Dear Liberty – My question concerns the controversial issue of homosexuality. I believe it is a sin, and an abomination in the eyes of the Lord. There are, however, countless Christians who truly are born again who sit in church pews across this country who struggle with this sin. Many of them have never acted on their feelings, and in my opinion have thus not sinned. I believe a thought does not become sinful until you act upon it. What advice does your ministry provide to Christians struggling with this who wish to be free? I have personally researched the issue and believe that anyone seeking freedom from this can receive it through Christ. Should the factors that are believed ( by psychologists, etc.) to lead to these unnatural desires be treated as any other stronghold discussed in “Shattering Your Strongholds“? I personally believe they can be, but would like your opinion on this COMPLEX issue.
Liberty’s Answer – Homosexuality is a complex issue, and I may seem to some to simplify it too much. But I believe this behavior as well as other destructive human behavior patterns are birthed out of attempts to cope with, pacify, or find answers for very powerful unmet needs and unhealed hurts. Much of my teaching is based upon getting all the wrong patterns of thinking, the rationalizing, the justification, the denial, etc. (of why we act the way we act) out of our unsurrendered souls that we might be able to receive mercy, grace, healing, and love from God. You could liken this to taking off the old man or the old self as referred to in Ephesians 4:22-24, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (NIV). This is speaking of the putting off the self-defenses and self-protection over the sources of the wrong behavior–I do not really believe it is just focused on the actual wrong behaviors. I believe that our wrong behaviors are symptoms of something much deeper and older–unmet needs, unhealed hurts, and unresolved issues. We must “put off” our old attitudes, our old desires, our old ways of thinking, and our emotional fears and anger about these three things in order that we can be made new, in order that we can put on our new self which is to be like God in righteousness and holiness. I very much believe that the binding and loosing prayers (binding your will to God, your mind to Christ, loosing wrong beliefs, loosing rationalization and justifications of wrong choices, etc.) bring us to a point of being able to force our souls to surrender all of their “stuff” to God. We can never become like Him in righteousness and holiness until we put off protecting the very things that are keeping Him from healing us. More on that below.
You are correct in believing that there are many in church pews today struggling with this issue. Some are not acting upon the temptation, some are and then struggle with self-loathing and guilt while still trying to hope that there is some way to be free. Constant rehearsing of the issue in the mind is as sin. A thought that is instantly rejected and dismissed as a temptation is not sin. The mind that cannot stop processing these thoughts is choosing to mentally sin. This is the same type of sin as repeatedly thinking wrong unforgiving thoughts and wishing some sort of revenge would befall some other person. Think about this example: Let’s say that Bart, a Christian, became addicted to pornography when he was younger and not saved. He finally overcomes acting upon his desires to look at pornography in magazines, pictures, and on the internet. He is exhibiting no outwards actions of being involved in pornography. But Bart is still reviewing in his mind many of the pictures he clearly remembers. He is sinning in his mind. The thoughts are not sin when they come into the mind and are rejected. They become sin as they are reviewed again and again. There does not have to be an actual physical acting out to make them sin. The intent and motive of the repeated thought patterns are sinful.
You say you believe homosexuality is an abomination in the eyes of the Lord. This is indeed written in the Word, both in Leviticus 18:22, and in 20:13. But there also dozens and dozens of references to eating wrong food, wrong worship practices, remarriage (certain conditions), unjust men, dishonesty in trade, and self-valuing (Luke 16:15), all being an abomination to the Lord. Proverbs 6:16-19 tell us, “There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable (“an abomination to Him” in the KJV) to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers” (NIV).
My point here is that the use of the word abomination is all over the Bible, and many things are an abomination to the Lord. The word “abomination” is simply a word that says that the Lord detests or is disgusted by something a person does. He detests human pride. He detests dishonesty. He detests the actions of the one who stirs up strife in the Church. Can someone who is proud be born again? Can someone who is dishonest be born again? Can someone with personal agendas and scheming be born again? Can someone who stirs up dissension in the church among brothers be born again? Can a homosexual person be a born again believer? The answer to all of those questions is yes. The choice to accept Christ is a choice of the spirit, a human spirit born that was born into this world as a spiritual orphan with no connection to its Creator and heavenly Father. The sacrificial blood of Jesus that creates the bridge between the formerly orphaned human spirit and the Spirit of its Creator–reconnects the no-longer orphaned spirit to the Spirit of its Father. The human soul, still filled with all of its ungodly thoughts, patterns of thinking, wrong attitudes, and evil ways is still quite intact at that point. Does this mean that Christ does not care if the person who is proud, dishonest, scheming, stirring up dissension, or living a homosexual lifestyle stays that way–that He will just pour more grace over them to cover up their sins? Absolutely not. Paul wrote to the Romans and said, “Does this mean that now we can go ahead and sin and not worry about it? (For our salvation does not depend on keeping the law but on receiving God’s grace!) Of course not! (Romans 6;15-16, The Living Bible).
Christians are not perfected body, soul, and spirit when they are saved, only their spirits get saved at the point of their salvation experience. Their minds, wills, and emotions are still operating in a lifetime’s learning of self-defensive thinking, self-protective decision making, and self-centered emotional reaction. That is why Paul told the Philippians Christians they needed to work out their own “salvation” with fear and trembling. He was telling them that even though they were believers in Christ, there needed to be a renewing of their minds, a surrendering of their human wills, and a submitting of their damaged emotions to the comfort of the Holy Spirit for healing. The renewing of the mind was going to come as they washed their minds with the Word of God, filling it with understanding of truth, mercy, and God’s love. The surrendering of the human will would come about as it was inundated with the Word of God revealing the better way of God’s will making the choices and dealing with consequences. The submitting to a healing of the emotions would come from learning how to trust God and being assured that He would never inflict more wounding and pain, such trust coming by the reading of His Word.
There are three things that drive us from childhood–unmet needs, unhealed hurts, and unresolved issues. These things do send up powerful drives that demand some kind of answers and release. We end up building strongholds, acquiring physical possessions, developing wrong relationships, moving into wrong life styles, adopting wrong attitudes, building personality facades that are not true, all in an attempt to cope with the force of these inner drives. The only true release we will ever get from them is by loosing, stripping, and severing (using the binding and loosing prayers) our souls’ holds upon all of our wrong beliefs, ideas, attitudes, and deception about these inner drives. This voluntarily clears a way for God to get to our previously layered-over, formerly self-protected unmet needs, unhealed hurts, and unresolved issues. He is the only one who can meet such deep needs, heal such powerful hurts, and answer the tough questions.
God will not break apart our self-defense systems, smashing and crashing into our secret (we think) hiding places to fix us. He asks us to voluntarily take down self-defense systems (ineffective as they are) and voluntarily expose our innermost wounds and needs to Him for healing and answers. We all need to recognize our need to trust God enough to get rid of all our self-protective, coping mechanisms and just stand before Him in complete vulnerability. We need to search and research the written Word that we might learn to have faith that He loves us and will do what is best for us. The word faith in the original Hebrew and Greek usually is described as trust and confidence in the goodness of God towards us. I believe that His goodness extends to every person who becomes a Christian. This is why I deal with those in homosexuality in the same way as I deal with those who are unable to stop being deceptive, addicted to chemical substances, fearful, angry, unfaithful, deceived, hopeless, or suicidal. They are all trying to cope with, placate, or end the ever increasing drives of their neediness, pain, and confusion.