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Homosexuality and your church

What do the gay people in your church look like? Do you spot them by their flamboyant clothing, their mannerisms, their declarations?

When a brother or sister in your church came to you to ask you for your help and support in their personal struggle against homosexuality, what did you do to walk with them? How did you respond the last time this happened to you?

“Oh, we don’t have that problem in our church,” you say?

If yours is a typical Southern Baptist church in Oklahoma, you do. If it is not a problem for Southern Baptists, why did Jimmy Draper lead in the creation of “The Way Out,” SBC’s Task Force on Ministry to Homosexuals, now led by former Texas SBC minister, Bob Stith?

Statistics show that one out of every five church members has a family member or close friend who struggles with homosexuality.

So, again, what do the same-sex attracted people in your church look like? Could they sit there looking like you, dressed like you, acting like you, worshipping in the pew with their spouses and children, or moms and dads, Bibles open, faces forward, smiles on, handshakes offered, singing alongside you in quiet despair? Are they hiding their pain and confusion behind their Sunday smiles?

Like me.

I’ve been a Christian for more than 40 years and a Southern Baptist. I met David and Goliath in VBS, was the middle-schooler who bounded off the church bus and came home from the revival with a new life, the teenager in Training Union quizzing the teacher over parfaits at the Dairy Queen, the emerging young man finding his voice on youth choir trips, the determined BSU summer missionary to Bangladesh. As an adult, I was the Sunday School teacher, chairman of the deacons and elder, all in Southern Baptist churches in Oklahoma.

I am a husband and a father of five children who are: a business owner, a graduate student, an Army Ranger, a police officer, a college student. I have four daughters-in-law and six grandchildren.

And yet, I struggle with unwanted same-sex attraction, have engaged in homosexual behavior in the past and must be on constant guard against the temptation. I have wanted to die, but more often, I just wanted to live, without this pull towards sin. I am your brother in Christ.

Hidden as I was, I knew others in church battled wrongful desires for satisfaction and fulfillment through homosexual relationships, pornography or other forms of sexual brokenness. Single and married, with or without children, they maintained the secret, living in fear, praying for a way out. We struggled in isolation, praying no one would ever find out and that we would overcome in private. I’m sure they feared as much as I did the prospect of being condemned, ridiculed and ostracized.

I fed the brokenness of the past. It bled into the present and projected into the future. Still, God knew me in my destructiveness and deception, just as He knew me when I was productive in service to Him.

Deception Leads to Discipline
Had I been ushered to a supply closet, I would not have selected addictive sexual brokenness as my identifying sin. Though temptation is not a sin, engaging in homosexual behavior is, not because the SBC voted to recognize it as such, but because the Bible makes it clear. It separates one from God, and, in cases like mine, can separate the person from his church family.

Church discipline is one of the most difficult things a man or woman will ever endure. It can lead to being declared unrepentant and removed from the fellowship of the church. So strong was the pull of same-sex attraction on my life that I experienced this twice. Evidence presented; recommendation made; vote cast.

Church discipline should always seek the repentance and restoration of the offender. If a church member is expelled, church members regard him as a nonbeliever. If enacted in error, this judgment leaves a Christian on the outside struggling against his sin without the support of a church family. For men and women overcoming homosexuality, a pivotal part of healing and restoration is the need to be included . . . to be a part of the body of Christ.

After being confronted with my sin by church leaders, I stood in my church confessing my sexual brokenness and looking out into the congregation knowing there were others like me sitting there and listening to what I truly believed at the time would be my final confession as I walked into freedom. Some of them knew I knew about them; others did not, but it must have been a terrifying time for them to see me in that position. And it must have been truly demoralizing for them when they heard later of other falls.

Repentance is not easily measured; the fruit may grow slower than we would hope. With the help of First Stone, an Exodus ministry in Oklahoma City, I learned that overcoming homosexual temptation is a journey, replete with stumbling in most cases. You pick yourself up and move forward. Such “falling” may resemble non-repentance, despite the personal pain and remorse that tears away at you inside. Often, when the struggler falls, the patience of those who are watching finds its limit.

What is Man?
“What is man that You are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:4).

We are who we are in part because of where we’ve been and the experiences that may have triggered the development of same-sex attraction. For me, childhood sexual abuse and father abandonment were certainly factors that had to be dealt with and have been. Still, I struggled, and put myself in places I should never have been, as others have done. In all those places, God was “mindful” of us. We hid; we paused; we ran; we rejected grace; we fell again in sin.

I accept responsibility and the consequences for the harm I caused, but my regrets cannot become a barrier to my repentance, even if those I drove away choose never to return.

Why Not Just Give Up?
Giving up and giving in is not an option for a Christian. It denies the reality of God’s transforming power and negates the promise that He can create in me a new heart and a new mind. My problem is my very stubborn soul.

I can’t imagine it was the Lord’s will for me to spend the years in the dark, but to find my way into the light. If I was so stubborn that public revelation and embarrassment was the only way to get there, then that was the path He had to establish for me. And, even in this, there is joy about what God can do with a repentant soul.

Why Not Walk Away?
A “struggler” does not choose his sin. None of us wrote an essay in the fourth grade saying that what we want to be when we grow up is a same-sex struggler who lives a lifestyle that guarantees anger, frustration, isolation, loss and detachment. Some see the struggler as using the life he shows—church, family and career—to enable the life he hides. This is not true.

Digging out and dropping the double life for one of transparency has been painful, but has opened the door to help others who struggle.

Can You Really Be Healed?

Romans 10:15 says “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.” The good news of salvation, yes. But the good news for the Christian who struggles with an addictive sin is that you can be free. Free of domination at least. Free to choose not to act out. Free to overcome the temptation, even when it begs you to take that turn at the next corner and walk just a little out of the way.

God’s grace keeps the struggler grounded in his or her darkest hours. A friend shared some simple reminders that have helped me and may be useful to you in sharing with someone who is burdened with homosexuality.

• God made them male and female. (I am a man and intrinsically capable of being drawn to, reaching out for and experiencing loving feelings and attractions for a woman rather than constantly fixating on my own sex.) Gen 5:2

• His commandments are not grievous. Christ’s yoke is easy and his burden light. (a godly, heterosexual mindset is in the long run easier to bear, less painful and more rewarding than homosexuality.) 1 John 5:3 and Matt. 11:30

• Love seeks not its own way. (Homosexuality is never a genuine expression of love toward another human being.) 1 Cor. 13:5

• God rewards those who diligently seek Him, and patience has its perfect work. (God will not forget my labors.) Heb. 11:6 and James 1:4

Forgiveness plays a big part in the overcoming: forgiving those who may have set you on the path . . . forgiving yourself for having lengthened the journey . . . even forgiving others you are angry at for not forgiving you. Unforgiveness is an open door for Satan.

It’s tragic what we do in life in hope of love and acceptance. We stumble around, yet Someone loves and accepts us from the moment we were conceived to the moment we no longer breathe and beyond. In sorrow, we yearn for someone to really know us and yet Someone has always known the very number of hairs on our head. To avoid solitude, we search the wrong and very dark places; yet we have Someone who said He would never leave us.

I am healing, rejecting society’s claims of inevitability, shaking off the weight of judgment, refusing to surrender to others’ genetic wishful thinking, accepting the reality of choice and embracing the simplicity of surrender . . . to the God who always knew me. Who was always there.

When I was knit in my mother’s womb . . . God was there.
When my dad drove away forever . . . God was there.
When the sex abuser crawled into my tent . . . God was there.
When I married my best friend . . . God was there.
When my children were delivered . . . God was there.
When they turned away from me . . . God was there.
When I was hurt . . . God was there.
When I hurt others . . . God was there.
When I was redeemed . . . God was there.
When I fell . . . God was there.
When I was restored . . . God was there.
When I fell again . . . God was there.
When I got up this morning . . . God was there.
When I lay down this evening . . . God was there.
He always IS.

So, I ask one more time. What do the gay people in your church look like?

(Next week: How can your church help those who struggle with homosexuality? A look at First Stone, Exodus Church Association . . . and how the local church can walk with someone into restoration.)

Thom Hunter, former chief of staff for AT&T in Oklahoma, is now a full-time writer. His blog, Signs of a Struggle, offers hope and help to those who struggle with all forms of sexual brokenness. It can be found at http://thom-signsofastruggle.blogspot.com.

Author: Thom Hunter

View more articles by Thom Hunter.

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  • Mike McIlwain

    Thanks, Thom, for sharing this testimony and reminding us of our need to minister to all who have been devastated by sin. Jesus’ blood is sufficient to cleanse ALL sins. May our churches begin to truly go into the highways and hedges and compel ALL to come to the Savior.

  • http://www.exoduschurchassociation.org Jeff Buchanan

    Thank you Thom for a message that proclaims both grace and truth. It is so important for the church to realize the power of the Body of Christ and what it can do to transform the lives of individuals who are broken and hurting. Excellent perspective.

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  • http://eagleheights.com Ryan Smith

    Thom,

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. This is such a taboo subject within the church walls, yet a prominent voice in our culture. Thank you for tearing down the walls and showing Christian people are real people struggling with real issues. We need more of this. Like many in our churches, my family has been directly effected by the homosexual lifestyle. Your commitment to Christ and desire to grow towards Him instead of a lifestyle that places your own desires at the center is a breath of fresh air. Thank you for sharing your journey. I pray its impact is far-reaching.

    Ryan

  • Kayla Evans

    You are an excellent communicator on this subject, and I applaud, admire, and commend your courage to be so forthright and honest. We as followers of Christ need to hear this message and respond with grace and mercy first and foremost. May the Lord continue to bring victory to your life as you focus on your new, true identity in Christ. May your family be restored and healed also.

  • John Sparacio

    I read the article, although heart wrenching and with many aspects I am in agreement the question still remains, why the drive? If it were due to socio-ecological developments caused by a fallen world then a curse indeed it is. However, for a heterosexual to examine it from rose (heterosexual) colored glasses or should I say biblically colored classes may be too simple a view from where one sits. I really believe that there is some type of biological force at work, which, is still not clearly defined or understood. Again why the draw from a man who is married and should not have such desires. Why are there men who simple are very straight, and men who are very homosexual? You cannot make a truly straight man gay nor can you make a truly gay man straight. You can scare him into submission but that is a false change for the truly gay man. As I said earlier if a man is converted by other men then he or she can be converted back, this is clear but for the biological ones it seems quite a different story. God’s power is great and can heel all things but we just lack the ability that Jesus spoke of in healing potential for us common humans. Jesus was and is God and heeled all and even brought people back from the dead but what human in history has done so? These people are truly hurting and the biblical references make life ten times more unbearable, so they resort to a life without God or a life with God in there broken state in a broken manner. I cannot in my heart of hearts think that I can answer there questions or fix their minds. Too many suicides and gay beatings come out from the people who condemn them; obviously, something is not working in the way the help or advise is being delivered. We need a fresh and unbiased look at the subject in order to put it in perspective. I know for a Christian preacher like yourself, and being a truly heterosexual male, this is a hard statement to grasp since the scriptures are your guide, and understandable so. Nevertheless, I cannot sit all mighty on my bible and say since it says so by the prophets it is so by God, I do not know God’s thoughts. Mean while they keep on coming, the beatings, and the suicides. I think that as Christians we need to attack the lifestyle question of promiscuity, drugs and alcohol firstly then look at the desire aspect. Statistics state that 2-4% of humans are gay or bisexual in America not the 10-20 % reported by the media, not that this should be any consolation but what it does show is that it is not as big of a problem as one would think see: (http://gaylife.about.com/od/comingout/a/population.htm). Therefore, the question is how to heal and or cope with this small segment of the population in a compassionate and rational manner.

    • Randolph Schnack

      You indeed raise some very valid points, John. I am a pastor (LCMS Lutheran, not SBC) but I also had previously worked on my Doctorate in Molecular Genetics. I have looked into this area and there does appear to be a genetic link involved.

      So how does this change things? Other than making it all the more important that we show understanding and love to those so afflicted, not at all.

      According to what I believe in re Original Sin and the fall of man. Before the fall, man was perfect genetically. Since the fall, this is no longer the case. People are born with many mental and physiological genetic disorders. It is my belief that homosexuality is in fact just such a genetic disorder.

      Some men are born with a very high sex drive. For such men, it is much harder for them, than for the “average” man to stay celibate before marriage, or to remain faithful to his spouse in marriage. I would also class this as just such a genetic disorder.

      There is no doubt that those so afflicted have a much harder battle to remain true to God’s good law in these areas. But those laws are given by God for the good both of the individual, and for the good of society.

      Does God DEMAND that we obey his law or go to hell? ABSOLUTELY NOT! He knows that without his power, it is impossible to do so, and even with his power, because that old flesh still clings to us, we will not constantly nor completely do so.

      What God does demand is that we acknowledge our dependence on Him. Acknowledge that we are saved, not by how well WE keep the law, but by how well JESUS has kept the law. He calls on us to renounce the sin that is in us.

      St Paul, in Romans 7, writes, “21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
      24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
      25 I thank God — through Jesus Christ our Lord!
      Note now how this section ends, this is important.
      So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

      Doesn’t sound very condemning of our sinning as a christian, does it?

      Reading on in Chapter 8, and in other places in scriptures, we learn that God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, can and will transform us as we allow him to do so. This can, however, be a slow process.

      As recovering sinners, we will fall many times into various sins. Even as a pastor, I sin daily, and all too much. I, just as all sinners must, cry out daily, O Lord, Have Mercy upon Me, a sinner.

      But I am also much more than that. I am also a Saint. the righteousness of Jesus rests upon me, and in him, i can conquer. In Him, i can change.

      And so each day, i fight the good fight of faith, renounce that flesh that clings to me and look to my loving savior for strength in that fight, and deliverance, so that my witness for him not be marred by my sin, but be made all the greater by my obedient response to his mercy and grace.

      You were right to say that you cannot make a homosexual into a heterosexual. GOD CAN. On a few occasions, he does this miraculously. For most it is a lifetime process of change that is not fully completed until the resurrection of the flesh.

      You said… the biblical references make their lives 10x more unbearable. This statement proves you do not understand the grace of God.

      I deserve to go to hell, you deserve to go to hell, the homosexual deserves to go to hell. If you focus on the law, then yes, such verses do make life unbearable. THAT is what they are supposed to do, so that you give up on yourself, and rely instead on God’s Mercy and grace.

      It is the laws job to drive you to the Gospel… That Jesus has lived the perfect life for you, in your place. it is not up to you to do it. He already has.

      You said, ‘I know for a Christian preacher like yourself, and being a truly heterosexual male, this is a hard statement to grasp since the scriptures are your guide, and understandable so.’ Did you not read what Thom said about himself? His struggles? His continual fight against his fleshly desires for other men?

      You said, ‘I cannot sit all mighty on my bible and say since it says so by the prophets it is so by God, I do not know God’s thoughts.’ This saddens me perhaps more than anything else you have said. For all scripture is “theopneustos” God exhaled. I do know God’s thoughts on those things on which He has spoken to us in his word and through His Son.

      Finally, on your last sentence. The question is the answer. By dealing in a compassionate and rational manner, realizing that because of genetics, or changes in the body brought about by addictions, or whatever, it is VERY hard, even for the christian seeking to lay hold of Gods power to change, to do so. But also believing the Gospel, that they ARE and STAND forgiven when they call on God for forgiveness and for the power to be transformed, even in their bodies.

      I hope my comments help.

      Randy

      • Gary Capshaw

        None of us are anything more than the sum total of our genetics and environment, most of which we had no control over.

        Consequently, we each are tempted by different things. While there is no temptation not common to man, there are certain of those which are more difficult for us as individuals because of our genetic makeup and the enviornment of our formative years. For one, the temptation may be sexual in nature; for another it may be to steal. One may be an habitual liar and the other a gossiper. WHAT sin is most tempting for us isn’t as important as what we DO about that temptation.

        So, what do we do, Mr. and Mrs. Christian?

        We fight the good fight, which means to resist the temptations of the devil as much as we can. However, without the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, we are unable to overcome a single one of the things which tempt us, even the smallest ones. If we can quit violating even the most minor and easiest of God’s laws on our own, with more effort we can keep from violating them all! But, we can’t do that. If we could, we have no need of a redeemer. We, on our own, are completely powerless to withstand the devil and our own, sinful, fallen nature. Only God can give us the victory!

        But..He doesn’t always do that, does he? If He did, none of us would sin after Salvation. We would all live perfect lives, yet none of us do. Why? Because God has not yet given us the victory we seek! We’ll get it one day, (that’s why we can confidently claim that victory even as we still yield to tempations), but on God’s terms and on His schedule.

        Why would God allow us to continue wallowing in sin and breaking his Commandments? It’s simple…God’s intent is not that we transform ourselves and live “right” by our own authority, but to rely completely and totally on the blood of Jesus Christ for our righteousness! From Genesis to Revelations, the totality of God’s Word to us and His redemptive plan is built around the resurrection of Jesus Christ and HIS victory over sin, not ours! Don’t you understand? That’s why there is sin in the first place! Without it, there would be no need for a Savior!

        Paul tells us in Galatians 5 that if we commit to keeping even one point of the law on our own authority, after Salvation, that we bind ourselves with the law once again and that Christ is of no effect to us. In fact, he says that if we do that, we have “fallen from grace.” Think about the implications of THAT!

        So, what do we do? Held accountable for sins which we cannot overcome on our own, we seem to be stuck in an endless cycle of sin until the day comes when God gives us the victory we so desperately want, right?

        That’s exactly right! But, it is not hopeless, nor does this mean we ought to revel in our failures and simply, easily give into every temptation. No, what we ought to do is recognize our own evil nature and accept that we will fail, no matter how hard we try, then pick ourselves up off the ground, claim the forgiveness in Christ which God has promised, stop beating ourselves up and move on doing God’s work.

        This is the liberty of grace which Paul talks about! Liberty is not a license to sin, nor is it assurance of complete victory in this life, but it IS escape from the righteous judgements of God through the victory of Jesus Christ. It is the ONLY way escape His judgments and THAT is what we need to cling to.

        Whether it be a temptation to homosexuality or a temptation to rob banks, the believer is assured of victory over it at some point. It may not be now, but the victory is real and already accomplished, so let’s act like it.

        Sadly, for too many of our brethren, we’re not willing to allow the homosexual who trusts in the blood of Christ to fail during his walk with God. We’re too personally offended by that particular sin to offer the same repeated forgiveness which we ourselves claim for our own repeated failures. That’s wrong and dangerous. The Lord’s Prayer clearly shows that OUR forgiveness is predicated on our forgiving others and, if we’re not willing to forgive the failing homosexual and offer him/her the hand of fellowship, we’re not going to get the forgiveness we need from God until we do.

  • John Sparacio

    My above response is to a Preacher who asked my opinion on this article hence the reference to him being a preacher.

  • John Sparacio

    Let me also state that even if there is a biological component it does not mean I am condoning nor condemning but simply stating that it would make it much more difficult to fight such an urge.

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  • Jeff

    Excellent article! I am walking in faith and victory over homosexuality and depression, because of the love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness of God, and the Blood of the Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ. Nothing else. My father was physically present but emotionally absent. He was an abusive alcoholic. My mother was an enabler (an Alcoholics Anonymous term; it’s a person who runs interference for the alcoholic, to keep the family looking good on the outside, and keeping the alcoholic from suffering the consequences of alcohol abuse).
    I kept my involvement in homosexuality hidden. I believed that God was disgusted with me, because I had made so many promises to “do better”, but falling again soon afterwards. I believed the lies of the enemy, thinking that I was trapped, and there was nothing to do but live out what years God had allotted me, and face His condemnation at the Judgement Seat. I had had my chance to serve Him and live for Him, and I had figuratively tossed it to the wind. It was gone, and could not be retrieved.
    GOD IS GOOD! God loves me, and in desperation I turned to Him, deciding that if I didn’t hear from God, this time, in an unmistakeable way, I would kill myself. I didn’t want to commit suicide; I wanted God, and it didn’t matter what He did, or how, just as long as He did answer. AND HE DID! That was in December of 2003. I have not acted out since. I am still tempted. I had bought the enemy’s lie; he didn’t have to force anything on me. I believed that if you were tempted, you might as well go ahead and do it, because it was the same thing. I had erroneously thought that being tempted was a sin, BUT IT’S NOT! Even our Lord Jesus Christ was tempted, when He walked the earth as a man (Hebrews 4:15). Our Lord was tempted, but He never once sinned. Therefore, it is not a sin to be tempted.
    I have confessed my sins, and have found healing and deliverance and peace and joy, because of God’s love! I have also confessed my sins of unforgiveness and bitterness, and God has cleansed me of those, too! I am still tempted, many times every day. But I would rather be tempted many times, every day, and have to call on God, each and every time, and stand upon His Word, and learn to stand in the power of His might, in His armor (Ephesians 6:10-18) than to have a one-time “mountain-top” experience, and never have to call on God again. Why? The more you talk with someone, and have fellowship with him or her, the better you get to know that person.

    GLORIFY GOD! LIFT UP JESUS! OBEY THE HOLY SPIRIT!

  • Deep

    So you are too narrow minded to accept the truth about homosexuality which God has created because He loves His children, just as He has created heterosexuality or bisexuality.

    I had previously posted two comments showing how the American Psychologists Association has voted overwhelmingly for giving due respect to gays and lesbians.

    I am a gay man and am PROUD of it. I know that God has made me gay right from the day I was conceived in my mother’s womb and in the love of God.

    God loves me for being gay.

    • DP

      Deep,
      Your faith in the human institution called the APA amazes me. There support of homosexuality has been so politically driven and biased for so many years now I do not understand how anyone can see that they have any credibility any more. You go right on believing the garbage they are presenting and be as proud as you can be. God did not create you gay, you have been convinced by the APA you are gay.

    • VK

      Deep, did you know that morality (right and wrong) is not something determined by a vote? Just because a group of people (the APA or whomever) take a vote and determines “overwhelmingly” that something is right or wrong, that does not change the rightness or wrongness of what they have voted on. It shows their preference or their wish, but it doesn’t change the rightness or wrongness of the issue. A crowd can, in a riot, kill an innocent person. Does it make it right because the majority was in agreement? No. The whole lot of them were wrong. A vote is not the determiner of morality.

  • Tom Collins

    Dear Deep –

    If you were that proud of being gay you would leave your real name and not some silly little anonymous statement.

    So – are you up for it?

  • Lew

    We have a sister and nephew in the homosexual lifestyle. She came out 16 years ago and we did nothing. Our nephew came out six months ago and many in our family realizing that we had affirmed the sisters gay lifestyle by doing nothing were convicted about not having done anything. We have confronted both of them and offered to help them if we could. The problem is both confess Christ and homosexuality. Both see no sin in homosexuality. We have reasoned with them in the scriptures but to no avail. Not all in this family are of the same mind concerning this lifestyle. Some see it as a sin and some do not. We hate the mixed signals being sent. . The combined family size with grandchildren is around 30. We have many children ranging from 10 and up. We are grieved that there is no remorse or desire to leave this lifestyle which concerns us about their salvation. We are also concerned for our children who are being exposed to the notion that one can practice sin and call themselves a Christian. The sister and nephew see no problem with what they are doing and are not concerned about what kind of testimony this is to others. They openly live this lifestyle and promote it on face book. We all get together often as we are a close family.Can you make any suggestions as they do not want us to say anything to them anymore?

    • Alvin

      I doubt that your confronting anybody will prevent more people from having a homosexual orientation. It might change their behavior, it might send them into hiding, and it might alienate them from the family. But, confrontation is not likely to alter their orientation. In case anybody hasn’t been paying attention to what we have said for decades: “MOST (IF NOT ALL) OF US DISCOVERED OUR ORIENTATION WITHOUT CHOOSING IT!”

      I am celibate, always have been and always will be (I am 55 years old). My orientation is not a problem with my Christian relatives, probably because of my celibacy. But, I also have a niece and two second cousins (one man and one woman) who are or have been in homosexual relationships. The family does not ostracize them, nor consider them a threat to the children, as far as I know, and this includes some very conservative Christians. We do have one family member that may be uninformed about us. She is a nephew’s wife, from South America, and said to be homophobic. When they visit, I hug my nephew, his wife and generally their (teenage?) daughter, and nobody thinks ill of it.

  • http://thom-signsofastruggle.blogspot.com/ Thom Hunter

    Lew,

    I’m sorry for the difficult position you are in. I can tell you want to do what any loving Christian would want to do for anyone who is involved in habitual sin: point the way to freedom in Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit. You’ve done that and, with a lot of prayer, hopefuly God will intercede and the Holy Spirit will lead your sister and your nephew out of the lifestyle. Today’s culture, and indeed even some denominations, have gone astray with the intention of acceptance. This is wrong. Sin is sin, regardless of the cause or the comfort. I do have some contact information for Exodus and SBC’s The Way Out, as well as some other resources that were to have run in the second article. If you would like to e-mail me at th2950@yahoo.com, I’ll send you that information. And I’ll be praying for your family. My journey was longer than it needed to be and caused greater damage than it should have, even though I never professed homosexuality as good. To me, it was always a sin. I just struggled to find freedom. It is my hope that others will find it faster and without causing others the pain.

    Thom

  • CJ

    It’s extremely disheartening that many gays honestly feel that Christians hate them. This is not an overstatement. I’ve known too many gay individuals that struggle with depression because of how they were treated by Christians. Christians too often attack homosexuals and gay marriage and yet ignore gossip, slander, jealousy, greed, divorce, gluttony, etc.

    If the Christian church wants to reach out to the homosexual community it would be better to focus on LOVING than judging. It would be better to focus on the sins of oneself before throwing stones at others.

    In the church’s attempt to “communicate” that homosexuality is a sin, the church is missing the opportunity to show love and compassion. Of course, the first response my saying this is usually, “But we can’t condone it!” Since when is showing love and compassion condoning anything? I think that every non-Christian on this planet has heard from Christians that homosexuality is a sin. Do you really think that by repeating it 500 more times that they’ll see your love? Do you think that hearing it another 500 more times will bring them to Jesus? The church is pushing away people and failing to judge itself.

    As I first said, it is disheartening that many gays feel that Christians hate them. If you say, “We should hate the sin and love the sinner” – then also ask yourself how many gays see that love. If they are thinking that you hate them, maybe you should change something.

    I’m neither condemning or condoning homosexuality or gay marriage by saying these things. But, I have seen the hurt, anger and hate within gays by how Christians have waged war against them and against gay marriage. Gay people see the hypocrisy in the church. They realize that the church has found an easy target and a way to avoid looking at oneself. We say that we want to protect marriage and yet what are we doing to protect heterosexual marriages that are failing around us?

    Maybe someone reading this will disagree with me on many things. But, how can you disagree with how the church is isolating gays vs. dealing with other issues within the church? How can you explain why gays feel hated by Christians? The church is obviously doing something wrong if they feel that Christians HATE them. You attempt to “hate the sin and love the sinner” isn’t working. I suggest we all look at our own lives, our own sins and spend more time with Jesus. Lets not be quick to judge when we ourselves are failing miserably at loving others & addressing sins in our own lives. Lets not be so quick to say, “You can’t be a Christian AND gay” and yet ignore how many Christians are habitually guilty of greed, gluttony, selfishness, gossip, etc.

  • Weston

    Thank you very much. this helps give me the strength to press on

  • http://www.bridgingthegapsministries.org Charlene E Hios

    Praise God for the baptist church in Las Vegas, NV that embraced me when I walked into their church! I was a lesbian, a butch . . . College Park Baptist Church loved me and accepted me with the love of Christ Jesus!

    My parents had recently come to know the Lord and when I came to visit them their church, soon to become my church as well, welcomed me! They hugged me! They told me about the love of Jesus! They got me involved in reading the Bible! When I asked them about homosexuality and why did God’s word say it was wrong if God had made me that way, they lovingly yet truthfully and compassionately told me that they believe the Bible was God’s word and He states that homosexuality is not what He, God, intended for our sexuality.

    College Park BC came alongside me, and I came to have that wonderful relationship with Christ Jesus! The Holy Spirit did the changing as only the Holy Spirit can do. The Church loved me, told me about Jesus, about God’s love, and God changed me and healed me of my homosexuality. PRAISE God! Thank You College Park!

    Today, after 5 years at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, and two degrees in Theology and Educational Leadership, I now minister to those who struggle with their unwanted same sex attractions. I also speak with churches and share with them the experience of how College Park Baptist Church in Las Vegas, NV ministered to me as guided by Scripture.

    There are so many hurting folks out there who struggle with their unwanted same sex attractions and they are afraid to speak up because, regretfully, they see the Church as judgmental and hateful. We know this is not true! I know this is not true! And as we continue to reach out with the love that we also received, I so pray that more and more folks will be set free out of their captivity to the sin of homosexuality.

    Church, we have the key to their chains, to their prison bars. That key is Christ Jesus! Tell them about the love of Christ, reflect the love to Jesus to them, get them into God’s word! Truthfully and compassionately tell them the Truth of God’s Word! The Holy Spirit will do the convicting . . . .

    Please remember, they are looking for love and acceptance . . . not acceptance of their homosexuality but acceptance of themselves. The gay community embraces them with false love and false freedoms. We need to embrace them with the true love and the true freedom and the true peace of Christ Jesus.

    Charlene
    415 465 0517
    http://www.earthenvesseljournal.com/issue03/articles_03/Hios_03/Hios_03.html

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