Got Questions? Here are our answers to some of the ones that you may have.
There are a lot of implications packed into this question. In my 20+ years of seeking to walk in sexual purity, I do not know of any individual who has been same-sex attracted or gay-identified and has undertaken to live a life based on God’s created design for His children’s sexuality, that does not still experience some degree of sexual attraction to the same gender. We cannot help to whom we are attracted, so our responsibility begins with the decision about how we will respond to those attractions. It’s important to note that heterosexuals face the same challenge: to live a life of purity before the Lord regardless of where our attractions lie. In Abba’s Delight ministry, our goal is sexual purity for the believer in whatever situation you find yourself; not to change someone from homosexual to heterosexual. Exchanging one lust for another is not God’s answer to the problem.
Simply put, Abba’s Delight believes God’s created design for sexuality, supported by Biblical text, is the sexual union of one man and one woman married to each other for life. We teach that any sexual expression outside of that qualification is against God’s original plan for mankind.
Because we do not choose to whom we will be attracted, homosexual attractions or feelings are not chosen. However, because we do choose our actions, our decision whether or not to engage in homosexual activities is a choice. Therefore, there is no sin in being attracted, but acting on those attractions to engage in homosexual activity would be against God’s will and plan, and the Bible does define those actions as sin. Abba’s Delight holds to this Biblical belief.
Homosexuality itself is not an addiction, but many homosexuals are addicts. For many men, the addiction is to porn or the sexual activity. These men are driven by the sensed need for sexual stimulation and orgasms. Some men, though, are addicted in the same way women often are. This aspect of addiction is characterized by the repeated need for emotional dependency in relationships that are unhealthy. In either case, these types of addictions are often more difficult to overcome than others like drugs, alcohol or nicotine. I have long since maintained that it is this way because we were created relational and sexual beings, and that goes to the very core of who we are as Father’s creations, so when we find ourselves addicted emotionally or sexually, it can be more difficult to overcome. Conversely, we were not created beings who require drugs, alcohol or nicotine, so when we become addicted to these type agents, they are generally easier to overcome because they are things we can cease taking into our bodies, thereby overcoming the addiction to them. Abba’s Delight ministry is equipped to help the emotional and/or sexual addict, and when deemed appropriate, we make referrals to competent professional counselors.
There is no conclusive evidence that a “gay gene” causes homosexuality. Reputable scientists who presented early theories of a genetic link to homosexuality early on backed off of those theories long ago because the studies done were never replicated; therefore a genetic link was never proved. Unfortunately, the liberal media, Hollywood and those promoting a gay agenda to normalize and mainstream gay life, have continued to promote the “I was born gay” myth to the point that even now some churches have begun to buy into it. Abba’s Delight holds that the attractions are not sinful, but the behaviors are. So, even if science were to prove a definite genetic link as a cause for homosexuality, the Bible declaring homosexual activity sinful would remain our standard for truth.
Not necessarily, but it may. It does probably mean that he is same-sex attracted, but he may not have ever engaged in any homosexual activity. Viewing porn, whether heterosexual or homosexual, is definitely a cause for concern, and I would encourage any parents in this situation to have a calm, rational discussion with their child about sexual purity.
Answering this question, though, also depends on what you mean by the term “gay.” For many who do not personally deal with same-sex attractions, the “gay” word is kind of a catch-all term for anyone who does experience those attractions, whether they have engaged in any homosexual activity or not. For many who identify themselves as being same-sex attracted, but have not engaged in homosexual activity with another person, they do not identify as gay.
Further, beyond just the activities and attractions, there is a definite “gay” persona many gay-identified individuals take on that involves several aspects such as: mannerisms; vocabulary and speech patterns; the ways one dresses; certain cars, restaurants, clubs, etc. Many who are same-sex attracted, regardless of whether they’ve engaged in homosexual activities or not, have never taken on this identity and do not consider themselves gay. This can be especially true of born-again Christian believers for whom these attractions are unwanted and unwelcomed.
The actions of this response are certainly going to be more difficult to carry out than the points of the response. In other words, easier said than done! First of all, you will need to push through your initial emotional reactions of fear, disappointment, anger and others to take care and reassure your child of your love and acceptance of him/her, no matter what, just as our heavenly Father declares to us in His word. Hopefully, this reassurance will not be a new concept for them to be hearing.
Second, employ Paul’s pray without ceasing encouragement as you engage in a calm, rational discussion with your child to find out exactly where he/she is on the spectrum of attractions/experience/activities/etc. It is extremely important that you educate yourself by listening with your ears and your heart to what your child undoubtedly has been feeling and wrestling for a long time.
Third, your child probably knows where you stand on this difficult sin topic, but in a clear, concise and loving way, let your child know your position this one time, and then practice not bringing it up to him/her with any kind of regularity. Though this news may come as a shock to you, your son or daughter needs to know that your love is unconditional even though you don’t approve of the sexual expression chosen. I’m reminded of a quotation I heard many years ago, the speaker of which I don’t know the identity, that goes, “God’s love is unconditional; His approval is not.” Be clear about letting your child know you loved him/her before the news, you are still loving now, and nothing will change in the future.
Finally, find some support for yourself (and your spouse, if you are married). Abba’s Delight hosts a Family & Friends Support Group for those who have loved ones who are gay-identified, whether that loved one is a spouse, child, parent, sibling, other relative or friend. In the support group, we teach how to love your loved one in Christ-like ways they can receive without sacrificing Biblical truth. Often, our group participants find there is much more wiggle room than they expected. In this process, you can also take time to grieve the things you feel are lost.
Through all of the pain and fear, possible betrayal, and hopefully forgiveness, it is most important and essential that each of you stay well-connected to the Lord in His redemptive process, because His will may not be divorce, even if the offended spouse has civil and Biblical grounds for it. Another reason to stay well-connected to His will is so that you will be careful not to make “saving the marriage” the goal. The goal should be restoration in each of your relationships to the Lord, so that you each can hear His will clearly. By doing this, though divorce may end up being the outcome, you will be able to proceed, not out of hurting emotional reactions, but out of a sense of God’s leading. If you believe God is leading you to divorce, you can also believe He will lead you through it, and beyond.
It has been shown over the years that evangelism is most effective through building relationships with the unsaved. Reaching out to gays should be no different. Unfortunately, the church-at-large has not been willing yet to invest the time and patience it takes to involve itself in the lives of gay individuals. For many gays who have been exposed to church life, the experience has been negative, as congregations tend to single out homosexuality as the worst of all sins, except for maybe child molestation, and the condemnation is largely felt. The skepticism of gays that this situation has caused would certainly lead to long term relational commitments from believers if they are to have a lasting influence toward Jesus in the lives of gay individuals, and often Christians are not interested in the long haul, especially if they believe that homosexuals cannot change in any way.
Pastors and congregations must come to the place where they are willing to acknowledge that the church has failed gays, and they must be willing to be taught the most effective ways to reach out to, not only the gay community, but also those in their congregations already struggling to overcome their same-gender attractions or deal with the impact of homosexuality on their lives due to a loved one’s involvement as a gay individual. Traditionally, this situation often has been difficult for a church to admit.
Abba’s Delight ministry can assist in these matters. We can come alongside pastors and congregations to exhibit the most effective ways to love gay-identified individuals or those who wish to overcome their same-sex attractions in ways that those individuals can receive that love. We can teach what that looks like in day-to-day life. We can show ways to love without singling out homosexuality as the be-all-end-all of sins. We can help church leaders minister to those in their congregations whose lives have been impacted by a loved one’s involvement in gay life. We can help church staffs learn to give aid and assistance in ministry, yet maintain healthy boundaries. Abba’s Delight can accomplish these tasks by investing in ongoing relationships with local churches; by sharing from the pulpit testimonies of overcomers and family members who have walked this journey for a while; by conducting classes, workshops and seminars hosted by local churches for their congregations and the community.