin to do the work of breaking sexual addiction. Exchanging emotionally based lies for the liberating Truth of God has tremendous power to uproot homosexual desire once and for all! But this exchange takes perseverance and prayer, turning from the sin toward the Lord who is good, who never makes mistakes and who will provide!
Resisting the Sin
It is not really possible to work the emotional roots of homosexuality if you continue to practice homosexual sin. The mind cannot maintain the focus it needs if you continue to look at pornography, practice fantasy/masturbation, have sex with another person or remain in an ungodly relationship. Your flesh will war against the Spirit of God within you. You will never learn to perceive reality correctly if you consider homosexuality as a place of escape or emotional refuge. You cannot experience the delight of being free of guilt if you return again and again to the sin which brings the Spirit’s conviction of true guilt and the emotional backlash of false condemnation and shame. In fact, you simply cannot get in touch with the negative emotions that drive homosexual desire if you run to the sin that numbs them! New patterns of reacting to old pain must be established, and this must begin with resisting the temptation to practice homosexual sin when you are upset.
Some individuals will find it easier to resist the temptation to sin than others because they have not acted out as much, have not gone into fantasy to the degree that others have, did not aggressively pursue homosexual sex or did not experience severe or prolonged abuse. This does not mean that if you have gone further into homosexuality than others you will never get free, but only that resisting the sin will take more energy and prayer. God is poised in all His awesome power to destroy the works of the devil in your life. Do not despair! It is a lie that the longer you have been in homosexuality the harder it will be to get out! Likewise, it is also a lie that the older you get the less likely it is that you will find freedom. What makes for freedom is agreeing with God—the more consistently you do this the quicker you will be finished with homosexual desire. Everyone, regardless of experience, age, demonic oppression, depth of depravity or dysfunction can be set free!
Resisting sin is possible. Unquestionably, there is a compulsive (addictive) aspect to homosexual desire. Yet this can be broken! Have someone pray over you to break the demonic oppression that keeps you from getting in touch with your emotions and which seems to make resisting sin impossible. As you renounce the homosexual sin that you are practicing as evil, the other person can command the demons to leave you so that you can choose a godly response to temptation. Then you can begin to process the painful emotions stored since childhood in the light of God’s glorious Truth. However, even after demonic power has been prayed off you must make every effort to resist the temptation to have homosexual sex.
Begin to see homosexual behavior as God does: an abominable sin that brings death. The Lord does not approve of ANY type of homosexual relationship or behavior. Agreeing with the statement may take some effort and prayer. The pain we experience often sends the mind into a haze where it is no longer thinking God’s thoughts or processing reality correctly. When overwhelmed with feelings of loneliness, rage, disappointment, fear, jealousy, etc. the mind shuts down to God’s Truth. The person begins to think as a hurt and confused child, seeking survival or relief from the pain. In this state, homosexuality does not appear sinful but rather as the thing the person needs and must have to feel safe, accepted, comforted or loved. You may not want to see homosexuality as sin because of the “rush” of euphoria it brings. A homosexual touch seems to mean, “You are wonderful and desired.” Yet this is a lie, for the other person is using sex with you as a “fix” to feel good. The years of practicing or longing for a homosexual relationship have kept the mind in a state of darkness and deception. But if you take a small step and agree with God this darkness can be pierced
When you resist running to the homosexual “fix” you must be prepared to write about the powerful lying emotions that will rise up within you. Think of the pain that surfaces as temporary and will not last forever. It is the pain stored in you since childhood or early adolescence. As you write about it and your ungodly reactions to it, God will meet you and help you bear it. As you turn to Him and begin to practice His ways, the pain will gradually lessen and your will grow stronger in the godly responses that our Father opens to you. Put your faith in the concept that the pain will come out of you as you turn from the old “fix”. With God’s power at work you can be freed from it once and for all. Feeling totally helpless is more familiar and seems safer than moving into an area of pain and deciding to respond in hope, acceptance and love yet it is essential that you take hold of the good things God is speaking to you and put them into practice. Remember that we have to go through the discomfort for a while in order to grow. The Lord comes alongside of us to help us get the pain out. He wants us to be healed of childhood wounds and the lies we opened up to replaced with truth. . [For more specific help on how to stop sexual activity see our syllabus, LIFE Ministry Counselor Training, Part V: “Doing the Work”, pp. 37-41. The syllabus is available from LIFE Ministry.]
One of the results of pain in early childhood is arrested emotional development. By this we mean the point at which the child experienced the trauma, abuse, neglect, beatings, etc. is the point as which they became “stuck” in an emotional pattern reflective of their young age and immaturity. It is evident that the point of this pain is the point where the addiction began as Satan convinced the hurting child that evil behavior was the thing that would make the pain go away. Therefore, as you resist sin as an adult after years of running to sin when you hurt, you will have little patience and may be tempted to give up early. Tell yourself that this is because of the arrested emotional development not because you were born homosexual or that you are helpless to resist sin. Don’t go into discouragement, declaring that God will not be willing to forgive or help you or that there will be no way you can do what is required of you. Instead, strongly declare that as you work daily and exercise your will, you will grow in strength. The Lord knows that you can’t just walk away from addictive sin. He is patient with you and will forgive you if you fall back into sin for a time. Remember, He is not expecting perfection from you! Maturity and freedom come with time, not in a moment.
Sexual sin brings repercussions in our flesh and in our spirit. You may be unable to feel close to God after you sin because of guilt and shame. This doesn’t mean that God has turned from you but rather that you have to be cleansed of the sin. You must be purified from unrighteousness through confession and prayer. The Spirit leads us into genuine conviction (the sense that we have violated God’s laws and offended Him) so that we might go to God in the confidence that if we confess that sin He will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). He knows that we are not yet able to repent (walk away from sin for good) so he makes a way that we might be forgiven and restored as we are breaking the emotional roots of addiction. If we don’t go to God when we have fallen we are rejecting the truth that the blood of Christ can cleanse us from any sin. Feeling too dirty to be washed, too hypocritical to be kindly received, too weak to be named as a child of God are emotional reactions rooted in childhood exaggeration or hopelessness. God is teaching you to run to him when you have sinned expecting to find a welcome and pardon, a very help in time of need.
After the homosexual activity has stopped, anger may surface. This usually comes as a feeling that God has taken from you something that was pleasurable and quieted the painful emotions. This is part of the buried emotions coming up from childhood. Ask yourself, “Why am I angry? Is it because my parents didn’t give me what I wanted? Did I feel I didn’t have pleasure in my life or that I was always deprived? Because I was molested does having dirty sex seem to “fit” me, leaving me feeling unsure of who I am without it? Do I equate sex with love, and feel rejected and unloved without it? Do I see God as someone who always takes away what I want?” Write out your feelings and try to make connections with past experiences from childhood or early adolescence. Then, question whether these feelings are true. As you write the truth you can turn from the anger and begin to believe what God is asking you to give up isn’t something good or loving. He desires to heal you so that you can know His love and knowing this, love yourself and others freely. Thank Him for freeing you from the lies and the bondage. Trust that He wants to give you heterosexual relationships that are fulfilling and good.
It is vital that we come out of the lies of our childhood that we are weak and inadequate, easily overwhelmed, unable to stand against temptation. This is not true! (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:13). You are strong in the Lord, able to say NO to ungodliness. If you feel weaker than the sexual desire, you will succumb; if you feel stronger than sexual desire, you can resist. Set your mind on this new concept, and repeat it over and over. Write it in your journal and agree with it. Speak it over yourself and trust that God will work it into your emotions. You are no longer a helpless child facing a mean or terrorizing bully. The Lord who parted the sea is your Defender and Strength. Envision His with an arm over you as a shield. You are precious to your Father and He will not abandon you to your enemies.
The process of coming out of sexual sin (or any phase of addiction) is not like having to claw your way laboriously over a long time out of a deep pit. Rather, it is like sitting is the darkness and despair and as you yield to Truth more and more the Light will break through and you will see the truth of homosexuality and grow to hate the darkness. Freedom results from the victory of Truth over emotions and lies! We make a good start of this process by resisting sin and continuing to stay away from it by turning to God’s Truth and working into the place of the pain.