It is a constant mantra of activists, that people who are same-sex attracted are born that way and that there is no hope for change; in other words, they can never develop opposite-sex attractions or lessen their same-sex feelings. No wonder the suicide rate among homosexuals is three to five times the average, even in locations around the world that are the most supportive of such a lifestyle.
No hope is being given to the vast numbers of homosexuals who don't want to be gay. Their minds, bodies and souls are telling them here is something wrong with being sexually attracted to people whose bodies are not designed for committing such acts, so much so that every time a male homosexual commits one of the most common sexual acts on their partner, he actually damages the mind, soul and body of that partner (1 Cor. 6:18). When pressed, most any proctologist will admit to that, even those whose livelihoods depend on such patients.
Ask yourself, "Would a good God really create someone with an orientation to act in ways that He condemns and that does harm to his partners? Would a good God really create someone with an orientation that results in domestic violence rates, substance abuse rates, gay-related disease rates and promiscuity rates that are off the charts in comparison to heterosexuals? The questions answer themselves.
Such activists use their mantra to orchestrate special rights and to force legal and professional adherence to their point of view. The consequence of noncompliance to their demands is censorship as well as personal and professional persecution and destruction (2 Tim. 3:12)—even fines and imprisonment. In truth, a class of people who have faced persecution in the past can now be counted among the most heartless and frenzied persecutors on the planet.
For the Activist, What if the Claim of Change is True?
One claim that makes such activists furious is the assertion by former homosexuals that God can and has changed them to one degree or another—that the causes of their homosexual attractions are dysfunctional and can be healed, resulting in the waning of homosexual desire and in some, the rise of natural, heterosexual desire. (The reason for this breadth of transformational outcomes is complicated and an important teaching all its own, a teaching that can be found in the Sexual Healing Reference Edition).
—Their fury undoubtedly stems from the fact that if this claim by former homosexuals is true, then people are not born that way and can change if they surrender to the lordship of Jesus Christ and the sanctifying leading of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16, 24). You can see scores of testimonies to that fact in the video Such Were Some of You.
—If the claim is true, then there is no basis for special rights or forced compliance.
—If the claim is true, then people who want to leave the lifestyle can find hope, healing and God's direction for walking free from those things that have caused their same-sex attractions.
—If the claim is true, they can have hope that the Lord will forgive, heal and transform them as they pursue an intimate relationship with God the Father.
—If the claim is true, as stated clearly in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, then the impending sentence of eternal separation from God for those who commit homosexual acts can be rescinded by Almighty God.
What Happens to Those Who Reject God's Will
Alternately, those who harden their heart against God's loving commands will eventually lose the conviction that they must have in order to repent (1 Tim. 4:2; 1 Thess. 5:19; Acts 28:27; Eph. 4:19, 30). They will lose the God-given conviction to forsake the idolatry that lies behind sin and be lost (Rom. 1:18-32, Eph. 5:37, Col. 3:5, Ezek. 23:48-49, 1 Peter 2:11). This is true of anyone who refuses to repent of sin in response to the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. Of this, Isaiah clearly laments, "There is no one who calls on Your name, who stirs up himself to take hold of You; for You have hidden Your face from us and have consumed us because of our iniquities" (Isa. 64:7).
Reminiscent of Satan's first lie (Gen. 3:1), they will fall for another of his lies: "Did God really say you must repent of homosexual behavior?"
The sad truth is that these precious people are being led down a path that leads to destruction. They are being persuaded by those who do not know God to ignore His will in the matter. They are missing out on His saving grace and His power to bring healing, change and transformation to every area of their lives.
Just the Facts!
Surprisingly, a number of secular therapists (some of whom are lesbian) have gone public in declaring that science has proven that sexual desire can change.
A recent book by Stephen Black, Freedom Realized, also bears witness to the power of God to change anyone who will forsake their sin in order to follow Christ. In the 25 years he has been helping homosexuals, among those who made a serious attempt via his ministry program to experience change through Jesus Christ, at least 72 percent found lasting freedom from sinful behavior. In former lesbian Anne Paulk's book, Restoring Sexual Identity, she reported that up to 81% of lesbians who made an earnest attempt to find healing and transformation through Christ found lasting freedom.
So What Do Former Homosexuals Mean When They Say God Has Changed Them?
- For some, they mean that in humbling themselves before God and turning away from such temptations (2 Tim. 2:22), they have forsaken a life of rebellion and surrendered themselves to the will of God through Jesus Christ. And they have made this commitment whether they lose their homosexual attractions or not (Eph. 4:17-24).
- For some, it means that in pursuing an intimate relationship with God the Father, with all their heart (Deut. 4:29, Ps. 105:4, Jer. 29:11-14, Heb. 11:6), they have received from Him divine revelation as to the causes of their aberrant attractions (in addition to the primary cause, which is our fallen nature). And on the heels of that revelation, they have pursued Him for the healing of such traumas as well as for a supernatural impartation of those things that went missing during their childhood and adolescence.
- For some, it means that they have learned not to try to find healing or the power to achieve freedom on their own (2 Cor. 2:21, Phil. 2:13), but have wholly relied on God to not only show them what is wrong but to empower them to renounce and refuse any such behaviors in the future (Acts 17:28, Gal. 2:20, 2 Pet. 1:4, Jude 24).
- For some, it means that in finding healing for the deficits and traumas that lie behind their same-sex attractions, such enticements have progressively lost their coercive power. In essence, the attractions have begun to wane in substance and power, causing the individual's identity to change from being "a homosexual" to being "a chaste child of God."
- For some, it means that they have found a true identity in Christ that joyfully adheres to His moral commands, no matter what temptations may linger. Their stony heart of rebellion has been replaced with a heart for God. Their rebellious will has been transformed by His grace, love and the beauty of His holiness (Titus 2:11-14; Rom. 2:4, 5:14, 6:8-14, 8:5-14; 2 Cor. 5:14).
- For some, it means that over time, their homosexual attractions have (to one degree or another) been replaced by natural heterosexual attractions.
- For some, it means that the transformation has been so complete that the old homosexual identity and attractions have lost all power and presence. They now enjoy sexual relations with a marriage partner of the opposite sex.
The Transforming Mercy and Love of God
To sum it up, the grace, mercy and love demonstrated by Jesus' death on the cross has persuaded such former homosexuals to receive the love they've always craved. They have been supernaturally changed in what they hold dear and have surrendered their will to the will of God. And they have been infused with the life of God, who has given them everything they need for life and godliness, through their knowledge (intimacy) of Him (2 Pet. 1:3-11).
The world would like us to think that for someone to be "changed", they must be zapped free from all temptation to that behavior, a claim that is nothing more than sophistry. It is a standard that those same people don't require for alcoholics, drug addicts, sex addicts and a host of other disorders.
Yes, the road to freedom from bondage can be long and arduous. We are strengthened in such trials. We are healed, delivered and transformed by such trials. In a sense, our brokenness has provided an opportunity to be made more Christlike, to be strengthened in our new identity in Christ and to respond to His love with a sacrificial commitment of our own—one that results in being transformed into His image from one degree of glory to another (2 Cor. 3:18).
That's what it means to be changed! But no matter what level of change a person realizes in this life, in forsaking sin to follow Jesus Christ, they have become born again and will soon be on their way to meet the true lover of their souls, the one who demonstrated His love for them on the cross (Rom. 5:8)—and a marriage with Him that will last forever (Rev. 19:9).
Can the God who created everything and everyone change a person who experiences same-sex attraction? Let me answer the question with another question: "Is there anything the Creator of all things cannot do?"
Dr. David Kyle Foster (M.Div, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; D.Min., Trinity School for Ministry) is the author of Transformed Into His Image and Love Hunger and is the founder/director of Pure Passion Media (PurePassion.us). Read more of his take on sexual sin and brokenness in his newest book, The Sexual Healing Reference Edition.
Listen to Charlene Cothran—former lesbian, gay activist and publisher of Venus Magazine—share her testimony of freedom in Christ.
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