Homosexuality and the Book of Job
By Joanne Highley
We have found after 25 years of work to help people find freedom from homosexuality, the greatest deterrent to finding that freedom is a false concept of God.
This false concept of God is rooted in pain and the lack of knowing how to interpret that pain according to truth. Because people caught in the addiction of homosexuality did have pain in childhood, they also have a false concept of God. They were hurt so young and had no resources with which to interpret that pain at such a young age. Also they believe He could have prevented the pain from happening or He could have stopped the person or persons or the situation which brought on the pain. They do not know or understand that God has uses for pain: to be able to sympathize with others in pain ( you cannot truly do this until you have suffered); to be able to comfort those who suffer with the comfort you have received; to be able to interpret pain according to the truth; to learn that pain can work for good in us.
Before the fall of man, God never intended man to suffer at all. We can prove that truth by the fact that the Garden of Eden and heaven were created by God with no pain, no sickness, no night, no death, no crying. This is the state that God wanted us all to live in. So where did the pain come from? With the fall of man came sin and death. The pain came from the rebellion, sin and disobedience to God's Holy laws. Thus pain and suffering comes from sin, either our own sin or the sins of others to show us the consequences of sin or it comes from Satan and his demons.. Do not go there if you don't want pain. But if you are the victim of sinful acts, you have the problem of having trouble seeing your own ungodly reaction to pain. This is what you must see and turn from in order to become free of your ungodly reaction to pain and to gain a true concept of God as He described Himself to Moses in Exodus 34:6-7:
And Jehovah passed by before him and proclaimed, "The Lord, The Lord, the merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth, showing mercy and lovingkindness to thousands and forgiving wickedness and rebellion and sin. He will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and upon the children's children, to the third and fourth generation.
There is only one book in the Bible that traces one man's horrible pain and suffer-
ing and his false concept of God to the outcome of full repentance of his ungodly reaction
to pain and his full restoration and blessing by God. That book is the book of Job. There is no other book that gives such a volume of wisdom and instruction about what happens when a person has great unexplained pain. It also tells us how his friends, his wife and his counselor all contributed to his condition. Finally we see God's perfect correction and answer to Job's accusations against God. Then we see the mercy and love of the Lord poured out on Job as He restores him and blesses the latter part of his life more than the former. He corrected Job's friends and had Job pray for them and God accepted Job's prayer.
As we look at the book of Job, it is imperative that you who have had pain in childhood forsake the way of simply saying, "I've suffered as much as Job did." and then miss the truth that Job became ungodly in his reactions to pain. Breaking down our old ways of justifying ourselves and our sin because of pain is the purpose of this article and of the book of Job. We must also learn to justify God and know that everything He does is perfect and righteous.
Many people believe God will treat them like their earthly father treated them. This may be an unconscious connection of their earthly father to their heavenly Father, but it still distorts one's concept of God. Many people in homosexual bondage believe they cannot be forgiven. They have repented and gone back to their sin too many times.
This false concept of God comes from ignoring the fact that homosexuality is addiction and must be viewed as such. One would not expect anyone in any other addiction to be able to come out by an act of repentance which is not possible until the emotions have been worked to break the addictive motor that drives the addiction. (Stored emotions connect to the sex drive.) Still other people feel they must punish themselves or self-atone to pay for their sins. There is a constant beating of oneself mentally to keep reminding oneself of the horrible sinful condition and God's displeasure and/or anger at that state, ignoring His great mercy and grace and the fact that God looks on the heart.
In looking at Job, we see a man's agony and wrestling with the unanswered questions of his suffering, his anger and lashing out against his unhelpful and wrong-headed friends, the help of a godly counselor and finally his dealing with God Himself to break the power of his repeated question: "What did I do wrong?" The great lesson contained in this book show many truths about suffering and how to work to resolution of pain to the freedom and restitution God desires. To get to that glorious end, we must believe that God intends us to get there, rather than believe He wants to hold us in suffering all our lives.
The deep inner complaint or case against God will lead to addiction. If we suffer unjustly, have been abandoned, ignored, made fun of, name-called, humiliated, have physical disabilities, feel foolish or stupid and think we will always be different or left out and wonder why God would let this happen, we begin a case against God. As we have said, the only scriptural example comparable to the above condition was that of Job after he lost everything and had sores cover his entire body. We know Job certainly was not homosexual. He was the most blameless and righteous man in all the earth, but the suffering he could not explain or understand brought him to a case against God which deepened into anger and rebellion as well as into unrecognized sin. This happens to many people in the bondage of homosexuality because they cannot explain or understand why they had the rejection and pain of their childhood and young teenage.
First, look at the problem of his three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar. These were leading men of the city, who were trying to help their poor friend, who by the time they got there, was unrecognizable because of the grief and suffering he endured. They joined him in grief on the ground and wept aloud, tore their clothes and threw dirt on their heads. They sat on the ground with him in silence for seven days and seven nights since his pain was so great. So they had a deep commitment to comfort and console him. But they had little or no ability to do so because of their false ideas about suffering. The premise of these three friends was, "Surely God does not reject a blameless man or strengthen the hands of evildoers." Every one of them in order accused him of sin and suffering because of lack of repentance. One friend even said that his children had died because of their sin. We must remember sin always brings suffering, but suffering does not always come because of sin. This was a major mistake in the case of Job and a cause of great anger to be stirred in him. He kept on saying, "What did I do wrong? I want a trial with God but I have no chance with Him."
They also forgot what many of us forget when we go to console someone in great pain and suffering. It takes time for the pain to subside to the point that the person can receive the thought that anything good will come in the future. After Eliphaz had changed his message and now was trying to encourage Job with promises of God's protection and blessing of coming to his grave in full vigor, Job says, "If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales. (His only focus was his pain.) No wonder my words are impetuous. The arrows of the Almighty are in me. My spirit drinks in their poison." He is suffering too much to hear any good news.
I pray that the church will hear this lesson and plan to sit with people in their pain until they are able to hear words of hope and receive them. May we all pray we will have the words we need to bless a person in deep pain or that we will have no words at all. Many words spoken by people of the church are honest attempts to help but they do not understand that homosexuality is brought on by ungodly reactions to pain in childhood. Then there may be accusing and insensitive calls to repentance when the deep unanswered questions of their lives have not been addressed.
Looking at Job's reaction to his pain, he was amazingly godly when first told of all the disaster that had come on his children and his possessions. He tore his clothes, shaved his head and fell to the ground in worship. What a response to deep pain! He said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. May the name of the Lord be blessed." In all this Job did not sin by accusing the Lord of wrongdoing. We all, if we have ever accused the Lord of wrongdoing, need to repent and ask for forgiveness, cleansing and restoration to righteousness. God is righteous in all His ways.
By the same token, when Job was covered with sores all over his body and his wife said, "Curse God and die.", he corrected her and said, "Shall we receive good and not trouble from the Lord?" May we all cultivate these godly responses.
But after the week of silence with his three friends, suffering began to distort Job's concept of God. He began to question why he had been born and why he could not die. Why didn't he die at birth? He was not questioning God's decision to bring him to life and to keep him alive. He had begun to think he knew how God should have acted in his being born and his continuing to live and suffer so greatly. We understand what pain does to make us irrational, but we must see that the matter of birth and death are God's domain and not ours.
Job continues on this path of judging God and bringing more and more accusations against Him. He is not fair, He winks at the sins of the wicked and watches Job's every move. He accuses God of treachery, planning all this agony for Job from the beginning. Waiting to bring more pain and suffering on him. Not letting him die to ease the pain. He accuses God of not answering him when he cries to Him and raising His fierce hand to attack him again. He accuses Him of always terrorizing him and keeping him sleepless and afraid of further pain.
During these dark times of accusation of God, Job would have shafts of light and truth break through the gloom. He said at one point, "The fear of the Lord--that is the wisdom and to shun evil is understanding." Great truth breaking through to him. God will do that for us in our dark times. He remembered the days when God watched over him and they had intimate friendship and he longed for those days. Days when men rose and stepped aside when he went to the gate and took his seat in the public square. They waited in silence for his counsel. He put on righteousness as his clothing. Now he feels God is his clothing and He binds him like the neck of a garment and throws him into the mud. He cries to God and gets no answer. His harp is tuned to mourning and his flute to the sound of wailing. (These are instruments meant to be used in joyous praise of God.) In one breath he says God counts him among his enemies and God's anger burns against him. In the same chapter, a great shaft of truth comes as he says,"I know that my Redeemer lives and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh will I see God. I, myself will see Him, I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me." Once again he shows both hope and lack of understanding, "Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him. I will surely defend my ways to His face. Show me my offense and my sin." These are the tremendous wrestlings of a man who has been struck with horrible pain and is trying to interpret what is happening to him.
Ultimately God did show him his offense and his sin. God said to him, "Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge. Brace yourself like a man. I will question you and you will answer me." Then God recounts many ways He created this world and asks Job if he were there when these things were created, implying that Job had raised himself too high. In his quest to be righteous and blameless, he had gone too far and was not able to see his own sin. He did have wisdom and understanding enough to fear God and depart from evil. But he had missed the true wisdom that always justifies God and says He is always righteous and just in all His ways.
True wisdom is to have a broken heart and a contrite spirit. These are the sacrifices which please God and without these all other wisdom and sacrifices are worthless. This breaking of the heart and spirit recorded in Psalm 51:17 is a sharp work not donein despair, but in humiliation and sorrow for sin. It makes the heart pliable to the Word of God. A heart subdued and brought into obedience. It is a heart that is tender and trembles at God's Word. This is the most sacred use of pain.
Divine Love wounds so it can heal. It brings us low so it can lift us up. It humbled Job so he could be exalted forever. Many of us have had great pain from other people that does not do this healing work but rather causes us to hold inside us a lot of vengeance, anger, hatred, and hopelessness. This work of affliction is God's perfect work of undoing the tightly held ungodly reactions and allowing us to let go of the offense as we get another view of life and forgiveness and its freeing power.
Job had been righteous in his own eyes. Elihu, the friend who was a great counselor, had righteous anger at Job for justifying himself instead of God. He also had righteous anger at the three friends for having no answers for Job but still accusing him of not repenting of his sin anyway. They condemned Job but did not convince him. God's way is to convince a person so he or she can come to the truth and conviction of sin on their own. God must be the Judge of what is right or wrong and not man. God is greater than man. That is the final answer. Man sits in judgment of God on His works, on His Word and on His ways. Man presumes and dares to decide what God has done and what God will and ought to do. May we all resist and turn from that sin.
So finally Job comes to the end of his own righteousness and says,
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. My ears had heard of You, but now my eyes have seen You. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.
He was restored and received double for what he had lost. He died at the age of 140 years old and saw his 10 children, born after his restoration, and their children's children to the fourth generation. He died old and full of years. May we be encouraged and blessed by this story and learn the lesson of Job: to have a broken heart and a contrite spirit and justify God and not ourselves.