One teen wrote, “I’ve been preoccupied these past months about my sexual orientation. This all began with my good friend Joe. We were very close friends; we shared everything with each other. Then, one night when he came into his room half-naked, he looked…different to me. He didn’t feel like a normal friend to me anymore. Throughout the months, I felt these strange feelings and looked at him somewhat differently…Girls are beautiful, but I’m not looking for girlfriends. I just like girls as normal friends, though I feel sexually attracted to them. Sexually, I think I feel more attracted to guys than girls…I guess it depends. I’m uncertain. I can assure you, however, that these feelings aren’t just sexual impulses, it goes deeper than that. It’s an emotional and romantic sensation. My question is, how can I know with certainty about my sexual orientation? This question haunts me.”
This teen is wrestling with strong emotions, confusing thoughts, and real questions. God is not silent on the subject of homosexuality. In this article we’ll take an eye-opening look at God’s heart on same-sex temptation.
God Hates Gay Bashing
Before we dive in I want to apologize for all those who, in the name of Christianity, have been guilty of what’s commonly called “gay bashing.” In John 15:12, Jesus said, “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” Anything Christians do or say should be motivated by love and not animosity. Though we are to warn people about sin, we should always do so in a spirit of gentleness and compassion.
“Just because a guy struggles with same-sex desire doesn’t mean God made him gay, any more than a guy struggling with anger means God made him a murderer. You have a choice about what you do with every temptation.”
“I Was Born Gay”
Ninety percent of gay men surveyed by The Advocate (a gay magazine) claimed to have been born gay.1 And it’s true—homosexuals are born that way. We are all born with a sinful nature. We all naturally lean toward sin. The Bible tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). According to the Bible, homosexuality is just one sin among many that people gravitate toward.
Some struggle with lying, gossip, jealousy, stealing, adultery, lust, or fornication, and others struggle with homosexuality. Just because a guy struggles with same-sex desire doesn’t mean God made him gay, any more than a guy struggling with anger means God made him a murderer. You have a choice about what you do with every temptation. You may not choose homosexual desires, but you do choose what you do with them.
No One Chooses Same-Sex Temptation
Listen to what one frustrated teen posted on a message board:
It stinks to be gay. Anyone who wouldn’t rather [have] been born straight is lying. I am teased, harassed, physically and mentally, and tortured. I know I can’t change being gay or help it, but I wish I were straight. I feel like I am being punished. I had no idea what was happening to me when I was younger when I started to look at boys differently and not girls, it was horrible. I accept being gay and that life stinks for gays.
Do homosexuals choose same-sex temptation? No.
“Homosexual temptation may not be a choice, but homosexual behavior is.”
In his book 101 Frequently Asked Questions About Homosexuality, former homosexual Mike Haley said:
I can tell you from personal experience that virtually no one chooses homosexuality and the resulting pain and rejection that comes with it. No child or adolescent approaches the smorgasbord of sexual orientations and says, “Hmm…I think I’ll take that one.” On the contrary, most homosexuals try to deny the existence of their same-sex attractions, to pray it away, or to repress it until they become so discouraged by their inability to master the desires that they “come out”…No one chooses to feel attracted to someone of the same sex. However, men and women do choose how they will act on those feelings.2
Homosexual temptation may not be a choice, but homosexual behavior is. In the same way, lustful heterosexual desire may not be a choice, but adulterous behavior is. Think of King David. He lusted after Bathsheba as she bathed herself. Perhaps he wrestled with his sinful thoughts about having sex with her. Perhaps he looked the other way and thought he had won the battle, but sexual thoughts flooded his mind and overwhelmed him. It was all he could think about. If that was the case he could then say, “I was born this way. I can’t help it. I have fought these tendencies, but they are so overwhelming. I just have to accept that this is the way God made me.” And so he calls for Bathsheba and commits adultery with her. He was drawn to her by his own lusts, and he could have stopped at his lust and asked God to forgive him. But he didn’t. He made a deliberate choice to commit adultery. Look at what the Bible says about these sinful desires and where they take us:
But each one is tempted when he is dragged away, enticed and baited [to commit sin] by his own [worldly] desire (lust, passion). Then when the illicit desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin has run its course, it gives birth to death. (James 1:14,15, AMP)
The Opposite of Gay Isn’t Straight
A survey by LifeWay Research asked adults, “Do you believe homosexual behavior is a sin?” A mere 37% of respondents considered it sinful.3 America has lost sight of what is right and what is wrong because it’s lost sight of God and His Word. There are no gray areas with our Creator; He calls homosexuality sin. And because it is a sin, we have a choice. More importantly, there is hope. We are not helpless victims.
“There are no gray areas with our Creator—He calls homosexuality sin. And because it is a sin, we have a choice. More importantly, there is hope. We are not helpless victims.”
Same-sex desire isn’t a decision, but acting out on that temptation through romantic fantasies or gay relationships is. The Bible says, “If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination” (Leviticus 20:13). However, the opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality—it’s obedience. When you turn from homosexuality in repentance, you are turning to God. You’re doing what He says. Remember, homosexual temptation isn’t sin, but embracing those thoughts and acting on them is. It’s the same with any lust. Jesus said if we have lust in our hearts, we are committing adultery as far as God is concerned (see Matthew 5:27,28).
One of the reasons Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed was their homosexual activities. The Bible says, “Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 1:7).
“The opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality—it’s obedience.”
You can’t take the sin of homosexuality—or any other sin—lightly, because God doesn’t. It’s impossible to take the narrow and the wide path at the same time. God is kind and He will help you out of this sin, but you have to be serious about wanting to follow Him.
The Ultimate Betrayal
Ray Comfort, producer of the award-winning movie “Audacity”—which portrays the intersection of Christianity and homosexuality—offered this analogy:
An elevator in a New York high-rise suddenly jerks to a stop on the 79th floor. You call the elevator company and describe the noises you heard. They soberly tell you to place a large notice on the doors saying: “Do not use this elevator! Any weight in it will immediately cause it to drop 79 floors. Repairmen are on their way.” A few minutes later you return to see that someone has crossed out your wording and written, “Gays may enter.” What would you think of the person who put that note on the door? They would be a horrible and hateful individual. In the same way we can’t say that gays may enter Heaven, because according to the Bible, that’s not true. We have it from the greatest Authority on earth that nothing unclean in God’s sight will enter Heaven—no fornicator, idolater, liar, thief, blasphemer, adulterer, sexually immoral person, or homosexual will enter (see 1 Corinthians 6:9,10). Yet some who profess to be Christians betray homosexuals by lying to them and saying, “All is well. Step through the doors. You will be okay.” We cannot do that, because we love you and want you to make it to Heaven.
“Jesus Never Talked About Homosexuality”
Some argue that since Jesus never spoke against homosexuality, it must be okay. With that logic, you could also argue that since Jesus never endorsed it, it must be sinful. The fact is there are a lot of things Jesus didn’t talk about, but God has already spoken on the subject of homosexuality very clearly throughout the Old and New Testament. It’s important to remember that Jesus’ earthly mission wasn’t to recite everything God had previously said in the Bible; He was here to save the world.
Rather than trying to justify a sin based on what Jesus didn’t say, let’s take an honest look at what Jesus did say:
And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:4–6)
Jesus clearly gives God’s definition of marriage, in which He quotes God’s plan from the first book of the Bible, Genesis. God designed sex to be limited to marriage between a man and a woman (not two men, or two women). All other things that contradict God’s definition of sexuality are sinful: pedophilia, bestiality, adultery, fornication, and homosexuality.
“God has very clearly said throughout the Bible that homosexuality is sin, and Jesus came to save sinners and set them on a new path—the path of righteousness.”
It’s important to remember that the words in black in the Bible are just as important as the words of Jesus in red. Second Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” God Himself is speaking through the Bible—whether Jesus said it or God used someone else, it is all equally from God. Jesus said, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:12,13). Here are a few words after Jesus’ resurrection, which are inspired by the Holy Spirit:
So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved. Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. (Romans 1:24–28, NLT)
Simply because we can debate something doesn’t make it debatable. God has very clearly said throughout the Bible that homosexuality is sin, and Jesus came to save sinners and set them on a new path—the path of righteousness.
The Hope of Freedom Is Realistic
After a youth group service, a fifteen-year-old girl approached me and confided that she was struggling with lesbianism. She said she felt more loved by girls than guys. Guys saw only her body, but girls saw her. She couldn’t keep girls out of her mind. She knew it wasn’t right but felt helpless over her temptation. She wanted to know what to do. Was there any hope for her?
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:9,10:
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
God clearly puts homosexuals in a list of those who will not be in Heaven, but the very next verse goes on to give great hope:
Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:11, NLT).
Some of the people in the church that this was originally written to were at one time practicing homosexuals, but Paul tells us that they found forgiveness and freedom from that sin, as well as others—and so can you.
“Same-sex desire will start to shrivel up and die when you stop secretly feeding it.”
Through God’s power many homosexuals have been forgiven and changed. That fifteen-year-old girl today is not a lesbian. Change was possible for her and for anyone else looking for it.
Here are some practical steps to finding freedom from the chains of homosexuality:
- Get with God. Apologize to Him from the heart and choose to change directions. Admit any homosexual actions or fantasies, and choose to turn from homosexuality, asking for forgiveness. He promises to forgive you (1 John 1:9). Then ask for His help and strength.
- Be committed to spiritual growth. The spiritual disciplines of daily prayer, Bible reading, and weekly involvement in a church are critical. Colossians 1:16 says, “Everything was created through him and for him.” The purpose of life is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Those disciplines will help you grow in Him, feed your love for Him, and be a source of inspiration.
- Stay away from gay friends. The old saying is so true: “Who you’re around is who you’ll become.” Choose your crew wisely, because chances are you’ll turn out just like them.
- Develop same-sex friendships. Feed your natural desire for same-sex companionship in healthy ways through non-romantic, non-sexual friendships.
- Stop feeding the fire. Run from all forms of pornography. R-rated movies and juicy romance novels especially are included. Same-sex desire will start to shrivel up and die when you stop secretly feeding it.
- Starve the temptation. Don’t allow homosexual fantasies to roam around free in your mind. The Bible says to “[bring] every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). When a dirty thought pops up, lock it out of your house. It’s been said, “You can’t stop birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.” You may not be able to control random thoughts, but you can control what you dwell on. Don’t allow your mind to chew on lustful thoughts of any kind.
- Speak with a spiritually mature confidant. Find a pastor, trusted friend, mentor, Christian counselor, or someone else you can be open with about your temptations and emotions. Bringing the issue to light is a key that many have reported as being greatly helpful when they were struggling with homosexuality.
- Skip the gay hot spots. If an alcoholic wants to quit drinking, he’ll have to stay away from the bar. If you want to get out of homosexuality, you’ll need to stay away from gay clubs, gay bars, wherever the gay community hangs out.
- Rehearse the truth. As you focus on God’s truth, the devil’s lies will lose their grasp. If you find yourself wishing you were another gender, read Psalm 139:13–18. Remind yourself that God chose your gender and handcrafted you in your mom’s womb. If you feel weak, read Philippians 4:13, 1 Corinthians 6:9–11, and 1 Corinthians 10:13.
Defeating any temptation is hard, but with God’s help you can do it! Don’t give up, don’t quit, and don’t give in. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
Watch the “Audacity” movie free online
“Audacity” uses a unique approach to address a very sensitive subject in contemporary society. Regardless of your views on homosexuality, you’ll gain fresh insights and a new perspective.
- Simon LeVay, Queer Science (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1996), 6, as quoted in Mike Haley, 101 Frequently Asked Questions About Homosexuality (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2004), 82.
- Mike Haley, 101 Frequently Asked Questions About Homosexuality, 21.
- LifeWay Research, “Fewer Americans Believe Homosexuality Is a Sin,” January 10, 2013 <<lifewayresearch.com/2013/01/10/fewer-americans-believe-homosexuality-is-a-sin>>.