My recent posts were intended to reveal and revile what I call the LGBT agenda and the propaganda designed to promote it and neuter opposition. This post is, to borrow from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, “something completely different.” There is a shining hope for those struggling with same sex lust, you just have to invite him in. The previous sentence used the word lust, rather than the sanitized word attraction, because lust in that context is sexual. Attraction could mean a variety of things, including friendship. The problematic part is sexual lust, in particular for those who declare themselves or think themselves Christians.
“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own...” 1 Corinthians 6:18. What is “sexual immorality?” A better question is, “what use of my body grieves and defiles the Holy Spirit within me?” Because that is the issue. Before I accepted the Lordship of Jesus Christ over me, my lust was out of control. Outwardly, I was a model of decorum and restraint. Inwardly, I was a raging dirty young man. I sought pornography, which further inflamed my lust. In the days before the internet, pornography was mainly magazines, videotapes and peepshows. I became sort of a student of furtiveness, as most of those who patronized such places were, like me, ashamed of their behavior but unable to control their desire. I noticed that men who rented heterosexual videos rented one or two at a time, but men who rented homosexual videos rented armloads. My thoughts about them were, “poor bastards, their bondage is worse than mine.” Maybe in quantity, but not quality. Bondage is bondage.
When I dated women, I was outwardly restrained, never aggressive, but always looking for a gesture or word that indicated permission to go farther. Oh, my inner life was a maelstrom of conflict. Lust will do that. I longed to be freed from such impulses. I suppressed any thoughts of an overarching God who might be judging me, or grieved by my behavior. Then, in October of 1986, I met a man with one eye whose face was crisscrossed with scars and whose hands were twisted from burns and who limped painfully along, all from a hand grenade blowing him up in Vietnam. Yet, he was joyous, he radiated peace, and as we shook hands, a voice within me cried out, “I am looking into the eye of the living Christ.” Later that day, I was on my knees, begging that spirit to enter me too.
I would love to say, “everything changed”, that I was freed instantly from my lustful thoughts and habits, but it didn’t work that way. What did happen, gradually, was that my desire to gratify my lust was replaced by a desire to please God and not grieve the Holy Spirit. However, habits of thought lead to habits of behavior, and habits of both become hard wired into neural pathways, which are remarkably persistent. I spent years praying for my habits to be changed, then relying on willpower. I married, but my thought habits interfered with properly loving my wife. I got to know a man who was a virgin when he married a virgin, and they had a bond that I longed for. I so regret premarital sex! Remember that question, “what is sexual immorality?” It is anything that interferes with the total intimacy that the union of a man and woman can be, whether pornography, premarital sex, adultery or homosexuality. Such behaviors defile and grieve the Holy Spirit, and despoil your life and family.
Here’s the hope I referred to at the beginning of this post. By submitting my life to Jesus Christ, I became perfect in God’s sight, because Jesus is perfect. I am still a sinner, my thought habits are considerably weakened but have not gone away, and my struggles are daily, but I am covered by the grace of God, or by Jesus’ blood, as we Christians say, and so I am not worried that God is condemning me. He sees me as belonging to His Son, therefore perfect. We human beings make everything about us, and judge ourselves according to whatever standards we adopted, but once we belong to Jesus Christ, He says “no one can snatch them out of my hands.” What matters is how God sees us, not how other people do nor how we see ourselves.
Does this mean that once we belong to Christ, we are free to sin and not worry? No! It means our old desires to sin are replaced by new desires to please God, and though we fail regularly, as we will because we are wired that way, we can repent and move on. “Then Peter came up and said to him, ‘Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times’.”Matthew 18:21-22. This applies to us as well. We sin, we repent, God forgives, rinse and repeat. Jesus is saying you forgive as often as your brother repents and asks forgiveness. That’s also what God does for us. If you truly belong to Jesus Christ, you will repent and beg forgiveness when you sin, and your Father in heaven will forgive you because you belong to Jesus Christ. If you say you belong to Jesus, but keep sinning pridefully, or think you have nothing to repent of, you have to question who you really belong to. BUT, don’t be an idiot and keep pushing yourself into the face of temptation. That’s what this “Spiritual Friendship” deal is, trying to make yourself okay with God by “proving” you can handle temptation, remaining celibate while fending off homosexual desires. You can’t and you don’t have to. You are perfect because Jesus is perfect, if his blood covers you. The swimming pool of grace is warm and ready for you, come on in, the water is fine.