Editor’s note: AIS contacted a young Apostolic who came to the Lord from the homosexual lifestyle. He discussed his former life and ministering to homosexuals on the condition of anonymity.
Homosexuals are not “gay.” As much as those involved in the “gay” lifestyle may try to portray a happy, content life, the truth is just the opposite. Most gays are miserable, lonely and full of guilt. I know, because I’m a former homosexual.
But this is not the only myth perpetrated about homosexuals. Sadly, most Christians have concepts about homosexuality that are completely false. Here are responses to some of the “myths” of ministering to homosexuals.
First, homosexuality is not the unpardonable sin, nor is it the worst one. The Bible makes it clear that sin is sin. Therefore, the tendency to treat homosexuals as modern-day lepers is wrong. Just as with any other sin, we must hate the sin but love the sinner.
Next is a myth that is somewhat unspoken. Many Christians seem to believe that a proper Scriptural response is to mock those in the gay life-style. But would they laugh at the alcoholic or scoff at the drug addict? We will never win the homosexual until we learn to love him.
Another myth is that homosexuals cannot be helped. The gay movement itself has put forth this idea, and many Christians seem to have bought into it. But let me make this clear: Homosexuals are not born that way and can change. Many psychologists have found that the majority of homosexuals come from troubled backgrounds. And as a result of this background, the person simply makes wrong choices; he seeks love in the wrong places.
But similarly, contrary to what some think, most homosexuals do not make a conscious decision to be gay. The path to homosexuality is not that simple. Usually it results from several steps. First, according to Tim Lahaye, the person is usually born with a melancholy temperament, which, according to psychologists, is the most sensitive of the four temperament types. The person then for some reason feels rejected by the same-sex parent and, if the person is male, is often dominated by the mother. Also, the person will often be rejected by same-sex peers. This is especially true of the melancholy boy, who many times is not interested in things like sports, automobiles, etc. Then, on top of all of this, the person will usually develop an early addiction to sexual activities.
The result is that the young boy has a void in his life. He needs male affirmation, but has not received it. Coupled with this is the fact that he has found fulfillment in sexual activities. So he turns his need for male affirmation into an unhealthy sexual desire.
Homosexuals need to know that you understand this process. But most of all, they need to know that there is a way of escape. Unlike what some believe, a person is not forever locked into this life-style. And please understand that deliverance from this sin requires more than just a pat answer. “Pray through” is not an answer that will help most homosexuals. From my own experience and study, here are what I’ve found to he the steps out of homosexuality:
1) The person must agree with God that homosexual activities are wrong. The Bible is clear on this point (Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:26 and I Corinthians 6:9-11). The gay person has no hope of changing unless he sincerely believes homosexuality to be against God’s plan.
2) The next step is to surrender oneself to complete salvation. This of course means to turn from all sins, be baptized in Jesus’ name and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38).
3) The homosexual must recognize and confess to God his basic anger problem. Nearly all homosexuals struggle with extreme bitterness. The targets of the anger are usually parents and same-sex friends. To be free from the gay lifestyle, a person has to learn to forgive.
4) Walk in the Spirit. This means to live in such a way as to keep your thoughts focused on God. It’s crucial that the recovering homosexual learn the art of controlling his mind. He cannot look at magazines, billboards, or even other people in the same way. For this reason, he must fill his mind with the Word of God and with Godly literature and listening material. Along these same lines, the person must avoid any places, people or things that may bring temptation. The pastor must counsel a former homosexual to cut relations to his former gay friends; to stay far away from places where homosexual encounters used to occur; and to change any activities that are intimately associated with his old lifestyle.
5) It’s important that the former homosexual develop close same-sex relationships with others in the church. This is a touchy area, because the tendency is to do the opposite. Christian men, for example, tend to want to avoid a man who was once a homosexual. However, since a primary cause of homosexuality is a lack of same-sex affirmation, the person must receive that affirmation from godly sources to stay free of bondage.
6) Don’t forget the basics. As with all Christians, to stay free from his old ways, the ex-gay must spend time with God. Tell him of the importance of regular prayer, Bible reading and church attendance. Anything less will surely cause a regression hack into his old ways.
7) And finally, you must stress to the former homosexual the need to forgive himself. Sexual addiction is unlike any other sin. There will probably be times when he will fall back into his old lusts. But he should realize the importance of immediately confessing his sin and then being willing to forgive himself. God’s mercy is everlasting. He is willing to work with us as long as we don’t give up.
In addition to the above steps, the pastor would he wise to supply the ex-homosexual with Christian resources aimed at former gays. There are several good sources for such material: Exodus International, Outpost, and Love in Action are just a few. In the meantime, I pray for the day that an Apostolic will feel the burden to begin a nationwide ministry focusing on the needs of recovering homosexuals.
I thank God that He sent somebody to help me out of my old sinful lifestyle. And it’s my prayer that more Pentecostals would feel the burden to minister to hurting homosexuals who want to be free.