Some Christians who struggle with unwanted same sex attraction can find the journey difficult because they do not feel comfortable talking about it with anyone in their local Christian community.
A church that heals can provide a safe place for these men and women to grow in their relationship with Christ and others. This publication provides useful information in providing support to people in your Christian community who either:
- Struggle with unwanted same sex attraction
- Have a family member who either struggles with unwanted same sex attraction or who is living out their gay identity.
Every church, even yours, will have people struggling with unwanted same sex attractions. Some of these men and women are nervous and anxious about sharing their struggle for fear of being seen as dirty and unholy. They fear alienation from anyone who would discover their secret.
When we pass judgment on those struggling with unwanted homosexual desires, we forget that we live in a sexually and relationally broken world. Rather than pass judgment we need to remember our own brokenness and the grace and compassion Jesus has given us, so we can offer that same gift to others.Don't Be Embarrassed
There's no reason to avoid talking about homosexuality. Society frequently talks about sex, sexuality and homosexuality. We need to be better informed and educated so that we can encourage others to talk about their struggles. Embarrassment, shame and ridicule on our community's part will only isolate and inhibit the struggler speaking out, rather than liberate them into a Christian community where they feel love, acceptance and a deep sense of belonging.Be Encouraging
Help those who struggle with unwanted same sex attraction to tell their story. Providing love and acceptance will give them an encouraging space to tell you about their struggles and explain how you can assist them. Be understanding and supportive as they talk with you. You may not have all the answers or even understand the complexity of their struggle, just listening and even praying with them will say volumes. They may even tell you about some of the addictions and ways their struggle expresses itself. Your non-judgmental approach will be vital at this point. They may never have told anyone this before. Remember the exhortation to "encourage one another daily" Hebrews 10:23-25Follow Through
When someone tells you of their struggle and you tell them you are going to do something to assist them getting support and help, follow through with this. Stay true to your word. Similarly do your best not to ignore or reject them in the weeks or months following their talk with you. They told you not because they were attracted to you, but because they felt you could be trusted. Your role as a fellow believer in Christ will be instrumental in their healing and discipleship.Communicate Through Touch
Communication through appropriate touch is essential. We all know the value of receiving a handshake, a hand on our shoulder in prayer and also a hug. You don't make it easier for the person by avoiding appropriate touch. Men, in particular, need not fear this type of contact as if it were a sexual act. Some people who have suffered sexual molestation may prefer very limited touch initially. Be respectful of this, but also be willing to show affection if it is asked for.Put Away Your Fears
Men with unwanted same sex attraction are not attracted to every man they see, similarly, women struggling with this issue are not attracted to all women. Return their attempts at friendship in the same way you would anyone else. Don't interpret this expression of friendship as a sexual advance.Have Realistic Expectations
Remember that we are all a work in progress. We will never be perfect this side of heaven. Don't expect them to have a zap deliverance from their unwanted same sex desires. Some of these men and women maybe suffering from abuse, issues to do with family background, low self esteem, internal or external labels ( such as: you're a faggot, dyke or sissy or I'm gay and God must hate me). As individuals address these issues in a counselling or in a supportive environment healing and wholeness can be expected.What Change May Look Like
The goal of change is not reorientation into heterosexuality. This may be a by-product for some, but not for everyone. Our goal and commitment is that people would develop a deeper and passionate relationship with Jesus Christ and become active in serving in their local church. Out of this, some struggling with unwanted same sex attraction may be married and have a family. Some, on the other hand, may live celibate chaste lives. Both of these are equally sacred and to be valued.Encourage Them to be Active in Service
Allow the person to serve in your church community. We are all uniquely gifted by God with talents and abilities that can contribute to the life of the church. In choosing leaders apply the same biblical guidelines to them as you would anyone else. Serving in any area will help the person feel a sense of belonging, which we all hunger for. Encourage them in this. It will be healthy and helpful for them and others.Encourage them to Grow in their Relationship with Christ
Like all of us, discipleship is a process involving our own personal devotion to the Word of God, fellowship and prayer. Encourage these men and women to join prayer and bible study groups where they can grow in their knowledge of God as well as their relationships within the body of Christ.