One of the most frustrating things about working toward freedom from homosexuality is the sudden and unpredictable flare-ups of sexual desire. Numerous people have had the experience of attending a LIFE ministry meeting where they have gotten in touch with the truth of God and soon after leaving had a strong desire to have sex with someone. Some counselees are abruptly tempted by sinful desires while sitting on the subway or at work or even in church. When I was a pastor and struggling with homosexual feelings I often had thoughts of and desire for my homosexual partner while I was preaching!
One of the strands that makes up the binding cord of homosexuality is a skewed or twisted definition of fun. Sexual fantasies and/or actions that are sinful, dirty, dangerous, forbidden, abnormal, demeaning, addictive take on a sense of being exciting or fun. Surprisingly, these fantasies and acts do not appear to the person to be dysfunctional—at least not when they are in the midst of temptation. In these moments, homosexuality appears laden with all sorts of good and pleasurable experiences.
An ad for Dr. Tony Campolo’s recent book, “20 Hot Potatoes Christians Are Afraid To Touch” states that he is “not a man to shy away from controversy”. In the chapter, “Does Christianity Have Any Good News for Homosexuals?”, he has certainly stirred controversy. The definition of controversy is a “dispute concerning a matter of opinion”. In his introduction, Dr. Campolo says, “The time has come to be bold and to declare from the rooftops what I have been hiding away in my closet of opinions”.
Much of contemporary society and many leaders in the Church have been persuaded that all people are primarily sexual beings and that they have a right to express themselves sexually. We consider this to be a false teaching about our humanity. We claim that we are primarily spiritual beings and that our sexuality is only a part of us: a God-given desire and ability to relate to the opposite sex in a way that leads to love, marriage and family.
Any effort to uproot homosexuality which does focus on the emotional roots of this evil desire will fail. The counselee must focus on his/her feelings in order to understand what causes homosexual attraction. Once these painful emotions are identified and the sinful reactions they gave rise to are acknowledged, the counselee can begin to do the work of breaking sexual addiction. Exchanging emotionally based lies for the liberating Truth of God has tremendous power to uproot homosexual desire once and for all!
The pain caused by early wounds is not easily forgotten. Satan uses pain—particularly in childhood--to gain access to a person’s mind and will. Negative emotions that are not dealt with in a godly manner will be stored inside. When the person experiences another painful situation, that present pain connects with the reservoir of pain from earlier experiences causing an intense, exaggerated reaction. As a hurt child experiences pain, the alleviation of pain becomes the first consideration of his/her thinking. Thus, the thinking turns to whatever “works” to stop the pain.
We have heard so many of our counselees say that after their first homosexual encounter, they went home and took a long shower, trying to cleanse themselves from the dirtiness and filth of their sin. Others have said after longer periods of sexual sin that they will never do it again and they just want to forget it. Obviously washing the body, while necessary, does not reach the place of guilt and sin and the need to deal with God about our sin.
Since the primary cause of homosexuality is ungodly reaction to pain in childhood, a major part of counseling toward freedom focuses on cleaning out buried negative emotions. We refer to this as “working the emotions”. The point of the pain in childhood or adolescence is the point of the addiction. The mind of the sensitive child exposed to severe pain develops warped patterns of thought that reflect the child’s inability to reason in the face of overwhelming circumstances. Thus, the ungodly emotions become the child’s sole source of guidance.