Deciding to Face the Pain 
by Alan P. Medinger 

No pain; no gain! Wisdom reduced to a cliche often loses its power. 

For the homosexual overcomer, however, this is wisdom that we need to take very seriously. Except for the special circumstances in which God truly works a miracle, almost everything that must happen in our overcoming homosexuality will involve some pain. Repentance, forgiving others and growing up -- which along with the Lord's healing are the elements of overcoming homosexuality -- all involve some degree of pain. An unwillingness to face this pain is the barrier that keeps many overcomers from experiencing the change that they desire so much. 

Homosexuality took form out of our response to pain -- most often the pain of rejection, abuse, or low self-esteem. The patterns of behavior and thinking that led to our homosexuality were patterns of self-protection from these pains. Having experienced pain early in life, we became determined never again to allow ourselves to be in a position where the painful experiences could be repeated. Our responses may have been because our painful experiences were truly horrendous, or they may reflect the fact that, for some reason or other, we have a personality that has a high propensity to avoid pain. Either way, without some willingness to face pain, healing will not progress very far.

What are the pains that seem so threatening to homosexual overcomers that their avoidance becomes life dominating. I see seven very common ones: 

Humiliation -- If I try to do what other men (women) do, I will fail and I will be humiliated, and that will be unbearable. Being physically or emotionally hurt -- If I get into a position in which I am not in control, someone will hurt (abuse) me and that will be devastating. 

Rejection -- I won't get close to anyone; then they can't reject me. I can't stand rejection. 

Looking at the darkness within -- There is no self-talk here, but rather, an inner dread of allowing the Holy Spirit to deal with us in certain deep sin areas such as pride or anger. 

A lonely, dreary life -- The only pleasure I get is my fantasies. They aren't much, but how could I live without them? 

Being mediocre -- Unless I excel, I have no worth, and I can't stand feeling worthless. A chaste or lonely life -- If I don't get some form of intimacy, emotionally I will simply wither. 

To be willing to face pains such as these, is not to deny them. Rejection, humiliation, loneliness and the rest do occur -- frequently -- and they are painful. But we have two choices; either risk the pain and get on with life, or stay with our old methods of coping. To let go of our old means of coping is to forsake the drug that has always gotten us by before. Denial, isolation, control, lust all enable us to avoid the pain, but eventually they evolve from being our protectors to becoming our jailers. Our means of protection became our bondage. 

How do we face the pain when our methods of avoiding it have become so ingrained? I see only one solution. We need to be willing to face our pain and to let Jesus comfort us in it. This doesn't sound like very good news does it? But, I know of no other way. 

Initially, this requires that we accept the truth that we can endure the pain, even if the worst happens. It will not kill us. We will not be destroyed or devastated. It will be unpleasant, but we can endure it. 

Then we need to honestly and rationally count the cost. Avoiding the pain isn't an option. Rather, we have to ask ourselves, "Is it worth it to me to endure the pain in order to become truly free?" We don't have the promise that the Lord will take the pain away. After all, even He was made perfect through suffering. (Hebrews 2:10 and 5:8) We do have the promise that Jesus will be with us in the suffering, but no one really knows what this means until they go through the pain with Him. 

We also need to see that dealing with the pain is a part of our lives as obedient Christians. The Lord hates our means of being our own protectors. He hates to see us imprisoned in isolation or fear. Obedience means being willing to become the man or woman He created us to be, and we will not become that person until we are willing to walk through our pain. But be assured, the cross is our sign that Jesus will go through the pain with us. "More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us." (Romans 5:3-5) 

There is good news in this. Experiencing the love and power of Jesus in our pain and suffering will be an even greater joy than the healing that we will experience. 


Copyright © 1995, Alan P. Medinger and Regeneration. All rights reserved. Posted on the web with permission.