KNOW THE TRUTH

“KNOW THE TRUTH”

 

Jesus said: “If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  John 8:31-32

 

So why am I sharing this story now?  Because this is a story, a true story, that should have been told a long, long, long time ago.  And at the same time I know that God has a plan and a purpose for all things and that His time is perfect.

 

To tell this story I’ll draw on the written works of Mark A. Yarhouse* in two of his books about understanding homosexuality.  In these two books he discusses the “how” and the “why” of same-sex attractions.  He proceeds to talk about the two options or “scripts” that have been available in the past to those with same-sex attractions.  Finally he identifies a third “new script” which needs to be the message of hope from the Church.

 

I would like to share the “short version” of what Yarhouse* has to say in “Understanding Sexual Identity” and “Homosexuality and the Christian” ~~~ I highly suggest reading both of these books and they are available on Amazon.com.

 

Many times people will ask “what” causes same-sex attractions and “how” does it happen?  According to Yarhouse, “we don’t have that answer.”  That is the honest answer: that is the truth: we simply DON’T know.  While there has been much research in this area, none of the research has been able to identify one specific cause of a particular sexual attraction, be it gay, straight or bi.

 

Perhaps the “best” answer is that our sexual attractions are DEVELOPED (we are not born gay) over a period of time and they are determined by a “cluster” of reasons or causes.

 

This “cluster of reasons” includes:

 

GENETIC reasons

BIOLOGICAL reasons

SOCIAL ENVIRONMENTAL reasons

CHILDHOOD LIFE EXPERIENCES reasons

ADOLESCENT LIFE EXPERIENCES reasons

 

A COMBINATION of these “reasons or causes” will pave the way for the initial “awakening” of our sexual attractions as we enter puberty.  No two people are impacted in the exact same manner by “their” specific cluster of reasons.  What might impact one person in one way will have a totally different impact on another person. This first stage of the development process is “sexual attraction.”

 

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Yarhouse* identifies three stages in the development process:

 

Sexual attraction

Sexual orientation

Sexual identity & our actions/behaviors

 

FIRST: Sexual Attractions.  One day we look around and suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, we are feeling “something” new.  We are seeing other people in a “new light” and with new feelings and attractions.  This comes with the onset of puberty and it’s all new and strange and we don’t fully understand the feelings.  We are learning the names and the words and the nature of these new attractions and feelings.

 

For some, the sexual attraction is to the opposite-sex.  For others the sexual attraction is to the same-sex.  And for others the sexual attraction is to both sexes. 

 

WE DID NOT CHOOSE our sexual attraction.  For each of us, our sexual attraction is the result of “our cluster of reasons, causes and life events.”  For myself personally, I did NOT choose to have same-sex attractions.

 

While this sexual attraction stage is somewhat uncertain, with a little time, the attractions we have will grow stronger and will become clearer.  We will reach a point of clarity about whom we are sexually attracted to and who we are not sexually attracted to. 

 

SECOND: As we gain more clarity and understanding into our sexual attractions we move into Yarhouse’s second stage which is Sexual Orientation.

 

Simply stated, sexual orientation is nothing more, nothing less than who we are truly sexually attracted to.  And as with sexual attractions, our sexual orientation was NOT chosen.  It too is the natural development of our “cluster” of reasons, causes and life experiences.  I personally did NOT choose to have a same-sex orientation.

 

THIRD: As our sexual attractions have “solidified” into our sexual orientation (neither are chosen) we will now begin the journey into what Yarhouse* identifies as the third and final stage, Sexual Identity AND our actions & behaviors, all based on our personal CHOICES.  Unlike the first two stages which are NOT chosen, our sexual identity and our actions and behaviors ARE CHOSEN.

 

We do have the power to choose: we do have the power to select and make decisions about “who” we are and how we act on those decisions.  Do I listen to the message from the world; the messages from my carnal mind and flesh?  Or, by faith do I turn to the Word of God and choose my identity in Him?

 

Do I choose to live an active gay sex life based on a gay identity or do I choose my identity as a child of God and choose to “deny self and take up my cross and follow Him”? (Galatians 3:26 ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17 ~ Luke 9:23)

 

My “denial” is not about my same-sex attractions.  I choose to deny SELF.  I’m not running away from the truth about my feelings and attractions.  I am a Christian who struggles with same-sex attractions.   But I don’t define myself by my temptations.  My identity is not in my sexuality, but in Jesus.  “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 

 

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The final information that I want to share from Yarhouse* is what he identifies as “scripts.”  Scripts are the “messages” we receive along life’s journey.  They tell us what is right or wrong; they tell us how we should live and act for any given life event or situation.

 

These are the two “old” scripts which have been directed toward those with same-sex attractions, followed by the “new” script which is the truth: it’s the script that gives hope and direction to those with same-sex attractions, to those who choose to walk away from an active gay identity and sexual lifestyle.

 

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The first of these three scripts is the “old” Church Script” ~~~ it’s what the Church has taught over the years.

 

The old Church script says that there are EASY reasons to explain same-sex attractions: it’s the parent’s fault, it’s because they were sexually abused, it’s because he didn’t have a father, etc. etc.

 

It says that you are nothing more than an abomination and that there is no hope for you.  It says that you are not welcome here.  You are told that you must keep it a secret.

 

The old Church script tells you that same-sex attractions can EASILY be changed or healed through your efforts or faith: all you need to do is pray it out.  It says that you need to pray more and if you don’t change into a heterosexual, then you are not being sincere in your desire to change.    

 

It tells you that it’s totally your fault and that God wants to change you into a heterosexual.  And the list of blame goes on and on.  The gay jokes continue.  The guilt and shame is never ending.

 

This script is a total set-up for failure.  The individual tries and tries to change.  They pray and cry and beg God to change them into a heterosexual.  But that change does not come.  Hope is lost.  And at some point they give up and walk away, into the open and loving arms of the “gay identity script.”

 

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The second script is the “Gay Identity Script” ~~~ Listening to the message of the mainstream Gay community.

 

According to this script, same-sex attractions signal a naturally-occurring or “intended by God” distinction between homosexuality, heterosexuality, and bisexuality.

 

It says that same-sex attractions signal who you really are as a person. (Emphasis on DISCOVERY)

 

It says that same-sex attractions are at the core of who you are as a person AND that same-sex behavior is an extension of that core.

 

It tells you that self-actualization (behaviors that match who you really are) of your sexual identity is crucial for your fulfillment.

 

It tells you that you were born gay: it’s just a matter of discovering this about yourself.

 

And it tells you that if you have same-sex attractions but don’t identify as Gay, then you’re in denial or not yet ready to be honest with yourself about who you are.

 

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Until recently, these two scripts were the only options available to those of us who struggled with same-sex attractions.  And all along, NEITHER of them were the truth.


Someone suggested that: "It is perhaps less important to know what is ‘right and wrong’ morally speaking, than to know how to act toward those we consider ‘wrong’."  We have failed to offer Christ to the gay and lesbian community.  We have also failed by giving the impression that orientation change and reparative therapy is the solution.  Sanctification is not getting rid of our temptations, but pursuing holiness in the midst of them.  If our goal is making people straight, then we are practicing a false gospel.  The opposite of “homosexuality” is not “heterosexuality.”  It’s HOLINESS!

 

Thank God for the third script; the “new” script.  It’s actually not “new” ~~~ it’s the truth that those of us with same-sex attractions have always known deep down in our heart but just never shared.  We never shared because of our fear of the “old” Church script.

 

This “new” script does NOT change what the Word of God has to say about homosexuality.  It just shares the truth about what freedom and deliverance really mean.

 

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The third script: the “New Script” ~~~ this is the script of truth and hope: it’s the script that we must begin hearing from the Church.

 

This new script says that same-sex attraction signals not a categorical distinction among types of persons, but that it is one of many human experiences that are “not the way things are supposed to be.”

 

It tells us that same-sex attractions are part of your experience, but not the defining element of your identity. (Emphasis on DEVELOPMENT)

 

It lets us know that you can choose to integrate your experiences of attraction to the same sex into a gay identity OR ~

 

OR ~~~ On the other hand, you can instead choose to center your identity around other aspects of your experience, including your biological sex, gender identity, and so on.

 

And this new script tells us that the most compelling aspect of personhood for the Christian is one’s identity in Christ, a central and defining aspect of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

 

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So what’s the bottom line to all of this information?  What’s the “all in a nut shell” message here?

 

I was not born gay.  I did not choose to have same-sex attractions and I did not choose to have a same-sex orientation.  They were developed over a course of time based on my own personal cluster of reasons, causes and life experiences.

 

However, my identity and my actions and behaviors are chosen.  It is by choice that I identify who I am and then how I act and behave based on that identity.  This is my choice.

 

In the past the Church said that I needed to become a heterosexual to be saved.  The Gay world said that I needed to embrace and live out my same-sex attractions.  BOTH messages were wrong.  Both messages ARE wrong. 

 

BUT Jesus came along and saw me in my pit.  He loved me and reached down and pulled me out of that pit.  He told me to deny self and to take up my cross and to follow Him. (Luke 9:23)  He told me to go and sin no more. (John 8:11) 

 

Jesus did not give me amnesia.  He did not wipe away all of my past memories, attractions or feelings.  I still have same-sex attractions.  I don’t know why God hasn’t changed those attractions and I have not given up on hope.  The reality is that He has not and He may not.  So for today, I’m not focused on trying to become straight, but my focus is on knowing and loving Jesus and growing upright into His HOLINESS.

 

So why am I sharing all of this information with you at this time?  I love the response to that question from Bryan at The Happy Alternative (1) and I’d like to share it with you at this time.

 

Bryan shares: “I’m talking now because the world is talking.  The world is saying ‘Be who you are, embrace your sexuality, it gets better.’  They have slick campaigns, celebrity endorsements and flashy bumper stickers.  One thing they don’t have is hope.  Jesus is that hope.  He came into the world to save sinners: gay, straight and everything in between.  God reconciles us to Himself when we put our faith in Jesus, who died in our place so that we may be called righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21).  THAT FAITH DOESN’T TAKE AWAY OUR TEMPTATIONS, SEXUAL OR OTHERWISE, BUT IT TAKES AWAY THE CONDEMNATION (Romans 8:1).  THAT’S THE GOSPEL.  THAT’S A STORY THAT NEEDS TO BE TOLD.  THAT’S WHY I’M TALKING NOW.”

 

Remember:


The opposite of homosexuality is NOT heterosexuality: it’s HOLINESS!

 

God Bless ~~~ Bro. Nello    

 

1 Corinthians 6:11 & Revelation 12:11

 

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A SIDE NOTE ABOUT MARRIAGE AND FAMILY:  To suggest to those with same-sex attractions that they will have a 100% transformation to heterosexuality is not the truth.  It most likely will never happen to that degree and such a message is a set-up for failure. 

 

It’s not that our God couldn’t do such a transformation, (our God CAN do ALL things ~ Matthew 19:26) but for now that’s not the way it’s happening.

 

With that said, the truth is that there can be varying degrees of transformation toward an opposite-sex attraction.  For some it will be an attraction toward one person: that person they end up falling in love with and marrying.  For others the attraction might be toward several people of the opposite sex.  But it will most likely never be a 100% transformation from gay to straight.  There will continue to be a certain degree of same-sex attractions as well.

 

For those who desire to marry and have a family, it can happen and when it does it’s genuine.  It won’t be for the purpose of “fixing” the gay: the attraction and love will be genuine.  Having children is no problem either. 

 

So I believe that it depends on the individual; it depends on the desires of their heart and on God’s plan for their life. (Psalms 37:4 ~ Matthew 6:33)  For some who choose to walk away from the gay identity, they can in fact have a spouse and children.  For the rest of us, we can live a life of celibacy with a focus of serving the Lord in ministry: reaching out and sharing our testimony with others.  “Jesus makes singleness, celibacy and everything else that comes with same-sex attraction worth it.  Indeed, the life I’m choosing to live can hardly be called a sacrifice.” (1)

 

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* Mark A. Yarhouse: “Understanding Sexual Identity” and “Homosexuality and the Christian”

 

I strongly recommend reading both of these books.  They complement each other and will provide the reader with a deep, clear understanding as to the over-all nature of same-sex attractions.  Both of these books are available at Amazon.com

 

1. Bryan at The Happy Alternative: “I’m (Kinda Sorta Yeah Not Really) Gay”

 

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