Working the Emotional Roots of Homosexuality - Part 4
By Robert Schaeffer
Approaching the Lord
Homosexuality is much more than an erotic attraction to the same sex. It is a complicated and recurring syndrome of emotional reactions, twisted thinking, false concepts of self and God. It begins with the child’s ungodly reaction to pain and continues in subsequent years as that growing child continues to choose sinful behavior in an attempt to find relief from pain. Though the person with homosexual feelings is commanded in the Word to choose godly means to deal with pain, the power of Satan in the buried emotions and unrepented sins continues to fuel evil desire. As the person continues to react as a wounded, alienated child, homosexual desire remains.
What complicates this problem is the presence of false assumptions and concepts about God which are stirred in moments of fear, shame, guilt, hurt, or stress. Many counselees feel that God is angry or displeased with them. Others feel that God will pull the rug out from under them if things start to go well. Many can’t shake the feeling that God is not interested in them or that He blesses others but not them. Some feel God holds them responsible for the problems in their home or school and therefore they must suffer. Still others feel that God has created them to be a kind of Judas, destined for punishment and perdition. In all of these cases, it is these real but lying negative feelings that prevent the person from turning to God in the hour of pain and temptation. When a child learns to deal with legalism, harsh punishment, stern preaching/teaching, lack of freedom, abuse or abandonment during childhood by choosing some form or ungodly behavior, Satan takes ground to establish a stronghold in the emotions and will. As the person continues to join in with the lying messages about God rooted in the buried negative emotions, he/she gives place to the notion that going to the homosexual “fix” is better than going to God.
The work of finding freedom from homosexuality involves teaching the person to turn from homosexual sin to the Lord and His Truth. He/she must establish a new pattern of standing against the lying feelings, and responding to pain by trusting that God will provide help and comfort in the hour of need. Our Father desires that we should trust Him and know that in all things He loves us and remains an ever present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1). An intimate relationship with God is the answer to addiction. However, a place must first be made for this wonderful truth in the person who has for years believed lies about God and trusted in his/her emotions. The buried negative emotions crowd out the Good News of God’s love.
The presence of demonic power makes it hard to trust the Lord. Prayers of deliverance and confession of sin will be necessary to tear down the demonic stronghold in the mind and emotions. The person must be trained to have a godly reaction to pain and to dedicate his/her body (including the sex organs) to the Lord and holiness. But in order for this to happen, the person must first be convinced that God really does love and accept him/her. It takes a lot of work and patience to sit in pain long enough to understand the emotional blockages which make believing and receiving God’s love difficult. Yet God is with us, and will strengthen us as we do our part to clean out the place where these lying emotions reside and to untwist the irrational patterns of the mind. He will fill us with joy and peace as we cast off a false identity and a false concept of God . What follows are some thoughts to encourage you to turn toward the Lord rather than the “fix”.
God’s love for you is not changed by your sins. Homosexual fantasy and behavior is repulsive to God and it is not difficult to understand why. In homosexuality another person becomes the center of your life and an idol that you don’t want to renounce. It is to this person that your thoughts and desires turn when you are in pain. Homosexual sex is dangerous (as is ungodly heterosexual sex) and driven by a selfish desire for acceptance. It is impulsive and immature, a rush to orgasm regardless of the consequences or cost. Homosexual relationships are an affront to our created heterosexual design and as such are a denigration of the divine image within each of us. Those who promote homosexuality deconstruct sacred Biblical texts in order to justify perversion. To preach that God, who is love, blesses same-sex attractions that impersonate true love is to teach a false gospel: there is neither love nor divine sanction in homosexuality. The attraction that keeps two persons of the same sex together is emotional dependence, which may appear to the undiscerning mind like love but most certainly is not love! Longevity of a homosexual relationship is not proof of its legitimacy. Homosexual fantasy is unreality, a twisted image of that which can never be. It is not a vision of that which God ordains but rather a delusion which Satan concocts to keep the person hopelessly trapped in evil desire and to prevent the person from learning to live and relate to others in healthy ways. Masturbation is abuse not therapy.
If you are a Christian and have dwelt in any of these homosexual behaviors or mental patterns, the Holy Spirit will convict you of your sin. God who resides in you is calling you to acknowledge that you have offended Him and abused your own body and that of someone else, and to seek God’s cleansing. But if you’ve been raised in a home where you were yelled at and humiliated when you did something wrong, or were severely beaten and told how bad you were or how much of a disappointment you are, you will feel extremely bad when you sense conviction of your sin. This is not the Lord but rather the old feelings from childhood that you have experienced many times before and that bring to mind the idea that you are totally unacceptable as a person because of your bad behavior. You must not join in with the emotional lie that God is really furious with you and is rejecting or humiliating you as those unkind or overwhelmed parents or teachers did. Our Father in heaven is not approaching you with the same raised arm or screaming tongue or catty sneer. His face is not contorted in rage or disgust toward you. He turns a concerned and loving countenance toward you, feeling your pain and aware of the shame you feel. Homosexuality is not the unpardonable sin! Our Father is not fed up with you, ready to send you to hell. Our God is slow to get angry, abounding in mercy. His love has paid for your sins through Christ’s death on the cross. God commends His love toward us in that Christ died for the unjust! Your sins are not a problem for Him—Christ’s death made atonement for them! Though you don’t feel it is true, believe that if you acknowledge your sin, God really does forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.
You are precious to God! Perception is often stronger than reality. It is not what people think of you but what you think they think of you that moves you most in homosexuality. The feelings you have that God is rejecting you or repulsed by your dismal performance or tired of dealing with you in your sin are the result of someone else’s ungodly reaction to you or your own hypersensitive judgment of imagined unacceptability. The truth is that you are most precious to the Lord, and His judgment is always tempered by his undying love. God expresses His anger against people who do not acknowledge their sin or who dismiss the revelation of God as a fable. If you are seeking freedom from your homosexual addiction you are not like these people. Homosexual desire is a special type of sin called addiction which takes a specific approach to uproot. The desire for homosexual contact is driven by demonized ungodly reactions to pain which first took root years ago and which you have not repented of. Satan continues to block your access to these buried emotions until you acknowledge the sinfulness of your reactions and actively seek to turn from them. God displays special mercy and patience toward someone like you, enduring your childish sinful conduct until you confess your behavior as ungodly and seek His Truth.
Your value is not determined by your performance or inner thought life. You have been made in God’s image and though this image has been marred by sin, it is never completely erased! No matter what bad names or abuse you received, and regardless of the perversion you are practicing or justifying, God is in love with you! You must not identify your heart by the evil desire that still dwells in some pockets of your emotions, mind and body. God resides in your spirit if you have acknowledged Jesus as Lord. In that place, all is clean and pure. You are precious to Him even though His work of sanctification in you is far from complete!
You must try to journal the bad feelings you have about yourself and God when you remember your sin. Pray that the Lord would help you see that these feelings are making it difficult to receive the Spirit’s conviction as a good thing. Remember that though you did a bad thing you are not a bad person. Your identity as a child of God remains in spite of your sinful choice. The reality is that our Father really does love and understand you! But you feel unlovable because that’s how you felt when confronted by a raging parent or terrifying teacher or bullying classmate, or as you sat alone in your room in condemnation and shame. You are experiencing again the mind and feelings of a scared, humiliated, teased, abandoned child. Write out these feelings and thoughts and then declare that though they are real they are not true! Don’t join in with them. The Bible tells us that God is not abusive to those who are in sin and who have been ostracized or treated harshly by others. A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out (Isaiah 42:3)! Jesus displayed kindness to the Samaritan woman who was living in an adulterous relationship; He did not add to the humiliation of the unnamed woman about to be stoned by the religious leaders for her adultery. (His harshest rebukes were toward those same religious leaders who should have been demonstrating the mercy of God but instead were pompous hypocrites adding heavy loads to the people.) The Lord knows that you are still trapped in an addictive cycle of emotions and evil desire. He knows that when you feel guilt or shame you get frustrated and feel helpless to change your behavior. He has tender-hearted compassion toward you in those moments, not disgust or anger. His wrath is reserved for those who have abused you during your childhood, and toward the father of lies, the Devil, who has sorely deceived you. You can trust the Lord to be kind toward you and to show you mercy if you turn to Him. Make a new choice to turn away from homosexual sin and instead to rely on the Lord for your help.
God will not give up on you! God knew the dysfunction you were in when He adopted you into His family, and He will teach you and strengthen you to do what it takes to be free. If you’ve been seeking freedom from homosexuality for a long time and still have the feelings, you may be discouraged and think that you will never know freedom. If you are a perfectionist you may continue to beat yourself up and blame yourself for your failure. Perhaps you have resigned yourself to the idea that God has given up on you, or never wanted to help you in the first place. This is a lie! You have transferred your frustration now to God and assume that He feels the same—or worse—about you than you do. Do not join in with this feeling any longer! Even if someone close to you has demonstrated impatience or frustration with you in this work to find freedom, don’t join in with their frustration and think that God cannot possibly still have hope in you. He has taught us to forgive as He does, seven times seventy times! He runs out to receive us each time we turn from our prodigal ways. There is no place on earth into which the Lord does not accompany us! Even when God gives people over to the sinful desires of their hearts, it is so that they may know the emptiness of sin and come to their senses in repentance. Return to me, says the Lord, and I will abundantly pardon!
Homosexuality is all about being trapped in childhood emotions and thinking. Children are very impatient. How much more impatient are adults who have been arrested in their emotional growth and who feel unacceptable or damned in their sins. But you must not continue to join in with these childhood impressions. God is not against you but for you. Nothing can separate you from His love, and He wants you to rest in that love and find peace and hope for your soul. You have not exhausted God’s patience or zeal to set you free. But to find that freedom, you must choose a new response to these old feelings. Dare to stand on the words I have written and declare that you are loved with an everlasting love and that, in spite of your continual sinning, you are precious to God. You are a diamond in the rough, a jewel in the Master’s hand being polished for a noble setting. Though you are being refined with fire and this causes pain for a season, the Lord considers you valuable beyond price and worthy of pardon and love. Turn to the Lord, don’t join in with the old childish reaction of wanting to avoid God. Remember, God is much better than what your emotions suggest!