By Joanne Highley
Resistance to or defiance of any authority, control or tradition. This is the definition found in my Random House Dictionary of the word rebellion. It is a word that is difficult to deal with in the context of homosexual ministry in that the person feels he or she did not choose this sin and therefore there is a resistance to seeing that the very act of homosexual sex is a form of rebellion since we all know that God did not create this form of sex. Homosexuality is no where to be found in the Scriptures in any positive context but rather brings a very strong warning that those who practice this sin without repentance and work to rid it from the emotional/sexual response will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But we know in all our work with people coming out of this sin, that God is very tender, patient and loving with those who do agree with Him and submit to His Truth. Then they are set free, as the Scripture promises. May you find in this article a delineation of the problem of rebellion and the reason for it as well as the way out of its deadly clutches. Although the example we have used is that of a woman who tried to stop smoking and hit the wall of rebellion, we believe that you will see many parallels to stopping sexual sin and finding the rebellion and disobedience as part of the driving force behind the sexual sin.
To obey is better than sacrifice and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
For rebellion is like the sin of divination and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
I Samuel 15:23
Matthew Henry, the classic eighteenth century commentator on the Scriptures,
in his commentary on this passage writes, "Here we are plainly told: (1)That humble, sincere and conscientious obedience to the will of God is more pleasing and acceptable to Him than all burnt-offerings and sacrifices. A careful conformity to moral precepts recommends us to God more than all ceremonial observances. Obedience was the law of innocency, but sacrifice supposes sin come into the world and is but a feeble attempt to take that away which obedience would have prevented. It is much easier to bring a bullock or lamb to be burnt upon the altar than to bring every high thought into obedience to God and the will subject to His will. (2) Nothing is so provoking to God as disobedience, setting our wills in competition with His. This is here called rebellion and stubbornness and is said to be as bad as witchcraft and idolatry. It is as bad to set up other gods as it is to live in disobedience to the true God. It is disobedience that made us all sinners (Romans 5:19) and this is the malignity of sin that it is the transgression of the law and consequently it is enmity to God. (Romans 8:7) "The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law nor can it do so. Those controlled by the flesh cannot please God.
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our transgressions---it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order than in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace expressed in His kindness to us in Christ.
Jesus Ephesians 2:1-7
So in the midst of the stern and powerful injunctions against the deadly sin of rebellion rises the glory of God's grace to snatch us out of the jaws of death and hell and by His great love not only save us and make us alive in Christ by grace, but seat us in heavenly realms with our Lord and Savior.
The problem we must face in dealing with the sin of homosexuality is the fact of pockets of resistance to authority, control and tradition that remain after salvation. These pockets in the emotions have been caused by years of being provoked to wrath by abuse, criticism and control and not being able to let out the resulting reaction of resistance to and defiance of authority which becomes deeply embedded in the emotions, and if not dealt with, will permeate the mind with perverse thoughts, the will with disobedient desires, the identity with ungodly, lying perceptions of self, the sex organs with perverse desire opposite to God's created design. All this is driven by the spirit that works in the disobedient.
We have seen in our work here in New York City for the past 23 years many people who had been abused physically, yelled at, cursed and made to feel worthless or worthy of death. Or who had been under such control by parents and/or foster parents that built up internal desire to do bad things to somehow resist or stand up to the inordinate and abusive treatment. Some felt they were constantly in trouble and always wrong. These feelings against authority inevitably led to the same feelings in regard to the Ultimate Authority, God, who became like it was with the earthly authority, never seen as loving, merciful or forgiving, so a hopeless and angry state of rebellion ensued. It is in this state that they practice homosexuality because it, too, seems like a way to get back, to stand against and resist the abusive parent or authority. All of this rebellious activity may feel good for a time but, thank God, it turns bitter and destructive as the demonic forces gain more and more ground in a person's life.
In the defense of some parents, a number of children who are disobedient are those who are born with highly sensitive feelings and compassionate gifts that can in the face of difficulty turn self-pitying and super-touchy. Many children are born with generational sin that can include rebellion and resistance to authority as well as a false identity of being evil. These need to be prayed against by the parents.
One counselee recently wrote about her rebellions after years of working on the problem of smoking following her becoming free of homosexual and heterosexual sin and was married. She wrote: "Is rebellion freedom? Honestly I'd rather rebel than be controlled by him. (her father) Yes, rebellion is very wrong like witchcraft, but there's still in my emotions a place of lies and black rebellion that says: 'If you oppress me, hurt me, yell, put me down and make me feel worthless, then I will rise up against you on the inside. Smoking, what about it, Dad? You won't get the best of me. You won't control me.'" ( This was years after her father's death.)
I felt smoking was the only thing I could control. I couldn't do anything right. No control over how I felt or what I thought or did--driven to do wrong. Helpless. Smoking made me feel in control, gave me strength, power and acceptance from men, satisfied my revenge against my father and fed the male spirit in me and became anything I wanted it to be. It was the only way to control my father and make him curse and make him angry. I felt cigarettes had power over my father. He couldn't control me when I smoked. (These were all lies that seemed true in her emotions.)
Why couldn't you just love me instead of putting me down, telling me I was wrong? Not what I did, I was wrong. So if I'm all wrong, I'll be all wrong. You say no, I say yes; You say black, I'll say white. You say stop, I'll say go. You say listen, I'll shut my ears. You say I don't think,, I'll shut my mind off. You say I'll beat you to get you to change, I numb my body to pain. You tell me what I can't do, I'll do it. You tell me what to do, I won't do it. You want me to cry, I'll be harder than you. Opposite, opposite, opposite. I will love what you hate and hate what you love. You want me to act like a good little girl, I will be a bad, big boy. In all of this I chose the opposite of your demands in the purest rebellion possible against you. This gave me power and control. No one will ever control me. If you try, I will do, say and become the opposite. (This had a horrible effect on her as all the ways she resisted her father's authority became places in her body and emotions that were demonized. This subsequently led to four breakdowns.)
Why should I do right and obey? If I do it's never good enough because there's always something wrong with me. I'm never okay in my father's eyes or God's eyes. Why does God say He forgives me and remembers my sins no more and then I must give an account for my every sin at His Judgment Throne? If I'm forgiven, why do I have to give an account? I will always be wrong, even in God's sight. His love is conditional like my father's was.
I want the Holy Spirit to be in control in my life. But how can that be when I know I'm not right---never will be. I'm forgiven but not really because I still have to answer on Judgment Day. I have no answer like I didn't with my father. If I tried to give him an account for my wrongness, he'd cut me down, yell and scream and hit me like I was a piece of dirt. So I say nothing. I can never have an excuse or reason why I rebel. Same with God. No excuse. I'm damned---forgiven but damned. I won't go to hell because I accepted Jesus, but I'm still damned because of my sins. How can I receive forgiveness--I cannot. How can I receive forgiveness when in my emotions I do not believe I'm forgiven because I still have to give an answer why I sinned. There is no answer so there is no forgiveness.
In 1990 I forgave my father by choice. In my emotions I still hold him responsible for my sin. Even in this I'm sinning. Why couldn't he accept me and reject my sin instead of rejecting me because of my sin. Then maybe I would have been able to accept myself and receive God's acceptance of me. I can't get this sin separated from who I am.
I wondered for over twenty years why I did not smoke during my breakdowns. Because during my breakdowns my father was there for me emotionally. I received his attention in a soft, gentle loving way. The ultimate rebellion against my father and the ultimate way to get his attention was to break down. Lose it, go insane. Of course, I didn't plan the breakdowns, but I know Satan had such a stronghold in my mind, emotions and identity because of my rebellion against society, against creation, against authority, against all that was right. Violent cursing, delusional, totally out of touch with reality. So demonized and rebellious that drugs couldn't calm me down, so I had to be strapped down to a bed for fourteen days. If I'm forgiven I could obey my father. If no forgiveness, I rebel and disobey. In my head I know I'm forgiven. But I absolutely feel unforgiven in my emotions from the teenage smoking years.
How do I receive God's forgiveness? I cannot until I release my father of his sin against me. He never hinted of any sorrow for what he did to me, even blamed my mother for my breakdowns. I judge my father like I judge myself. I can't forgive him, he does not deserve it. He deserves my wrath like I received his.
But what would it be like if I did forgive him? If I let go of this rebellion? Do I want to let it go, get rid of it, cast it all out for good, never to want revenge again? To rebel no more means not to take control in an ungodly way. Not to rebel means to love instead of hate. To forgive instead of judgment. Freedom to live and not be bound up. It means heaven and not hell. It means responding to pain with a tender heart--being vulnerable. It means intimacy and not loneliness. It means to take care of myself instead of hurting or harming or punishing myself. Not rebelling is to be me, who God created me to be instead of a wicked sinner. It means I'm a winner and not a loser. It means I'm okay instead of worthless. It means receiving forgiveness.
Even with all this revelation about forgiveness and her willingness to open herself to God completely, the place in her emotions that held on to rebellion did not open. She had to realize she was not beaten or screamed at after age 20 but the childhood wall of angry rebellion had been held in and made worse by the breakdowns. She had felt she was always in trouble with God and the guilt she felt had become an identity which separated her from God. So the guilt drove her to the breakdowns and she felt desperate for approval from authority. She believed females do not have control and thus took on the masculine identity.
She worked out the lie that she had believed that even though she was saved by Jesus sacrifice and precious blood, she would have to give an account for all her sins at the Judgment Throne. We told her as she repents God will separate her sins from her as the East is from the West and will remember them no more. She received full forgiveness from God and no longer felt in trouble with God with no hope of being okay in His eyes. We prayed out of her as she renounced these three "binding words":(1)You'll never get the best of me. (2) The more I get in trouble, the more I'll smoke. (3) I'll always be opposite of what you want me to be. I'll always do, say and think the opposite of what you want, so I can make you angry. I would do it all over again.
We also prayed out of her the practice of always looking for an excuse to justify her sin. We also prayed out of her shutting off her mind to the consequences of her sin.
We prayed and cast out the false identities (1) I'm bad and I'll always be wrong.
(2)I will never be in right standing with God, with my father, with society, with the church and with myself. (3) I am guilt. We prayed into her the truth that she will lovingly obey the Lord and He will bless her. We prayed into her the truth that she is in right standing with the Lord and no longer in trouble. We prayed into her the truth that she will be like her heavenly Father and not the opposite. Also that she will rejoice in the good qualities of her father that she has received from his blood line. We prayed into her the truth that she will now look for ways to do the Lord's will and be eager to do what is good. We prayed into her that she is right and not wrong because she is filled with the Spirit of the Lord and chooses to obey Him. We prayed into her the truth that she is in right standing with God, her father, society, the church and herself. We finally prayed into her that her guilt has been taken away and she is totally forgiven, cleansed and accepted in the Beloved. The power of rebellion is broken and she has received Christ's full forgiveness. She is now the person that she truly is--not the rebellious, guilty, hopeless slave to addiction that she was. (We do not believe that these prayers do the complete work of freedom but they do break strongholds in the spiritual realm and open the way for her to be able to work more effectively in her emotional and volitional realm to break the power of this long-standing sin and addiction, false identity and revenge.)
She is a very different person now and is working to clean out the old emotional reactions and physical bondages that remain. It is very exciting to see that the rebellion is broken and she is learning to be obedient to God.