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“We are here. We are here. We are here.” Dr. Seuss, Horton Hears a Who
Accordingly, the greatest need you and I have – the greatest need of collective humanity – is renovation of our heart. That spiritual place within us from which outlook, choices, and actions come has been formed by a world away from God. Now it must be transformed.” Dallas Willard, Renovation of the Heart
Dr. Oz just ran an episode of his television program where he interviewed Christopher Doyle and Rich Wyler about coming out of homosexuality. Both of these men have gone on to help others with unwanted same-sex attractions. He also had on the program Dr. Julie Harren-Hamilton, who works with clients with unwanted homosexual feelings and behaviors and is a former president of the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH).
Of course, the show set off activist groups like the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). Such organizations often promote ideologies and resources that marginalize, or even ridicule, those with a Christian worldview. A recent GLAAD initiative even fights against the free speech of people who believe that sexual expression is designed for a relationship between a man and a woman in a marriage relationship, trying to keep that truth out of the public forum and maligning those who disagree with them.
It shouldn’t surprise Christians that people leave homosexuality. Look throughout Scripture and history and you find people who encounter and follow Jesus Christ and have their lives transformed in the process. This is the message of the Gospel: although made in the image of God, our lives are desperately marred by sin; Jesus came to earth to teach and model what life without sin looks like; he also came to die and pay the cost of our sin, bringing forgiveness and grace; and his resurrection, ascent and gift of the Holy Spirit bring healing and empowerment.
Homosexual behavior is just one of many sins that God forgives and brings people out of. Despite the attempts of different folks to shut down this life-changing message, I keep running across people who have come out of homosexuality – whether in person or by reading their stories. It reminds me of the “Whos” from Dr. Seuss’ book, Horton Hears a Who: each story is another individual calling out, “We are here. We are here. We are here.”
Although there are some similarities in the stories, each is different and unique in how God brings healing and transformation. Some people move into marriage, some remain single and chaste. Some deal with residual same-sex sexual attractions, while others don’t. Here are just a few of the stories I’ve bumped into; I hope they encourage you – as they have me – with the truth of God’s transforming power.
- Christy McFerren writes for Prodigal Magazine, where she tells the story of her Baptist upbringing, a growing awareness of lesbian attractions, involvement with women, and the changes she experienced. She says,
Sometimes I agreed with God about my sexuality because He is Lord, and love is a choice, and that is all. My emotions were left out of the equation so many times because I had to believe either my feelings were lying to me or God was. I purposed in my heart to honor God’s design no matter how it felt, for a very, very long time. I could feel in the waiting that Life was at work in me. Hope was at work in me.
- In “Living with same-sex attraction”, five men and women discuss their decision to live according to Christianity’s teaching about sexuality. One of the participants, Ed, describes his relationship with Christ and the support he had from other Christians:
There’s that living Christ that you have an encounter with, and I seriously think I had that when I was in college. It’s just undeniable that I felt so much love and direction for the rest of my life. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I think at that moment I really caught a glimpse of Christ, and some of the people, like the high school leader at my church [and] the youth ministry leader came to mind. I thought of a lot of people who loved me regardless of my struggle, and those people really went back to the church.
- Matt Moore is a young man who blogs at The Christian Post. He tells his story about struggling with homosexuality and other sins, and about God’s powerful intervention in his life:
I never really thought, “I want God to cure me of my homosexuality”, to many people’s surprise. I mean, I knew that it was wrong and that it was sinful, but my goal was not (and is not) first and foremost to be “cured”. My goal was (and is) to know God.
There are many more stories of change from homosexuality, and I plan to highlight more of them in the coming months. For those struggling with unwanted homosexuality, there is real hope and real change. And it’s important that the church continues to proclaim the reality of transformed lives, not just for those with same-sex attractions, but for all people.